How to get people to watch your YouTube videos & increase your reach

How to get people to watch your YouTube videos & increase your reach
Estimated reading time:

With the unlimited creative potential promised by online video content, you might be curious, even eager, to know how to get people to watch your YouTube videos. Many marketers believe that in the next few years, online video content will be as important and impactful as TV programming. Original video that businesses create—and everyday people film—is becoming just as popular if not more popular than television.

It’s estimated that mobile video will account for 75% of total mobile data traffic in less than three years. Neglecting video means you’re missing out on three-fourths of all internet usage. Because of this shift, more and more marketers are making room for video in their marketing efforts, and nearly every social media platform has integrated some sort of video capability. It’s never been easier for you to take advantage of the power of online video.

While you can consume video pretty much everywhere these days, YouTube is still the best place to get maximum exposure for your videos. In the U.S., YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network, and YouTube does that on mobile alone. On top of that, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.

In this guide, we’ll cover why you might want to start utilizing YouTube (if you aren’t already), how to create quality videos, and how to increase your reach.


Guide to getting more viewers on YouTube


Why creators should consider YouTube

Using YouTube to get in front of your ideal customer is a no-brainer. People trust a product or someone selling a product more when they can see the face behind it. Statistically, videos increase sales across the board. It’s been estimated that people are 65 to 84% more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.

promoting your YouTube

Typical consumers no longer trust traditional TV or print advertising the way they used to. Consumers are turning to word-of-mouth recommendations from people they trust or looking to purchase from a brand they already know. Creating videos allows your audience to really get to know you, your style, and your personality. This feeling of being acquainted makes them comfortable with you and more trusting of what you say and the products you offer.

How to create great content

Solve a problem

When you’re creating video content, consider the problems your target audience has and use video to answer these questions for them.

Reach more people on YouTube

You can also think about an audience you haven’t tapped into yet and create videos that they might be searching for. (You’ll make things even easier on yourself if there is an overlap with your current audience; you can retain them while expanding your reach.)

For example, if you’re a beauty influencer who has an audience of mostly makeup-obsessed people and professional makeup artists, think about how you might be able to connect to women who like makeup but aren’t professionals. You could create a “look for less” series recreating red carpet looks with drugstore makeup, or create a “beginners guide” series walking your new audience members through the basics.

If your channel is about food and you want to start getting into more travel content, you might create videos using ingredients you got abroad or vlogging you at a restaurant in a travel destination. You want to gradually expand your niche instead of doing a 180.

Now that we’ve explored how to enhance your content, let’s consider how to get people to see your YouTube videos.

How to get people to actually watch your YouTube videos

Even with a good marketing plan, getting started with video content can be a daunting task. Spending a lot of time creating great content, then having a low YouTube views count, can feel defeating. These five tips will help you get more viewers on YouTube and ultimately reach your target customer.

1. Optimize your video descriptions

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important in every aspect of your business. You want Google to be able to find your content, so your audience can find your content.

Writing an optimized description box is your first step to showing up in search results and getting in front of the people who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Because YouTube can’t watch your video to determine what it’s about, it relies solely on your title and description box to understand what you’re sharing.

This is where YouTube SEO comes into play. Just like on your website, YouTube uses SEO to determine where videos will show up in the YouTube algorithm and ranking. A combination of your title, video description, engagement on your video, overall channel success, and other factors will help your video rank better. If you’re just starting out and haven’t had any channel success yet, writing an effective title and description is that much more important.

Taking the time to craft an optimized description box with target keywords that tell YouTube (and Google) what your video is about and what it offers will increase the chances that your video will show up in searches and help it get recommended next to related or suggested videos. By optimizing your description, you’re drastically increasing the chances that your content will show in video searches.

Tips for great video description boxes

  • Describe what your video is about in detail, adding in as many relevant target keywords you think your audience might be searching for as you can.
  • Add links to other relevant content. To get the most out of your description boxes, make sure you’re giving your audience something else of yours to check out.
boost YouTube views
  • Add links to your social channels. Once people are a fan of yours, they’re likely going to want to follow you elsewhere and that can only serve to benefit you. Make it easy on your audience, and show them exactly where you can be found.

2. Create custom thumbnail images

One of the biggest mistakes nearly all new video creators make is neglecting thumbnail images. They pour hours and hours into creating a great video, and the thumbnail becomes an afterthought. Thumbnails are the very first thing that your audience will see when deciding whether or not to click on your video. In a way, they act like the cover of a book.

YouTube custom thumbnails

Along with a title, the thumbnail is the only thing that is going to convince someone to even watch your video in the first place. Even if your video is the most incredible, high-quality, and informative piece of content on its topic, if your thumbnail is subpar, no one will click on it. Remember, people scroll through their phones and desktops at an alarmingly quick rate. You need a thumbnail that captures people’s attention and entices them to click. The next time you have a new idea for a video, you might consider what the thumbnail will be, even before planning the video.

Eye–catching doesn’t have to mean over the top. Here is an example of Damon and Jo’s minimal but striking thumbnails:

YouTube custom thumbnails

Increase YouTube views with these tips for video thumbnails:

  • Add color. Bright and bold colors tend to help grab attention
  • Add emotion. If you’re including your face, add some emotion to the way you look. Whether you look excited, surprised, shocked, or happy, people subconsciously connect and react to emotions on other’s faces.
  • Add known symbols. Commonly recognized symbols like check marks, x’s, and arrows can often grab someone’s attention.
  • Don’t overdo the text. Remember your title will offer the description of the thumbnail. If using text, keep it concise, and use a bold, easy-to-read font.
how to get people to watch your youtube videos

3. Be consistent

Consistency is key for improving your views and keeping your audience engaged. This is especially true when you’re still trying to establish and get in front your target audience. You want to be consistent with the type of content you’re creating, as well as the cadence of uploading that content. This helps YouTube understand what your channel is about and suggest it next to similar videos and channels.

This consistency also helps you stand out among the audience you’re targeting. Say, for example, you’re a fitness entrepreneur. By creating consistent content around fitness, you start to position yourself as an expert on this topic. Your audience will begin to know what to expect from you, and they’ll see you as an authority in your niche. For instance, if you’ve been making workout and healthy cooking videos every Tuesday and Thursday for the past few months, and all of a sudden you start throwing up conspiracy-theory videos, you’re going to confuse your audience.

Consistency is also important when it comes to uploading. If your content is great but you’re only uploading sporadically, you’ll have trouble getting traction. Whether you’re able to upload three times a week or just every Friday, set a schedule and stick with it. The same way people on Twitter are counting down the moments until the next episode of The Bachelorette goes live, eventually your audience will be looking forward to your content all day once you’ve established and stuck to a schedule.

Lack of consistency means eventually people will stop checking back for new content. If you’ve published top-notch quality three Wednesdays in a row but then don’t post again for five weeks, you’ll lose any momentum that you gained.

4. Make your videos engaging

If your video isn’t engaging, animated, or energetic, you’ll lose viewers in the first critical moments of your video. Engaging content will look different for everyone, and it really depends on you, your personality, and the niche you’re creating content in. Be passionate about the topic you’re creating videos on, and be conscious of how you can make your content more engaging for your audience. This is going to mean different things for every niche and every person.

Increase YouTube views with these tips for creating engaging videos:

  • Have an emotive face. A lot of times nervous newcomers to video will memorize what they’re going to say to the point where they’re reciting their lines in a clinical fashion. Make sure your face matches what you’re saying. You can’t tell your audience that you’ve never been so excited to share something and have a deadpan look on your face.
  • Make eye contact with the camera. This is going to make your audience feel like you’re making eye contact with them and will make it look like you’re more interested in what you’re saying.
  • Smile. Even if it’s just when you’re introducing yourself and the topic, it’s going to make your audience believe you’re happy to be making this video for them.
increase YouTube views

After creating a video, look for places that it might be losing momentum or becoming less engaging. Then, think about how to retain viewers, specifically how you can draw people back in and keep them watching and enjoying it. This can be as easy as adding graphics into your videos using a program like Final Cut or Screenflow, or, if it fits your personality and channel, adding jokes or puns into your content at low points. (Personally, I love incorporating my dog into my videos to help liven things up.)

optimize YouTube videos

Also, be sure to treat the first 10 to 15 seconds of your video like gold. This is the time when the majority of your viewers will decide if they are going to finish watching your video or not. To increase your watch time, try asking a question, giving a preview of the rest of the video, or offering something of value to keep them watching.

You can always tell which of your intros are doing the best on your videos by looking at your audience retention in your YouTube analytics. This tells you at which point of the video people leave. If you are losing half your viewers in the first 15 seconds, it’s time to rethink your intros or consider creating shorter videos.

promoting your YouTube

5. Be yourself

The final tip is to be yourself in your video. It can be tempting to try to recreate what someone else you think is successful is doing. But, at the end of the day, people watch your videos and convert into customers because of your unique offerings and experiences.

There are YouTubers making a living in niches from yoga to dog training, and while there are more people than you can count making videos on these topics, it’s the people who are letting their personalities shine through that get more viewers and subscribers. Showing yourself and your personality allows people to get to know, relate to, and trust you.

Not everyone loves getting in front of the camera, though, and if that’s the case for you: practice makes perfect. We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it,” and that’s exactly what you should do when you’re getting on camera. Practicing might feel silly, but even if you’re just sitting in front of the camera and confidently talking about what you had for breakfast before you start filming your real content, you’re going to start getting more comfortable.

You can also script your video out and run through what you’re going to say a few times before you hit record. Once you say anything a few times, it’s going to be easier to repeat it and you’ll be less likely to stumble over your words.

How to make your YouTube videos convert

Once you start getting traction on YouTube, converting can be as easy as adding a call to action in your videos or video descriptions. Calls to action are simply direct requests for your audience to do whatever it is you want them to do, for instance subscribe to your YouTube channel. If you’re trying to convert your YouTube subscribers to Instagram followers, at the end of your video you might say, “Thanks so much for watching! If you don’t already, please follow me on Instagram. The link is in the description below.” Or, if you want your subscribers to check out a sales page you can say, “Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I created an online course and would love for you to check it out! There is more info in the description.” Outright asking your audience to take action is a lot more effective than passively adding a link in your description and hoping for the best.

Create a video covering a complimentary topic to what you’re selling, and then tell your audience, “Oh, by the way: If you’re interested in learning all there is to know about this topic and picking my brain during live Q&As, I’m selling access to my online course through the end of the month. Click the link in my description to check out the sales page.”

You don’t need to be creating video after video dedicated to promoting your product, but mentioning it in an organic way can go a long way in convincing your audience to click over.

And remember: if you’re not using video marketing, your competitors are.

More like this

Kallie Branciforte

Kallie Branciforte, Kallie Branciforte is the blogger and YouTuber behind But First, Coffee where she writes and creates videos about lifestyle tips and tricks, focusing on things that will help save time or save money. In 2016, she created Caffeinate and Conquer, a place to teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their online presence. Kallie launched her first Teachable course, Conquer YouTube, as a way to help other creators learn how to take advantage of video to grow their reach.

Teachable Updates

Your weekly dose of creative chat and Teachable updates. Get our weekly newsletter.