Budding YouTube Vloggers: 10 Tips to Grow Your Audience

By Sarah Pritzker - January 23, 2019

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Ah, vlogging. The wonderful art of getting your moment in the spotlight, telling people what to do, and voicing your opinion without anyone to interrupt. When you go on YouTube and watch video tutorials, rants, and raves one after another, it all seems so easy. Just make a video, upload it to your feed, and bam. You’re a millionaire!

Somehow, when it comes to practical application, things don’t quite work out as seamlessly as all that. Between technical glitches, misguided marketing techniques, and flat out wrong methodology, so many would-be vloggers end up crashing and burning on their first try. And those dreams of being a YouTube vlogger success story go up in smoke.

But good news! It doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, the only reason vlogs don’t take off (in most cases) is because they haven’t learned the secret to vlogging success. With a few simple tweaks, you can watch your video series take off and soar! Check out these brilliant tips for growing your audience that every budding YouTube vlogger needs to know.

Vlogging Tip #1: Choose your niche wisely

Choosing your niche is as important as the content you put out. Aim too high, and your vlog gets lost in the sea of other vloggers trying to compete for the major crowds. Aim too low, and you may have a devoted following that consists of all seven people interested in your eccentric topic (hi Mom!) but not much good for making money.

Instead, shoot for a niche audience that is unique enough to keep you on top as an expert or an individual voice without narrowing the scope too much. Also, make sure the niche you choose is something that you actually find interesting. Because while making money is nice, it’s not what life is all about, and you’ll quickly tire of talking about something that you hold no interest in.

Vlogging Tip #2: Make a plan and a schedule

As with any business, you can’t just dive into vlogging without a plan. You want to approach this professionally and intelligently, so you can maximize your returns. Think about:

• What topics you’re going to create videos about
• How often and when you’re going to publish videos (what’s reasonable considering your schedule and lifestyle)
• Consider special events, holidays, etc. you can incorporate into your vlog
• Choose your persona (who will you be, what personality, style, flavor)
• Choose your vlog format (will you shoot in interview, screenshot, direct shot style)

In terms of scheduling, remember that one of the keys to successful vlogging is publishing often. People have short attention spans these days (squirrel!), so if you want to hold their interest, you’re going to need a lot of content. Also, consider your short versus long-term schedule. In the beginning, plan to put out short videos to get your audience interested. You can publish longer videos once you’ve gotten them hooked.

Vlogging Tip #3: Research your topic well

Let’s face it, nobody wants to listen to someone rant about random crap (well, maybe some people do, but it won’t make you a lot of money). People turn to vlogs for real, well-researched, expert, and USEFUL information or tutorials on how to accomplish a task they are having a hard time with or a subject they’re interested in knowing more about. If you just tell people to throw some eyeliner on your face, that’s not much of a makeover tutorial, and it certainly won’t get you repeat viewers.

Research your topic well, so you really have genuinely helpful information to give over to your audience. Also, be sure to include the most commonly asked questions or issues that come up in your topic. Since people are turning to you for advice or instruction, answer their questions. This will not only solidify you as a voice of authority in this area, but it’s one of the most surefire ways to ensure that your viewers keep coming back for more.

Vlogging Tip #4: Research your platform

Basically, know your environment well. If you’re uploading to YouTube, learn the YouTube ropes. Read up on what formats work best for this channel (more on that below), how YouTube works, what benefits and tools you get from having a YouTube account. Know everything there is to know about your platform, so you can make the most of your uploads. Also, check out the trending topics on YouTube, so you know what people are interested in watching vlogs about. This’ll make topic generation a whole lot easier.

Vlogging Tip #5: Get GOOD equipment

Want to shoot a video? Just grab your phone and start recording, right? Even with good smartphones, this is generally not the way to launch a professional vlogging career. It’s painful to watch a video that’s got poor lighting, crappy audio, or awkward glitches. That’s why if you’re going to take vlogging seriously, you’ll want to invest in quality equipment. Things you’ll need include:

• A great camera
• An external mic if your camera doesn’t have a good one
• Screen recording software (TinyTakeSmartPixel, Screenflow by Telestream, Filmora, etc.)
• Video editing tools (iMovie for Macs and MovieMaker for Windows stand out). Video editing allows you to add effects, transitions, audio clips, and more to your vlogs, so they are more entertaining, interesting, and impressive looking. This, in turn, keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more

Good lighting is also important. Make sure there’s enough light and that you have the right color bulbs (white or bluish light is the most natural).

Vlogging Tip #6: Shoot for success

When you take your video, make sure the shot is clear, appealing, and productive for your format. If you are doing headshots, a pro tip is to take advantage of the close-up. It’s been proven that close-ups foster more intimacy, so you’re actually developing a relationship with your viewers. This translates to repeat viewers and larger audiences. You can also play around with angle switching as you get better.

Make sure you use the recommended video format and settings, so your vlogs will be clear and easy to access. For example, YouTube’s preferred format is MP4, and while it will accept others, MP4 is the easiest and most widely-used on almost every device out there, so better for your viewers.

Vlogging Tip #7: Optimize your vlog

Here’s a tip that most beginner vloggers know nothing about. If you want your videos to get the most traction, you need to optimize them. Optimization means giving your videos the best possible chance to rank well in search engines like Google.

This can be done by using the right keywords and phrases within the backend of your video. Optimize the terms you use in your video description, file names, video title, and tags to put your vlog directly in line of more viewers’ sight. Also, be sure to include easy sharing links and tools. This way your fans can become your own personal marketing team, promoting your vlog to their friends and organically growing your audience for free!

You should also make sure your vlogs are mobile-friendly because research shows that people are using their mobile devices more and more (and the trend is just continuing to rise).

Vlogging Tip #8: Be an entertainer (but not too much!)

If you’ve ever watched one of those videos where the vlogger was too quiet, drab, or slightly socially awkward, then you know these types of videos aren’t appealing. People are drawn to personalities, vloggers who are outgoing, interactive, engaging. You want your audience to feel like you are actually talking to them directly (not a camera lens), because then they’ll relate to you directly, create a connection, and keep coming back for more.

Really let your personality shine here. After all, that’s the whole beauty of vlogs as opposed to a static article. Now people can see and hear you, so why not shine bright?! Remember that there are millions of hours worth of content on YouTube, so if you don’t grab their attention and make a great first impression, viewers will simply move on to one of the (many) other choices available.

Just a word of caution here: don’t go overboard. While zany might be good to grab someone’s attention, it doesn’t generally sell in the long run. Strange stunts are entertaining, but most vlog followers are there to solve a problem, learn a technique, or understand a topic, and wacky doesn’t exactly scream knowledgeable.

Vlogging Tip #9: Answer comments!

It’s amazing how many would-be vloggers completely ignore this vital area. They spend hours of their time and plenty of money to engage viewers in conversation, and then when they start talking, they ignore them! Does that make sense at all? Of course not! So, when those comments start coming in, make sure you address them. If they’re complaints, acknowledge them. If they’re questions, answer them. If they’re just a hello, respond in kind. Bottom line, your viewers are talking to you, so keep the conversation going (just like if they were standing in front of you).

Comments sections are also great for gleaning important feedback and research into what your audience wants more of. This can be invaluable information to help decide what topics you should cover in future vlogs. Even negative comments (we all get them, so don’t sweat it) can give you insight into what you can do better next time. Don’t second-guess yourself over negative comments, there will always be a few jerks in the audience.

Vlogging Tip #10: Give your vlogs more screen time

Having subscribers come to YouTube to find your vlog is great, but it shouldn’t stop there. There are many other channels that you can be publicizing your videos through. For example, if you have a website, embed the videos or link to them within your articles/on your site. If you have social media accounts, use these to promote your videos too. If you can get 100 YouTube viewers from direct clicks, imagine how much more you could grow your audience if you got another 100 from Facebook, another 100 from your website, another 100 from your Instagram, etc.

Technology is running full speed ahead, and people are starving for information. Make your vlog exciting, interesting, and memorable, and you’ll be the go-to vlogger for your niche in no time!

By Sarah Pritzker

Sarah is a Content Writer, Editor & Strategist at Youtubetomp3shark.com.