By the time the UpFlip channel had posted 18 videos, we already had over 9,000 subscribers—and the channel’s subscriber list continues to grow. If you’ve been struggling to start a YouTube brand of your own, you’re likely wondering how we built such a following in such a short amount of time, especially considering we’re in the competitive business niche.
The truth is, while there’s more to creating a successful channel than throwing up a few videos, you don’t need any specialized knowledge or skills to build a brand on YouTube. It all comes down to the value you provide to viewers and how you get your content in front of the right eyes.
How did we do it? Read on to learn our 7 steps to YouTube success.
1. Identify your niche and what problem you solve for viewers
You probably know your broad niche already. This is the general area of interest or expertise you represent, and if you don’t already have this firmly in mind, you need to develop it before you go any further. In UpFlip’s case, it’s business content, specifically advice for business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs.
Just having a niche won’t be enough to draw a following, though. Viewers want to know what benefit they’ll get out of the time spent watching your videos. Knowing your niche tells you your target audience, but you should also identify that audience’s common questions, problems, and concerns. This will help you focus your content so it provides the maximum value for your target audience, which in turn will generate more clicks and views.
2. Choose your topics based on search result rankings
When you search for how-to business topics, UpFlip videos are some of the first things that you’ll see. This didn’t happen by chance. Before we decide which topics we’ll explore in our videos, we investigate which ones are the most likely to bring in viewers.
You’re looking for a sweet spot when it comes to choosing the right topic. On the one hand, you want to post on popular topics that get searched for often, giving you the highest number of potential viewers. On the other, you want to avoid topics that are already oversaturated with videos, so you don’t have to compete with established brands for clicks and views.
How do you choose topics that strike this balance? The best way is to use a marketing tool to analyze the market, identifying popular keywords with low competition in your niche. At UpFlip, we used VidIQ to craft our early content so it would rank high on search lists. These tools can also be helpful in analyzing your viewership and improving your strategy, so they have continued benefits even after your brand is established.
3. Develop a system and schedule for generating content
The YouTube algorithm gives higher precedence to channels that post regular, frequent content. This doesn’t mean you need to exhaust yourself posting a new video every day (and probably shouldn’t, as well get into later on) but you will get more love from the YouTube search results if your videos come out on a regular, reliable schedule.
What’s a good frequency? UpFlip puts out a new video every Wednesday, which we advertise on our channel’s banner. Posting once a week or every other week is a good pace to stay relevant to YouTube’s algorithm without overwhelming yourself with work and risking burnout.
Getting a good system in place for making your videos can go a long way toward keeping a consistent schedule. Consider ways you can consolidate the work by filming and editing multiple videos at once, giving you a backlog of content to pull from so you’re never scrambling to finish a video last-minute.
4. Create content that provides viewers real value
While you do want to post with a regular schedule, ultimately the quality of the content is more important than the number of videos on your channel. This is clear from looking at UpFlip’s numbers, and it makes logical sense. Posting tons of unfocused, unhelpful videos will make your channel feel more like spam than a well-built brand—and that’s not going to make many people click “subscribe”.
Understanding what your target audience needs is a big part of this. The entrepreneurs that subscribe to UpFlip’s channel are seeking advice on how to successfully start and run a business. Keeping that in mind when creating the content helps us maintain a tight focus that keeps viewers coming back. As YouTube personality Taryn Southern explains, this kind of systematic approach to the channel will allow you to build your brand faster and more effectively.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to imagine that each video is the only one a new visitor to your channel has seen. By the end of that video, they should be able to describe your brand and niche, as well as coming away from it with new knowledge and insights. If the video checks all those boxes, odds are it’s valuable content for your channel.
5. Don’t neglect the title and description
After you’ve put in all the work to film and edit your videos, the short text that goes with them can feel like an afterthought. You absolutely can’t treat them that way, though. This text serves two vital purposes for your channel: they tell the viewer whether your video is worth clicking on, and they’re where you’ll put the keywords that YouTube looks for when ranking search results.
Keep both your title and description informative and concise. You also want to maintain a good keyword density. Like so many aspects of business, it’s all about balance. A description that’s just a list of keywords will be read as “keyword stuffing” to search engine spiders and can also be a big turn-off for viewers.
Just like your videos should paint an accurate picture of your brand, the description should explain to viewers what the video is all about and what they’ll gain by watching it. Active language is especially important in the titles. UpFlip has seen success with a how-to style of title, such as “How to Start a $417K/Year Food Truck Business”. That video was posted to our channel a month ago and has already been viewed more than 15,000 times.
6. Use smart, well-connected, cross-platform content
UpFlip also runs a blog where we provide actionable business advice that complements the videos on our YouTube channel. As an example, this post about starting a cell phone repair business will appeal to the same people who watch our videos about starting a cleaning business or scaling your business.
Notice the content on our blog and channel is similar but not identical. You don’t want to simply cross-post everything you do all over the internet. Instead, you want someone who clicks over to your blog, Instagram, or other platforms to find more content of equal value and interest. Using multiple platforms together this way builds a community of online followers dedicated to your brand.
Along with building your audience, a unified content strategy across multiple platforms can help you make the most of your marketing resources. Use the analytic resources mentioned above to determine what kinds of content find the most success on various platforms, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
7. Connect with influencers to boost your visibility
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you’re building your platform. There are plenty of influencers out there who already have massive platforms, and collaborating with them can turn that audience into your potential viewers, too.
There are a lot of places you can find YouTube influencers in your niche. Online marketplaces such as FameBit provide a platform where brands can connect with influencers. You’re also likely to come across at least a few big names in your niche when you’re doing your initial market and keyword research.
When you’re collaborating with influencers, keep your main goals in mind. It isn’t just about creating a one-time spike in traffic. What you want is to grow your following and find viewers who will engage with your content in the long-term. Bringing an influencer on as a guest on your channel can be a great way to draw their fans to your page.
The Bottom Line on Building a YouTube Brand
The amount of work it takes to create video content can make YouTube an intimidating platform to start on for those building their online brand. The good news is, it’s also one of the most effective platforms for providing real value to your customers. While creating a video is more time-intensive than crafting a blog entry or Instagram post, it will give you a correspondingly higher return on your investment if it’s done correctly.
Having a system and making smart use of analytics can help make the most of the time and effort you invest. You don’t need to be an AV expert to create a successful YouTube brand. By focusing on the value your content gives to customers and using the right tools, any business can build a thriving YouTube brand.