Today I want to talk to you about how to build an online audience through video. The pandemic has caused time spent watching video to skyrocket, with 96% of people saying their video content consumption has increased. What does this mean? Well in terms of creating video content, the competition is about to get even tougher. But don’t worry! I’m going to give you some awesome tips to increase your online audience that are easy to follow and super effective, no dry analytics here, just real talk. So let’s get into it!
In today's era of algorithms and personalised tech services, people are looking for something that's very much 'them'. For this reason, it’s very important to have a clear target audience if you want to grow.
Your goal may be to reach as many people as you can, but they need to be the right people. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to appeal to multiple demographics. Remember, your story is central to your brand, diluting it in the hopes of winning over a wider range of people might be tempting, but trust me, it will backfire. Just be you!
What is a video without a killer title and thumbnail? No, but seriously, you should avoid bad thumbnails and titles. Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet? That's right, being image and SEO-conscious is very important if you want to grow. You could have the best video in the world but, with a bad title and/or thumbnail, it just won’t cut it. But knowing this ahead of time will help you make sure to get it right!
Just to be clear: I’m not saying be clickbaity, but be sure to pick a title that will inspire that click to take place. Your thumbnail is a visual statement, so it really needs to come from you; it should be eye-catching, relevant to the content, and intriguing enough to make someone click on it. When choosing a thumbnail, always think: ‘what image would make me want to find out more?’.
Let's say your into cooking channels, this image from Adam Raguesea's channel might just entice to watch. This simple, aesthetically pleased image tells you all that you need to know about what's going to happen. The thumbnail fits Raguesea's signature, no nonsense branding perfectly.
As you can see, the image has three main elements: a distinctive colour palette (his signature style), his face and a CTA message that offers you an opportunity. This all forms part of his brand and is standardised across his channel.
Possibly more important than where to post is when. On this point, I have one word for you—consistency. Seriously, this will supercharge your growth!
Having an upload schedule and sticking to it means more loyalty from your viewers, which in turn makes them more likely to share your content. This cycle will ultimately net you more exposure. That’s right, if you promise two uploads a week and deliver on that promise, your viewers will always make time for those two new videos. Remember, it's not about quantity, it's about quality and consistency; no one is saying you have to post twice a week, its just an example. Once a month is fine providing that the content is top-notch, just make sure that whatever upload schedule you choose, you stick to! By combining quality and consistency, you'll not just grow your audience, but maintain it too.
On another note, something you really don't want to put too much effort into is going viral; this might mean lots of views for the first video, but they may be 'one time only'. By trying to reach a such mass audience, you are potentially missing the audience you targeted in the first place. Therefore, even if that video did go viral, you haven't tried to establish a market and a niche. This makes your content quite ambiguous and you may struggle for traction as a result.
As Neil Patel rightly points out, you want to be focused on audience building, not just on views.
Now let’s talk about engagement. Interactions with your audience such as regular YouTube polls, live streams, and community tab updates are a must.
For example, if you run a YouTube channel specialising in painting classes, you could poll your audience on their favourite painters, or what techniques they want to see covered in the next video. This sort of engagement will bring you closer to your audience because it weaves your story into your viewers' own stories by encouraging them to have their say on your shared passion!