More views, more fans, more followers. What’s a YouTube channel if nobody is watching it?

Online creators looking to reach a wider audience don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they can learn from those who already run a successful channel.

So, what can you do to get more views on YouTube? Don’t ask us. Ask some of our favorite YouTube creators. Here’s a quick and dirty round-up of what Tim Schmoyer and Roberto Blake have to say about growing your fan base on YouTube.

If you’re going to publish a video on YouTube, it should have the following:

  • A Solid Title and Thumbnail
  • A Consistent Structure
  • Accurate Captions
  • A Strong Call to Action (CTA)
A Solid Title and Thumbnail

Titles and thumbnails are the “billboard” of your YouTube video. Your video title should not only catch people’s attention, but it should also give them an idea of what your video is about. The opening of your video should be directly related to the title and thumbnail. There’s nothing more frustrating than loading a video that claims to give a DIY photo editing tutorial to find a sales pitch for someone else’s services. Be thoughtful in the description you write because it’s searchable. That means it’s important to use keywords that are relevant to people searching for things related to the topics covered in your video.

The same ideas apply to thumbnail images. On YouTube, thumbnails are used as a preview of the image in the embedded player. Take the time to customize your thumbnails and select images that will draw your audience in. YouTube thumbnail images should have a resolution of 1280×720 and be uploaded in .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG image formats.

A Consistent Structure

Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Your YouTube videos should too. Well-structured videos build viewer interest and engagement, and this is important because YouTube ranks videos according to watch time. The structure or format of your video should be tailored to the type of content you’re presenting, which is to say, video structure will vary from one YouTube channel to the next. Take note of the things your admire from your favorite creators and think about how that can be tailored or built upon for your approach.

Accurate Captions

Want to improve the chances of your video being found in a search? How about make it accessible to a wider audience? If you answered yes to either, or both, of these questions, consider adding captions your YouTube videos. Adding accurate, not automated, captions to your YouTube videos tells Google what your video is about. It also opens your channel up to an audience of people who rely on captions to consume your video content. That could be people who are deaf, hard of hearing, don’t speak your language, or unable to turn sound on.

A Strong Call to Action (CTA)

It never hurts to ask. If you’re wishing for more comments or subscribers, ask for them! An obvious, but often overlooked, way to engage your viewers is by asking them to do something.

Here are some basic CTA examples:

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The Takeaway for YouTubers

Whether you’re trying to keep up with YouTube competition or simply make your channel as good as can be, follow the tips above to improve your overall reach on YouTube.