How to Promote Your Videos on YouTube

most-subscribed-youtube.jpgI’m getting lots of questions about how I’ve managed to crawl up the “most subscribed” list on YouTube and get a lot of views on my video. I am pretty jazzed that I’ve passed ParisHilton (see graphic).

First, let me assure you that it took a lot of patience. I was on YouTube for almost a year before I even had 100 subscribers, and most of my videos were lucky if they got 10-20 views. Just last Thanksgiving I was thrilled to reach 200 subscribers (see video). Beyond being patient, however, there are a few things you can do.

Remember It’s a Social Network. The most-viewed creators often got popularized by interacting with other frequently-watched YouTubers. Zipster08 got his start mocking Renetto. Renetto got famous by addressing other YouTubers. So you’ve got to socialize on YouTube. It’s not just a video-sharing site, it’s a commune.

Keep it Short. This is an ADHD generation. This is so, so, so important. I’ve violated my own rule lately, but I can’t stress enough that people don’t want more than 3 minutes. And if you can do it in 30-60 seconds you’ll get twice the views. I often won’t even start a video that’s more than 5 minutes. It’s just not yet a long-form platform.Β Maybe AppleTV will allow us to consume longer videos, but short is good.

Avoid Tricks. You can fake views and do random video replies to popular videos, but that will typically make you look desperate (if not get busted). So stick with authentic promotion.

Collaborate with YouTubers. Find other YouTubers in your area and participate in a video together. You’ll pick up some of their subscribers and vice versa. Everyone wins.

Get “Honored.” I’m fortunate that many of my viewers are kind on the ratings and comments. So I frequently get pushed (temporarily) to the top comedy section. There I’ll pick up a second wave of viewers for a period. Since that’s hard to do initially, you may want to focus on smaller categories. It’s easier to create the most-watched animal video than music video.

Promote Your Video Off YouTube. Get it “digged.” Get it blogged. Remember that many YouTube views are not occuring on

Video Reply. Video replies are a great way to get views- especially if you’re fast. Make a video response to a popular video and get it up immediately. You’ll get overflow views. Just be sure a) your response isn’t spam- it’s relevant. b) recognize that many people don’t know replies are waiting. So they cue silently and aren’t always approved quickly.

Imagine Yourself atΒ a Party. Are you the guy jumping up and down for attention screaming “looook at me”? Or are you the one that’s hanging out by the keg telling interesting stories? Are you the one desperately hitting on every hot woman? Approach YouTube in the way you’d approach a party (or highschool) and you’ll better understand how you’re being perceived. This vibe will come across not just in your videos but in your interactions (comments & messages). By the way- I’m the guy at the party that drank too much, then went to sleep on the bed covered with coats.

Create Decent Stuff With Frequency. I think my frequency (almost daily) of videos helps. I know I could do better videos if I planned them, but I don’t like overcomplicating videos. It’s a lot more fun to be subcribed to somone who is posting with some frequency (as long as it’s entertaining) because you don’t forget about them. You look forward to watching them.

Get Ready for Hate. Don’t forget- there are as many people that will hate your videos as will love them. I get a lot of hate messages, and a number of people that subscribe and unsubscribe. Eventually you build a group of people that relate to your style. And that’s when it gets really fun.

58 Replies to “How to Promote Your Videos on YouTube”

  1. This was a fabulous post! But how do you control getting digged or blogged? I’ve been blogged once or twice, but it was a surprise to me when I realized it. Wow, that sounds weird.

  2. you can post your own digg, and then get people to dig it. But even easier- send your post to related bloggers (individually) and let them know it it might interest their readers.

  3. Nutcheese may be kidding but she’s actually right. Meeting other youtubers online is the way I got virtually all my subscribers. I’m a fairly regular visitor to her room on Stickam, so when I finally started making videos, a bunch of people in her room subscribed to me, including PrincessDiana161. Then Diana did a pimp video on me, which gave me another 25 or so subscribers. I got also pimped by another Youtubian indirectly (he mentioned me in comments on a video seeking interesting channels with under 100 subs), which added a few subscribers, and then TubeGranny pimped PrincessDiana, which increased views of her video pimping me, and got me another 20 or so subscribers. So basically Nutcheese got me all my subscribers. Now she totally owns me and forces me to comment positively on all her videos or she will come to my house and fart up my living room.

  4. Hey Nalts,

    My startup company Toonamation does cartoon effects for video. Here’s an example I recently posted on YouTube: Animated Trailer: What if Spiderman…?”. There are a couple of others. I think this stuff is really cool, but I haven’t figured out how to get it a lot of attention yet.

    I corresponded with you a while ago about wanting to make a version of these effects directly available online for users of video-sharing sites. That hasn’t quite happened yet, but in the meantime my partner and I hooked up and made a a deal to offer the effects through the ToonIt! plugin for After Effects and Final Cut Pro, which we’re releasing with Digital Anarchy.

    Plugins are cool, and there seems to be a lot of advance interest in ToonIt!, but I think there’s a lot more money to be made online. It’s not the $1000 you mentioned for advertiser product placement, but say I got you a free copy of the plugin – a $300 dollar value once it’s released. Would you consider demoing the effects in one of your videos – it doesn’t have to be the whole thing – and mentioning somewhere that Toonamation and ToonIt! helped you do it? If that works out, we could discuss growing into some kind of ongoing collaborative marketing relationship with you, especially as our revenue stream ramps up! If you check the About section on my site, you can see more about the direction we’d like to go. Thanks whether or not you want to play, and I appreciate the many helpful suggestions you’ve been making here.

    P.S. Never been able to get a second digg on anything I’ve mentioned there either.

  5. excellent advice. true, once you get some YT momentum it begins to build on itself. Also join the verious groups and post your vids there — that always helps to get views and meet like-content creators. The editors there were kind enough to even give me a homepage feature! But alas, I’m still not as cool as Nalts – A YT PARTNER!!!!

  6. how does youtube order vidoes and how do l get my video to the top ie if l have a dream team video how l do get my video nearer the top when you search it rather than down the bottom views comments ratings ?


    I entered the Samsung contest and I have no idea how to promote my video. Some other contestants seem to be doing a better job at it, and I want mine to get as much exposure as everyone else. I’ve posted a link to my video. Votes for it would mean so much to me. I would be so grateful. Also, if anyone has any suggestions on promoting it, that would be fantastic!

  8. I entered a contest, which is almost over (7.8.07), and some of the videos posted the last couple of days had over 10,000+ views. I was the first who entered and I emailed and posted on every available place I knew and am squeaking into 5,000 views. How did they do it???


  9. great tips!

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  10. Hey really cool blog , it makes a hell of a lot of sense . people need to find you not the other way round . so instead of thrusting your videos upon people you just make them easier to come across the right people will watch and indefinatly tell their friends that are into the same thing. how many times have we had someone leave a comment on a video saying GOTO THIS WEBSITE!!! we never do . its easy to ignore the messages that say hey check this out! in this post im gonna put a link to my website but i wont tell you to go and look or tell you what it is . it’s your choice to go .

  11. Great tips, I have posted 3 videos, two music and Graphic Art pieces that have done about 900 hits, but this one comedy piece (Cymbal Head) is a cool piece, I think… I thought would do well, but isnt… This info I think will really help. Thanks!!!

  12. Thank you so much for your advice. I was very naive when i posted my first video “Believe It Baby”. I set up the page and channel but did no promotion. I have films I want to put on but didn’t want to do it until I was more informed how to promote my films on You Tube. I found your site and this excellent advice and thrilled to have a place to start.

  13. Nalts, I am really starting to like you! πŸ˜‰ just kidding I already like you! I am reading your pdf now and clicking on all of your links, you will see almost a dozen responses from me today… thats bcz I have been thrust into youtube popularity from obscurity in 8 weeks.

    I havent been featured, it was kinda luck and kindness coupled with other things I am sure… but WHAT I don’t know… and I want to keep up the momentum (275,000 vid views, 800 subs & countless honors), and I need to grasp an idea on what I’m doing right and what to change etc. I really appreciate your PDF. You are more incredible than you possibly know. WIfeoNalts is very lucky. You’re just simply the Cat’s MEOW!


  14. Hey Nalts, thanks so much for your tips, I have set my goals to make Youtube work for me, so far almost 2000 subscribers
    I am a singer, songwriter
    thanks again

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