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8 Steps to Capturing 500,000 YouTube Views in 10 Months: Case Study

8 Steps to Capturing 500000 Youtube Views in 10 Months

As an avid marketing blog reader, my inbox and Feedly are constantly filled with fantastic marketing techniques on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Although I use these social media sites heavily, I’d like to bring in another extremely powerful (often overlooked) marketing platform to the table—YouTube.

The first 100,000

At the beginning of 2013, my business partner and I decided to attempt a different marketing tactic for our (slow) growing drumming education company, Flight Drummers.

We constantly used Facebook and Twitter as our prime marketing resources, but it was soon apparent that the dream wouldn’t last long if we didn’t pick up more traffic or make more sales.

That month, we studied our competition hard and realized that Youtube was a rare marketing commodity in the drumming industry. Sure, a majority of drumming education companies had Youtube channels, but the view count, subscriber count, and interaction was minimal.

Seeing as this was a difficult marketing strategy for competition in our niche, we decided to capitalize on their weakness by filming some Youtube videos.

The following month, we geared up, filmed, edited nearly 70 videos, and began harnessing the true power of Youtube.

Within three months, we had accumulated more than 100,000 Youtube views with 1,800 subscribers, and by month 10, had generated 500,000+ views, accumulated a Youtube subscriber base of more than 8,400 people, and established paid members in 14 countries—primarily through Youtube.

Despite our current success with Youtube marketing, it wasn’t until we began following these eight steps, that we began to experience 2,000-3,000 views per day (5,000-7,000 views on release days) and a highly interactive subscriber base.

Let’s get started

Here are the 8 steps to capturing 500,000 YouTube views in just 10 months.

1. Stalk your competition

Although this sounds slightly odd, it’s necessary. Subscribe to channels that will be competing with you for views, subscribers, and ultimately sales. The goal is to learn from their mistakes and generate success–quicker.

A few things to study include:

  • Posting Days & Times. (Find what day of the week they’re posting and time of day they’re posting and try them yourself. Chances are, if they’ve been at the game long enough, they know what days and times generate the most views. This can save you boatloads of time trying to find the most effective days & times. We found the best days to post (in our industry) are Mondays and Wednesdays after 6pm EST. Most people are off work in our time zone and ready to be on their favorite social sites.)

  • Posting Material. (Is their content generating positive comments or are people responding negatively to their videos? Find what they’re doing wrong, and do it right.)

  • Posting Frequency. (We found that our competition was posting once per week on average, so we immediately jumped to 3 times per week. This positioned us as a more informative resource and skyrocketed our views. People like channels that generate fresh content consistently.)

Once you’ve done your research, you can begin developing a solid Youtube marketing plan.

2. Get your setup

This is probably the biggest ‘stopper’ for most people. (It was for me, too.)

Finding good cameras, editing software, and audio equipment can get quite expensive, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Depending on what you’re filming, you can get a setup relatively cheap, though. For simple setups (such as speaking presentations,) you could use the standard webcam on your computer, a blue microphone (for crisp audio,) and a free editing program like iMovie. (Less than $50)

For more complex and high-quality setups, I recommend a Canon T3i camera or later ($500+), Adobe Premiere Pro ($29.99/mo) for video editing, Logic Pro ($199) for audio editing, and an Audio Technica Wireless Mic ($101) for speaking.

3. Develop a theme

This step will make or break your Youtube success. It can be very easy to want to create a Youtube channel and post anything for views. Don’t do it.

The first channel I created was comprised of cover music videos, Facebook Marketing Tips, and investment tutorials. (What was I thinking?)

That immediately got me a plethora of comments regarding the irrelevancy my channel had as a whole and discouraged me from posting any more videos.

Think about it, what do all the top Youtube channels have in common? They stick to a theme.

Tyler Ward sticks to music, Jenna Marbles sticks to humor, Epic Rap Battles of History sticks to remixes; the list goes on.

So, before you begin creating videos, find your common them and stick to it.

4. Be consistent.

Just like content marketing, this is the step where most people goof up.

Consistency is hard. It takes time, energy and motivation–which is difficult to maintain when you have close to zero views and subscribers.

We tried Youtube Marketing on and off for about a year, but lacked consistency and averaged about 16-30 views per day. Once we established a consistency of releasing 2-3 videos per week, we hit 1,000 daily views within 1 month.

A great example of consistency is Ray William Johnson. He started his Youtube Video Blogging channel in 2007 and from his consistent posting of 3-4 videos per week, he has established one of the most well-known Youtube channels with more than 10.7 million subscribers and 2.6 billion views.

5. Add annotations to everything

Youtube has a great feature that allows you to have ‘annotations’ popup on a video while the viewer is watching. This is fantastic for building your subscriber base and letting people know of upcoming tours, product releases, free offers, etc.

When Flight Drummers went on tour, we added an annotation to every video that encouraged people to purchase tickets for our upcoming drum clinics and festival. When we decided to switch from paid memberships to free memberships, we did the same thing and added more than 1,000 people to our membership waiting list in the first 2 months–all from Youtube.

6. Host guests

If you’re looking to generate the maximum exposure possible, you absolutely need to host industry leaders as guests in videos.

When we first began our Youtube marketing, we were filming ourselves and growing steadily. Once we introduced guests, everything changed.

Our views doubled overnight when we released our first guest appearance and by time we had released all 11 of the guest’s videos, our views had quadrupled permanently.

Although guests can have an upfront cost, the ROI is incredible. Here are just a few reasons to have guest appearances on your channel:

  • Their fanbase becomes yours. (Now, obviously they don’t hand over their entire fanbase to you, but when they promote the videos they were hosted in, the traffic is astronomical–which typically does increase your subscriber count.)

  • Your daily view count is boosted. (Usually, the first released videos of them experiences a spike in views. Within a week, the hype usually whittles down, but the views don’t.)

  • You become more credible. (After you’ve hosted some name brand guests, your credibility within your industry increases. Flight Drummers has hosted some of the largest drummers in the industry for interviews, performances, lessons, etc. and since doing so, the we have been able to easily get massive sponsorships for our tour.)

7. Create playlists

Let’s face it, viewers like to spend as little time as possible searching for videos and more time watching them.

That’s where playlists come in. Typically, when somebody finds your channel, they like to easily find material that interests them. If you have a large quantity of videos and no playlists, finding the right video is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Very difficult.

Playlists allow you to categorize your videos into topics that act as a quick reference for viewers.

For example, if you had a channel that discussed business aspects and had 50 tutorials on marketing, social media, and blogging, then it would be beneficial to have playlists of relevant videos. (i.e. Content Marketing Tips, Social Media Marketing, etc.)

Pat Flynn does a great job with categorized playlists.

Overall, playlists provide several benefits:

  1. More views

  2. Expert Positioning

When a viewer is watching videos in a playlist, it usually encourages them to watch more videos, thus increasing view count. More importantly, playlists position your channel as an expert in it’s industry because they display your knowledge of relevancy in your videos.

8. Blast your release days

The final and most important step to creating a successful Youtube marketing strategy is to let everybody know your release dates.

At the end of videos, in annotations, on social media sites, or even in the description of your videos, let every viewer know the days of the week you release videos. (i.e. Mondays and Wednesdays)

Just like running a successful blog, it’s important to generate returning visitors because those are the people who turn into leads, and eventually sales. I recommend emailing your list and announcing a video release on your social sites at least 24-48 hours to maximize initial views, shares, and comments.

Wrapping it up

Whether you’ve considered utilizing Youtube as a marketing avenue or are looking to improve your Youtube marketing efforts, these steps can help you reach those goals. We were able to accumulate 500,000 Youtube views in the first 10 months of following these steps and our business wouldn’t be the same without them.

How are you using Youtube for marketing? Leave a comment below!

Guest Author: Josh Coffy is the co-founder & Marketing Director of Flight Media Blog. He helps Flight Media generate thousands of monthly visitors and leads, along with overseeing all marketing & advertising clients. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

 

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Comments

  • Great tips Josh. The only thing I would say is yes, study your competition but don’t copy them, add your own unique spin. Too many people copy those that are successful, expecting the same results, it usually doesn’t work out that way. I like how these tips are very practical.

    • I completely agree with that as well! I’m saying to minimize time spent reinventing the wheel and learn from their mistakes. That can be done without copying them 100%. They are definitely practical, but effective! 😉

      • Josh, thanks for these no nonsense tips! Learning from others’ mistakes is indeed critical to creating successful YouTube marketing. After all, isn’t research where all marketing starts?

  • I love it, thanks for sharing this story. We have been using YouTube for just over a year and it’s truly helped our business. Now that we have more experience in creating better videos with improved video/audio and calls to action we want to accomplish this also. Thanks again, it gives added motivation..

    • That’s good to hear, George! What is your channel? I’d love to see it! Also- improving gear along the way also greatly increases returning viewers and improves subscribe rates. Like content marketing- quality over quantity! 🙂

  • Martyne Tolbert

    Great post! I truly appreciate all of the tips you have shared! You have inspired me to get my plans in order and follow your recommendations! Thanks!

    • Rock it, Martyne. 🙂 (And let me know your progress on Twitter!)

  • aninagy

    Great lesson to learn, thanks for sharing!

  • Consistency I think is the key to almost everything. I like the way you announce what your release schedule is going to be, then deliver on that. In business, I think that actually doing what you say you are going to do is as important as what you actually do.

    I hear more and more about how important YouTube is becoming as medium for promotion, and honestly I had not seriously thought about it until reading this article. Hmm, thanks, Josh, sounds like I have some homework for this week.

    • Yes! Especially for you, Stephen. The finance education realm is huge on Youtube.

      Fun story: I got my series 6 when I was 19 and posted a (cheasy) video on dividend investing a few years ago. It is now one of the top videos on Youtube for ‘Dividend Investing’, has about 33k views, and I actually make $30-$40/mo off it for the ads I run.

      I’ve generated roughly 300 subscribers from the single video and got several hundred comments on it. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if I had time to post 1-2 times per week….

  • Leah Lambart

    Very helpful! People charge a lot of money for these tips, so thanks for giving it away free!

    • Haha Thanks, Leah! Maybe I should start a Youtube consulting business. 😉

  • Tom Fairhall

    Great tips Im just learning how to post pre recorded videos on google hangouts so this will be a great resource thanks

  • subrotog51

    Great tips Josh. The only thing I would say is yes, study your competition but don’t copy them, add your own unique spin.

    http://realviewlike.com

  • Hi Josh, great list!!

    I’d add that to the list: Don’t wait for the perfect launch cause there is no such a thing. Start making and posting that FIRST scary video, and keep doing it consistently. My first video took almost my 1 year in a day of frustration, and I only improved them after I started actually posting.

    If anyone thinking to start, just do it! And then start experiencing, learning and improving!

    Also, let me know what you think about my channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theGirlOnTheBike

  • good tips

  • I also like all of the above strategy which you share and I already applied it. In another way I use social media marketing techniques to get youtube subscribers fast. I contact this company which will give me some of targeted followers and likes for my project. http://socialfollowerlikes.com/youtube-subscribers/

  • Jeannette Hon

    these are great tips though its so hard to be consistent and very very hard to come up with content! please watch my stuff and let me know what else i can do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0GbAUqhdYc

  • FredRosa

    Great article. We at our channel are struggling with a new question.
    We have videos in Portuguese and Russian languages with English subtitles always available.
    Do you think that posting videos with different languages is going to make it harder to get new views and subscribers? Should we stick to just 1 language?

  • HeartstheAnimeKitteh :3

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4luicSsnyWCXxnIAY5mHEw
    I have had a YouTube channel since July of last year, uploading Japanese song covers. I started out with 5 views maximum for a long time on my videos. Even though these numbers were very VERY disheartening, I uploaded videos constantly, every day until now I average about 20-30 views every video. Every once and a while, I will release a video that gets 30+ views, and it will be a big thing. I recently uploaded a song cover, The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku, that scored me a huge 90 views in about a week, completely knocking my previous view counts out of the water. I also gained seven subscribers from the video, giving me 17 subscribers in total. The reason this video got so many views is because this song is rarely ever sung by a human because it is so fast. I searched on YouTube once and found 1, count it, 1 other cover of this song, by a small channel that has recently been abandoned. This person got multiple thousands of views. My view count is now stuck at 90 views, and it won’t go up no matter what I do, so it could possibly reach at least a thousand once it has been unfrozen. There are a limited amount of songs as fast as this one, and when I come to think about it, there really is only one other, but it is copyrighted, so I really have no other possibility of posting something that will get around the same amount of views. When I do come across one of these uploading gems, I will benefit so much from that one video that maybe it will effect my other view counts. Please comment if you think you can offer any help