Promote your YouTube channel

1. Open YouTube Studio > Content > Analytics and review pre-existing YouTube audience data to define your target audience’s video preferences.

Focus on audience demographics, similar YouTube channels they watch, their content interests based on what videos have done well on your channel and what keywords they search. If YouTube is part of your greater content strategy, refer to your customer journey too to better understand your audience, their pain points, motivations, and other content channels they use.

2. Do keyword research for your target audience and choose 2-3 target keywords for each video on your channel.

By choosing keywords that match your target audience’s search queries, the YouTube algorithm may organically promote your video to your target audience. Use keyword research tools that have YouTube specific results or filters, like Ahrefs, YouTube Keyword Tool, TubeBuddy, and Google Keyword Planner. Use your audience and competitor research to choose keywords that address your audience’s interests and questions.

3. Include your main target keyword in your video title, beginning of the video description, and filename.

Before uploading your video, rename your video file with your main keyword, like instead of

4. Add an engaging, relevant, custom thumbnail to each video by navigating to Videos > Edit > Edit Thumbnail > Custom Thumbnail.

Follow thumbnail best practices: Accurate and relevant to the video content. 16:9 aspect ratio, 1280×720 resolution, under 2MB. Use a design tool like Canva for customizable thumbnail templates. Fits with your other videos, especially if it’s in a series, and includes a logo, brand font, and brand or series colors. May include a text overlay with the video value proposition.

5. Include a call to action to watch your other videos or subscribe within your video descriptions, cards, end screens, or verbally in videos.

Example methods: Include a CTA to like, leave a question or comment in the comment section, or subscribe in your video script. Include a suggested video card during the video that shows a related video that fits the topic at that time stamp. Create an end screen that lets viewers click on your related video or playlist, subscribe button, or another channel. After adding end screens to videos, look at Top end screen element types to see which CTA type gets the most response, and End screen element click rate to see the CTR for a specific video.

6. Create YouTube playlists that group your related videos within the same series, theme, audience, or purpose, with consistent thumbnail styles across videos in one playlist.

Display your playlists on your channel page’s featured sections, like FabFitFun’s playlists that include Fall 2021 Unboxings, Inside 2021 Boxes, This is How, FAQ, and Inside FabFitFun.  To make a playlist, choose a video you want to include and click Save > Create New Playlist. Enter the playlist name, then choose the Public privacy setting to make the video available to everyone and click Create.

7. Run targeted ads on YouTube that target audiences who watch similar channels.

For increasing brand awareness, YouTube recommends targeting audiences by affinity, detailed demographics, or custom audiences, particularly audiences who watch similar channels. Choose one of these ad formats for the awareness stage, according to YouTube’s recommendation: Skippable in-stream ads. Bumper ads. Non-skippable in-stream ads. Masthead. For the goal of promoting your YouTube channel, link to your channel or a specific video in your ad.

8. Post video excerpts on your brand’s social media platforms and content channels to drive traffic to your YouTube channel.

This may include posting new video teasers, behind-the-scenes content, highlights, intriguing video stills, countdowns to your new video, polls about your YouTube channel, or a call to action to check out your YouTube channel to your:  Other social channels. For example, post an Instagram story with a screenshot of an interesting part of your video, include a text overlay that says New Video, and use the swipe up feature to link to your new video. Email newsletter. Blog by embedding a related video that’s hosted on YouTube in a blog post. Dedicated resource page on your website, like Moz’s blog with embedded videos and video transcriptions. Support page. For example, embed an instructional video that shows how to create a business account on the support page that addresses that FAQ. Make the call to action at the end of your other content to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

9. Collaborate with other brands, influencers, or YouTube creators that have your target audience for cross-promotional videos and content.

For example, Nerf frequently sponsors popular sports and comedy channel, Dude Perfect, who turned the sponsorship into a Nerf trick shots video, with over 27 million views, using the product in a way that fits theirs and Nerf’s target audience and brand.

10. Engage with your audience by regularly replying to comments and using the Community tab to spark discussions, post announcements, or run polls.