5 Hours of YouTube SEO and Marketing | Raising SEO YouTube Channel from 0 to 36K
- Optimizing for Users Instead of Search
- Helping Your Audience: Providing Value for Free
- Building Relationships with Free Opt-Ins
- Transparent Marketing
- The Importance of Storytelling in Your Videos
- Diversifying Your Video Marketing Strategy
- Why Free Value and Engagement Lead to YouTube Success
- Maximizing YouTube Optimizations on a New Channel
- Are YouTube Analytics Actually Important?
- The Importance of Sticking with One YouTube Niche
- YouTube Tips for a Car Dealership
- Building Authority in Saturated YouTube Niches
Luke: Hello everyone. We've got a new set of people now. First of all, Chase, how are you?
Chase: Good. How are you guys doing?
Luke: Very good, thank you. Itamar and Carla, how are you guys doing?
Carla: Really good.
Luke: Good. Good. Itamar, I see you've been very busy in the Q and A section keeping everybody fully up to date with all the latest. Thank you very much. Today Chase Reiner is going to be our main speaker, and he's going to be talking about how to raise a YouTube channel from zero to 36,000 subscribers.
Now, of course, as well as Chase, again, we have our expert panelists, Itamar and Carla. I want to get everybody to just introduce themselves. Chase as the speaker, would you like to introduce yourself first?
Chase: My name is Chase. I have a YouTube channel that I was going to talk to you guys about today, how I grew it, and that's pretty much all I have to say.
Carla: Hi everyone. My name is Carla Marshall and I am Head of Content at vidIQ, which is an analytics and YouTube channel management tool and platform. I have been in the space for probably 10 years now, so I'm hoping to answer a lot of questions about YouTube growth and audience development today.
Luke: Itamar, the same for you. You've been on YouTube since 2008. Is that right?
Itamar: Yeah, that's correct. That's when I first started. I think I was probably nine years old or something like that at the time. But YouTube is a great platform. I'm Itamar Blauer and I'm an SEO and video marketing consultant, and I'm really, really excited to get this session started.
Luke: Awesome, great stuff. Now, we've all had a little bit of a chit chat before this event and we've all had a bit of a sneak peek into what Chase is going to share with us today. I have to tell you, it's fairly unique approach in terms of growing a YouTube channel. So it should be really interesting. On that note, if everybody's ready, I think, Chase, you can take it away.
Chase: Let's do a little screen share. I said I wouldn't do a presentation, but I did a tiny bit of a presentation. The reason why I generally try to stay away from presentations is because I want people to interact as much as possible.
At the end of the day, a lot of the reason why people are watching this is because they want to get something out of it. I really want to give you the best thing that you can get out of this as much as possible. I don't want to make it about, "Oh, go buy this, go get this from me."
Optimizing for Users Instead of Search
From zero to 36,000 subscribers with little optimization. What I mean by little optimization is that I'm not necessarily optimizing for the search. I'm optimizing mainly for the user. All right.
I'm really into helping people change their mindset around what optimization is because you can optimize a website. But what it really comes down to it, when somebody hits that website, how do you get that person the best experience possible when they hit the website, when they hit your video? How do you get people to really feel good about themselves and good about the thing that they're interacting with?
I've been fortunate enough to help little to big brands. Some of them, you've probably never even heard of these names, but there's a few that you might have heard. Built With Science is actually a company that I was able to rank for things like bicep workouts, full body workouts. I took a website called Our Sleep Guide from zero organic visitors all the way up to like 30 to 40,000 visits a month, doing bed reviews and making a good amount of money, doing affiliate stuff.
The only reason I'm telling you this isn't to brag. I'm just saying that I like doing this stuff and I've been able to help a lot of people. And I've been fortunate enough to broadcast a lot of the stuff that I do on YouTube.
Helping Your Audience: Providing Value for Free
I believe that you can build a great following by focusing solely on your audience and the value you offer them. That's all it is. Instead of thinking about, again, keyword tags, title tags, whatever it is, I think that you can focus your time on helping the person who interacts with your brand online, instead of worrying about keywords, tags, thumbnails, all these things that people spend so much time thinking about.
Now, I'm not saying these aren't important. I'm not saying it's not important to have a good thumbnail. I'm not saying it's not important to have a good title tag. But I think most of you guys know...how to actually set this stuff up.
We're just going to change your mindset for a little bit, take it away from the optimizations for the platform. Let's think about optimizing for the user.
Everybody wants more sales, they want more views, and they want more engagement. I mean, are these not all results of offering something valuable to the person, interacting with your brand? If I give something to somebody, chances are, if they think it's valuable, they're going to want to give back, whether it's engagement, whether it's a sale, whether it's a view. We want to think of ways that we can bring value to our viewers so that they want to give back.
Now, how do we do that? It's all about building relationships with people. I'm going to show you guys some real examples of how this actually really did give me value. I don't want you guys to think, "Oh, helping is great and everything, Chase, but we need to make money”. I'm going to show you how this actually led to rankings, views, sales, all these things.
Building Relationships with Free Opt-Ins
How do we build relationships? It all begins with the thing that you offer for free. If you can't offer something valuable to your visitor for free, they don't have a reason to come back, engage, or buy. A lot of people are focused on ranking number one, why not rank number one for your customer? Why not rank for the person who's going to first see you and they have no idea who you are?
99% of people's traffic and visitors, whether it's to a YouTube video, whether it's to a website, they're going to hit the website, they're not going to have any idea who you are, and they're going to probably leave. You want to give them something that they can hold on to, something that you can invite them in with a relationship.
Value is also specific to your actual user. The closer you can get to understanding what you can provide to help as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time, the more efficient you become at creating relationships.
For instance, if I started offering, "Here's the best, most technical guide to schema markup," that's only going to be helping a certain amount of people. People who are very technical, people who know SEO very well and they want to learn schema markup.
Now, if I create a guide on maybe the best SEO checklist out here, now I'm creating a checklist, or some sort of opt-in, or some sort of value that people can use, that's on a wider scale. It's maybe targeting somebody who's new or targeting somebody that might not be so new and they have some experience.
Whatever I'm doing, though, is I'm trying to help as many people as I can in the shortest amount of time. That's where I come up with most of my content. I'll go a little bit more deep as well on how I actually use this value to build content around, versus building the content and then trying to get somebody to opt in.
I build the opt-in first. I build the thing that I'm giving to people. Then I build the content that leads to that opt-in.
This is an SEO pro template that I created. This is an audit template. I've spent a good amount of time creating this checklist. It's completely free. What this checklist is, is it just takes you through different steps for a website. It has a bunch of resources in it.
I'm not asking for a sale. There is nothing in there besides I think maybe in the front part, there might be like a plug for a paid version. I'm not really sure. I don't even think it's in there right now.
But again, I'm more concerned about somebody grabbing that checklist and then me doing a future video and helping them more...and having people be able to discover on their own how to actually do what they were looking for.
When somebody goes and does SEO, they don't want to just have the option to buy from you. They want to have the option to be able to do it themselves, and be able to learn on their own, and be able to understand it in their own way.
Three weeks out of the month, all I'm doing is I'm just thinking about, okay, for instance, this webinar or this presentation, all I'm trying to do is just trying to help. It's because I really do like helping. I feel passionate about it. I like changing people's mindsets. I like changing people's businesses. I like changing people's lives. That's just something I enjoy doing.
One-fourth of the time, I'm going to think of ways that I can make money because I need to make money. It's a business, how I can help these relationships that I've been building more than just my free content and whatever my opt-ins are, whatever my checklists are, whatever I'm giving away for free.
And so, what I do for that is I actually ask people. When I build these relationships, I say, "What would you like?" When I ask people in chat, or when I ask people in Facebook, or ask people on email, or wherever they're at.
I have a Facebook group, I have a Discord channel, I have all these different places, and I ask everybody. I say, "Hey, look, what would you actually like? If I were to give you something, maybe not for free, well, what would be the thing that you'd want and how much would you be willing to pay for it?"
I'm completely transparent with my marketing by the time I actually sell something. I ask people what they want. I give them what they want, and that's all I care about.
This system right here is the system that any of you can take right now, and I guarantee you, it will improve any single business you work on. The system relies on the principle of reciprocity. That means when you give something for free to people, they want to give back.
It feels good when I see people interacting with me, interacting my brand, and telling me, "Hey, look, this really helped me out. It helps me wake up in the morning and feel good about creating the content I do and helping people with the resources I help them with because people really do appreciate when you give things without any expectation.
The Importance of Storytelling in Your Videos
Now, how do you monetize this, though, because I've been talking about, "Oh, here's how you do it for free.” Once you have your value offer, you just want to be really good at building stories.
When you have stories, people want to stick around. When you're just the type of person that's doing tutorials and teaching, the problem with that is there's so many other people that are doing that, that that content already exists. People want to learn from what's unique about you. They want to know why they should like you. You want to show your visitors who you are and why.
Same thing with your brand. Let's say you're not a personal brand. Let's say you still have a business brand that's encompassing a bunch of people. You still want to show why your brand is the way it is.
If you're getting up in the morning and you're trying to do a YouTube video that you don't care about, or you're trying to do a keyword tag that has nothing to do with helping people, you're doing the wrong thing. It's so important to optimize for a person.
If you're going to change the title tag, make it for the person. If you're going to change a keyword tag and you really want this to show up, make it for the person. But do that on top of being a great brand, doing it on top of being a great storyteller and a great person to build relationships with.
Remember, brands exist because of their users, not vice versa. Your user does not exist because of your brand. If you want to build something that does well online, figure out how to satisfy a user, not your wallet. The money, the views, and even the sales come in, but it's a result of being amazing at satisfying your user.
The reason I didn't deep dive into specific optimizations is because there are people out there way better than me at doing like all these crazy things on YouTube. I'm sure Carla, and Itamar, and even Luke probably know way more about me than using best titles and keywords and all these things.
The truth is, I don't usually even add descriptions to my videos. If you look at my videos, there's not even a description there most of the time. We all need to improve at something. I could probably use a lot of advice that these guys are about to share.
Stand out. If you can't differentiate yourself from the other 99% of people who do what you do, you will be categorized, and you want to become your own category. Become unique enough for people to remember you and want to see more.
Try to figure out what others are doing well and do it in your own way that is somehow more helpful based on what you love or what you like to do. That's pretty much it. I think that's everything I did.
Diversifying Your Video Marketing Strategy
Luke: Carla, Itamar, just out of curiosity, what are your initial thoughts after having seen Chase's presentation? Obviously, we've discussed this a little bit before, and the approach is in some ways unique, and in other ways, it's actually almost like best practice in a way, isn't it?
Carla: You can't just put content out on YouTube now, sit back, and expect it to fly, because if your audience doesn't buy into you as a personality or to your brand, as... Every brand has a personality as well, it's going to be a massively wasted effort. You're not going to be able to compete.
I think, again, not putting too many of your eggs in one basket and building out communities on other social and online video platforms is also pretty essential right now, so it doesn't get taken away from you by YouTube.
Luke: Yeah, I think there's always the concern, if you put all your eggs into one basket, or base your business model around a single platform, that eventually something will change. The platform might not necessarily disappear.
I don't see YouTube going anywhere anytime soon. But even if it just changes something about the way that it operates, that could have a big impact on your business. Having a lot of platforms that you're working with can certainly minimize some of that risk, I guess.
Carla: Yeah. And don't forget... YouTube is free for users. They're ingesting all of the costs, but actually YouTube owes you nothing as a creator. It's up to you to provide value, as Chase said. It's all about the value to the viewer.
Why Free Value and Engagement Lead to YouTube Success
Luke: Itamar, in some ways, his approach is very unique, I suppose, for most people who are on the YouTube platform. But in other ways, the principles of providing value are still at the core principles that most YouTubers will probably follow. Would you agree?
Itamar: Yeah, absolutely. I think when you're creating video content on YouTube and you want it to grow, you need to think, "Well, first of all, before I even upload a video, who is it that I'm targeting and what is it that they want to consume?"
Then when you get these right, then you start creating content. But I think Chase's story and his channel, it's really an inspiration because he does things a lot differently than what I do when I'm trying to grow. And I think his model is very future-proof, and I'll explain why that is.
With his whole value-in, value-out proposition, he's giving away value for free. And in exchange, he's asking for this engagement. And so, if he's trying to grow a YouTube channel, he will say to people who have already liked the value that he's given, and then he will ask them to reciprocate and then they will subscribe to the channel.
And most likely because they're already invested in him, they will continue to watch his channel. They will continue to watch his videos fully. His watch time goes up. Then you've got all of these positive engagement signals from YouTube perspective. And they're thinking, "Wow, this content creator right here, this guy knows what he's doing and we're going to bump up his videos."
To link that in terms of people who are wondering, well, “I still want to use the whole relevancy stuff. I still want to optimize my videos with the titles, the tags, descriptions.” You can still do that, but at the end of the day, when you think of how many creators there are out there on YouTube who are trying to get that relevancy, and they're trying to all optimize their video titles, how is YouTube going to differentiate between all these videos? It's all about the engagement and the quality.
If YouTube understands that these viewers are liking this video content, they're going to be putting it up much higher than all the rest of the people. I think, in some ways, Chase is really maximizing on these engagement and the quality signals.
Maximizing YouTube Optimizations on a New Channel
Carla: I would always say, so for brand new creators, to optimize the hell out of everything, first of all, as you're starting to build that community. There's so many signals that YouTube looks for now, but they also give you lots of opportunity. They give you lots of places within the publishing dashboard and the optimization dashboards, for you to put that content in there.
I think when you get to a stage where your community and audience are strong enough that they support you and you can... You can see the really big YouTubers, they don't optimize their titles or descriptions or anything. But as a starter, I would say that that optimization is important.
Luke: I agree. I used to help a lot of vloggers online get started. I would give them all this advice and they'd always say to me, "Well, Casey Neistat doesn't do that." I'd be like, "Yeah, well, Casey Neistat has, at the time, eight million subscribers. He doesn't need to do anything anymore." He can literally put the most simple, clickbaity, whatever it is, people are going to watch it.
Carla: It is, but he wouldn't have got where he is without that whole building that relationship and that community. Casey Neistat is well known beyond YouTube. He's built a huge presence for himself.
I think it's no longer easy just to be an online video creator. You have to think about what on earth you're doing, what value do you offer anybody, and then start from there.
Itamar: Yeah. Just to add to that as well, I think it's really important that people understand that it's not everything to be ranking for YouTube search, because I get clients who say to me, "Well, I want to rank number one on YouTube for these kinds of times." And I'm saying, "Well, why do you just want to focus on YouTube search when you've got all of these other sources that you can get traffic and you can get people to go and watch your content and also to subscribe"
What people need to remember is you need to first find out where your audience are hanging out and then create content and target them directly to the places they're going to be at. Then they're more likely to want to then move on to YouTube and watch your videos and subscribe. You do need to do that research beforehand to figure out where they're hanging out.
Obviously, it's a bit of a misperception that people, when they first come to YouTube, they think, "Well, search traffic is probably where majority of the traffic is going to come from." But obviously in reality, it's different; it's probably through suggested traffic, for example, or the YouTube's recommendation engine.
Chase: What I find is that I get so much engagement, that this stuff generally ranks naturally, and I don't have to worry as much about outranking people for keywords because my brand is, in most of the case, more authoritative for a lot of the things that I make. That content gets dispersed to people at a higher rate.
Carla: I've seen a lot of channels, the same, where they're solely building a subscriber with subscriber numbers, but those viewers aren't coming back. It's almost as if that viewer saw one good video, subscribed, and just walked away and never came back.
Are YouTube Analytics Actually Important?
I'd like to ask Chase the question, actually. Are there any particular analytics, and I'll talk about YouTube here, is are there any particular analytics or metrics for YouTube that you take notice of? I imagine your watch time is through the roof because you're doing live streams, etc. But things like audience retention or other engagement metrics, what's important to you to understand and to build upon?
Chase: Yeah. I should be a lot more technical with my approach because a lot of what I say should be backed by actual analytics and science. The problem is that, for me, I'm generally so busy coming up with things that I like that if somebody doesn't... Like if I make a video and a ton of people don't... If I don't get a good amount of engagement, people don't like it, they don't stick around, they're not watching it, the last thing I'm going to do is try to go build more content like that.
But yes, I think it's definitely very important to figure out, analytics are extremely important. If you could deep dive and see, “oh yeah, these are my bounce rates and these are my click-through rates, and this is the stuff that works really well”, I mean, you're going to find out so much information that's super valuable.
It just really depends on how your brain works as well, because some people, while they're super focused on the technical, others can be super focused on just liking to be in front of people and speaking and all these things. I think the biggest thing, though, that you have to think about if you're trying to grow something, is figure out what your strength is and hit really hard on that.
Itamar: I think just to add to that as well, like when we're talking about the metrics that are important, I think most people who you'd ask, let's say, what's the most important metric? They'll tell you it's subscribers. They'll say, "I want to grow my subscriber count."
But I think based on the session going from like zero to 36K, I think it's important to first get the right subscribers. Just going from zero to 36K, if it means that 30,000 of those 36K don't really care about your content and they've just subscribed and they're never going to watch a video, that's not going to help you at all. If anything, you'll have an adverse effect.
Don't just chase these metrics and think, "Oh, I've got 36,000 subscribers. That means I'm a good YouTuber." What matters is the actual people who are watching your content. And as Chase said right at the beginning, it's more about optimizing for the user so that they feel like they belong to be part of your subscriber base.
The Importance of Sticking with One YouTube Niche
Luke: Yeah, really, really great points. Even just making sure that you stick to a niche that your audience is going to be interested in is really powerful. I mean, when I first started, I was doing all kinds of crap, just because I was doing things that I thought were fun.
It was content I wanted to make because I was making it for me. I wasn't making it for the audience. And as a result, I was making things like videos about tattoos, videos about cars, videos about fitness.
Itamar: That's why I always say to people, if you're starting a channel from scratch, just stick to one niche. I think that's probably one of the most important things that you can do, is stick to a niche that you're good at and become consistent with that.
Carla: I think for any channel, whatever size, yes, you can do an outlier, fantastic video. You'll pick up some views and subscribers, but ultimately the audience will keep coming back because of you and your personality or the brand's personality.
To go back to Chase's point, that takes a lot of brand building. It takes a lot of relationship building and understanding who that audience is and how you take the audience with you every time through your YouTube journey and across other platforms.
It's almost the reverse advice. If you're creating an online presence, be really clear about, is it sustainable and does it talk to your audience, if you want to make it long term and to generate some revenue from it.
YouTube Tips for a Car Dealership
Luke: I'm aware that we haven't actually answered any questions from our chat yet. I'm just going to start quickly bringing some up, if that's okay.
Number one, we have a question from Jennifer Packard. Do you have any insight on how a dealership can build their YouTube channel effectively?
Okay. So dealership. First thing I would do is have a look and see what other dealership channels are doing. There are definitely a lot of big dealership channels that are out there.
Then think about the kind of content that you could create and that you can create on a long-term basis consistently. I think one of the key things from being a dealership is that you're going to have access to cars. You might be able to provide insights into those vehicles that other people maybe aren't able to provide.
Then also, I think, like from Chase's perspective, what kind of value can you offer to your audience? For example, can you give them information about financing? Are there things they need to know when they're actually making purchase decisions, that they might need to know.
Any kind of valuable information that you can provide would be a really good starting point, I think.
Itamar: I think when you think of the long term and the types of content you're uploading, you've got to think about, what kind of content will people want to come back to? Not only focusing, I suppose, in getting leads, because that might be one of your goals, to get leads from these videos. But also thinking about just the general public, how might you improve your brand through creating content that's engaging enough for people who are car enthusiasts, or these types of people, to continue consuming your content?
Luke: I think that's a great point as well because I think a mistake that I could see happening is that they use their YouTube channel as a way of trying to sell individual cars. And of course, once they're sold, all that content becomes completely irrelevant.
Carla: I would say the number one thing, first of all, not to do is to turn every video into a sales pitch, because there's no quicker way to lose an audience. Then to Itamar's point, I think how-to tutorials are, if not top five, then in the top 10 verticals on YouTube. And that's what people come back for. There's so much that you could be doing around cars, finance... I could sit here and think of 30 things already.
Building Authority in Saturated YouTube Niches
Luke: Ace of Spades asks a question directly to Chase. Chase, how do you build authority within a saturated niche?
Chase: You want to obviously focus on the user. But secondly, what I think the quickest way to really like hack your authority is to figure out what the best-paid thing is in your market, and then make it free. For instance, if you know there's some sort of tool or there's some sort of opt-in or something that people are selling that people really like, just give people something that they would normally pay for, and give it to them for free, because people are going to expect that your paid thing or whatever it is that you're going to offer next is going to be amazing based on the first thing you gave them.
I mean, the real secret to building what I call the new backlink, what people perceive as authority or what search engines perceive as authority, is giving people that thing that makes them want to come back to that relationship. The reason why it's a relationship is because they're coming back.
Luke: I think a big thing for me as well would be to try and differentiate yourself from other people. If you're in a very, very saturated arena, what is it that people like about those people and what is it they dislike about them? I think more often than not, people have a lack of trust for people that are within certain niches.
So if you can identify yourself as, for example, I'm not sponsored by anybody. I'm being honest in what I'm saying. You give a kind of as trustworthy, transparent approach, that I can definitely help you build an authority over those other perhaps potentially bigger influencers, for want of a better word.
Okay. Healing With, ooh, Qigong, I think that's pronounced, where do I find out where my audience is hanging out?
Carla: This is a great question. Again, to go back to Chase's point, you need to align yourself with the audience, first of all. So where are you hanging out? What kind of content are you consuming? Think about it from that way.
Itamar: If you're trying to find your audience online, especially, you need to be looking at multiple different mediums. Don't just go for the traditional on, say, YouTube search or on Twitter. Look into Facebook groups, look into LinkedIn, look at LinkedIn groups. Look at online communities such as Reddit or Quora.
Luke: That's probably all we have time for. Very quickly, guys, where can everybody find you if they want to follow up? Chase, start with you, where can people find you online?
Chase: Just my name dot com. Chasereiner.com
Itamar: Yeah, I'm on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, and you can find me at itamarblauer.com.
Carla: This is my Twitter handle, but vidIQ, just type vidIQ in. We're on all of the major social channels. We should be number one in the search results for that.
Luke: Amazing. Great stuff. Well, guys, listen, thank you very much for your time.