Ramblings of a Nutbar

You’ll probably regret this.

Tips for getting views & subscribers on YouTube

You’re making YouTube videos. You’re actually pretty good (and that’s not your opinion – unbiased sources have told you this), but for some reason, breaking out of the sub-100 subscriber range just isn’t happening. So how do you climb out of the basement, and into the light? This post should give you some useful tips that I’ve learned myself, and things that I’ve seen from the top YouTube creators out there.

As a disclaimer, I will preface this by saying that I’m not a megastar on YouTube (yet!). I don’t have 100,000 subs and I’m not on the top pages. But I DO have a few thousand subscribers to my channel, and the number is growing literally every day. so with no further ado, here are my tips to gaining YouTube popularity, with important stuff bolded for those too ADD to read it all:

  • Make quality content. This is first and foremost. I’m not saying that you need to go out and buy a $2500 camcorder, or even use anything more special than a webcam. What you DO need to do is produce videos that people (other than you & your family) will want to watch. The secret to learning this is to critically watch YouTube videos. Which ones do you watch? Which ones do you click out of? Watch what the people you watch do, and emulate the positive aspects while making it your own. Important: While this is the first step, as you will soon read, it’s not the only ingredient.
  • Get involved in the community. My friends over at 88improv were the ones who got me to YouTube. They had been there for several months before I was. Today, they have thousands less subscribers than I do. What’s made me more popular? It’s certainly not video quality alone – theirs are way better than mine. The biggest difference I’ve noted is that 88improv is using YouTube more as a storage site; They upload their videos to embed elsewhere, and seldom get involved with comments & community involvement. In contrast, I Was doing shoutouts in my first video, and responding to other folks early on. I made some great friends, and I got involved in the community. If you provide positive feedback to others, they’re more likely to come and see your stuff. And if your stuff is good, they’ll subscribe.
  • Remember that asking for subscribers is okay (sometimes). Not everyone remembers that they can click the little orangish-yellow button to follow your videos. Putting a friendly “Please subscribe” at the start or end of your video is totally cool. If you’re an authentic individual, people will see this. Asking for subscribers CAN be overdone: see the following points on what NOT to do for more.
  • Love thy subs, and be thankful for them. Okay, it might be difficult to thank every subscriber once you hit 10’s of thousands of subscribers, where you might have a few hundred join per day. But since you’re not there yet, go show some gratitude. If someone subscribes to you, click on their name, go to their channel, and in their comment box write something like “Hey (their name), thanks for subscribing. It means a lot”. They like this, and what’s more, anyone who stops by their channel see that you care, and you might catch some incidental subscribers as a result.
  • Collaborate. Make videos with other YouTubers. heck, mak a video with me, I’m always game for a good idea. Collabs typically help both parties in some way (usually the person with fewer subscribers will get the most benefit from the deal, but the extra exposure is always nice for the more popular one). Enter Contests, such as ChristopherMast’s Generic Video Contest. Or better yet, nominate yourself (and hopefully a friend) to be on my new show that features unsung video producers (see below or click here).
  • Enjoy ALL free exposure, even from haters. (Thanks to jischinger for pointing this missed piece.) Any time someone promotes your stuff, it’s a good thing. It’s like they say, “All press is good press”. Sometimes you’ll get promoted in positive places, such as the new show 6k&Under. And sometimes you’ll get views from people called “haters”. These folks range from mild “ur so gay” comments, to more extreme threats and even featuring you on one of their many hater websites.  BUT here’s the rub: everyone knows they’re just haters. Nobody believes them, and in fact, I’ve found many great YouTubers because of them. So don’t hate the haters. They don’t realize it, but they’re doing you a favor.
  • Keep on truckin’. It’s easy to get discouraged. It took me months to break out of the single digit numbers, but it’s a snowball effect. Keep making videos. Keep following the steps above. Eventually, you’ll build a large enough base to get noticed. Patince, grasshopper.

WHAT NOT TO DO: Stuff you should avoid, lest you be riddled with strife and disliking:

  • Don’t Sub4Sub / Beg4Sub. These tactics send a very distinct message to people: I’m not talented enough to get subscribers on my own abilities and terefore I must find other ways to peddle my useless material. Understand this: The people with respected channels will not subscribe to you because you’re offering to sub to them. I am very exclusive about who I subscribe to: I only subscribe to people I want to watch. Sub4Subbing with 10 kids, only to have my subscriptions page filled with hundreds of crappy illegally uploaded Anime videos to the point where I can’t find the people I want to watch is NOT on my agenda, nor the agenda of most regulars on YouTube. And recently I had someone go beyond sub4sub, and just lazily posted a profile comment asking me to subscribe. Again, subbing to a channel full of crappy Animes is not something I, or most established YouTubers will be doing.
  • Don’t be a hater. Some people (mostly dumb kids) think that being a hater (e.g. going to people’s videos and posting stupid comments) will get them noticed, or maybe even get popular YouTubers to respond to them. 99.5% of the time this is futile. When I see a hater, I just delete the comment and block him. Way to ruin your chances of me ever subscribing to your stuff. And besides that, nobody else who comes to my channel will see you now either. Plus, haters are so cliche. Folks, calling me fat, ugly, gay, or stupid doesn’t bug me. I just look at it and laugh at the fact that this is the best you can do.
  • Don’t break the law! PLEASE, I beg of you, obey copyright laws in your videos. As much as you want to use that new Jason Mraz song in your latest video, doing so is a time bomb. Eventually YouTube will find out. Thanks to a recent agreement with the recording industry, YouTube can keep some of these videos on their site now, in exchange for sharing ad dollars with the record labels, but that’s on a case by case basis, and YouTube can pull your video anytime it wants. Stick to royalty free or creative commons stuff. If you don’t know where to find good music, check out incompetech.com for starters.
  • Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations with popular ‘Tubers. This is how I found out Nalts is a pretty cool guy. Just because they’re popular doesn’t mean that they’re not down to earth real people. And if they don’t respond, it’s not that they’re jerks blowing you off – it’s because you were probably one of 500 emails they got that day. Perseverence will usually get you noticed, just remember to be polite and respectful of their time.

In conclusion to my longest blog ever, here’s a great way to get seen: Get onboard with 6k&Under, a new show for unrecognized YouTube Talent.


December 6, 2008 - Posted by | Making Better Videos, YouTube | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Wowzer. Nice piece.

    Comment by nalts | December 7, 2008

  2. […] has some nice tips for becoming popular on YouTube. Isn’t that a funny term? Didn’t you hate “popular” people in […]

    Pingback by Will Video for Food » Nice Tips on YouTube Popularity | December 7, 2008

  3. WOW good job! nice blog too

    Comment by jischinger | December 7, 2008

  4. This is a great post – you’ve summed it up nicely!

    Comment by Rohan | December 7, 2008

  5. Very nice.

    Comment by David | December 7, 2008

  6. Very nice man- found you from Nalts’ page. Truly good info! I’ve been using most of these and got almost 200 subs for my show over the past two months. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by JadenNation | December 8, 2008

  7. Nice work Jim.

    I agree with all the points that you made. I think that there is another point that I would make and be accused of not following.

    That might account for my small yet viable viewership.

    Don’t be proud. Be the whore. Be the Cam whore like Mast and Nalts and Michael and all the rest.

    Be the comment whore.

    If there’s a video to be made, Make it! Do it! This is a voyeuristic society and everyone is watching! You never know what’s going to be featured on YT.

    Don’t be stupid. Make coherent comments and always look at the replies. EVERYONE on YT is a potential friend. Not someone to slam or use.

    Okay my theory of life the universe and everything is done.

    Thanks for letting me borrow your blog.


    Comment by JimmerSD | December 8, 2008

  8. right on, write on.

    Comment by Link | December 8, 2008

  9. […] Visualizzazioni & Sottoscrizioni su YouTube – (Ramblings of a Nutbar) Alcuni Consigli Per Incrementare la Propria Popolarità su YouTube… leggi articolo originale… […]

    Pingback by Pubblicare, Condividere e Guardare i Video Online: News e Segnalazioni Del 10 Dicembre 2008 | December 19, 2008

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: