If you started a YouTube channel expecting to just publish content and get a flood of followers without having to do anything else, we’ve got something to tell you. Simply creating and publish content—even high-quality content—isn’t enough. To really get your YouTube channel to take off, you need to promote it. Don’t worry, promoting a YouTube channel doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, in this article, we’re going to teach you how to promote your YouTube channel for free.
Every single minute, 500 hours of new content is uploaded to YouTube (Statista). That’s 12,000 hours of new content every single day. Your three-minute video has a ton of competition! Without promotion, your YouTube content, no matter how good it is, could end up never getting the views it deserves. Fortunately, with the free YouTube channel promotion tips and ideas we’re including here, you’ll be able to catapult your content from the depths of YouTube anonymity and get more views and more followers.
Don’t have a YouTube channel yet? Learn how to create a successful YouTube channel then come back and learn how to promote it!
How to Promote Your YouTube Channel for Free:
How to Promote Your YouTube Channel for Free
YouTube, like other social media platforms, is constantly changing. What was cool when YouTube first started growing in popularity isn’t exactly what you’ll find on the platform these days. Now, don’t get us wrong, YouTube’s collection of funny pet videos continues to grow daily. In recent years, though, YouTube has come to be the go-to place for businesses, brands, marketers, and influencers.
With 62% of businesses using YouTube to promote their content (Buffer), it’s clear that YouTube is a great addition to any marketing strategy. To use it effectively, though, you’ll need to get eyes on your videos and subscribers for your channel without spending a ton of money. That’s why it’s so important to know how to promote your YouTube channel for free. To that end, here are eight free ways to promote your YouTube channel.
Create Content Worth Promoting
Yes, we know that we just told you the best content in the world won’t help if nobody sees it. The other side of that, though, is that nobody is going to watch content that isn’t good. So, if you want to successfully promote your YouTube channel, you need to fill it with content that’s worth promoting. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself creating lackluster YouTube content that people watch once, never subscribing and never engaging.
The simple process for creating YouTube content is this:
- Choose the right type of YouTube content
- Script (or at least outline) your video
- Record your video
- Edit your YouTube video
- Upload your video
- Add an awesome YouTube video thumbnail
- Optimize your YouTube video
Use YouTube SEO
SEO is the easiest way to promote your YouTube channel for free. YouTube is not only a video-based social media platform, it’s also the second-largest search engine in the world after Google with billions of searches happening on the platform every month. To make sure that your content is getting found on the platform, you’ll want to use YouTube SEO so you’re using the right keywords in your headlines, video descriptions, and tags.
To find the right keywords for your YouTube content, start with your topic. You can enter the topic in YouTube’s search bar and use the autosuggest to guide your keyword choices. There are also tons of YouTube SEO tools that will help you find the keywords that your target audience is looking for so you can create the right content and optimize it for search.
Once you’ve chosen your target keyword, you’ll want to use it in your video title, ideally at the beginning of the title. Your video’s title is what viewers will see first, so you’ll need to craft a video title that’s both catchy and includes your keyword naturally. Remember that Google will automatically shorten your video’s title to 66 characters in search results, so it’s best to use a title that fits within that limitation.
Your YouTube video description is incredibly important when it comes to getting your content to show up in YouTube’s and Google’s search results. To write the best YouTube video descriptions, think about what information you want to share with viewers about your video. Include your target keyword and related keywords in your video description to ensure that you’re leveraging SEO. We also recommend that you include a link to related content that you also own (a link to a blog post on the same topic, for instance).
Tags quickly tell the YouTube algorithm what your video is about. Keep your tags relevant to your brand and your content—don’t include unrelated tags in the hopes that you’ll get ranked higher. You might, at first, but as viewers bounce away from your content, YouTube’s algorithm will adjust your rankings accordingly. YouTube, after all, wants to keep people on their site; if your content is keeping them engaged, your content won’t be ranked as high.
Build a Community
One of the benefits of creating YouTube content is that it helps set you up as an authority in your niche and industry. People will begin to seek you out for your knowledge. You can keep them engaged by building a community. Building a community on YouTube doesn’t have to be complicated. A great way to get started is by simply engaging with your viewers when they comment on your videos, sharing other interesting information, and always adding value to their lives. You can even set up a community section on the platform:
Collaborate With Other Creators
Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other YouTube creators and YouTube influencers. This type of cross-promotion is beneficial to both parties and works well to expand your reach. Collaborations are simple: two or more YouTubers work together to create a unique video for each of their channels. To make it happen, start by finding another YouTube personality with an overlapping audience. Then, reach out and make your pitch.
Run a Contest
Running a contest is one of our favorite ways to promote a YouTube channel for free. Contests tend to bring in a lot of attention and, when done correctly, will get you more YouTube subscribers without artificially inflating your subscriber count with folks who are just there for the contest and aren’t really interested in your brand or your content.
We recommend giving away something closely related to your niche to keep out those who aren’t genuinely interested. No matter your niche, you should be able to come up with something exciting to give away. If you’re a life coach, for example, you might want to give away a free goal-setting session or even a month of weekly life coaching sessions. The more value there is to the prize, the more interest you’ll generate.
Don’t forget that you’re running the contest to get more subscribers to your channel. Be sure to make subscribing to your channel one of the criteria for entering!
Promote Your YouTube Channel on Social Media
In addition to your YouTube presence, you’ll also need to have profiles on other social media platforms. Don’t panic, we don’t mean all of them. Just choose the platforms where your audience is most likely to hang out. Facebook and Instagram are still two of the most popular social media platforms so, in this section, we’re going to share ways to promote your YouTube channel for free on those platforms.
Facebook has more than 2.8 billion active users. While the age of Facebook users skews older, it’s still got a reach that won’t quit. You can easily share your YouTube videos to Facebook directly from YouTube just by hitting the Share button. However, like most social media platforms, Facebook rewards native content. Instead of simply sharing your YouTube video to Facebook, take the time to create a teaser or sneak peek video that you can post on Facebook and link out to YouTube for the full video.
We also recommend creating a Facebook page to keep your brand and your personal life separate.
Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users, with 60% of those users between the ages of 13–34. To promote your YouTube channel on Instagram for free, here’s what you’ll want to do:
Step 1. Switch to a Business or Creator Account
Any user can add a business or creator account on Instagram. Just go to your profile settings, choose Account, and choose Add New Professional Account. This will unlock professional tools like analytics, which leads us to the next step.
Step 2. Watch Your Analytics
Your Instagram analytics will give you insights into how your content is performing and who your audience is. Using this information, you’ll be able to learn more about what your followers like so you can create and publish more content like that.
Step 3. Be Consistent
If you want to promote your YouTube channel on Instagram, you’ll need to maintain an active presence on the platform. That means posting to Instagram regularly as well as posting to Instagram at the right time. Rather than just sharing links to your YouTube content, engage your audience with images, Instagram Stories, and Reels, too.
Step 4. Use IGTV
IGTV is Instagram’s native video platform. If you want to promote your YouTube channel on Instagram, IGTV is a great way to do it. You can create teaser videos to introduce your YouTube channel and content before sending people to your YouTube channel (ie, “get the rest of the story over on my YouTube channel”).
Like many other social media platforms, YouTube uses hashtags for category tagging and search. Using hashtags can make it easier for more people to find your videos. Plus, you can use hashtags to categorize your videos without the need to add them to playlists (though we recommend that you create playlists, too). YouTube allows up to 15 hashtags—any more than that and all hashtags used on the video will be ignored. The sweet spot seems to be between 3–5 hashtags per video description.
Before you start plugging in hashtags, take the time to search those hashtags to see what comes up. If you find a bunch of low-quality content attached to a certain hashtag, you might not want to use that hashtag and have your content associated with everything else that comes up. You can also create custom branded hashtags that will direct viewers to more of your content when they follow them.
Promote Your YouTube Channel on Forums
Forums are one of the best places to promote your YouTube channel for free. But many forums have a strict “no promotions” policy. To get around this, make sure that you’re adding value to the conversation. Don’t just pop in, drop a link to your latest YouTube video and leave. Instead, engage with the people in the forum and share your content only if it will be of benefit to them.
Now you know how to promote your YouTube channel for free. Despite the fact that YouTube is filled with content, users are constantly clamoring for more. To keep your videos from getting lost in the shuffle, you need a solid YouTube marketing strategy that includes both paid and free promotion tactics. When you’re just starting out, you might not have the budget to make paid promotion happen. Using the tips that we’ve included in this article, you’ll be able to get more YouTube views, grow your subscribers, and control your own narrative—for free.