Much of the following is from the ebook "The Secret Viral Video Marketing Report"
YouTube of the Past
It's important to realize that the YouTube of five years ago is very different from the YouTube of today. The most obvious difference is there were far fewer videos on YouTube five years ago. In the "old days" of YouTube, if you posted a video, it wasn't very hard to get it noticed. If it was at all interesting or controversial, people would start writing comments on it and after about 300 comments, it would end up at the top of the "Most Discussed" list and from there, take off.
Also, a lot of people would look at the Most Viewed list. So, once you got to a certain (relatively small by today's standards) number of views, you would gain automatic exposure. And finally, because there were not all that many people posting videos, the chance that one of your videos would get featured was pretty high. A featured video is one that shows up on YouTube's home page and the exposure is priceless.
But those were the good old days. A lot of things have changed since then, not the least of which is that YouTube was bought by Google, a company with huge resources and brilliant programmers to make sure people aren't abusing YouTube by spamming or posting copyrighted material. Thus, it is all the more important to really understand what works as well as what doesn't, because in the blink of an eye YouTube can terminate your account. This means all your videos are removed. All your contacts are lost. And anyone following you as a subscriber will no longer know whether you are posting new videos because even if you start a new account, you have to start from scratch. But fear not. If you're strategic and follow the advice in this e-book, and YouTube's Terms Of Service, you will not have your account canceled.
Moving into the present, because the YouTube of today has millions of video content creators (some better than others), and millions of videos to choose from, one quickly realizes that posting a video can lead to disappointment if you're expecting to be the next Internet sensation. And let me be clear here, it doesn't matter if you have a video that's better than 99% of the videos on YouTube, it will not go viral without some additional help - not because people don't want to see it, but because they simply do not know it exists.
Views, Subscribers, Friends – Why and When You Want Each
The ultimate goal, when using YouTube as a path to fame and fortune, is to have your videos viewed by millions of people. So if getting views is the main goal, what's all this excitement about Subscribers then?
In order to answer this, let's take an example of someone doing a sketch-comedy show, hoping that it will be picked up by an advertiser so they can be paid to create these videos. In this example, a comedian puts a video on YouTube and spends weeks using all of the techniques described here to get thousands of views. Not a bad start for your first video! The comedian is feeling really great and they go to a sponsor and they're told that they have a deal—they'll get paid a large amount of money to continue making their videos (and doing a bit of advertising) but first—let's see if the second video is as successful. If the comedian has zero subscribers when they post their second video, imagine what would happen. They would get maybe five views initially. What a letdown! And what would you do if you were the sponsor? Buh-bye. Thousands or even millions of views are useless to a sponsor if the next video can't match that. This is where subscribers are so important. If someone has subscribed to your channel, they will receive a notification every time you post a new video. Automatically, with no additional promotion, you've already got your video in front of hundreds, thousands, or in some cases, millions of people. Now, say this same comedian went to a sponsor with 100,000 subscribers. When the sponsor says, "Let's see how many views your next video gets," you'll say, "Sure thing!" You will not likely get all 100,000 subscribers to view your second video, simply because some people don't use YouTube that regularly, but the important thing is getting enough people to get the ball rolling on what we call "going viral." For those of you who think that "going viral" means you've got a disease, let me tell you that in this case it's a good thing. It means that enough of the original people who viewed your video are sending it to their friends, and those friends are sending it to their friends, so that your views quickly skyrocket into the millions.
In summary, subscribers are important because they represent a starting point for the number of views each new video will receive.
I'm going to talk a little about what YouTube "Friends" are because they can come in very handy.
So here's the bottom line:
The "Traditional" Ways of Getting Your Videos Seen
Let's look at traditional methods for getting views. They are still somewhat effective, and important to know, but they, alone, will not get you the big exposure you're looking for. For that you'll need some of the extra tricks that the most popular YouTubers would never want to admit they use. Those tricks are what you need for that extra edge, and they will be exposed in this e-book. But they will build on these traditional methods:
1) POSTING A VIDEO RESPONSE: Just like you can place a comment under a video, YouTube also allows you to post a video in response to another video. Say, for example, you find a video that is getting thousands of views per day, featuring the latest celebrity scandal. What you might do is create a video of yourself talking about your opinion on the scandal and post it as a video response. You do this the same way you would write a comment. Under each video there's a button to post a video response. When you click it, you'll select the video you just created from your list of videos and submit it. TIP: So, why would you want to make a video response? Well, your video will appear right under the video you are responding to, in the list of video responses. So, if you imagine a million people view the video on the celebrity scandal, there's a good chance that at the very least a few thousand of them will check out the video responses and see your video. Suddenly, you have a few thousand views when you would have had none. Then, out of these few thousand viewers, if your video is any good, there's a decent chance that a few hundred people will end up subscribing to your channel. You can continue making videos in this manner and build up views to some large numbers. And this is exactly what some YouTubers, who are quite popular today, did to start out. But this is only one of several strategies you'll be using.
2) CREATE "RELATED" VIDEOS: You'll notice when you go to a video in YouTube, down the right- hand column there is a list of "related" videos. Sometimes, if the same user has posted a lot of videos, you'll only see videos done by the same person. But many times you'll also see videos by other people. For example, if you go to the music video for a popular song, you'll likely see a lot of videos produced by people doing covers of that song. A "cover" video is a video in which a singer takes a popular song and sings it themselves. Not only do these videos show up on the right side of your screen, but after a video plays, YouTube suggests some of these videos right inside the video player. What better exposure could you ask for? So, someone has just finished watching a video, they haven't decided what they're doing next, and a video pops up on the screen that is precisely related to what they were just watching. Creating videos that are similar (or even a video response would work in this way) to a popular video can place you right in front of your desired audience. TIP: Be careful not to create a "related" video for a video that is too popular or you risk getting buried by the sheer number of people doing the same thing. For example, rather than doing a cover of Jennifer Lopez's latest number one song, you could choose one of the other songs from her latest album. This helps you two ways: first, you won't have so many other videos to compete with, so chances are good that you'll appear in the "related" videos. And second, when people search for the song using YouTube's search feature, your video is more likely to come up on the first page of results.
3) CREATE A VIDEO FOR A CONTEST: There are tons of contests happening all the time on YouTube. The smaller ones are harder to find. But if you search regularly, chances are you'll come across one. One place to look: companies doing contests to create an ad for their product. Let's say a new toy comes out on the market. The toy company knows that if thousands of people create videos about their product, it's amazing and free advertising. So they'll often post a contest to see who makes the best video about their toy. As part of the contest, they'll typically have you post your video on a web site enabled for voting. And people will go through the videos to select their favorite one. You don't have to win the contest, although that would be nice. Simply getting people to watch your video will draw traffic to your channel. TIP: Be sure you put the name of your channel and any social networking links (such as your Twitter or MySpace pages) in the video. So if people like it, they know where to find you.
4) WRITING COMMENTS UNDER VIDEOS: Write a friendly comment under a video to make friends. If you made a similar video you can politely mention that they might be interested in your video as well.
5) SENDING MESSAGES: YouTube allows you to send messages to other YouTubers, much like you might send an email to your friends in real life. But YouTube also allows you to easily discover who might be interested in your videos. For example, let's say you're a magician and make videos revealing magic tricks to teach other young magicians. All you have to do is search for magicians on YouTube and find videos by other people doing the same thing. Once you do this, you can look at the profile of the creator of the video and, in most cases, see a list of who has subscribed to them, and who is "Friends" with them. And you can most likely find other magicians by looking at who this magician has subscribed to. Now, all you have to do is write up a nice note to send to each of the magicians' subscribers inviting them to look at your videos with the promise of more of what they are already interested in. While it is important to remember some of the points made in the discussion on "spamming," this is a critical technique in developing your marketing plan and will be discussed in further detail later on.
The above was a lot of the introductory information from The Secret Viral Video Marketing Report, which goes into more depth as to how to get more views and subscribers with the YouTube of today!
One approach that many big YouTubers have used is a tool called Tube Toolbox, which automates a lot of the mundane things you'll do over and over again, like friend requests and sending messages. The Secret Viral Video Marketing Report is a handy companion to Tube Toolbox because it explains how to use Tube Toolbox most effectively.
Real views and subscribers vs empty views and subscribers - Sub4Sub services and more
As described previously on this page, it is important to have real people watching your videos and subscribing. There are a lot of services which will get you a lot of subscribers but there are two main problems with using such services:
1) The first problem is that most of these services require you to subscribe to a channel, and in exchange someone subscribes back to you. While your number of subscribers will go up at first, you have to keep in mind that YouTube only let's you subscribe to a maximum of somewhere around 2,000 people. This means that you can only get at most around 2,000 subscribers from any of these services, and they don't let you unsubscribe from someone you subscribed to, or, if you do, you lose that subscriber.
2) The subscribers you get through these services aren't interested in watching your videos and will probably never look at them. So, when you post a new video, if you only have Sub4Sub subscribers, you probably won't get many views.
So, this only works if you want no more than about 2,000 subscribers and very few of them watching your videos. As you can see, there's not much point in using one of these services if you're serious about getting famous.
There are also services you can use to increase your views, but mostly you have to pay for them, and the techniques they use usually don't result in people actually watching your video. YouTube can detect how much of a video someone watches, and it knows when a page is loaded for 5 seconds and then closed. This works against your since the YouTube site basically ends up thinking a lot of people are watching your video and none of them like it enough to watch more than 5 seconds, so you'll get buried in search results and never considered as a featured video.
So, again, if you really want to get big on YouTube, you want REAL people watching and subscribing to your videos and channel.
I hope this was helpful to you. If you want more details on how the big YouTubers got big, I highly recommend getting both The Secret Viral Video Marketing Report and Tube Toolbox, and using the two together. You're guaranteed success if you stick with it.