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Use YouTube to Build Your Blog’s Audience

This guest post s by David Edwards of Candy.

For most people who are in their first year of launching a blog, it seems like a headache just to reach 1,000 unique visitors. I would have been in the same boat if it wasn’t for You Tube. I put more effort into building connections on there than anywhere else, and now I’m enjoying the fruits of my labors!

I no longer have the dreaded problem of getting email subscribers as I have a steady flow of sign ups. Here’s how I did it.

Making friends

When people talk about making friends on-line you instantly think of Facebook, but Facebook’s geared more towards socializing rather than promoting videos, where as YouTubers love to get their hands on a good video and share it!. If you make a friend on YouTube they usually stick with you and will also check out your future videos.

The best way to find potential friends is use the search box to find channels that are similar to yours. I usually search: animation.

Remember to click Search Options underneath the Search box, and click on Upload Date.

This will filter the videos and channels to show you the most recent. By doing this, you can ensure that any friend requests you make are placed with active users.

After you make ten requests, a notice will pop up to notify you that you have contacted too many people.

As you can see, this isn’t a quick way of building up contacts, but after a month or two you should have a couple of hundred friends. And for some reason, once you have friends, you start to get friend requests from other “youtubers” (I have around 50 friend requests a day now, and it only takes one click to confirm them!).

Favorites are gold!

If you’ve watched some of the top channels, you’ll notice that the site places a big emphasis on subscribing to the channel. A YouTube partner receives a small commission for new subscribers, and that can add up to thousands of dollars a year for the top guys.

As a beginner, you’re going to want to get subscribers. In fact, the only thing you have control over is the number of friends you have, and the number of videos you own.

If you check out the Show Video Statistics button below one of my videos, you’ll see that the Favourites have almost hit 2,000. This is the equivalent of having 2,000 bloggers link to a post you have on your website (imagine the traffic!). With this video essentially posted on 2,000 channels, we have a steady stream of people discovering the video every day which has a knock-on effect on all the other metrics: traffic, email opt-ins, and so on.

There are a couple of things you can do to get favorited by YouTubers:

  1. Post your video in HD: this will future-proof your work, and if a video is well-lit it is more likely to be enjoyed.
  2. Use YouTube’s Annotations feature to ask people to add the video to their favorites.

“Your video will never go viral”

This is something that I heard a lot when I started making animations. The thing is that viral videos can sometimes just be embedded on a popular website, and be viewed but not interacted with.

The way my partner Luke Hyde and I have set up our videos involves a much slower way of going viral, but the foundations are much stronger, with a great network of friends and subscribers pushing our videos out to their friends.

This is something that you could replicate with your topic to access an additional stream of traffic to your blog. For us, it’s the main source of traffic, but for you it may just be an extra bonus!

How are you using YouTube to build your audience? What advice can you add?

David Edwards is the founder and executive producer of “Candy, and currently is the SEO Director at Webfactore Ltd. You can follow him on Twitter at @asittingduck and on YouTube.

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Comments

  1. I worry though that there are just too many video clips on YouTube. I think 24hrs worth of video is being downloading every minute or something like that.

    • dotCOMreport says:

      Since Davids primary focus seems to be videos, it makes sense that he and his partner would devote a lot of time to making their videos stand out and thus, go viral. 24hrs worth of video is a lot, true. But if your video is unique and high quality, it would stand out and be remembered.

    • Starting is tough, but if you owned a channel alongside your website for 5 years, you can easily build an audience of 10,000+…

      :]

  2. This is a great strategy that I hadn’t considered with any seriousness. Although our fitness-related content is heavily video-oriented, we have mostly just embedded it on our site/podcast and not taken the time to really connect and let it spread through You Tube.

    We have also placed most of our videos on Vimeo since it is so cheap and easy to host HD video there (without length restrictions). Do you think we should be taking the first 15 minutes of our interviews/workouts and making a concerted effort to get connected and know on YouTube?

  3. Some nice thought David but do you think adding lots of people (related but random) is good for long run? Your profile might show lots of friends which you hardly interact with…Or M I missing something here?

    • Hi there,

      It’s easy to interact with your friends with the “post bulletin” feature. It’s a great way to send one message to thousands of people!…

  4. I always try to embed my URL somewhere in my Youtube movies. But I’ve still seen stills from my movies being used in blogs without any sort of recognition. Now though if I animate a book (using Pulpmotion) I try to embed my URL on every page. Not the same as a link but at least anyone who uses my material has to pay back by displaying my URL.

    btw. I generally use Youtube as a means to enable me to embed videos into my news blog etc.

    But I hadn’t really thought of building a Youtube network before. I’m off straight away to start pushing my channel. I think that’s a great idea.

  5. Mike Lopez says:

    Hi David!

    I’ve been longing to do YouTube videos for months now but just don’t know where to start. This blog post’s a definite guide for me. Thanks!

    - Mike

  6. Blippitt.com says:

    Great post. We’re just starting to use YouTube to gain readers. We’re doing lots of funny (I hope) commenting on viral videos in the hopes that people will then check out our site.

  7. SBA says:

    David, this is an interesting way to gain traffic and keep up your social networking. What seems counter intuitive is having people actually visit your blog — I’d think the video gives them everything they want. Especially if you have a full and active channel. But it worked for you so I appreciate the share! My channel has no subscribers but I have yet to subscribe to anyone else’s (no wonder!) Although there are a couple of videos with over 500 views, I don’t see any real traffic from YouTube in my Analytics. I’ll try your slow cooking technique and see what happens! I just subscribed!.

    • Thanks for that!… It’s not a quick way to traffic, but any method of building free traffic is slow. The company I work for spends over $5,000 every month on paid adverts, so you can see that it’s worth building different traffic streams!…

  8. SATISH says:

    A YouTube partner receives a small commission for new subscribers

    is that true?

    • Yes… ;]

      • But I think this is not possible for normal user.

        David would love to get one post on it from you about the You tube partner.

        • Franck says:

          YouTube itself invites you on a video basis into the partner program. And yes it’s possible to be a partner as a simple blogger

    • Julian says:

      so blogger can earn and get audience while creating videos?

    • Lamarr says:

      No, this is NOT true. I’m a YouTube partner, and we get money thru ad clicks and impressions for the ads against our videos. NONE of us get a commission for each new subscriber. I’ve been to plenty of YouTube/Google meetings/gatherings and I can tell you firsthand that this is not the case for ANYONE.

      Now, the more subscribers you have, the greater the chances are that more people will view your videos, which make you money, but simply subscribing won’t do that.

      I know some partners with 250K subs, but get only 5K views each video. They aren’t making any money off the subs, that’s for sure.

  9. Elja Trum says:

    Thanks for this tip, David!
    I hadn’t thought of it and I’m going to YouTube now for my first 10 friends! ;)

    I’ve posted a couple of Lightroom video tutorials on YouTube for display on my photography blog and this looks like a perfect way to give them and my blog some extra views!

  10. Wayne Tully says:

    One of the ways that I really think has made a difference to my YouTube channel is the whole tagging of the tags, make sure the video file name is the relevant keywords and then modifying the actual title to something similar but not the same and the descriptions too.

    I haven’t played around with annotations that much, so cheers for that reminder, although I have over 260 videos, do you think it would be worth doing annotations for all of them or just the high traffic ones?

    Cheers for this post, sometimes we forget about the community of popular sites, I know I do, will have to go back through some of my subscribers and give them a nudge to see if they are still breathing….

  11. Wasim Ismail says:

    Using videos to promote your blog, business, website, does have many benifits, hence more and more users are setting up channels on YouTube.

    • You’re right, the standard set up now is: Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Some companies set up other social network accounts but these seem to be the top three sites to interact on.

      Thanks for the comment,

      David Edwards

  12. paul wolfe says:

    Hey David

    Cool post – I use the ‘Toob for one of my sites.

    Here are some of my favourite strategies for adding extra views and attracting visitors to my website.

    1) Syndicate videos via TubeMogul. As a rough guide the 80:20 rule works here. 80% of your views will be on YouTube and 20% spread across the other aggregators (e.g. Blip, Viddler, Howcast, Metacafe etc). But never discount that 20% – once you’ve done the initial set up it’s no extra work. I have clients who have spent thousands of dollars with me who found me via Metacafe or Blip or Viddler).

    2) Syndicate ‘tutorial’ style videos to tutorial sites. There are a whole bunch of these sites – Instructables is one. There are others. Again you might only add a thousand views a year to each video (you embed the original YouTube video) – but if one of those views is someone who turns out to be a loyal long term customer….do the maths.

    3) Embed your YouTube videos on a page or blog post on your own website – and send a broadcast email to your subscribers telling them it’s there. Depending on the size of your list this can add hundreds to thousands of views to your video within the first 24 hours. (Always good for social proof).

    Interested in your ‘Friend’ strategy. I know there is software that does this automatically for you – what’s your take on that? It’s something I’ve always steered clear of because I don’t want to get my channel banned.

    As I said, cool post. YouTube can be the source of great traffic if you know what you’re doing….

    Paul

    • Interesting tips, I know our sound producer has uploaded a copy to his Vimeo account and its had around 1,000 views. Most of the success stories are from “YouTube” as the community is so vibrant!…

      Thanks for your comment,

      David Edwards

  13. Tim Woodbury says:

    How would you apply this effectively if you don’t “vlog” as a primary medium? I’ve been posting private video then embedding when I do post – so, obviously, un-private as a first step. But, then… ?

    I’m always open to finding new ways to draw followers. I’m just having a hard time visualizing the conversion path from YouTube subscriber to traditional blog reader.

    Thoughts?

    • Hi Tim,

      I’ve been looking into filling in the time gaps between animations, as they can take up to 6 months to produce from scratch. You could hold a competition on your blog to get videos sent to you and then host them on your channel…

      Not everyone is interested in spending time building a community and would rather join a community that’s already built!…

      :]

  14. mark ways says:

    I plan to do videos for my blog too, but still have to master a few tricky steps to create a good e-learning video form start to finish. However, and thanks to your post, I’ve learned how an effective promotion could look like after uploading. I will try your steps as I can practice on another account :) Thanks mark

  15. Caleb Wojcik says:

    Great article and tips David.

    I am looking to see how I can use video in my medium of personal financial advice and will look into using YouTube as a platform to use.

  16. Mary Hunter says:

    Thank you for this post.
    I blog about animal training and also post videos on youtube. I would like to expand the number of hits I get on youtube, as well as the amount of traffic to my site from youtube.

    One quick question–
    I checked out your youtube page. You have a box set up on the top of the right column that says “Connect with Candy,” with several web links (twitter, facebook, etc.). How did you set this up?

    thanks!

    Mary

  17. This is helpful if you’re creating videos. Not everyone is.

  18. Britnee says:

    I never realized that you could request friendship with subscribers on YouTube, that’s way cool! Great advice, thanks for sharing!

  19. Great post, I’ve been posting all these videos on YouTube, but never really did anything to promote the video…I guess I just figured that people would find it in searches, never thought about friending people on YouTube. Thanks again.

  20. Hi David –

    Thanks for posting on this topic.

    I’ve found recent success in building my blog’s audience, through building friends and subscribers on YouTube. After doing it manually for a while, I discovered a tool called TubeToolbox.com (http://www.TubeToolbox.com).

    TubeToolbox automates the process you’ve described… all within YouTube’s terms of service. It goes at the pace a person would. But the fact that it does this for you around the clock, means over time you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

    On my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/renegaderatracer), I went from having friends and subscribers both in single digits, to having 7,000+ friends and 800+ subscribers after a couple of months.

    Additionally, my main video, which people see when they visit my channel, has gone from less than 100 views to over 5,000 views in that timeframe.

    It’s not the greatest YouTube success story by any stretch. But it’s a solid and practical way of finding a new audience that is interested in your kind of content (TubeToolbox helps you identify people based on keywords, or videos viewed, or channels already subscribed to).

    I hope this is useful.

    Thanks for the post!

    Bolaji ~ The Two-Cent Storyteller. Will tell stories for change.
    http://www.WhoIsBolaji.com
    Personal Branding & Personal Development

  21. Steve says:

    This is an avenue that I haven’t explored much, even though my blogs topic lends itself to video. This piece will be a good jump start for adding some video to my blog in 2011. Thanks for the advice. Very applicable.

  22. Ryan says:

    Very cool! Awesome post and I’m glad that you had so much success.

    P.S. I enjoyed the Candy the Magic Dinosaur videos!

  23. David, already started implementation of friend requests on Youtube. I have 2 new friends within a couple of hours. Cool. Thanks mate for the tips.

  24. So YouTube is a effective tool for building traffic/audience for my blog? Is YouTube videos easy todo?

  25. Nice break down, David – I’ve kind of been ignoring YouTube due to the lack of transparency it requires from users … there’s just so much troll activity. That said, I think your breakdown will help me get back into YouTube and connect with the community interested in connecting.

  26. Earl z Pearl says:

    Great info, I’m a new blogger, will give it a try, sounds like a great idea!

  27. I really enjoyed your every posts about to make handsome traffic to our websites. Thanks.

  28. Ryan says:

    I love YouTube. I get most of my visitors from it! :)

  29. matt t b says:

    Hey Dave,
    Great post, I have a personal training business will this work with any video blog? Can we have a follow up post with this? Love candy too!

  30. gneesham says:

    I had overlooked the You Tube community before reading this post, but it definitely seems worth while to put some effort into it. For me I think the traffic generated would be more of a bonus rather than the main source of traffic, but I can see the benefits.

  31. Phill Turner says:

    On chrome the pictures are too small guys just to let you know!

    BUT

    Superb stuff, I must do some of this but always a huge effort to get it sorted.

    Great stuff

    Phill

  32. Papa Echa says:

    oh that’s a great idea, i never think it before..thanks …

  33. Vivek Parmar says:

    never know about it that we can use youtube to build a blog audience

  34. We have many videos to be optimized and I am really excited to use these awesome tips!

  35. Simon Turner says:

    This is an extremely helpful post. Yeh I have a YouTube profile which I have been using to host vidoes for my blog. I have done nothing about building up a presence there.

    This post has changed my thinking. My blog does not really lend itself to Technorati and apart from Twitter I have been struggling to find ways of encouraging people to visit my site.

    While I am not overly dependent on videos I do use them as a way of spicing up the blog. This will encourage me to make better use of videos both as a way to connect and a way to give better content.

    Thanks for this timely reminder.

  36. satish says:

    we even get to learn something extra apart from blogging from Problogger….
    well I never knew that youtube gives commission_ _ _…

    well thx a lot
    ;-D

  37. Hey David,

    Great stuff. YouTube pays commissions? I never knew.

    Thanks for sharing these tips.

    All the best.
    Mavis

  38. mathan says:

    Very useful informative post on youtube. They are so many methods to use the youtube for your site. Great to highlight those important things David.

  39. Wiguan says:

    One of my blog are about music production and I agree with this post Youtube proof to be more successful than Facebook in terms of… well… video marketing.

    Don’t forget we can upload videos to Facebook too and we can also embed our Youtube video in Facebook but we can’t embed Facebook video in Youtube.

    So, Youtube win.

  40. What great timing on this post, as I’ve decided to give up blogging and embrace video blogging and find an bigger audience for both my blog and new product launch.

    This is great info.

    Krizia

  41. Aaron Neal says:

    I haven’t really looked into using YouTube as a possible source of traffic yet. I know what you mean by your first year of blogging being a headache when it comes to traffic lol.

    It seems like I’ve tried everything and still the amount of traffic I’m looking for isn’t coming in yet. oh well I’ll just keep on pumping out the best quality content I can give on my site and keep looking for different avenues for marketing.

    What do you guys think of article marketing? It’s something I’ve been doing here lately and I heard someone say “it’s like giving all your keywords away to another site…it doesn’t work that well”. I want some more opinions on it though before I stop it or pump it up a bit.

    Gracias for the help, good post and it got me thinking, Thanks.

    • I guess the new form of article marketing is “guest posting”… Try small blogs and build relationships with 5-10 full time bloggers before you ask to feature on their site. ;]

  42. Georgi says:

    Yes that is one possible strategy to get out through subscribers. I use the other one “keywords” important for my area. Search engines tend to place video searches quite high in the rankings. If you are in tourism film all the possible locations of interest in your city and post them on youtube separately. Your trademark will be recognised and in the future if your services are needed you will be visited :)

    • Keywords are holding more weight every day on videos, it’s worth taking the time to fill in as much detail about your video as you can and stick the pin on the map!…

  43. Tenis Oakley says:

    This idea I never thought but Youtube is a great tool for attract visitors. Just do the work for 3 months, uploading goods videos from tv and music, and u will see visitors came.

  44. Glad to have it explained so well, thanks! Definitely got me thinking… I know YouTube is an under-utilized resource for me… which is somewhat ironic since before I started blogging I was a 3D artist and animation student, and assistant director for several feature films and commercials… I have all the equipment and experience to produce great video content. I do my best to get my brand-new baby blog up and running, but I really should take advantage of YouTube… thanks for sharing your tips. Great stuff!!

  45. raudzah says:

    Thanks for the brilliant idea

  46. Don Looney says:

    This is a great help for a newbie like myself. I have put hours of woork into my website and the only traffic I have gotten has seem to come from spammers and automated systems that promote their own interest. I think is will be a great addition to my strategy and I am greatful for the post. I have been looking for a way to implement YouTube as part of my marketing and this is truly a step by step guide. I am trying to find a way to get unique traffic to my blog and I think this is the way. I am greatful for this post.

  47. Lucy Byrd says:

    I have heard horror stories about youtube shutting down channels. I haven’t started using youtube yet what are some of the reasons channels are shut down and how do you avoid them. I would hate to get thousands of followers and have my channel shut down.

  48. BankMSU says:

    Youtube is great idea to find friends! ))

  49. Jimmy says:

    I haven’t used YouTube to post videos yet but have been considering it for a while, I just don’t know what my videos would be about or whether I’ll just make them myself or with someone else. Thanks for the post it was very helpful.

  50. I have found that making my own youtube videos is a great way to focus my marketing message too!