Know your audience.
This goes hand in hand with knowing the type of videos you’ll make. “You have to know who you’re making videos for,” says Rodriguez. Your channel won’t appeal to everybody, and that’s okay. It’s better to build a strong base of 100 fans than 1,000 casual subscribers who aren’t engaged.
Find your target audience, put yourself in their shoes, and ask what they want to see. When you pick a topic you’re passionate about, what you want to make and what the audience wants to see will probably align more often than not.
This doesn’t mean you’re locked into one specialty. Your channel can grow and evolve as you do. And if you’re listening to your audience, it probably will. “The nice thing is that you’ll start getting feedback from your audience, and then you can branch out from there,” explains Rodriguez.
Mind your SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to getting your videos in front of the most people. “YouTube’s entire goal is to keep you on the platform as long as possible,” says Rodriguez. YouTube uses an algorithm to rank content and maximize viewership across the platform.
Your goal as a content creator is to boost your standing with the algorithm. But there’s no one way to “beat” the algorithm. Simply put, the algorithm prioritizes the content that gets clicked on the most, watched, and watched the longest. You’ll need to turn to metrics to indicate how well your content is performing, but engaging content is the biggest key to success.
Three metrics to keep your eye on.
According to Rodriguez, the big three metrics to watch are click-through rate, average view percentage (retention), and total watch time.
1. Click-through rate is the percentage of people that watch your video after seeing your thumbnail image. So if 1,000 people see your video in their search results and 100 of them click on it, you’d have a click-through rate of 10%.
2. Retention rate is the average percentage of your video that gets watched by viewers. “If you can get a 50% retention rate, that’s a good benchmark to start at,” says Rodriguez.
3. Total watch time indicates which content viewers actually watch, as opposed to clicking and abandoning.
Watch your openings and your endings.
One way to boost your SEO is to get straight to the meat of your message. Don’t waste your first minute with a lengthy introduction. Once you kick off your video, keep the value all the way to the end. Don’t end the main portion of your video with three minutes to spare and spend those minutes wrapping up. If you do this, many people will drop out, lowering your retention rate and total watch time.