How To Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers On YouTube

Kristen Walters

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

I recently shared that I earn about $500 a month as a small YouTuber with less than ten thousand subscribers. Since posting that article, several people have asked if I had any tips for getting your first 1,000 subscribers — which is the amount needed to be monetized on YouTube.

While I wish I had some profound insight to offer here, I do not.

I started my YouTube channel on a whim roughly two years ago.I did what many aspiring YouTubers do — I posted a few videos and quickly became discouraged when they didn’t take off right away. Then I abandoned the platform for over a year.

Last year, I randomly decided to check in on my channel and discovered that my videos had acquired over 100k views and several thousand subscribers.

I started my YouTube channel on a whim roughly two years ago. I did what many aspiring YouTubers do — I posted a few videos and quickly became discouraged when they didn’t take off right away. Then I abandoned the platform for over a year.

Strategies For Getting Your First 1,000 YouTube Subscribers From Top YouTubers

Since there’s really no valuable insight to be gleaned from my personal experience, I decided to research what YouTubers with much larger channels than mine had to say about the topic.

Below you’ll find a summary of their advice along with the original video that the strategies were sourced from.

Sean Cannel (Think Media) — 1.42 million subscribers

In a recent YouTube video, Cannel mentions that if you want to be successful on YouTube, you need to get clear on your reasons for starting a channel in the first place. If you don't know why you are creating content, it won't be easy to find the motivation to keep going.

What is your reason for starting a channel?

  • To grow a business?
  • To make money?
  • To become an influencer?
  • To have freedom?

Is that reason enough to keep you motivated for the long run?

Start Before You’re Ready

Sean recommends posting at least 35 videos before you start analyzing your results. This is a reasonable quantity of videos to trigger the YouTube algorithm. Your first videos are going to be your worst videos. Get them out of the way and improve as you go.

"The secret to success on YouTube is posting videos on YouTube," says Cannel.

Experiment, take risks, practice, improve your skills, do research, and learn what works for you. Each video that you create and post is a stepping stone to success.

Answer the “Who” and “What” Question

Who are you serving, and what problem do you solve for them? Why should someone subscribe to your channel? Most creators don’t think through these questions before they start creating videos.

Don’t put out selfish content. Think about the audience first. People come to YouTube to be entertained or educated. If you’re not creating content that serves one of those purposes, you may want to reconsider your content strategy.

Improve Your Skills

Identify what skills you need to improve and actively work at getting better. For example, you could take a video filming or editing class online, work on structuring your videos to hold people’s attention longer, or design better thumbnails.

Study Successful Channels

Identify successful channels that are already doing what you want to do or have already accomplished what you want to accomplish. Then study them. Please don’t copy, but learn from their success and implement it in your own unique way.

Focus on Search-Based Content

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Each day millions of people type questions into the YouTube search bar to get answers to their problems.

If you make content that nobody is searching for, no one will know that your channel exists. Make sure that your title, description, and tags include keywords that people are actively searching for.

Commit — Don’t Dabble

If you don’t commit to getting your first 1,000 subscribers, you make never get there. With few exceptions, uploading one or two videos or creating content sporadically won’t get you the results your after.

Commit to posting one or two videos each week. Getting results on YouTube is just like getting results in the gym. You have to keep showing up day after day, week after week.

Expect That You Won’t See Results Immediately

Building a YouTube channel is a lot like growing a garden. You have to plant a lot of seeds then wait for them to grow. However, if you’re patient and keep going, you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor.

Roberto Blake — 489K Subscribers

According to Roberto Blake, “human behavior doesn’t change.” You have to create value for your viewers if you want them to keep coming back to your channel.

If you create a good experience for your viewers and talk about things they actually care about, they’ll subscribe.

The 1% Rule

According to Blake, most websites have a one to two percent conversion rate. That means, for every hundred people who watch your videos, one or two will take action and subscribe. Therefore, you may need around 100,000 views to get your first 1,000 subscribers.

If you can average 3 minutes of watch time per video, you can also hit the 4,000 watch time hours you need for YouTube monetization.

How to Get More Views

According to Blake, there are 5 things that you must pay attention to and master if you want to get more views and increase your subscriber count:

  • Title — Your video title must be compelling and include keywords if you want your video to show up in a YouTube search.
  • Thumbnail — Just like people judge books by their cover, they also judge Youtube videos by their thumbnails. Do your best to make your thumbnail standout.
  • Topic — Your video topic or keyword needs to have a broad enough audience to get traffic. If no one is searching for the topics, you aren't’ going to get many views.
  • Timing — Post your videos at a time when your audience is online.
  • Targeting — Pick the right audience. Who do you want to attract? Make something that that person (or group) would want to watch.

Make 100 Crappy YouTube Videos

Mr. Beast made 100 videos before he got his first 1,000 subscribers. Five years later, he has over 46.3 million subscribers. His first 100 videos weren’t that great, but they taught him a lot about what works on YouTube and what doesn’t. Crappy videos can pave the way to success on YouTube.

Make Videos That Will Grow Your Channel

Consider the audience that you want to attract and make videos for those people. Don’t get selfish with your content by creating videos just because they make you look good. Always be thinking about what your audience needs or wants from you.

Hey Jessica — 99.5k Subscribers

According to Jessica, it took her a year to get her first 500 subscribers. After that, her subscriber count started to blow up quickly. She now gains about 5,000 subscribers each month! Here’s her advice for getting your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers.

Give YouTube What it Wants

The most important thing to YouTube is that your content brings people to the platform and keeps them there. You can do this by creating videos that answer questions people are actively searching for. You can also create multiple related videos that people will “binge-watch” once they get to your channel.

Figure Out What Makes You Different and Embrace It

Jessica has a southern accent, and it helps her stand out. She also embraces her outgoing, quirky personality in her videos. She doesn’t try to act like someone else. She’s the same person on camera that she is in real life.

Collaborate with Other YouTubers

Find YouTubers who already have a similar audience and create videos with them. This way, you can “swap subscribers.” It’s a win-win for both the YouTube creators and the viewers who want more content.

Master the “3 T’s”

Titles, tags, and thumbnails… Understand which keywords people are searching for and include them in your titles and tags. Create thumbnails that are interesting and that make people want to click your video.

Share Your YouTube Channel Everywhere

Finally, leverage your existing social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) to drive people to your YouTube channel. Link to your videos in your blog posts. Put calls to action on your website if you have one.

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