Promoting Your YouTube Videos: Tactics That Work

Posting informative or entertaining videos on your YouTube channel is only the first step. To really achieve widespread exposure you need to consciously work on promoting your YouTube Videos. If you really want the maximum number of people to view your amazing content, you need to optimize your videos on a regular basis to ensure that they attract organic traffic and continue to be seen. You may have noted that I said “regular” and this means that you can’t optimize once and leave it. This has to be done at frequent intervals for maximum impact and to grow your subscriber base.

The below tips on promoting your YouTube videos can help to set you above the competition, increase individual video views and grow your subscriber base.

Spruce up your channel

Draft a compelling profile with a clear description of what your channel is all about and make sure that all the visuals are on brand.

Select an effective title

It is important to have the right title for your video to hook the viewer at the very first glance. You need to keep the titles short, descriptive and include relevant keywords. If the title is too long and does not include an accurate description the viewer may be tempted to click away.

Pick the right video thumbnail

In a split second, a viewer decides whether to click your video or move on and you need to make the thumbnail attractive and representative of the content showcased in the video.

Select right keywords

Pick keywords that are likely to return videos when searched on Google. For instance, a search with keywords ‘punctured tyre repair’ obviously returns a lot of videos as people can learn better by viewing a video instead of reading an article about it. You need to find such keywords related to your video topic and use it across your video page. If the search query throws up a lot of videos, it is a good match.

YouTube looks at a number of factors when ranking videos and these include: title tag information, number of views, keywords in description, tags, video length, number of subscribers, comments, likes and dislikes.

It will be helpful to keep the below points in mind when optimizing YouTube videos:

  • Writing long descriptions help, as it gives YouTube sufficient information to classify your video accurately
  • Use video keywords as I have mentioned above
  • Getting more views from online communities such as Quora and LinkedIn for example can help to improve search ranking
  • Add relevant keywords to the playlists

Engage with the community

Find channels within your industry and engage by viewing videos and posting authentic comments. Also make it a point to like videos, share and subscribe to relevant channels. When you help other channels promote their content, you will get noticed and mostly other channels tend to reciprocate in kind, unless they are a very big brand.

Add a Call-to-Action (CTA)

Tell the viewer what to do after viewing your video and this can include actions such as subscribe to your channel, watch more videos, like or share a video, or leave a comment. You can add CTAs using direct host-mentions, where at a certain point in the video the author or host appears before the camera and calls on the viewers to take one of the above listed actions. You can also use the annotations feature in YouTube to post a hyperlinked text bubble anywhere in the video. Another option is to use end-cards, which are similar to annotations but comes at the end of the video.


Make sure to optimize your video descriptions. You can provide links to your social media accounts in the description and it often works if you put a note asking people to click on the links.

Make it easy to embed your videos 

You can either allow or prevent people from embedding your videos, through an option available during the video upload. When embedding is permitted, others can embed your videos on their websites, blogs etc, giving you a much wider exposure.  

Promote your YouTube channels

Use your owned assets such as websites, email signatures, blogs, newsletters and social media channels to promote your YouTube videos.

Embed a Featured Video

You can use this feature to promote a selected video while the viewer is watching another video hosted on your channel. The featured video will appear as a tiny thumbnail, which the viewer can click easily.  You can also embed a watermark, which can be your corporate logo or another image and this will appear across all the YouTube videos in your channel. Users can subscribe to your channel by clicking the watermark. You can find featured video or watermark by going to the ‘My Channel’ section.

Use Channel Ad feature

YouTube can use a video that you upload in the Channel Ad section to promote its own services. The only drawback is that you will not have much control in terms of how the video is used but its a good option to draw more eyeballs to your video. 

Create helpful content

All the optimization will not do much to grow your subscriber base if the quality of content that you put out is substandard or overly promotional. Ensure that you post content that is helpful and be consistent so that you target audience will have a reason to keep coming back. Launching a series of training videos, which are for instance posted on a certain day of the week, can help in drawing subscribers to your channel.

Run a contest

Upload a video announcing a contest and promote it across your social media channels. You can also ask your subscribers to share it within their own networks. You can ask people to subscribe to your channel for instance to be entered into the contest to win an exciting prize. You can ask them to create their own videos focusing on a specific topic and upload it. Your subscribers can vote to select the top videos.

Use In-display and Pre-Roll Ads

You can launch a YouTube advertising campaign to drive channel subscriptions, click-through rates on CTAs etc. In-display ads appear in YouTube search results as related videos or on the websites that are part of the Google Display network. With In-display ads, you can include a call-to-action as an overlay, which directs the viewer to a specific URL.  You can use Pre-roll ads to roll out any video from your channel before the actual video that the user wants to view plays on the screen. Simply put, pre-roll ads are the commercials that run on YouTube before you get to watch what you really want to see. You have to watch it for 5 seconds before getting the ‘Skip Ad’ option.