“14 million views later” – How a student leveraged his interests to grow his YouTube channel, and what that means for you


YouTube is a big platform. More than big. Enormous. For instance, over 500 hours of content is uploaded every minute on YouTube. Worldwide, there are over 2 billion monthly active users. This might make your dream of becoming a (somewhat) popular YouTuber seem impossible, but it’s not. I started publishing YouTube videos around a year ago. My channel has now amassed almost 35,000 subscribers and 14,000,000 total views, with no sign of slowing down.

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I’m sure there are many similar articles like this all over the internet, and I’m confident the writers have just as many, if not more, subscribers and views than I do. The key difference is that many of these writers are adults. Adults who have most likely spent years dedicating their lives to the platform. Adults with tons of experience in a specific field, which they use to grow their YouTube channel.

When I started my channel, I was a sophomore in high school. I used my phone and school iPad to make videos, and I had really had no idea where I was going with my channel. Along the way, I’ve discovered some useful tricks and strategies, which has helped me to become the YouTuber I am today. With all that being said, let’s get straight into my guide on how to grow a YouTube channel:


Topic

The first thing you want to do before starting your YouTube channel is to choose a topic. The more specific, the better. Sticking to a specific topic is the best way to grow consistent and loyal subscribers. For instance, rather than play a large variety of video-games, try to narrow it down and choose games with similar themes, such as shooter, sport, or role-playing games. One thing you can do is experiment with different topics, and see which one gives you the most success. Remember to always do what works.


Trends

One of the best chances you have of going viral is to incorporate trending topics in your videos (video-games, memes, music, etc.). Research trends and potential trending topics. If you pick up on something before it goes viral, your video could potentially gain lots of attention. You can discover new trends through several different methods. To start, many viral videos on YouTube will be shown on Browse Features and Suggested Videos, which are different types of traffic sources. The YouTube Trending tab shows videos that are seen by a wide range of viewers and are performing extremely well in terms of views and watch time. Another great way to discover new trends is through other social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.


End Screens

End Screens allow you to promote your content in the last 5-20 seconds of your video, and can help grow your audience and bring in lots of additional views. They overlay your video as small rectangles, and point viewers to your other videos, playlists, and channels. They can even remind viewers to subscribe. I’ve found them to be one of the most useful features on YouTube, and have been able to generate 500,000 views from end screens alone.


Momentum

If you find that one of your videos is going “viral,” the best thing you can do is post more content. You have a much higher chance of going viral through multiple videos if one of your previous videos is already gaining lots of attention. Remember that there will be good days, and there will be bad days. You might find yourself gaining 10 times more views than average, and then suddenly, it will drop to below average. This happens to me all the time. Don’t be discouraged. Try to follow a designated upload schedule, and take advantage of your good days.


Community Posts

Community posts are another extremely useful feature on YouTube, and can help users discover your channel. The downside is they can only be obtained after reaching 1,000 subscribers. I usually get thousands of likes for each community post, and it’s helped bring in lots of new viewers. Keep in mind that promotions will hardly ever get much attention, so I wouldn’t recommend posting any type of promotions. Typically, memes and polls will get the most recognition, and will be seen by significantly more users. Try to utilize community posts on a daily or weekly basis, and make sure to engage with your fan base.


If becoming a YouTuber is something that you are interested in, or you just want to grow a following and reach people, I hope these tips help you navigate YouTube content creation. It has taken me a few years to get where I am, and it hasn’t always been a success. Just keep working at it, and find your audience!

Kyle Shao is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class