Top 25 Most Subscribed YouTubers to Follow in 2020
28 May 2020
15 May 2020
Have you been dreaming of your own YouTube channel for a while, but have no idea where to start? Then, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll give you a complete YouTube marketing strategy, which you can start implementing now to grow your channel from zero.
Together, we’ll discover how to attract visitors to your channel and get them to subscribe, how to create the right content for your audience, how to brand your channel and everything in between. Let’s go!
By now, you probably have an idea what your channel is going to be about. But, have you thought about your audience, who they are, and why they’d want to watch your videos?
In order for your YouTube channel to be successful, each of your videos should be created having your target audience in mind. It should be perfectly tailored to their interests, needs, and watching preferences.
Let’s say you have a cooking channel where you upload quick recipes for people with busy lifestyles. Considering the fact that your audience are very frugal with their time, you’d make your videos short and concise like the recipes. Notice how in both videos each recipe is about half a minute long.
This is but one example of tailoring your videos to your audience.
What if people with different interests and demographics are interested in your content? In this case, it’s best to segment your audience by creating buyer personas (perhaps we should call them “audience personas” when it comes to YouTube).
A buyer or audience persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer, or in this case, subscriber. It helps you to keep your audience in mind when creating content.
Returning to the example of a cooking channel, you might decide to expand your audience to include people who cook for the enjoyment of it. Now, besides the short videos, you’d start making longer ones as well to cover more complex dishes. In this case, you’d have two different personas to create content for.
There are special templates online which you can use to create audience personas for your own channel. They should look something like this.
Of course, defining your audience is not one-time business. Even as your channel grows, you should keep an eye on YouTube analytics (which we’ll discuss later in the article) to find out who actually watches your videos.
Learning about the demographics and interests of your existing audience will help you further tailor your content to their needs, and thus, keep your channel growing.
The next step is to analyze your competition, particularly the most subscribed channels in your niche. Doing so is an effective shortcut to understanding what kinds of videos appeal to your target audience.
Ultimately, it’s the viewers who decide which channels get to the top. This means that top results are the closest to what your audience is looking for. Thus, to get there as well, you should learn from your most successful competitors.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t imitate your competitors. Still, getting insights into what they’re doing right will help you figure out how to promote your own channel. And don’t limit your observations to competitors alone. You can get lots of awesome ideas from channels in other categories as well.
Once you have a fairly good idea about what makes your most successful competitors such, think about your unique value proposition. What value can you offer to your audience? Why should people choose to watch your videos over millions of others on YouTube?
Also, be sure to communicate your value proposition to your audience. You can do so at the beginning or the end of your videos, as well as in your channel trailer. Simply mention, in a couple of words, what your channel offers and why people should subscribe to it.
Defining and communicating your value proposition is only the first step. What’s important is to actually deliver that value with every video you create.
It’s no secret that branded channels perform far better than non-branded ones. Why? Because they inspire trust in first-time visitors and their consistent style makes their videos easily recognizable among thousands of others.
But, how to brand your YouTube channel? Well, one thing you’ll definitely need is a brand style guide.
It’s a rulebook you create for your own channel, where you define the look of your videos (e.g. the styling of your set-ups, your thumbnail designs, your signature color palette and typography style, etc.), as well as the main tone of your videos, how you edit your footage, and other details related to your content.
The goal is to maintain consistency across your entire channel so that people recognize your videos at first glance. While creating your own brand style guide, feel free to draw some inspiration from our free sample.
The importance of channel consistency cannot be overstated, which is the reason YouTubers use different tools to achieve such a result. Among them are intro and outro videos, custom thumbnails, signature soundtracks, and other elements that differ across channels. Check out this short and simple intro of the TED Talks channel that sets their videos apart from thousands of others.
You can create a professional YouTube intro yourself using online intro templates. Here’s one such template by Renderforest, which you can customize by clicking the button below.
One of the most common intro types is a logo animation. If you decide to create a logo for your channel (which you definitely should), you can easily get such a video with the template of your choice.
Creating a custom header is yet another step towards a more professional YouTube channel. Effective headers are those that visually attract first-time visitors and communicate to them what your channel is about. If you have a logo, make sure to include it here as well.
An effective way to retain your first-time visitors is by creating a channel trailer. It’s an introductory video that appears at the top of your YouTube channel and is visible to unsubscribed users. A trailer presents your channel to potential subscribers, explaining what your videos are about and how the audience will benefit from watching them.
To find the ingredients that make up a magnetic trailer, let’s first watch one and then analyze it together. Check out this 45-second animation by Kurzgesagt, a channel with beautiful animated videos on a wide range of scientific topics.
If you’re a generally curious person, or you’re interested in science (which often comes with the first), chances are you’d check out their channel after watching this video. So, what exactly attracted you to it? Let’s figure out by breaking these 45 seconds into four parts.
1. Sneak Peek (0:00 - 0:24)
“Show, don’t tell” — you’ve probably heard this saying a hundred times. Well, that’s exactly what the first part of this trailer does. It offers a sneak peek into the channel, showing what their videos are like. Right from the first scene, you get the mildly humorous tone of the channel, its vibrant visuals, and what the videos there are about.
2. Value Proposition (0:25 - 0:29)
“We try to explain the universe, and our existence, one video at a time.” As short as that.
3. Sample Videos (0:30 - 0:34)
To excite your curiosity further, the trailer mentions several video titles from their channel: “What is life? Are there aliens? What happens if you step on a black hole?”
4. Call to Action (0:35 - 0:45)
The video ends with a quick reminder to subscribe to their channel, accompanied by a logo animation: “If you want to find out, you should click here and subscribe to Kurzgesagt — In a Nutshell" YouTube channel.
And, of course, the brilliant video thumbnail — an animated reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that any sci-fi fan has seen. Do you think one of their audience personas could be a sci-fi film buff?
To spark your creativity further, you can go hunting for other effective channel trailers and dissect them in a similar manner. When creating your own trailer, try this YouTube Outro Pack to include an animated call to action at the end.
Did you notice our call to action?
With so much video content freely available on the web, high video quality is taken for granted. Thus, as unfair as it may sound, you can’t expect your channel to grow if your videos are of low resolution or have poor audio quality.
To help you make your investments wisely, here’s a list of equipment you’ll absolutely need. Plus, an informative video on how to set up your own YouTube studio.
Unless you’re going to outsource your voice-over recordings to a voice actor, you’ll need a good microphone to block out the distracting ambient noise in your videos. You can browse through this list of best microphones for beginners and find something to match your budget and needs.
If you’re going to shoot live-action videos for YouTube (as opposed to creating animations or editing pre-existing footage), then you’ll naturally need a camera. When it comes to choosing one for vlogging, it’s probably best to ask the pros. Here’s a list of cameras 20 famous YouTubers use for filming their videos.
A high-quality tripod is another must-have for any vlogger.
Whether you’re shooting your videos outdoors or in a studio, you’ll need something to steady your camera on. While there are certainly some budget-friendly DIY ways to do this, like putting a pile of books on a table and mounting your camera on top, this will hardly give you a quality result and will greatly limit your flexibility.
Thus, it’s better to invest in a good tripod right away, as you’ll have to do it at some point anyway. To help you make a choice, here’s a review list of 7 tripods that are best for vlogging.
Are you recording your videos outdoors or have a large window to provide you with soft natural light? Then, chances are, lighting is not a problem for you. But if the room you’re recording in is poorly lit, you might need to supply yourself with some lighting equipment.
If you’re planning to shoot scenes with a hand-held camera, then you’ll definitely need a stabilizer. It’s a piece of equipment you mount your camera on that enables you to film steady footage even while running.
When you just start your channel, you make certain assumptions about your audience and their interests. As your channel grows and more people subscribe to it, it becomes necessary to understand your actual audience and put those initial assumptions aside. You do so with YouTube Analytics.
To access it, go to your Creator Studio dashboard, and click “Analytics” on the left-hand panel.
Check out this guide to understand which metrics you should be tracking and how you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Use the information to refine your audience personas and your content. And remember that getting analytics insights is not a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process and an inseparable part of being a YouTuber.
Creating collaborative videos with other YouTubers in your niche will give you more exposure to your target audience. Find and reach out to channels that have similar content and roughly the same follower count. This will make it more likely that the other party will be interested in collaboration as well.
This might cause some disillusionment, but just vlogging is not enough. If you want your target audience to find your channel, you need to create searchable content with the right keywords. To do so, first find suitable keywords with large enough search volume in your niche, using tools like vidIQ, Keyword Tool, TubeBuddy, or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Keep in mind that it’s far more likely to rank with specific long-tail keywords than short and broad ones. Let’s say you want to record a video tutorial on how to make homemade ice-cream.
If you search for “homemade ice cream” on YouTube, you’ll see a lot of videos with millions of views. Unless your channel already has a huge follower count, it’s unlikely your video will ever make it to the top for this keyword.
Thus, it’s better to choose a more specific keyword (and topic) to target. To find such a keyword, look at the suggestions YouTube brings. How about a tutorial on making homemade vegan ice-cream without using an ice-cream machine?
Your keyword would now be “homemade vegan ice cream no machine.” Even though the search volume for this keyword is lower, your video is now more likely to be discovered organically.
Once you’ve determined the keyword you want to use, understand what exactly people are looking for when searching for it. In other words, what is their search intent? To do so, simply type the keyword in the YouTube search box and see what videos appear at the top.
Just like any other search engine, YouTube wants to rank the most useful and relevant videos for each keyword at the top. This means, top results are a pretty good guide of what users are looking for when they search for a particular keyword.
For example, it’s clear from this SERP that users searching for “diy room decor” are looking for list videos. And teenagers appear to be most interested in this craft.
Thus, if you were to make a similar video, you’d know that, first, it can be targeted at teenagers; and second, that it’s best to go with a list-type video for this keyword.
If the search results are quite different from the type of video you intended to make, then you’ll need to find a more suitable keyword to target. However, if they did match your expectations, then watch two or three ranking videos and pay attention to what they cover. Think about how you can address the same topic better or from a different angle. What additional value can you add?
Make sure that what you cover in your own video, as well as the title and thumbnail, actually match the search intent you identified.
In the example above, all the thumbnails are collages of several DIY projects. This makes it clear that the video is a list, and the audience will find plenty to choose from.
Once you’ve decided on your keyword, make sure to include it naturally in the video title, description, tags, as well as in your script.
Thanks to its automated caption generator, YouTube can “read” your speech, understand what it’s about, and bring your video up in relevant searches. That is why it’s important to use your keyword, as well as other contextual phrases while speaking.
Most likely this will happen naturally as you expand on your topic. The one thing you should still keep in mind is to include those words and phrases in your introduction as well.
How many times have you skipped those long, boring intros? Plenty, for sure. And if two or three skips later you were still left hanging in midair, you’d click the next video right away.
Luckily, such a fate is easy to avoid. All you need to do is jump straight to the point without long, redundant intros. See how effectively Nick Nimmin does this in his videos. Even his logo animation appears after a short hooking intro, not before it.
You can also use the PAS formula in your intros to make them even more effective. It consists of three parts: problem, agitation, and solution. Each of these can be a single sentence.
First, you present the problem and have your target audience relate to it. Then, you create more tension and suspense. And finally, release it with the promise of a solution.
If you’re looking for a short and engaging intro animation, try this Quick YouTube Intro, which has all the elements of a dynamic opener. Simply upload your own images to the template and download your animated intro right away.
Respect the time and attention of your audience. Don’t go telling irrelevant stories that provide no value to your viewers. Most likely, they won’t listen to them anyway, and will simply skip the part. Thus, plan your speech beforehand, and remove any redundancies before you even hit the record button.
Plan Your Talking Points
Not everyone is comfortable following a pre-written script. If you're one of those people, simply make a list of the points you want to address. Place your list somewhere near the camera, so you can recall what’s next with a single glance. This will ensure you don’t stray from the subject.
Trim it in Post-Production
If you still catch yourself straying from the main point, don’t stress about it. Simply make a concluding statement and move on to the next one. You can cut the unnecessary parts out while editing.
When giving titles to your videos, there are several things to keep in mind:
YouTube has the feature of auto-generating thumbnails for your videos. Our advice is not to rely on them. Your thumbnail is the face of your video. The more tended to it looks, the more chances you have of attracting an audience.
Here are several tips on how to make an effective thumbnail:
Closed captions have plenty of benefits. They make your content accessible to a wider audience and they help your videos rank better. You can add captions to YouTube videos manually, or let the platform auto-generate them. In case of the latter, there might be some mistakes which you can later correct yourself.
Another way to caption your videos is by uploading a ready file with your captions. You can order such files from transcription services, like Rev and 3PlayMedia. You can also generate them using online tools or software programs. Common formats used for this purpose are SubRip (.srt) and SubViewer (.sub), both supported by YouTube.
Remind your audience to like your video, subscribe to your channel, or check out your social media pages. You can do so at the beginning, middle, or end of your videos, as well as in the description.
Here’s an example of Christian DelGrosso promoting his girlfriend’s channel with a call to action.
There are different types of CTAs you should familiarize yourself with to start successfully converting your channel traffic.
To make your CTAs more effective, don’t just tell people to subscribe. Explain why they should do so, and how they will benefit from watching your videos. In other words, communicate your value proposition.
While uploading your video to YouTube, you have the option to add cards at the end. Cards act as links to other videos from your channel. They make it more likely that people will watch another video of yours when the current one is over.
With cards, first-time visitors are more likely to subscribe to your channel. Having watched one video, they can now get an idea of what other topics you cover. And if those visitors happen to match your target audience, it’s likely they’ll be interested.
Make sure to include cards both on complementary and different topics. This will give first-time visitors an idea about the range of content you cover.
In this article, we listed the most important factors that determine your success on YouTube. If all this seems like too much, don’t worry. None of the YouTubers were perfect at their craft from the beginning. But they kept going nevertheless and tried to make each video better than the previous one. So can you!
Often, the first step is the most decisive. How about taking it now and creating a branded intro for your channel? Our templates are at your complete disposal!
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