When a natural hair Youtuber walks into a coffee shop it looks a little something like this – perfectly centered – luscious puff, huge smile on face and even larger hugs. That was the scene where I met up with the amazingly kind and talented, Jemy1415. I picked her brain for some insight….. And through the endless laughs and latte sips, I wanted to find out “How to grow your YouTube channel’s audience” from her own experiences. With over 3 million video views on her channel today, Jennifer Jackson aka JEN-MIA (To-me) recalls making her first video in 2011. “I was really careful with YouTube in the beginning. I didn’t want it to become something I didn’t recognize. Companies would reach out to me and I wouldn’t be into it.” But something rapidly shifted this year when Jen decided to go full throttle, giving her page all she had – and that’s when her growth peaked. “This year I said if I’m going to put all this work in, I might as well go all out”, and it’s exactly what she did.
On top of her duties as a student, my girl took the time to sit down with me so we could draft 12 take away tips to help you grow your YouTube Channel’s audience — and it goes a little something like this …
Whatever you decide to do on YouTube, you have to have a passion for it
Jen says that it’s important for YouTuber’s to start a channel out of love and “not because you see someone else doing it.” It can be easy to get caught up in the aims of being YouTube famous. The only thing that fights through all the time spent behind the scenes filming and editing, as Jen got me to understand, is passion.
Have a goal –
From the very beginning. “Write it down and plan it out, of course you can’t plan too much into something, but keep a focus because it’s easy to fall victim to opportunities. Once companies start contacting you, if you don’t have a plan you might just start doing and promoting everything”. Having a goal can be as specific as how many followers you want to have before a specific period of time – and by setting goals you can also think of the action steps you’ll need to complete to get there. “Video planning and goal setting are important too – depending on the video I’m filming, I’ll have an idea of how I want it to turn out before I start. It makes the editing process so much easier this way. Think of the outcome and then film. Organization is the key to this – in terms of filming and even scheduling the time to film.”
Make videos and don’t stop –
“Be consistent!” If you are trying to grow your channel, part of being consistent is putting yourself out there. Start once you have a schedule you can keep up with, but don’t make unrealistic promises to yourself or your followers. I don’t have a set schedule that my followers are aware of because if I don’t deliver on the video I’ve promised it hurts my brand. You don’t want to bombard your subscribers with videos as well. You want your following to be able to keep up.
Get your equipment gradually –
If you’re in the growth stage of a channel or are wanting to achieve growth you will realize your need for extra equipment begin to intensify. Jen says that it’s important to “slowly get what you need because it can get expensive. More expensive equipment doesn’t always mean the best. You can get a really expensive camera, but it may be best for photographers or filmmakers and may not benefit your channel. YouTube is a great place to get information on what equipment to get next! The most important thing with equipment is clarity – in picture and sound.
Start with the basic filming needs A tripod, camera and editing software –
“Use the one that comes with your computer if you need to, then eventually consider suggestions like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. Keep in mind that they have big learning curves. These are the behind the scenes things no one talks about.”
She recommends this entry level camera in case you are graduating from a lower end camera in your growth efforts:
“Get a good DSLR with a cheaper body, then invest in a good lens. For example, the Canon T3i is a good choice. You can even get it used and then invest in a good lens – the 50mm prime lens is one that I reach for often even though I just invested in another.”
Have a marketing plan in place –
Marketing can be an intimidating word, and as a part of a growth strategy it’s going to be something you’ll have to eventually consider. All you need to get started on the road to Marketing is to create engaging content that people are looking for. “I look on Google trends to see help me set keywords and to look for what is being searched, then I name my title and description according. Make videos about what people are looking for. You’ll want to have a catchy title and to have specific keywords so that when people are searching for the topic, they will find you. As well, having social media accounts that tie back to your channel can promote your videos With that, it gives people the opportunity to go back to your channel after finding you on social media and say hey, I like this person and then subscribe.”
“An essential to growth on YouTube is to reach out to new audiences. Reaching out to others and bloggers who are in a similar industry by exchanging videos introduces you to new audiences. It’s a way to get more traffic to your page and to gain more subscribers. Leaving comments on other videos that you’ve watched and liked all tie into this as well.”
Make sure your main page looks good and is organized –
“As your subscriber count begins to grow, you want to make sure you have playlists and a trailer to introduce yourself. If your page is disorganized and you don’t have playlists with a clear banner, people who visit may be less likely to subscribe.”
Brainstorming is important –
“Putting videos up that relate to the upcoming holidays and current events are a good idea. If you want to do videos that are related to specific times of the year, it will involve brainstorming. Thinking up videos and related videos to follow can keep the channel well managed and branded. Thinking of follow up videos can also help tie things together on your channel!”
Be concise and straight to the point in your videos –
“The delivery of the video should be short. Convey the information that you say you are conveying based on the title. Don’t ramble. I’d advise people to keep their videos under 5 minutes unless there is a real reason why it should be lengthy. If it could be short, but you’re making it long by going off on a tangent then that’s not effective.”
Remain yourself –
And no matter how times you’ve heard this, it will never get old. “You want to be relatable to your subscribers. Don’t get tied up in the whole social media aspect of it all because the truth is that the bigger you get, the more companies will come your way. You have to be able to say no to something you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s about authenticity.” I think we can all agree that it’s a crucial component to any relationship.”
There you have it folks. I hope you were able to take something away. If you enjoyed these tips, Jen can be found in many places online.
Jennifer Jackson lives in Ottawa, ON and has a blog that you can check out as well. If you are a naturalista make sure to subscribe to her channel for access to her plethora of knowledge and experience! You won’t want to miss what she has planned for her channel in the up and coming new year!