Is growing your YouTube channel on your 2024 to-do list? Then you need a solid strategy.
YouTube is a competitive arena. Only a fraction of creators manage to make a full-time income off the platform.
What do these creators have in common? Great content and well-laid plans.
Here’s how to draw up your personal 2024 YouTube growth strategy.
Define Your Overall Goals
As a first step, you need to outline the goals you want to reach.
Is your objective to hit the 1,000 followers necessary to join the Partner Program and start monetizing your channel with ads? Or are you long past that, and want to hit the 1 million subscribers mark?
Do you want to step up your content production? If so, by how much?
Is your aim to make a living off the platform? If so, how much money does that actually mean for you per month?
Belabored as the concept is, setting SMART goals is a great starting point. These goals are:
Basically, you need to be clear about exactly what you want to achieve, by when, and how you’re going to measure it. And you need to stay realistic about what’s possible.
For instance, saying you want to make a full-time income off YouTube? Not good enough.
Saying you want to earn at least 2.5K per month in ad revenue, brand partnerships, and Patreon subscriptions through 500K followers by November? Much better!
Audit Your Channel
If you already have a YouTube channel, your next step will be to audit it.
That means taking a close look at your content and pinpointing what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t.
Dive deep into the analytics tab in YouTube Studio and check out metrics such as:
- average view duration (AVD)
- audience demographics
- watch time
- like-to-dislike ratio
- click-through rate (CTR)
These numbers will give you valuable insights about what parts of your content are doing well and what you need to improve. For a comprehensive guide to YouTube’s numbers, check out our metrics guide here.
For instance, you can check out exactly which parts of your YouTube videos viewers rewatch multiple times, which types of video titles do best, which thumbnails are the most clickable, and which topics garner the most views.
Using that knowledge allows you to fine-tune your content strategy further down the line.
Overhaul Your Audience Research and Your Niche
Before you down to planning content, though, there’s more research to do. The next question you need to explore in depth is this: Who is your audience right now? And who do you want them to be?
Successful creators make video content with a specific target audience in mind. Whether it’s busy women in their 30s juggling jobs and family obligations and want to learn Yoga, or college students looking for vegan cooking inspiration.
Having a particular audience and their interests in mind also makes it easier to hone your niche cred.
Niching down is a prime strategy to grow your following and drive engagement. You get to establish your expertise and keep people hooked on YouTube content you know they’re interested in.
Look at Competitors
Another bit of research that comes in handy when you’re outlining your 2024 YouTube strategy is to get the scoop on your competitors:
- Which other channels in your niche target the same audience as you?
- Who produces similar content?
- Who are their sponsors?
- What works for them in terms of content?
- Which are their most successful series, playlists, and collaborations?
Checking out these details can give you valuable insights and inspiration. Rather than re-create what your competitors are doing, though, you can riff off their MO and give it your own unique twist.
When it comes to competitor research, SEO tools like TubeBuddy come in handy. They’ll give you all the important YouTube analytics stats on other creators’ videos.
Deep-Dive Into YouTube SEO
And talking about SEO – this is the next point on your strategy agenda.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It describes a set of practices that help content rank in search results.
Since YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, right after Google, SEO is key to pinpointing the right content ideas to win over both your audience and the YouTube algorithm.
Using SEO tools, you can see which words and phrases viewers are searching for to get to the content they want and what the current search trends are. Keyword research lets you see the volume of searches for each term, and how difficult it would be to rank for.
SEO doesn’t end once you’ve pinpointed relevant keywords, though. You also need to incorporate them into your content – including your video description, title, chapters, captions, and tags.
Update Your Monetization Strategy
The next item on your YouTube strategy agenda is your monetization strategy.
A survey of content creators recently showed that creators making a full-time YouTube income harness an average of four different income streams. These can include:
- YouTube ad revenue via the Partner Program
- on-platform tipping features (Super Thanks and Super Chat during YouTube live)
- merchandise sales
- affiliate programs
- tipping and subscription platforms (like Patreon and Ko-Fi)
- brand deals
- selling online courses
Plan Out Cross-Channel Promotion
The next point you need to consider in your strategy is how you promote your content. Posting on YouTube whenever and expecting the algorithm to do the rest just doesn’t cut it in most cases – or at least leaves a lot of potential unharnessed.
Cross-channel promotion is key. Most professional creators harness other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch to extend their reach and boost their content. Many also use email lists, personal websites, and even blog posts for cross-promotion.
Plus, there’s some serious potential for repurposing videos, especially short-form content. For instance, you can reformat a YouTube video to a short vertical sneak-peek that grabs your audience’s attention and post it to YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels. Shorts compilations let you to the opposite.
Let’s follow Loic Suberville’s content: from a teaser Short (& Reel) about French Verlan to the full video – and a Shorts compilation.
Round Up Your Resources
Once you’ve gathered all the information above, it’s time to consider the practicalities of content creation. That starts with rounding up your resources.
- How much time do you realistically have to work on producing high-quality content?
- What’s your budget for buying equipment and props?
- Are you already generating a YouTube income? If so, how much?
- Could you scale up your content output by hiring a video editor, graphic designer, or channel manager?
All these are pragmatic considerations. They let you stake out the limits on how much you’re realistically able to achieve.
Overall, this means you get to operate more efficiently and set achievable expectations.
Plan for Downtime and Self Care
Talking about time planning and realistic expectations, there is one factor that’s crucial to plan in: Self-care.
When you’re planning to grow on YouTube, you’re probably raring to go all-in and spend all your free time on content creation. In the long run, though, this is counter-productive.
Recent stats have shown that the vast majority – 79% – of content creators have experienced creator burnout, which crippled their creativity and made their earnings drop.
To avoid it, factoring in downtime and self-care are the most essential strategies, according to successful creators. Exercising, meditation, and outsourcing are also high up on the list of go-to tips to build a sustainable YouTube career.
Update Your Content Creation Workflows
Finally, once you’ve done all the research, staked out your goals, and come up with a solid roadmap, it’s time to update your content creation workflows.
Dedicate set times to the different steps of the content creation process – from doing keyword research and writing scripts, over filming raw footage and editing it, to uploading and SEO-optimizing content.
Some creators prefer to batch certain tasks, others like to go through producing each new video from start to finish. Many hire professional video editors and channel managers to free up their time and increase their content quality and quantity.
To find long-term success, you need to adjust your workflows to your available time, existing budget, and overall goals.
The Bottom Line
A solid YouTube growth strategy is the foundation of success. It gives you a detailed roadmap for content creation, monetization, and how to measure your progress.
While it can be tempting to dive right into video creation, taking the time and outlining your strategy first is well worth the time. It’s your launchpad for success.
Subscriber growth is the most obvious YouTube channel growth metric. Apart from that, you will want to track total views and watch time. Ultimately, though, the key measure is your revenue.
Do research in your chosen niche and come up with ideas based on audience interest and trends. Then plan out the production of these videos from the initial research over shooting and editing to uploading.
A content strategy for a channel basically just lays out what topics, content format, and keywords you will create videos around. This often involves series or recognizable clusters for playlists.
YouTube’s algorithm rewards consistent uploading and high audience engagement. This means creating a quantity of well-made content that builds your niche credibility.
With a good content strategy and quality content, absolutely. Achieving lasting success takes a lot of investment, however.