How NOT to grow on YouTube - 12 ways to destroy your channel
Written by: Dexxter ClarkYou probably Googled this question and got the same answers over and over again.
So, I want to take a different approach.
Instead of telling you what to do, I’m telling you what not-to-do.
I start with the obvious ones (just to be complete).
Then I get to the interesting ones that nobody talks about.
1. A terrible HookDraw your listeners in with a good hook, tease the story and tell what is going to happen in the video.
This is true for vlogs and informational content.
You’ll learn this very quickly, because bad hooks make your videos sink faster than the Titanic, so I’m not going to elaborate on this here.
2. Stop uploading / irregular uploadsTry to maintain a regular release schedule.
Your fans know what to expect, so does the algorithm.
Try to do at least one video a week, that is an unofficial rule in YouTube-land, but there are channels that get away with less uploads.
It hurts your growth potential though.
3. Not thinking about the storyEvery video has a story arch, being it a vlog (especially a vlog), a review, a tutorial … you name it.
Every video has an order of facts.
If the order isn’t right, it can feel strange to the viewer.
Sometimes the chronological order is mixed up to make it interesting (you can do this in vlogs, but not in tutorials).
When it comes to a tutorial: If you explain what button B does, but not what button A does (which you need to click in order to use button B) your viewers can’t follow the information and your video is a bad tutorial.
The story needs to be evolving constantly: too fast and your viewers leave frustrated, too slow and the video is boring.
You will become better at storytelling when you make a lot of videos.
Storytelling can work magic for audience retention and watch time.
The topic of storytelling is extensive and can be a whole chapter in an e-book, in fact, it is in mine, if you like to know more, check out the storytelling chapter in my e-book: “What big Tubers don’t tell you”.
4. Not picking a nicheIf you don’t think about your target audience, you make content for everybody that appeals to nobody.
I experienced this first hand with my DJ and Music Producer channel. I didn’t make a choice between DJing and music production, although the two topics (and target audiences) are closely related.
My channel plateau-ed for a year, until I decided to choose music production.
Not picking a niche is killing your growth.
5. Not bringing valueBring value to your viewers.
This can be in the form of entertainment (a vlog, magic tricks etc) or information.
Without value (and viewers noticing that value early in the video), viewers will leave.
A common vanity pitfall for beginner YouTubers (especially vloggers) is to think that you are the most important person in the world and people are interested in you, what you did and what you have to say. That is not true.
People don’t care about you when they first see you.
After watching a couple of videos, then they can become a fan. If they are a fan, then they care about you.
A lot of bikini vloggers mistake attention for interest.
Because of their looks and their scarce clothing, they managed to grow a YouTube channel quickly.
When viewers don’t see boobs, they are gone.
The value to their audience is body curves.
Making a video about your newest product is only of value to the creator, not the viewer.
Viewers don’t watch the video, so YouTube won’t promote it anymore.
However, if you solve a problem of the viewer with your product, then you give value.
By solving problems viewers can see the value of your product.
For example: Nobody wants to watch a video of me telling how great my YouTube title generator on this site is.
(click here to open the YouTube video title generator in a new tab).
Nobody cares that the tool can process ten thousand titles per minute.
But when I make a YouTube video about “what is the best title for your YouTube video” and I use the title generator on this site, people are interested in my video and the title generator.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t promote your products in your YouTube video.
If you dedicate 20 seconds in the beginning of your video or the last minute of your video for product promotion, that is totally acceptable.
That is the whole concept of a sponsored video.
First give value, then ask something in return.
If you sell body posture correction clothing, you can make a video about how to get rid of back pain.
Start with well researched information that has real value to the viewer, at the end plug your clothing.
To be honest, this article works the same way.
I provide you with value from own experience for free (the information on how to grow your YouTube channel) and I hope you want to buy my YouTube e-book because there is more valuable content like this article in the book.
More information about my YouTube e-book here.
Another approach is branded content.
If you want to sell booze or energy drinks, you can’t really go the informational route, instead go the entertainment route.
Make funny videos (that don’t have to be related to your brand) people want to watch, but your logo is always in the video one way or the other.
“By accident” the hosts mention your brand (or product) once or twice in the video.
6. Buying subscribersIf you want to kill your channel quick and painful, buy subscribers!
Social media algorithms (including YouTube) work with promotion based on engagement.
If people consume (or even better: react to) your content, it is regarded as good content.
When you buy subscribers, you only buy a number, but not engagement.
The bought “subscribers” are bot accounts, not owned by real people that consume your content.
When you release new content (for your increased subscriber count), your relative engagement ratio drops (subscriber/consumption ratio), because the same amount of subscribers as before will consume your content.
The algorithm thinks that your content got worse because the ratio of subscribers that consume is less than before.
The algorithm will promote your content less, and less of your active subscribers consume your content because they don’t see your notifications anymore.
You just dug your own grave.
7. Not establishing authorityLooking the part is important to establish authority.
A doctor in a white coat is far more believable than a doctor in his dirty old clothes that just came out of the garden after taking care of his plants. If you look like a bum and tell people how to earn a million dollars, nobody will believe you.
It’s not only the way you look, but also the way you present the content and what you tell.
Show that you know your stuff, tell how long are you in the business, tell about your received rewards, how many clients did you serve, did you speak at an important conference?
You can give a little back story on why you are the person to listen to on a specific topic.
Establishing authority goes for YouTube as well as an advertisement (on YouTube).
8. Deleting old videosI made this mistake: I deleted old videos that did not do very well.
Partly because I was ashamed of my bad performance, but I also hoped to influence the YouTube algorithm.
I thought: If I delete bad videos, all the bad statistics of the video are deleted as well: my bad videos do not weigh down the promotion of new videos.
I was wrong, it doesn’t work that way.
Leave your old videos on the channel, even if they get only ten views a day, it’s still ten views that you have for free that otherwise go to your competitor.
9. Not making evergreen contentMaking videos that are only relevant days, weeks or months is not the most efficient strategy.
You can grow the fastest with evergreen content, content that is still relevant in three, five or ten years. Views of evergreen videos stack up over time, so is ad revenue.
This ensures the most passiveness of your YouTube job.
With non-evergreen videos (for example: vlogs or news videos), you need to keep making videos constantly.
If you don’t put in the hours, you don’t get paid.
YouTube is the only social media platform where content lives “forever”, use it!
10. Not following the moneyFor most informational videos, you need to do some kind of research.
Research not only the topic, but also the ability to rank for the topic.
Too often I made videos of information that I thought was important to share or was fun to make, but nobody was interested. If I had done proper research, I could have saved a tremendous amount of time.
“Follow the money” they say.
If people don’t search for a topic, they are probably not interested.
How to do proper research?
I talk about different methods in great detail in my book: “What big Tubers don’t tell you”, so you can save yourself some time by not making the same mistakes I did.
Check out more information about the YouTube e-book here.
11. Doing community postsIt may be tempting to update your community about what is going on with the channel, with you, with your product, how your year was etc.
Especially informational YouTube channels like tutorials.
For a vlogging channel that may be different, because people are more interested in you as a person.
I know it’s tempting, but especially in the beginning with a small following, don’t.
If you have a bigger following (100K subscribers or more), then maybe, but you will see, the video will perform badly.
When you are a big channel, have a good reputation with the YouTube algorithm, you will survive a bad video.
When you have a small channel, you don’t have that luxury.
The video lacks value because most people don’t care about you, so they are not interested.
12. Making content for the sake of making contentI know that a regular YouTube video schedule gives a tremendous amount of pressure.
I thought multiple times: ”I need to have a video for tomorrow, but I have no idea what to do, so I just make a video about something”.
Making a video about "something" lacked in my case the research part because of the time pressure.
To relieve that pressure:
- having a list with video topic ideas on your phone, you “only” have to research the video and make it
- having spare videos
- batching content (shoot multiple videos in a row, edit multiple videos in a row etc).
- Skip a video release (but communicate that clearly with your audience via the community tab, email, socials etc). If you need to skip too often, work out a release schedule that works better for you.
13. Changing topicsLet’s throw in a bonus tip.
You might be tempted to change topics to broaden your “YouTube” horizon, that doesn’t work very well.
If you do videos about making websites and suddenly release videos on bass fishing, you’ll antagonize your subscribers.
People came to see you on that specific topic.
You will see a high unsubscribe number in your YouTube analytics on those videos.
If you do want to change topic, start another YouTube channel about that topic.
When you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my video training program: Viral Strategy.
The program takes you step-by-step through the process of getting views, subscribers and going viral.
For new creators I included a module that guides you step-by-step through the process of starting, creating and setting up a YouTube channel.