There are tips and tricks galore to get YouTube views, but so many involve paying money for access to a website or service. You may not have the funds at the moment, especially if you’re just starting out. How can you grow your channel organically, without relying on sponsors just yet? How can you get free YouTube views without breaking the bank?
This post has your answer! Here are 20 different tips for getting free YouTube views.
1. Piggyback off viral trends.
One way to getting free YouTube views is to use the most popular “thing” right now and make a video on it. Now, this does not mean copying someone’s exact idea. Searching through social media, Google, and YouTube are great ways to find ideas. Try to find out what the topmost posted about ideas are, like slime videos or unboxings from eBay, and then try it out.
YouTube’s suggested search on the search bar lists the top ten things people are searching for right now. Type in a general starter phrase, like “how to…” and see what comes up. Pick something that you’re able to do and make a video on it.
This video by Think Media gives some more information on how to make viral videos.
2. Use famous guest stars.
This one will help both on social media and YouTube. Reach out to other YouTubers who have more viewers than you and see if you can wrangle a collab. If not, try other social media influencers. Keep asking around and don’t give up if no one is willing yet.
As a way to add some incentive, offer to link their channels/social media accounts to yours for extra exposure. This makes the collab mutually beneficial and shows that you’re willing to give equal credit. Searching websites like Famebit that offer ways to collab with other influencers can also give you some ideas.
This video by Think Media gives more fantastic tips on how to find and collaborate with other YouTubers.
3. Use interactive cards to promote your websites/social media accounts.
Interactive cards are a relatively new feature of YouTube. They’re the little grey pop-up boxes that you might see in the upper right corner of a video, advertising the creator’s channel, other videos, or social media accounts. They are very useful, however, and can generate a lot of traffic.
You can include any link you want, so use them to direct traffic to your other videos and your channel, as well as your website and social media accounts. Keep the viewer traffic flowing between these different outlets to maximize exposure to your videos. There’s more information on interactive cards and how to use them here.
Head to Creator’s Studio, find the video you want to use and click the drop-down menu next to edit. Then, click Cards.
4. Find a niche community.
After you find your niche, you need to work on finding or building a niche community. Social media outlets and websites that promote discussion (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Quora, etc.) are great ways to find your niche. Don’t be afraid to make a post to start a conversation. Make sure you use the correct tags, though, to maximize viewership.
However, make sure to avoid spamming threads with links to your videos. That sort of thing is very annoying to the original poster (OP) or the moderator of the discussion, as well as to those in the discussion. You’ll be ignored or even kicked out of the conversation. Start a conversation and make friends! Ask them to spread your videos around to people they know would be interested, but do it politely.
This video by Video Creators gives more information on how to boost engagement and interest in your community.
5. Post links on your social media profiles.
This point relates back to the previous point. Using social media will be one of your best, if not the best, way to get free YouTube views. That’s the beauty of social media – it’s free exposure for content creators.
Post the links sparingly, however. You don’t want to flood your feeds with links to your videos because, truthfully, your followers are there to be entertained. There is nothing entertaining about being confronted with link after link to a video you aren’t even interested in. Posting about it maybe twice in the week after you’ve posted it, once every few days, is appropriate.
This video by Sunny Lenarduzzi gives great information on how to promote your videos and channels on all types of social media.
6. Increase your video’s SEO ranking.
This tip was stated in point #1, but it’s also applicable here: Research, research, research! Use the Google and YouTube search bar to find the topics that people are currently looking for and then do a video on that. Those phrases in the search bar are the exact keywords that people are typing in, so you need to use those as the title of your video.
Use those as your tags as well, which Google analyzes and places your video accordingly in a Google search. Another way to increase your video’s SEO ranking is to be niche-specific. In other words, title your video as specifically as possible. Don’t just use something like “How to cook chicken.” Try instead “How to cook chicken for beginners” or “How to cook chicken in a crockpot.” Those are both specific ideas that will get more views.
This video by Think Media gives great tips on how to increase your SEO ranking.
7. Create content that imitates your niche’s best.
This is also related to point #1. If piggybacking off the latest trends doesn’t fit in with your channel or niche, this is the next best way to get free YouTube views. Search for other videos in your niche and pay attention to those that come up first. After you take note of those, take note of those in the suggested videos bar. These are videos that are related to the video the viewer just watched and ranked next in SEO. This is your next best bet for directing viewers to your channel and videos.
Do not copy the creators’ specific idea. However, do take a look at their description and title and how they phrased it. These will give you hints on how you should do yours if yours is related. If you do happen to have the same idea laid out before you viewed this video, don’t worry. You can present your content in a more straight-forward and easily-accessible way.
8. Reach out to other influencers.
This point doesn’t necessarily mean other social media influencers or other YouTubers for shout-outs. This can mean searching for websites that have influencers that you can reach out to. This will help you find sponsors as well, by starting to put your channel and videos out there to get more free YouTube views.
Websites designated for reaching out to other influencers are the best and safest way to start promoting your videos. There is a previous post outlining three great websites here. Check these websites out for influencers in your niche!
Here’s a video by Think Media about how to reach out to influencers, and how to proceed from there.
9. Embed the YouTube subscribe button on your blog or social media posts.
This free feature offered by YouTube is absolutely amazing, because you can embed the code into pretty much any platform you want, and a subscribe button appears. This is a great idea because viewers can now subscribe directly to you without having to sign in to their YouTube accounts. They can get updates on your videos more immediately, which increases your viewership for nothing.
It’s very easy to do now. Simply head to the official website and fill out the form with your channel name and any settings you want to change. Then, copy and paste the code directly into the post you want to make.
10. Post about giveaways and contents on your social media.
Everyone loves a good giveaway, especially when it’s something they’d want. This is a great way to get viewers and keep them as well. Giveaways and raffles can increase viewer engagement and enjoyment of your videos, and keep them coming back for more.
Post about it on your social media and mention that the link is in your video’s description. This will send viewers to your YouTube page. Make sure not to give away too many details on social media, and include them at the end of your video.
However, a word of caution: Use giveaways sparingly and make sure to stress that they are a way to give back to your viewers and subscribers as a thank you. Don’t do them for the views, because you’ll build a community of people who are only interested in the free stuff and not in your videos. Giveaways and contests should be something positive and they should be for special occasions.
Here’s a video by Video Creators on how to run a legal giveaway or contest.
11. Organize your videos into playlists.
Organizing your videos into like playlists is another great way to rack in the views. What this means is sorting videos that are part of a series or have similar subjects into playlists. This makes it easier for your viewers to find them. If there are a lot of videos that are similar to what the viewer likes right in front of them, they are more likely to click on them.
Make sure your playlists have all the correct keywords and tags as well, to help with SEO rankings. Title your playlist appropriately. If you’re not sure what to title it, Google the general subject of your videos and see what titles come up. You can even check out other playlists with a similar subject to yours and get ideas there.
This video by Think Media gives some more great tips on how to use playlists to get views!
12. Create a channel trailer.
Creating a channel trailer is a really fun, creative way to introduce yourself. You can post it on your blog and your social media as a way to break the ice. This will help get yourself more exposure. You can also post it on the front page of your channel so it’s the first thing your viewers see. They’ll see it, like it, and wonder what else you have. Then, they’ll go check out the rest of your channel. Setting it to autoplay will help it get views as well.
Your channel trailer needs to look as professional as your videos/future videos will. Make sure your background is appealing, your lighting is correct, and your sound is at the correct volume. Adding in background music and having images pop up can keep the viewer entertained, but make sure neither of those add-ins is overwhelming or distracting.
Here’s a great video by Video Creators that gives you an example of a channel trailer and some extra tips and critiques.
Yes, even the negative ones! Replying to comments shows your viewers that you actually read your comments and that you care about your audience. Give thanks to the short positive reviews and try to write meaningful replies to the longer ones. The negative comments deserve a response too. Be polite and control your hurt feelings.
Replying to comments will also increase viewer engagement as more people will be eager to comment. They’ll want you to respond, so make sure you keep responding! Don’t respond just on your first video and then ignore your fans. Show them their comments are appreciated. Answer questions, give thanks and show the naysayers that you’re an awesome person.
This video by Derral Eves gives great tips on how to manage and reply to multiple comments.
14. Post behind-the-scenes features and bloopers.
This is an unlikely way to get free YouTube views, but it works! These features give a little glimpse into your video-making process and they’re potentially funny! Maybe give a tour of your studio where you film all your skits. You could show your audience the equipment you use to film your gaming videos. If you’re comfortable enough, show them your house! The possibilities are endless.
Show the hilarious outtakes from your videos as well. The funnier they are, the more views, likes, and comments you’ll get. The funny videos always go over extremely well. Bloopers happen no matter what type of video you make, so compile those edited-out moments into a three- to four-minute video and post it. You’ll be surprised at how many views you’ll get!
Here’s an example video by DanAndPhilGAMES of their bloopers from several videos.
15. Use YouTube video subtitles.
This is an easy way to get free YouTube views. Using the subtitles on YouTube is a great way to be more inclusive with your viewers. Someone may be deaf or hard of hearing and need them, but many others just like to have the subtitles on in case they miss a word or two. Adding subtitles can also increase your SEO ranking.
It’s well-known that YouTube’s subtitles are terrible, so it’s best to go into the video and transcribe them yourself. It’s extra work, but it’s worth it. YouTube has a very nifty transcribing system that will ensure it doesn’t take you too long to add accurate subtitles. You can also transcribe subtitles in different languages to really expand your viewer base.
Here’s a video by Derral Eves with more details on how to create subtitles and closed captions.
16. Include your YouTube channel in your emails.
Embedding your YouTube channel into your emails will increase your views in a subtle way. It doesn’t have to be an “in your face” type of marketing at all. However, it’s still important to use this way sparingly because you could run the risk of annoying people. No one wants constant YouTube videos sent to their email when they get the same notification from YouTube itself.
A great way to use this feature is to include the videos in emails to sponsors. Maybe include your channel trailer as a short introduction. You can also send a new video to loyal fans before it hits YouTube, giving them a VIP all-access. However you choose to use this feature, use it wisely.
This video by Internet Services and Social Networks Tutorials from HowTech gives a quick tutorial on how to insert a YouTube video into Gmail.
17. Create an eye-catching thumbnail.
Thumbnails are so, so very important to all YouTube videos. Your thumbnail is what’s going to convince the viewers to click on your video. Therefore, having an eye-catching thumbnail is vital to getting your video viewed.
You’ll want to include your title in your thumbnail to make sure your viewers know they’re in the right place. Use bright, noticeable colors and a fun screenshot from your video. Make sure the text that you use is easy-to-read. Don’t use a fancy script, no matter how nice it looks.
This video by Sunny Lenarduzzi gives a great tutorial on two programs you can use to make thumbnails.
18. Transcribe popular videos’ subtitles into multiple languages.
This point relates back to #15. Transcribing your most popular videos’ subtitles into other languages will open them up to even more views. Many times, viewers will request that you translate it into a specific language, and there’s nothing wrong with agreeing!
Agreeing to translate your subtitles will show your viewers that you are dedicated to them and are willing to be flexible. Take those requests at your own pace and discretion so you don’t overwhelm yourself, but do make an effort to do at least a few.
This video by *Owen Video gives a quick tutorial on how to translate your subtitles for free.
19. Post holiday-themed videos near popular holidays.
One of the most popular times of the year for DanAndPhilGAMES is Spooky Week. That’s when Dan and Phil play spooky or Halloween-themed games, and they always make a killing on views. You can do the same!
Posting holiday-themed videos near popular holidays (like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) will help you get views because people will be more likely to search for those themes nearer to the holidays themselves. Make sure that you title your video to get the maximum SEO ranking.
20. Interact with your fan base.
Last but certainly not least is to make sure to interact with your fans on YouTube and on social media. This is so, so important because you have got to cultivate a strong relationship with your fans, or they won’t stay for long. You cannot expect to continue to grow on YouTube without cultivating your fan base. Getting free YouTube views depends on your fans.
Answer comments on your social media posts about your videos. Like a few. Answer questions and ask questions. Answer any concerns. Give a shout-out to a dedicated fan. Dedicate a video to your fans and why you love them. Show your fans that you notice and appreciate them, and they will talk about you.
This video by IISuperwomanII shows how you can dedicate a video to your fans.
Getting free YouTube views is not easy, especially when you’re just starting out. These 20 tips will help you get free YouTube views, completely legally. These tips will also teach you about navigating YouTube and the YouTube community.