4 Tips For Building A YouTube Audience From YouTube’s Head Of Content Strategy

By Megan O'Neill 

You’ve got a YouTube channel set up and you’ve been uploading videos, but they aren’t getting the views you think they deserve.  One explanation could be that your content simply isn’t engaging, interesting or worthwhile, but let’s assume that that’s not the case.  If your content is great but you aren’t getting views, a likely reason is that you haven’t put the time into building your audience.

In an awesome Ad Age interview with YouTube’s Head of Content Strategy Jamie Byrne last week, Byrne provided some great tips for building a YouTube audience.  Check them out below and be sure to read the Ad Age article as well for more insight from Byrne.

Be Authentic & Let Your Passion Shine Through

Byrne explains that, “a lot of YouTube’s success comes down to authenticity.”  As a video creator, it’s important to be authentic and one of the best ways to do this is to make content that you are truly passionate about.

Lets say you’ve created a series of videos reviewing tech gadgets and devices…but you hate technology!  Your audience is going to see right through you.  When you create content about something that you love, something you are passionate about, and something that you are completely immersed in, it will shine through in your videos.  Byrne says the YouTube community knows “when someone’s not making content they’re passionate about and they’ll react to that.”

Engage With The Community

What makes YouTube a unique form of entertainment (as opposed to traditional television or film) is that creators and viewers have a direct channel of communication via comments and video responses.  Don’t ignore the value of connecting and engaging with your viewers.

Byrne says, “Once you have that viewer connecting, whether they’re commenting or liking it, the relationship the creator builds with that audience sustains the most success.”

Engaging with the community can be as simple as adding an annotation or note in the description asking the viewers to like your video or leave a comment, or adding something at the end of your video where you speak directly to the audience, asking them questions to answer in the comments or in video responses.


Cross-promotion is a great way to expand your audience.  Working with other YouTubers who create similar content is a great way to get introduced to their audiences and vice versa.

Byrne points out that you’ll see a lot of cross-promotion between many of the top channels on YouTube.  “They’ll work with other channels that are similar to them and they cross-promote their content.  So you’ll see them recommend another channel.  You’ll see them take a video from another channel and do some editorial around it.  And what that does is help share subscribers.”

Why are subscribers important?  Well, subscribers are consistently more engaged with the content that you post—they watch more, comment more, like more and share more.  So the more subscribers you’ve got, the more views you’ll get.

Use The Tools YouTube Provides

Finally, Byrne recommends that creators take advantage of the tools they have at their disposal on YouTube.  This includes tools like annotations, which can be used for everything from asking viewers to subscribe, like and comment to linking between your videos to help viewers discover your other content, making interactive videos and more.

Byrne also mentions the TrueView video product and promoted videos, which are an additional way for creators to bump discoverability of content.  He says, “Those types of things are great ways to try to build awareness of new content, which we think will be particularly important in the episodic space where you’re trying to drive awareness.”

What sorts of methods do you use to build your YouTube audience?  Feel free to share your own tips in the comments below!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.