If you have the ability (and luck) to start a viral trend then congratulations, it’s not easy.
Being a trendsetter is hard.
Luckily it’s not essential for success on YouTube and I’d argue that consistently making content that follows trends is a more effective strategy than trying to start one.
In my previous post I outlined how to find what’s trending on YouTube, and now I’m going to show you how to make content that will get swept up in the hype and search traffic that trends create.
5 steps to increasing YouTube views with trend-friendly content
Step 1 – Find what’s trending on Youtube
Step 2 – Create trend-friendly videos
This is slightly more complicated.
There’s a fine line between deviating from your normal content and alienating your existing audience.
You want to find new audiences through increased traffic from search and suggested videos but you need to do it in a tone that is consistent with your regular output and delivers value to your subscribers.
Because of this some types of content work better than others for various audiences. Here are 4 trend friendly content types that I would recommend:
Very simple to implement and can be made quickly after a video goes live. If you are reacting to something that’s important to your niche this can deliver great value to your audience.
See the Fine Brothers’ React To series
Similar to the above and suitable for those in more “serious” categories .
If a complicated subject is headline news why not be the one to break it down and reap the benefits of the search traffic?
This also reinforces your authority in the space.
See The Vlog Brothers’ Understanding Ukraine
Definitely not suitable for all audiences but can be hugely effective in driving traffic through search and suggested video.
See the view counts on these videos:
Word of warning – make sure you’re not breaking any copyright laws or YouTube’s terms and conditions here.
If a trending video works hard to make a point why not argue the counterpoint just as hard?
You will be covering the same topics so are likely to be swept up by the trend and be included in any discussions that surround it.
I particularly like this approach as it sets you apart from all of the other trend followers who side with the original video.
Search for the amount of responses and claims of inaccuracies following the Kony 2012 video release.
Step 3 – Optimize
Your content is ready, now you need to make sure it’s optimized to capitalise on your new viewers.
Here are the 4 factors you need to consider when optimizing your trend-friendly content.
- Titles – should be similar to the original or at least include the same keywords
- Tags – Use this great free chrome extension too see what tags the original video is using. The idea is not to copy every tag but to use the relevant tags that you may have overlooked
- Description – This should include the main keywords, and a mention of, and link to, the original video
- Thumbnail – If possible this should be inspired the thumbnail of the original but don’t divert too much from your usual style (you should have one)
- Calls to action – Should be strong and if possible a human being making them in-vision – these always convert best. If not a verbal call to action with an on screen prompt will do and worst case just an annotation
- End card – Provide just a few related choices on your end card (see point 5 here) but make sure your suggestions are interesting for a new audience and specifically the audience of the original
- Retain new subscribers – The next video you publish needs to be STRONG (don’t they all?) but also slightly broader than your traditional output to cater for new subscribers. There’s no point in gaining a new following only for them to unsubscribe at the site of your next video. After this, ease back into your normal schedule and although you’ll see a drop off in subs you’ll likely be left with more than you started with.
- In individual video settings go to “Advanced Settings” select “Everywhere” under the “Syndication” option, not just monetizeable platforms. I would suggest this be the default for your videos as even though the views will not be revenue-generating the positive momentum and SEO benefits will far outweigh any downside.
Step 4 – Promotion
This is where the had work begins.
Relying on search traffic alone is simply not going to cut the mustard if you want to experience a significant uplift.
Like the creation of the content it’s important to do this as quickly as possible so that you don’t miss the peak of the trend.
Here are some great methods to promote your video to those looking for the original:
- Comment on the original and add value to the conversation. If appropriate drop a link to your video in the comments but do it without coming across as spammy
- Get in touch with the original poster. Social media is probably the best route. Likely if they see it and like it it will be the best route to success
- Rinse and repeat the above for other trend-surfers. Other related videos will get the same traffic surges so they are the perfect places to be seen. There will be less competition to become associated with these “secondary” trending videos and so you’re more likely to achieve referrals this way
- Use hashtags as this will help you be swept up in the hype. Also your own followers are the likeliest to promote you and get the momentum started
- Search Google to find where people are talking about the original and get stuck in (see my point on not being spammy ). I’d set up an alert for new places where it’s being mentioned so that you join conversations from the start.
- Beg, borrow and steal for a backlink – YouTube is, amongst other things, a search engine and links back to your video are a HUGE factor in ranking. The more links you get back to your video, especially from related websites, the better your chances of ranking for the search term. Ask other YouTube channel managers you know, reach out to bloggers and submit your videos to aggregators like Reddit. I always advocate staying squeaky clean when it comes to SEO, so don’t be tempted to pay for links or views.
There’s quite a lot to get your head around here if this is not something you’ve done before, but building this into a standard procedure for your channel will help you to reap great rewards.
Find youtube trends and capitalise on them with related content, making sure not to alienate existing audience by going too far off base.
Your videos can’t just be trend-bait though and must provide value in and of itself, because low audience retention will undo any good SEO that you have worked towards.
Stay ahead of trends and repeat the process.
Being associated with just one video that generates significant traffic can do more for your YouTube views and subscribers than a number of videos on “original” topics.
I have a weekly newsletter that not only shares strategies like this but also reports on trends that are set to take off so pop your email into the box below and make sure you know what trend is coming next.