3 Steps to Get Your First 1000+ YouTube Subscribers

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.29.03

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.26.49

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.28.40

After building 3 channels with over 175,000+ subscribers and 13+ million views I’ve had a lot of people ask me how they too can get more views, subscribers and customers with their Youtube channel.

Or simply how to get started.

This 80/20 guide is my attempt to answer both and help you break into this blue ocean before it becomes a blood red mess.

There are 3 simple steps:

  1. Optimize
  2. Commit
  3. Create Killer Videos

Now, before we dive into those it’s critical you grasp the underlying philosophy for success on Youtube:

Entertain or die.

This is a concept I picked up early on from the book How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck by Steve Stockman, a bona-fide Hollywood director.

And he’s spot on.

Whenever your audience is on Youtube here is the implicit deal they’re making: I will give you some of my time and YOU give me an experience I enjoy.

If the video fails to deliver an entertaining experience, CLICK, they’re off to someone else’s channel.

“Audiences pay with time and/or money for that which entertains them. Period. No entertainment = no audience.
– Steve Stockman

Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you need to go sign up for an improv class.

Entertaining in this case simply means your content is providing an emotional experience for the viewer and raising questions (invoking curiosity), then answering them along the way.

To accomplish this you must THINK about your audience… what do THEY want?

Step No. 1: Optimize Your Channel

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.43.32
Optimizing your channel makes it much easier for viewers to go through your videos and watch more which equals better SEO ranking, more views, subscribers and customers.

Follow these 5 steps to ensure you’re set-up with best foot forward.

1. Artwork

You should have a channel banner (template here) that clearly communicates what your audience will learn, experience from this channel.

For example here is the banner for Show Her Off:

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 09.06.14

You can get great channel designs off upwork or fiverr or even 99designs.

2. Links

Make sure to add in all your social media links and a link to your website-opt in.

Go to the ‘About -> Links’ section of your channel and enter all the URLs there.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 09.14.36

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 09.13.23
  Don’t put www.mywebsite.com as your link text, instead use a benefit or lead magnet name ie – 7 Gluten Free Recipes or Wealth Starter Kit

3. About

Share your passion here the “why” for starting your channel and what viewers can expect to gain from your content.  A couple of paragraphs is fine.
Also post your schedule (New videos every Tuesday!)

4. Playlists

Which of these scenarios is easier for your to find interesting books you want?





Just slapping videos to your channel with no organization is like the first picture for your audience.

By using playlists you can create ‘bookshelves’ for your videos.

Step No. 2: Commit


One of the biggest lessons I learned wrestling alligators is you can’t hesitate.

You gotta commit and move forward – otherwise you may end up losing a hand, arm, or worse.

While the consequences on Youtube aren’t quite as dire, the dedication needed is the same.

Think of one of your current favorite TV Shows.

Mine would be The Walking Dead.

Mmmm zombies.

When does your show come on?

The Walking Dead is every Sunday at 9 PM EST.

NOT Tuesday at 2 pm, then next Thursday at 1 pm and then Monday at 8 AM.


That’s what you have to be if you want to build an audience.

Consistently uploading videos to your channel establishes you as an authority and lets your audience know you’re committed.

I suggest you keep it simple – start with one video a week and upload the same day & time every week.

Boils down to just 4 videos a month. No problem!

TIP: Make sure you clearly communicate your video schedule:

  • In your videos
  • In your channel branding
  • In the about section of your channel
  • In the video description
  • On your website
  • In your social media profiles

How do you keep your motivation up to stay consistent?


Find your Spark

Before choosing your content and your audience we actually need to start with you, more specifically – YOUR PASSION.

  • What is it you love doing that you want to share with the world?
  • What gets your face beaming, lips moving, heart racing?

I try to think of it like building a fire.

You are the the lonely spark and each video you upload is another chance to help someone else ‘catch fire’ with your passion.

Your viewers may be dry twigs that catch fire instantly, or maybe they’re waterlogged branches that will take multiple sparks to ignite.

If you aren’t enthusiastic and passionate about whatever it is you’re sharing – there is no spark and NO ONE else will catch fire.

For many business owners this initially may sound difficult because they’re wondering how someone can be passionate about product or service xyz.

3d human with a red question mark

Don’t focus on WHAT you sell – instead focus on the WHY you sell it.

That is where your passion is.

TIP: Watch Simon Sinek’s Finding the Why.

For example, I can’t say I’m 100% passionate about fitness, dance or marketing.

I greatly enjoy them yes, but they are not my burning passion.

My passion is trying difficult things others won’t, sucking terribly & making mistakes, but persevering through and LEARNING.

I love learning and consequently teaching.

So the common passion thread for all 3 channels is I’m learning new things and teaching them (which helps with learning).

Another good method is think about what do your friends & peers ask you for help with?

I started each of my channels as a result of multiple people asking me for my opinion / help in fitness, dance, online marketing.


Once you have an idea of your passion it’s time to identify an audience.

If you have a business start with your BEST customers.

  • What are the common traits or characteristics?
  • What groups do they belong in on Facebook?
  • What are they already watching on Youtube?

If you don’t have a business or this is in a new market for you – hop on Youtube and go find similar channels to yours.

Read through the comments, look at the videos (especially their most popular) to get a better feel for your audience and the content they enjoy.

Put all this in a single Google Spreadsheet that you can refer back too.

NOTE: You won’t have your passion & audience 100% nailed down and that’s OK – these will evolve as your channel grows.

Ok so you’ve chosen a date to release your videos… now how do you create them?

Step No. 3: Create killer Videos

Here is my 3P Method for creating Youtube videos:

1. Plan

Do not wing it.

You don’t need to script out the entire video (and shouldn’t – you’ll come across as a robot) BUT you do want 1-3 core bullet points you can riff on.

Start with the question your video is answering for your audience and break the answer down into digestible chunks.

I use a simple 18×24” whiteboard behind the camera with my main points on it, like this:

2016-01-06 09.29.39

and here is the video.

Once you have those chunks narrowed down you can get creative and think of fun ways to show them to your audience.

This is also a good time to think of cliff hangers you can OPEN in your viewers mind and answer later in the video (to help keep them engaged).

This stems from “information-gap” theory.

“Such information gaps produce the feeling of deprivation labeled curiosity,” writes Loewenstein in Psychological Bulletin. “The curious individual is motivated to obtain the missing information to reduce or eliminate the feeling of deprivation.”

Watch the news for one night and pay close attention to the cliff hangers they use before commercial breaks.

  • “When we return discover the new dangerous game tweens are secretly playing”
  • “Is your home inviting burglars with this common mistake? Find out next”

Even TV shows do this in a slightly different manner; the last scene before a commercial break will open some type of question in the viewers mind that makes them want to stick around to get it answered.

2. Produce

download (1)

There are a lot of limiting beliefs when it comes to Youtube videos.

I’m here to let you know that to grow your channel:

  • You don’t need fancy equipment to make successful Youtube videos
  • You don’t need Hollywood-level production to make viral videos
  • You don’t need any acting experience or camera experience

You DO need good sound.

That is non-negotiable.

People will endure video quality that isn’t the best, but bad (quiet, muffled, distorted, etc) audio and they are GONE.

So regardless of the camera you’re using invest in an external microphone.

Here are the bare bone basics you’ll need to start getting videos pumped out:

  1. Camera (iPhone, webcam, camcorder)
  2. External microphone
  3. Video editing software

You can find camcorders & microphones on Amazon.

For video editing Windows Movie Maker or iMovie (depending on your computer) are more than enough to get started.

My current set-up is run with Canon HF G30, Boom Mic & Final Cut Pro X video editing software.


NOTE: This is NOT what I started with.

I’ve invested more in my equipment as my channels have grown.

Just a reminder you don’t need at $5k+ camera system to get started.

Once you start filming keep it short & sweet.

The shorter the better.

Aim for 3 minute videos.

If you have more to say, congrats – you can make another video!

Also, don’t feel the need to shoot it all in one take.

I usually film my videos in 3 parts.

TIP: Include one call to action in your video – ask the video to subscribe or opt-in to your e-mail list with an enticing lead magnet.

3. Publish

There is where I see soooo many mistakes.

Youtube gets 500 HOURS of video uploaded EVERY MINUTE.

If you don’t want your video to be lonely message in a bottle floating in a vast ocean of unwatched content, you want to ensure it’s setup for favorable Youtube SEO rankings.

When you upload a video use the following publishing checklist:

1. Title
Lead off with the main keyword you want to rank in the title. Keep the title on shorter side (4-10 words) and make sure it sounds appealing.

2. Tags
Include 4-7 tags (max) and make sure the majority include variations of the keyword you are targeting.

3. Description
Don’t skimp here! Make sure to include a good few paragraphs in here about your video and pepper in variations of the keyword you are targeting.  Include your video publishing schedule too (ie – New videos every Tuesday!)

4. Audience Retention

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 11.50.17
Here we come back to entertainment.  Youtube has said that watch time plays a huge role in SEO ranking.

From the YouTube Creator Playbook,

YouTube optimizes search and discovery for videos that increase watch time on the site”.

One metric to check for this is your audience retention.

If you’re not getting a retention rate of 50%+ you may want to evaluate your content & video planning.

Engagement on a video is another sign of high quality and interest to Youtube.

It’s important to respond to the majority of your comments in the first 24 hours you upload a video.

Also, if anyone writes something stupid or hateful, just delete it and move on.

Here’s an example of one of my videos that ranks #1 for following this checklist:

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 10.01.00

Ok, you’ve followed the steps above and now wanna know: how long will it take to get to 1000+ subscribers?

It really varies depending on a lot of factors such as your market, content quality, and competition level but expect a 3-6 months lead time if you aren’t supplementing with paid traffic.

Key here is that you CONSISTENTLY upload 1 video a week.

That doesn’t mean you have to film a new video each week.

I often try to set aside a day or two at the beginning of month to film all my videos, then simply release them throughout the month.

But I don’t want to wait that long!!

Is there any way to shortcut the lead time of channel growth?


For the time being it’s on the cheap too (will change soon)…

BONUS: Accelerate Your Results (optional)

For mere pennies on the dollar you can drive hundreds, even thousands of views & subscribers to your channel overnight.

That’s because right now most people haven’t caught on to Youtube ads and with so much inventory (ie videos) it’s one of the cheapest sources of traffic today.

There are two ad types you can run on Youtube video campaigns (inside Google AdWords).

Shows up next to the video they are watching.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 10.04.31

Shows before they watch their video.
Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 10.06.37

For the objective of increasing views & subscribers I’ve found IN-DISPLAY ads to perform best.

When creating your in-display ads the thumbnail and headline are the two most important elements to test because that is what the majority of viewers will see.

Every time I upload a new video I’ll seed it with paid traffic to help boost initial views & engagement.

So far this strategy has worked pretty well.

You don’t have to spend tons either… at $.01-.05 per view you get  100-500 extra views for just 5 bucks.

If you’re just starting out this really helps with your motivation and commitment – because as you get comments and likes you will be more energized to keep producing videos.

If you have a larger budget you can rapidly scale your channel in just one week, pretty cool huh?

Hope you found that helpful – don’t forget to download your 1k+ Subs Cheatsheetand follow that checklist to spread your passion (and make some profit!)

Photo Credits:

2008_200812_20081231_205905_16 via photopin (license)
question mark via photopin (license)
IMG_2852 via photopin (license)
via photopin (license)
7335 Empty Seats = Stage Rushers via photopin (license)