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How To Become Famous on YouTube

Nick Nikolaiev
Co-founder @ Casual
Get a pre-made project plan based on this how-to guide.

Practical guide of tapping into the world’s biggest video platform. Learn how you can grow your audience, make better videos and interact with your fans.


Are you on YouTube? Or planning to join it with hopes of becoming a celebrity and earning some cash (a lot of cash)? 

I have two messages for you:
  • The bad news is that most probably you won’t become YouTube famous overnight. 
  • The good news is that it doesn’t mean you should not try. 
Our step-by-step guide is designed to teach you how to become famous on YouTube. You’ll find some essential theory; tech hacks and practical action plan to start implementing today. And we have saved the best bite for the end – three practical case studies from incredibly popular YouTube starts!

Let’s get straight to the action, shall we?

1. Polish up your channel profile

Let’s say you already have a registered profile or planning to create one.

Your success and subscribers rate are closely related with how good your page looks. Make it memorable. Make it irresistible. Make it so attractive that users would instantly want to buy you lunch.

Here’s how.

Create a catchy cover

To become a famous youtuber, give honest answers to these questions: 
  • Does your cover image grab the users? 
  • Does it have your face, tagline, and call-to-action on it? 
You can make a fancy one for yourself fast and free at Canva. Your cover should grab attention from the first glance if you want more folks to stick around.

Let people know more about you

YouTube isn’t the place where you should be shy. Especially, if you want to become a famous youtube singer.

Fill in your about section with some fun info about yourself and your channel. Tell the world what makes you awesome, what type of content you shoot and share; how often do you do it, what makes you so special/fun/useful etc.

Add your other social media accounts and website if any, so that more users could connect with you.

Include a Welcome video.

An attractive Welcome video can win you additional friends. Keep it short and sweet. (2 min max)
You can either make a funny mashup of your best content or a short intro talking about what’s your channel all about, why it’s awesome and worth subscribing to!
Make sure you add an attractive text description along.
Here’s a great welcome video example:

Categorize your video content

If you already have a decent collection of videos, create special playlists and feature them on your profile page, so that new users wouldn’t feel lost and overwhelmed.
For instance, if you run a makeup channel, you can create the next categories:
- Evening makeup tutorials
- Summer makeup
- Beauty hacks and tricks
Your best videos should be easy to find!
Don’t forget you have just a few seconds to grab the attention of your viewer and make them fall in love with your videos.
Enough with the basics. Let’s move to some practicalities.

2. Use some smart tech hacks

Similar to Google, YouTube has it’s own ranking algorithm, placing some videos on top of the search while ignoring others. Same thing with related videos users’ seen at the right of their screen.

When you are struggling to gain the initial fan base, these simple tricks can make the algorithm work for you!

1: Shoot longer videos

YouTube ranks videos of 5+ minutes higher compared to short ones. Leave those for Instagram or Vine.

2: Use keyword in your video filename

You do know about keywords, right? Those short phrases and words people use to find your awesome videos.

Make sure you use your keyword in the video’s filename.

For example, if you shot a video about drawing a cartoon cat, named it “how_to_draw_cartoon_cat_video.mp4” for more YouTube love.

3: Craft winning titles

A good title should:

- have at least 5 words
- have your keyword inside
- be catchy and clickbait

Here’s an example: How to Draw A Cartoon Cat In Five Easy Steps

Another best practice: place your keyword at the beginning on the title. Shooting a tutorial about finding cheap airfare? Name it: Find Cheap Airfare: The Ultimate Video Tutorial.

4: Write descriptions the right way

YouTube can’t “view” or “listen” to your video, so it relies on your descriptions when it comes to determining what’s your video content’s all about.

Here are the essential guidelines for the description:

- Mention your keyword in the first 25 words
- Make the description at least 250-words
- Use your keyword 2-3 times

Apart from this, descriptions should be engaging, well formatted and easy-to-scan for those users how prefer to get the idea of what they are about to watch before clicking play.

5: Tag it!

To create a popular youtube channel use tags. Tags help your video rank better + get you to you show up more often as a related video.

Tags should be the variation of your keyword and some extra keyword people may use to find your videos.

Additionally, find videos similar to yours, grab a few of their tags and include to your video as well to increase your chances of getting into “related” section.

6: YouTube Ranking Factors

To sum it up here are additional important metrics YouTube uses to determine the quality of your video and rank it accordingly: 

- Video retention: The percentage of your video users tend to watch. The more, the better. 

- Comments – again, the more – the merrier. YouTube thinks if people commented, they probably liked the video.
- Subscribes after watching: If a user subscribed to your channel after watching your video that sends a HUGE signal to YouTube that you have amazing stuff. 

- Social shares the total amount of shares the video got on other social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. 

- Favorites: the number of people that starred your video or added it to Watch later playlist. 

- Thumbs up/Thumbs down. Pretty obvious, right? 

Now your question is – how do I get all this stuff happening? That is exactly what I’m about to tell you right now.

3. Learn to create better video content

And I no, I don’t mean here buying a super-pro camera and studio equipment.
How to become youtube famous? It’s all about the content.
Shoot that type of videos that users would love to watch, share, upvote, comment on and add to watch lists.
Here’s what exactly you can do.
1: Develop Your Ritual

One of a kind thing you always do in your videos. It could be a signature greeting and signature phrase – basically anything catchy your fans would look forward to.

For instance, Jenna Marbles ends each and every video with her ritual of blabbering nonsense to her two cute dogs - it's very personal and fun. People stick around to watch and such things take very little time to produce.

2: Start a series

Make your subscribers eager to come back on Wednesday when you post Q&A video sessions or some other type of special content.

Keep them hooked for a specific time of the day.

2a: Keep a regular schedule

Unless you are already doing it, it’s kind of essential to keep your audience engaged and thrilled. 

3: Stay in trend

Past fall everyone where talking about Pumpkin Spice Late mania and a lot of YouTubers could epicly capitalize on that. So can you.

Watch for breaking news, pop-culture and social media trends and jump on the bandwagon as soon as you notice something massively popular.

For instance, some while ago many popular YouTubers made “Draw my life videos” – funny, genuine or sarcastic timelines of their lives drawn on a whiteboard.
Chances are your video could come up as related next to someone massively popular and you could gain extra exposure and views!

4: Share a personal story

Help the users connect and relate to you more by sharing your inspiring story of struggle, fails and victories. You can actually built a whole channel around your experience like Shay Carl did on his mission to lose weight.

Talk about universal problems each human or group of people have faced and could totally relate to!

5: Collaborate with other creators

Do you know someone (mildly) YouTube famous in your area who shoots videos similar to yours?

Reach out, offer friendship and ask (just ask, not demand) about the potential collaboration.

Make sure you already have a winning idea to make it clear you have something worthwhile to bring to the collaboration and you don’t plan simply to capitalize on someone else’s success.

Contact bigger YouTubers, contact smaller YouTubers. Make sure you don’t turn down offers coming your way as by the end of the day the YouTube community is all about helping each other and sharing the wealth.

6: Create parodies

Capitalize on someone else’s success by doing a parody video. When users would search/watch the original one, yours would appear somewhere near.

To cut your slice of the pie, your video should be absolutely hilarious and timely posted.

This guy simply nailed the concept.
7: Make video responses

There’s a buzzing issue in the society about X talking Y? Make your statement on too! 

Same as with parodies, if your response is smart/witty/funny and timely, it could generate a massive buzz.

Additionally, you can make video responses to famous YouTuber’s statements. If those are good, high chances are you’ll grab their attention and they’ll mention the video to their audience. Absolute win.
Got some ideas of of how to win fans on YouTube? 
Perfect! But the promotion doesn’t end here. 
There are more ways to get YouTube subscribers and attract traffic. 
All you have to do is...

4. Promote your videos

These days shooting a great video is just not enough. 

You have to promote it. 

A lot.

On YouTube

Contribute to the community and it will give back to you! Here are a few things you can do to keep your audience growing.

Watch and subscribe to similar channels

Another great tip of how to become famous on Youtube  is to leave comments on the videos, upvote them and save to favorites. Unless you are targeting someone huge, chances are the YouTuber will return you the favor and check out your channel too. That’s how friends are made.

Create attractive video thumbnails

YouTube allows uploading custom video thumbnails (those images you seen when the video’s not playing yet).

You can speculate on that with some provocative things like featuring a busty girl to get more views. Or simply, create something attractive and explanatory e.g. Your video title+short+description your face.

Add popups in your videos

Reminding folks to subscribe, check out another video, comment, like or do some other actions.

Popups are incredibly effective unless you overdo with them to the point when it gets freaking annoying!

Hold a competition/giveway

Another way to become famous on Youtube is to announce you’ll be giving away something pretty cool to a random folk that:

a) follows your channel
b) commented on your video
c) shared it on social media

The investment is low, yet the amount of new subscribers you can attract is massive!

Interact with your audience

You do remember YouTube makes it a big deal out of comments, right? 

Always thank back to folks who’ve commented. Answer users questions and try to trick them into discussion. 

If you are not afraid of potential haters – sound controversial. Make your unique statements; yet do not insult the people you talk to.

Outside YouTube

YouTube is not the whole Internet, right? If you want to become famous on YouTube you need to tap into all potential opportunities of promoting your video content anywhere to anyone.

Here’s how you can do it without looking like an obnoxious spammer!

Attend YouTube meetups and conferences

Those are hosted plenty and often at different places around the world.  You can check the official schedule here.

Why it’s worth to step off your laptop and go into the real world?

- You can meet other cool YouTubers, make friends and arrange potential collaborations.
- You can meet active fans who spend a lot of time on YouTube and might wanna know more about your content too!
- You can learn tips/tricks/hacks from the best about editing/shooting/creating better videos.
- If that’s a meetup with your fans, you just odd to be there are all friendly and likable to win even more devoted fans and encourage them to spread the news for you.

Engage on social media

And by that I mean not just regularly posting links to your videos on Twitter and Facebook, but participating in discussions, answering comments, sharing content from other awesome folks you know.

Ask your fans questions, offer them to suggest you a new video idea, ask for feedback and reach out to other relevant communities on Facebook who might be interested in sharing your content.

For instance, you have made a cool beautiful video about your recent trip to Bali. Find the official Indonesia Tourism Board page and gently ask them to have a look and what you’ve made.

Don’t be pushy – offer something and don’t ask anything in return.

If your content is great – it would be shared.

Post your videos to relevant communities on Google+ as +1s send YouTube a signal that your content is good.

Share your video on Quora and/or other Q&A sites

Made a fine tutorial or a how-to explanation video? Great, now find people how are trying to solve the problem you’ve just broke down for them!

Get on Quora, find a relevant question, write a short text reply and embed your video and voila – targeted viewers heading your way.

Add a link to your YouTube channel/video to your email signature

People who email you, usually like you.

So, if you are getting a lot of emails daily add a link to your signature with a catchy headline, chances are you’ll get a lot of clicks too.

5. Get first 100 subscribers on YouTube

Winning the first hundred fans is the hardest. Yet, remember, those would be your tribe – a unique group of fans, friends and followers how resonate with your worldview.

A few simple steps to build your tribe according to Jeff Goins:

- Be as personal as you can
- Stay relevant to your audience a.k.a. talk about things that matter to them, not you.
- Gauge anticipation a.k.a. show up when you say you will, do what you say you plan to do, and always leave people an easy escape out of the community.

If you have already tested some of our advice, you might be close to the number. If not, start acting today.

Here are some more words of wisdom on the subject from Roberto Blake

6. Hit the first 10.000 views on YouTube

Another important milestone defining your success within the video making community.

Here are a few more legit tips to help your video gain the initial 10K views:

- Upload it in HD. HD videos usually generate more clicks and views.
- Change your thumbnail to something particularly baffling
- Promote it like it’s nobody’s business with all the means you have
- Share it on respective thread on Reddit to get a massive leap if it takes off
- Test various types of video content and identify the best performing ones.
- Upload your video during the peak times: 2-4 pm EST on Mon-Wed; 12 pm – 3pm EST on Thu-Fri; 9 – 11 am on the weekends.

7. Enjoy the process

A lot of vloggers in pursue of popularity loose their authenticity and attractiveness.

Remember, if you want to become YouTube famous you have a long road ahead. It may take months, it may take years.

Yet if you loose your passion somewhere along the way, it will never work out.

You either love making videos and sharing them to the world. Or you quit.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time and efforts you’ll have to dedicate to your channel before it goes big (and starts brining income potentially). It especially concerns those, who want to become famous youtube gamer.

For your inspiration here are detailed cased studies on most popular YouTubers published by Google with more actionable tips and data:

Michelle Phan – top beauty vlogger and now owner to her own cosmetics company.

Bethany Mota – a teen beauty and fashion YouTuber with an audience of more than 5 million subscribers.

Zoella – beauty and fashion vlogger, book author and owner of her own beauty line.
Story by
Nick Nikolaiev
Co-founder @ Casual