Most people think that YouTube’s job is to get more views for their videos. But it’s actually the opposite. YouTube is trying to get the right video in front of the right people. -People who want to watch that video.

So what can you do to make it more likely for YouTube to surface your video to more of the right people? That’s what we will talk about today.

Target Audience & Value Prop

But before we can share these tips with you today, we have to first talk about Target Audience and Value Proposition. You need to be 1000% sure that you have a clear understanding of who you are going after. – You want your video to hit that person and them to respond with, *Gasp!* “This video was made for me!”

If you haven’t figured these things out yet, focus on that first. Otherwise, the rest of this won’t have much effect. But if you do have that settled, what can we to get your video in front of the right people?

Titles and Thumbnails

Let’s start with the first thing that your viewer interacts with: Your title & thumbnail. The goal of the thumbnail is not to explain what your whole video is about, but to spark curiosity. This is the beginning of you telling your story. You want to intrigue someone that is viewing your tiny rectangle on the homepage or the suggested tab. You have to stand out. Scale your thumbnail down small and see what it looks like. If you use text, keep it to 2-4 words. Keep it simple. As they say, “If you confuse, you lose.”

For the title, don’t worry about keywords. Instead, think what is the problem I am solving? What would make a person with that problem click? What will stand out? You can title your video, “The best grilled cheese sandwich” or “The grilled cheese sandwich I ate everyday for two years.” “Or the grilled cheese sandwich my kids ask for everyday.” -Which one is more intriguing to your target audience?


The quickest way to make somebody leave is to start your video with a long introduction of who you are or what your video is about. When you open your video, don’t repeat the title! Instead, pick up right where that title left off. Just jump right into your content, tease a super exciting part that happens later or do something that will stretch the tension even more, making your viewer have that “I can’t wait” feeling that will keep them through to the end.


Now that you’ve gotten them in, we need to keep them in. How? Storytelling is a great way to do this. A story gives an emotional connection and builds intrigue while adding value. It also deters them from skipping around.

Look at your audience retention graphs for your current videos. Where are people skipping or dropping off? That’s where you need to make changes. Putting these graphs in a spreadsheet is a huge help to notice patterns.

Primal Branding

Patrick Hanlon is the expert on . In his book, he highlights the 7 elements that make human connection and keep your audience coming back. This is the secret sauce to really make human connection with your viewers. Making the best videos on a topic won’t get you the most viewers. It’s about your audience feeling connected to you more than the accuracy of your information.


As we work with creators, we find that many don’t cut enough of their videos. Their videos are great, but if they just cut out a little bit of the unnecessary things, the video would be so much better. To do this, you have to ask yourself, does this part move the story forward? People today have a far shorter attention span. Belaboring a point will lose your audience. Even if you are telling a story, it needs to feel like it’s going somewhere to further the point of video. If not, your audience will quickly skip or abandon the content completely.

Call to Action

You have the opportunity, often near the end of the video, to direct your viewers to where you want them to go next. Maybe that’s another video of yours. Maybe that’s to follow you on instagram or go to your webpage. You can do this by using end screens, cards, links in the description or by saying it out loud. But we want to caution you to not use several calls to action in the same video. If you give your viewers 6 different things to do, they are most likely to do none of them. If you give them one thing to do, there’s a good chance that they will do that one thing.

But in a discoverable video specifically, you are wanting people to keep watching. So the best thing you can do is to use the end screens to pitch your next video. Do not use any ending language when ending your video. Just keep delivering content up until the last second and then throw them to the next video right at the end.

Getting them to watch 2-3 videos in a row will tell YouTube that they like you. Because of this, YouTube will follow them around and surface your other videos to them, which is a huge benefit for you.


Getting them into a playlist will get them into a curated video playlist that directly correlates to the original video. This will naturally increase their viewing session and be amazingly helpful for them as well.

Power Tip

Look at the most popular videos on your channel that are still growing. Instead of letting those viewers move on to someone else’s content after watching that video, make a follow-up or “part 2” video. Or maybe try to answer top questions in an effort to make a video that ends up being the next video people watch. Think about a viewer’s viewing journey on your channel, not just one single video after another single video. Bring them along in their curiosity journey and your watch time will naturally increase.

Have comments, reactions, questions about all of this or just want to say hi? for us and we may use it in an upcoming podcast episode. Until then…

Keep Changing Lives!

Tim Schmoyer

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