So many creators are overlooking a huge opportunity that could greatly enhance their growth on YouTube. What are they missing? It’s a little something called, CTAs or “Call to Actions.” It seems simple, but using these well can make all the difference in turning a passive audience into a thriving community. Let’s get into it.

The Importance

You might be thinking, “Why should I care? I’m getting the views. Isn’t that enough??” Well if you are spending all this time creating content, don’t you want your viewer to do SOMETHING? Watching the video is great, but what if you could get them to interact in the comments, watch your next video, subscribe to your channel or buy your merch as well? Wouldn’t that be even better? (Yes, the answer is yes.)

The Planning

Part of this is thinking it through. What do you want them to do? Focusing on that one action and working it into the content is going to be so much more effective that just opening or ending your content with “Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe!” If your desired call to action becomes an intentional part of the video and the value getting delivered, then your viewers are FAR more likely to actually do what you’re asking them to do. So planning this ahead of time is key.

People get really stuck on the like and subscribe call to actions, but really these are the least important. Liking a video really does not do very much for a video in terms of the algorithm. Sure, it helps a little, but watching more and commenting are WAY stronger viewer signals to the YouTube algorithm. And as far as subscribing goes, how many times have you subscribed to a video just because they told you to? YouTube is so good at surfacing videos that you like that the need to subscribe is really no longer there. The only place we would ever recommend asking for your viewer to subscribe is at the end of the trailer on your home page. The point of that trailer is to get viewers who are checking out your homepage to subscribe, so in this video you should quickly introduce your channel, ask them to subscribe and end abruptly so that big subscribe button pops up for them to click. But for a normal video, there are far more weightier options that you can ask your viewer to do.

So if liking and subscribing is not a strong call to action, what is? What action can your viewer take to tell the algorithm that this is great content that should be pushed out to more people? Commenting and watching more videos.

The Effective Calls to Action

So first begin with planning the intent of the video. What is your goal with your video? Let’s say you have made a discoverable video and your goal is to get them to watch more videos.

pick the video or playlist that you think will connect with your current video. Then, craft the content in a way that will draw them into the video you chose. What is the most natural thing for them to watch next? Have that video linked in the end screen as you pitch it.

And have that be the only option in your end screen. If you are making your viewer decide what to click, they are far more likely to click nothing. So don’t give them the option, by saying “if you want to learn more…” Instead, make a strong pitch in your end screen.

There are 20 seconds in which the end screen is playing. Make sure you are still delivering value until the last 10 seconds of the video. So even after the end screen has popped up, you should be delivering value without any ending language. And then in the last 10 seconds, say “but” and give a strong pitch your next video.

This is especially important if you are a channel that get most of your views from search. If someone found your content valuable and you pitch another video that is also valuable, they are far more likely to continue watching even though that was not what they came to YouTube looking for. You are building a spiderweb of videos that logically connect and bring your viewers on a journey that is beneficial for them and beneficial for you.

If you are creating community content, the goal of this content is to connect with your viewer. So the natural call to action would be to have them comment. How do you get them to comment? Ask an open-ended question. Be vulnerable with them and ask them something to allow them to be vulnerable with you. And make sure you take the time to respond to some of these comments. If a viewer knows that you may respond, they are far more likely to comment.

The Sales Content

Now sales content is a different beast. Typically if you are making a sales video your goal is to make a sale. This usually means taking your viewer off the platform. Annnd YouTube doesn’t like that. That’s what makes this tricky.

Knowing this is important. Due to the fact that leaving the platform is a negative viewer signal to YouTube, a sales video (or any video that brings your viewers off the platform) is just not going to perform as well. But, if it makes sale, who cares! It would be totally worth it! But this is why it is important to not make a sales pitch in every video. To continue to grow your audience, you must have plenty of purely discoverable content. These videos will broaden your audience and allow more people to find you. Then when you add community content, they will grow to know and like you. Eventually, they will trust you enough to buy from you. Please understand this. Trying to make a sale in every video might be one of the worst things you can do for your channel (and your business).

The Power Tip

YouTube is releasing some new AI updates. One is called, “YouChat.” As a viewer, if you have a question you want to ask, AI will actually answer the questions for you. I have mixed feelings about if this is a pro or a negative, but I guess time will tell.

Another update is that AI is going to categorize comments into comment groups. For big channels, this could be very helpful to see the overall reaction from the video and a great way to interact with the comments and answer the most asked questions.

Keep Changing Lives!

Tim Schmoyer

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