Before getting certified as a yoga teacher near the end of the year in 2020, I took a lot of online yoga classes. I found one teacher I really liked. Her classes were always so different from other teachers and she incorporated poses I had never tried before.
I eventually found her on YouTube and was surprised that her videos only had a hundred or so views. She was such an excellent teacher and already had an audience. How did she not have a large YouTube following?
Fast forward to after my yoga teacher training when I started posting on YouTube. I had two target audiences that often overlapped, beginners and runners. I experimented with video length and class types. I shared the videos on Facebook and Instagram. No dice. Even after a year of consistently posting, my metrics are not impressive at all.
Why am I telling you what a failure my YouTube channel has been so far? Because we often learn more from failure than we do from success.
What Advice Have I Tried?
Here’s the advice that I see in almost every article claiming to help get more Youtube video views. In my opinion, most of this advice is obvious and something I had already done, prior to reading the article and it didn’t make a difference on my channel but are still strategies you should be implementing.
1. Quality – The quality of your videos matters for audience retention. This is where I invested in a quality microphone and web camera and eventually an iPhone and a MacBook so I could edit in iMovie. None of this happened overnight. Get started with what you have and slowly upgrade your tech. The next thing I am working on upgrading is my yoga space/background for videos, but again, work with what you have.
2. Keywords – Make sure to use keywords in your title and tags. You can use keyword generators to help you figure out what keywords are going to help people find your video when they are searching. You can also look at popular videos similar to the one you are posting and see what keywords they used.
3. Thumbnails– Make sure your thumbnails are visually appealing. I have noticed in my videos the ones with images of me get more views than ones with stock images in the thumbnail.
4. Niche Down – Almost every yoga blog or podcast eventually talks about how important it is to define your ideal client in specific terms and find your market niche. Most want to you be ultra specific. For example – yoga for runners, yoga for scoliosis, etc. and advise you to make all your content for that market. The benefit of this approach is an increased likelihood of your ideal client finding you in the search.
Another approach I’ve seen mentioned is instructors making videos geared at specific niches, i.e. one video on yoga for anxiety and another video on yoga for tight hips, etc. I think the benefit of this approach is a wider chance of people finding you in the search.
I’ve tried both approaches over the last year and I think the one you choose is going to depend on what your target niche is for two different reasons. First, it might depend on how broad your target niche is. Yoga for beginners for example is a very broad and allows for a lot of flexibility. Second, it might depend on the size of your target niche audience. I found, for example, that my original target niche of yoga for runners was not attracting a large enough audience, which is why I also created a lot of content for beginners and backed away from that. Even with an engaged Instagram and podcast audience of runners, neither my live classes nor my Youtube videos geared towards runners were seeing success.
Here’s the part where I tell you one thing that actually made a difference for me. That thing is sharing my videos with people I know. Let your support network support your yoga business adventure in a way that doesn’t cost them money, but still helps you on your journey towards success. Ask your friends and family to occasionally share your videos with their social circles, broadening your reach. Word of mouth (or social media recommendations these days) is a powerful and often underutilized tool.
Now, do not bombard your friends and family with every single video you make. If you do that, they will stop watching and recommending them and tire of seeing your posts. If you have an exceptional video or a video, you think can help a specific friend or family member share that one.
More Thoughts on YouTube
I once attended a communications conference for my day job and a social media expert told us most times it takes an influential person on social media to share your content before it will take off. Her example was a laser cat video that had been on the platform for months with very few views. A celebrity stumbled upon the video and shared it, causing it and the channel to go viral.
I am not saying don’t post to YouTube or use the platform. I’m just saying keep your expectations realistic. Some of you, especially if you already have an audience, might do really well, but for the rest of us, it’s going to take time, maybe more than you initially thought.
Keep putting out content and keep experimenting with your videos. If you find one video is doing better than the others, try to figure out what people like about it. Was it the length? The type of class? Was your pet in the video? Listen to your audience and give them what they want.