Consistency is Key to Building a Successful YouTube Channel

Content is King is a popular concept in the world of bloggers and internet content creators. Apparently it was first used in an article by Bill Gates wayyyy back in 1996. The concept of the original article was quite prescient. Unfortunately, a lot of content creators have pulled that slogan and put a Field of Dreams spin on it: “If you create content, they will come.”

Since you’re reading this post, I’m sure you are already convinced of the importance of creating and owning content, but what good is your content if nobody can find it. For building a successful YouTube channel, I’ve found that Consistency is one of the most critical factors.

There are countless things to think about when planning the content for YouTube. Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with quantity, quality, upload times, scheduling and even not publishing anything. I’ve found that implementing a clock-work like schedule can help to increase views, audience engagement and subscribers.

Last summer, I decided to see if publishing more videos would increase overall channel views and subscribers. We ramped up publishing frequency for both of the main channels I produce. At Hilah Cooking, we published three videos a week. For Yoga With Adriene we attempted two a week but didn’t always make it. Even though we had increased the amount of content, our publishing schedule was inconsistent.

It was a LOT of work, but I figured it would be worth it if it boosted all our numbers.

It didn’t.

Here’s what our views look like for the last part of 2013. We published videos on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, but not always at the same time.

Hilah Cooking 2014 Publishing Schedule

Looking at December is particularly disheartening. We published 5 videos per week to take advantage of the holiday season when food/recipe traffic is normally really high. The videos were great and we weren’t slacking on quality, but it was still a flop. I believe we were publishing TOO MUCH content for our audience to consume and this was causing our engagement and watch time to drop – which means these videos were not getting pushed out in Subscriber Feeds or Related/Recommended Video feeds.

By the beginning of 2014 we were burned out and took some time off. When we had regrouped we made the decision to publish once per week – every Friday at 7:00p Central Time. Here’s what the analytics look like since making that decision:

Hilah Cooking 2014 publishing schedule

It takes a few weeks before anything becomes noticeably different. There was a peak when we release the first new (heavily promoted video) but then there are minor upticks on the days we released new videos. Nothing crazy. Then after we hit this publishing schedule on a consistent basis for four weeks, the peaks start to get regularly higher and now we are exceeding our previous publishing day numbers.

So what’s going on here? Are we just picking better video topics and optimizing the videos better?

Nope.

The views we’re getting on publish days are NOT via the search feature. Instead, they’re coming from subscribers feeds and the What To Watch area of their logged-in home pages. Engagement with a channels videos is one of the key factors for how these are selected. So two things are happening:

  1. Our subscribers have come to expect a video is coming at a specific time. They watch the video (engagement).
  2. YouTube picks up on this engagement and delivers more of our videos to the subscribers during those key engagement times.

We also get a nice boost in subscribers during this time period.

I’ve seen similar growth on the Yoga With Adriene channel. Here’s what the views look like for Yoga With Adriene in 2014 since implementing our once per week schedule:
Yoga With Adriene 2014 Publishing Schedule

January is traditionally an awesome month for traffic in the fitness and health niche but it starts to drift downward in March. But this isn’t the case here. The consistent schedule increased engagement across the board.

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you’re creating content on a regular basis, publish it on a regular basis down to the exact time of day. Use your analytics to look at certain times when your subscribers are engaging with your content, pick something that looks good and then stick with it for at least three months.

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4 comments

  1. Mike and Lauren says:

    Hey Christopher,

    Just finished reading your YouTube Black Book. It was awesome. My wife and I have been creating videos about every other week for the last 10 months and just reached 1000 subscribers.

    We decided to increase our upload schedule to 3 times per week. Live show on Tuesdays, Financial videos on Friday and DIY/How-To on Sundays. We plan on keeping this schedule at least until our 100th upload.

    Of course the analytics will tell me in a few months, but I’m just curious if you think it was because of the cooking genre that you didn’t see more growth with 3 videos per week, or if it’s just more than the YouTube audience will consume?

    • Christopher says:

      Hi Mike – Thanks for your comment! Congrats on hitting 1000 subscribers. That’s a big milestone. Yes, I do think it was because of the cooking genre. It’s very saturated right now. When we first started there wasn’t nearly as much cooking content. Now it seems like everybody is doing “stand and stir” videos. We are on a break with that channel but when we return it will be completely revamped and very different.

  2. Richard says:

    Great info so far… Looking forward to reading your book on my kindle… I just got it recently… I wish “YouTube” had been around when we (My film buds – fellow film students etc) were first making movies etc… Back then it was costly Film Fest for the most part it seemed like….Anyway… Hoping to get back into doing more stuff again soon… 4 kids etc have slowed me down for a long time … Haha… I’m hoping your book is going to help me get back into the groove…. Hehe… Thanks.

    • Christopher says:

      Hey Richard – Thanks for your comment! I can only imagine how much 4 kids can slow down your movie making, because 1 baby has pretty much sidelined me for the past few months. Let me know what you think about the book. Then get back out there with your camera!

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