Gaining your first few subscribers on YouTube feels like a small victory, yet the path to hitting 500 can seem like an impossible uphill battle that only few can achieve.
Though 500 is small compared to channels with millions of subscribers, it’s still an exciting milestone you should celebrate because it means your content is great and your channel is beginning to gain traction.
Still, attracting an audience takes work. You’ll need to optimize your videos for discovery, engage with commenters, promote your content, and consistently produce new videos.
But with the right strategies, reaching 500 subscribers is very achievable. We’ll provide helpful tips to grow your following and hit that milestone.
Why You Should Aim For 500 Subs On YouTube?
Aiming for 500 subscribers on YouTube marks a significant benchmark for creators for two main reasons.
Firstly, it acts as a tangible sign of your channel’s growth and the appeal of your content, encouraging community engagement and loyalty.
Secondly, reaching this threshold opens up new monetization avenues.
Unlike the previous requirement of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours for the YouTube Partner Program, now with just 500 subscribers and 3,000 watch hours, creators can start profiting.
However, this only allows for direct audience monetization through fan-funding options like Super Chats, Super Thanks, and Channel Memberships — Not ad revenue.
So while it is a bit restrictive, this shift offers a more accessible path for creators to start earning from their passionate endeavors and build a sustainable channel, starting with just 500 subs.
5 Ways To Get Your First 500 Subscribers On YouTube
Crossing the threshold of 500 subscribers on YouTube is a crucial milestone for new creators, signaling the beginning of a thriving community around your content. Below are five practical strategies to attract and retain those first few hundred supporters.
- Target a Sought-After Niche
- Create Captivating Thumbnails
- Boost Visibility with Viral Shorts
- Prioritize Audience Interaction
Engaging with these tactics, you’ll find actionable ways to build your subscriber base, ensuring your channel not only reaches but surpasses the 500-subscriber mark, laying a solid foundation for future growth and success on the platform.
1. Target a Sought-After Niche🎯
Choosing the right niche for your YouTube channel is essential and should be one of your first steps.
This involves researching and identifying areas that are in high demand but have a low supply of content creators.
An underserved niche is your sweet spot because it means there’s a hungry audience waiting for content but not enough creators to satisfy their needs. This strategic focus can significantly increase your chances of standing out and attracting subscribers quickly.
Some examples of sought-after niches with opportunity for new creators include:
- Niche Crafts like bookbinding, embroidery, or jewelry making. These have dedicated audiences but few tutorial channels.
- Obscure Gaming Genres like rhythm games or retro PC titles. Fans are passionate but underserved.
- Lesser-Known Sports like curling, squash, or lacrosse. Plenty of fans exist but few channels cover them.
- Regional Cuisine from specific states or countries. Good demand for authentic recipes.
- Vintage Fashion and Secondhand Clothing. Very trendy but a fairly untapped niche.
- Narrow Careers like court reporting, lockpicking, mortuary science, or dispatch operating. They may be small fields, but this kind of content seems to thrive on YouTube.
- Rare Hobbies like metal detecting, magnet fishing, or ham radio operating. Niche interests with high demand.
- Alternative Therapies like reiki, sound healing, or aromatherapy. Growing fields with few experts making content.
- Forgotten History or Obscure Facts. Always an audience for the unique and unknown, especially when posted as fast paced content for YouTube Shorts.
- Commentary on Older Media like retro video games or classic films. Nostalgia draws dedicated fans. PLUS, when using old content in the public domain, you minimize copyright concerns.
Focusing on one of these areas can help you tap into a specific audience looking for content that isn’t widely available, setting your channel up for quicker growth. The key is finding a niche with high demand from viewers but not enough creators satisfying that demand.
But the most important thing to remember is that you must make videos on an underserved topic you’re passionate about.
2. Watch For Current Trends 👀
TikTok’s popularity showcases the power of viral trends, a phenomenon that YouTube creators can use to their own advantage too.
Incorporating trending topics into your content, when done correctly, can significantly boost your visibility.
The way to do this is to use engaging titles and thumbnails that catch viewers’ attention—often considered clickbait. But the difference between you and other “clickbait” content creators is that you must deliver on what you promise in your content, ensuring viewer trust and satisfaction.
Basically, ride the wave of popularity, but deliver what viewers want.
Latch onto rising trends quickly before they fade — and even obscure trends can work for niche channels. Give your unique take but make trends searchable.
Not sure how to spot trends early? Here’s a few tips to help:
- Check trending topics on social media sites daily.
- Use Google Trends to see rising searches.
- Follow influencers in your niche and note what goes viral.
- Engage with your community to see what interests them.
- Stay on top of news and pop culture outlets for emerging stories.
- See what memes or challenges are spreading.
- Look at opinion pieces and comment sections.
- Watch for spikes in specific hashtags.
- Check out what people are curious about or outraged over.
- Subscribe to trend analysis tools or websites.
By staying alert to these indicators, you can quickly identify and incorporate trends into your YouTube strategy, potentially capturing a wider audience.
3. Create Captivating Thumbnails🎨
Thumbnails act as the cover of your video, so making a strong first impression can either attract or repel potential viewers.
High-quality, visually appealing thumbnails that accurately represent the content can significantly increase click-through rates.
They should include bright, eye-catching colors, readable fonts, and elements that convey the video’s essence at a glance. Incorporating images or reactions that evoke curiosity or emotion can also be effective.
Some best practices for making engaging thumbnails include:
- Show yourself or objects related to the video topic. Faces and recognizable items stand out.
- Use bright contrasting colors that fit your brand. Red, yellow, and green do well to attract eyes.
- Include strong text with keywords/phrases from the title. Large sans-serif fonts are most readable.
- Add numbers, stats, or questions to pique curiosity. “You Won’t Believe What Happens When…”
- Make text pop with borders, shadows, or color blocks behind it.
- Use arrows, circles, or emoji to highlight key elements. (But don’t overdo it.)
- Mimic the styles of top channels in your niche. Note what thumbnails work for them.
- Test different options and see which gets more clicks. Iteration leads to optimization.
Need some ideas on what to do for your Thumbnail? Here are 10 concept styles for you to try out:
- Reveal the Final Result – Spotlight the end product like a finished craft or meal.
- Reveal Facts and Stats – Highlight intriguing numbers or data points related to the topic.
- Compare Two Similar Things – Put two subjects side-by-side to peak interest.
- Show Before-and-After Shots – Use comparative images to showcase a transformation.
- Feature Popular Products – Display trending or useful items related to the topic.
- Show Dramatic Scenes – Use a climactic moment or action shot to convey excitement.
- Include Quotes or Soundbites – Use key phrases from the video to pique curiosity.
- Ask a Pressing Question – Display a key question from the video in bold text to hook viewers.
- Feature Personalized Headshots – Add your face or guests to create a personal connection.
- Show Satire/Comedy – Use exaggerated imagery or text for humorous effect.
4. Boost Visibility with Viral Shorts
YouTube Shorts are a great way to gain more views and subscribers, therefore, turning your videos into YouTube Shorts is an effective strategy.
Shorts are prominently featured on YouTube, offering a greater chance for discovery by a broad audience. They cater to the growing preference for quick, engaging content, fitting perfectly into the busy schedules of viewers.
By creating Shorts, you’re tapping into a format that’s favored by YouTube’s algorithm, increasing the likelihood of your content being recommended to users who are interested in similar topics, significantly expand your reach, and attract more viewers to your channel.
To make your Shorts go viral:
First, open with an attention-grabbing hook using effects, text, or audio. The first 3 seconds are the most important.
Then, analyze trending Shorts in your niche to identify common elements:
- Use popular songs, audio clips or meme sounds.
- Add relatable text commentary or emoji reactions.
- Feature useful life hacks, recipe tricks or crafts.
- Include cute pets, funny kids, or hilarious fails.
- Show satisfying cleaning, organizing, or satisfying visuals.
- Spotlight shocking facts, tests, or experiments.
- Use clickbait titles, thumbnails, and cliffhangers.
Essentially, focus on entertainment, emotion, useful information, or startling moments that get shared.
Promote your viral Shorts across platforms to maximize exposure. Though short, viral Shorts can introduce viewers to your channel and longer videos.
5. Prioritize Audience Interaction
Now that your video is uploaded, it’s time to engage with viewers. Responding to comments and interacting with your audience helps retain viewers while growing your channel.
Make sure to:
- Thank commenters for watching.
- Answer questions thoroughly and respectfully.
- Ask for video topic suggestions to get ideas.
- Run polls to get input on content.
- Pin insightful or funny comments.
- Turn off comments if needed to stop negativity.
- Delete spam comments consistently.
- Share comments on other platforms to encourage them to join your YouTube community.
This level of interaction signals to new viewers that you value your audience, making your channel more appealing and personal.
And most importantly: Don’t get discouraged if growth is slow — staying motivated and keeping at it is what will make you successful in the end. Before you know it, you’ll hit that 500-subscriber milestone.