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How Do I Increase My School's YouTube Subscribers?
Connor Gleason

There’s no other medium quite as compelling as video to tell your school's story. Video is visceral, emotional, and immersive, making YouTube the perfect place to showcase what makes your school unique and connect with fans, families, and many, many viewers around the world.

Just how many viewers? Consider this:

That’s A LOT of potential, but using YouTube for your school effectively means getting more people to hit that subscribe button.

Why do subscriptions matter?

Subscribers are your school's loyal fans: subscribing shows they value what you do, share, and stand for. That's important because subscribers tend to watch your videos much more than people who aren't subscribed. After all, YouTube alerts them whenever you post something, and new videos appear on their homepage.

So, how do you increase your subscribers on YouTube? It starts with knowing who's watching.

1. Understand Your Audience

When you’re tuned in to what your subscribers like, you’ll make videos they can't wait to watch. This means more views, which triggers the algorithms to help your videos show up more in YouTube searches and suggested videos, making your channel even more popular.

You want to make videos that your viewers—students, parents, and maybe future families—will enjoy and find useful.

So ask yourself this:

Who makes up your audience?

If you're wondering how to get YouTube subscribers, think about who you're making your videos for. Each group might like different content. For example:

  • Students might love videos about sports events, school plays, school life, or fun projects.
  • Parents could be interested in how the school is doing, classroom activities, guest speakers, or learning tips.
  • Prospective families want to see what makes your school special, like tours, teacher interviews, and student success stories.
  • Alumni might want to see their favorite traditions, teachers, and updates from your school.

With a strong athletics program, La Salle College High School promoted an upcoming basketball event with a video on its YouTube channel, helping stir up some excitement with its 1.6K subscribers. Better yet, a student produced the video — a great way to get the community involved.

What do viewers want to see?

Finding out what your target audience wants to watch doesn't have to be a guessing game. Here are a few ways to figure it out:

  • Surveys: Ask them directly through online surveys. You could send these out via email, ask them on other social media channels, or have a form on your school's website or portal.
  • Comments: Look at what people say in your videos' comments. They might ask questions or suggest ideas for new videos.
  • Check Out Other Channels: Look at channels that are similar to yours. What videos are getting a lot of likes and comments? This can give you some great ideas.
  • Analytics: Obviously, you’ll want to watch what video content performs well — more on this later!

2. Consistently Create Quality Content

Making sure your school's YouTube channel regularly has great videos is essential. It’s always important to balance quality with quantity, but great video is what will keep your subscribers entertained and grow your following.

Posting Videos Regularly

Imagine your favorite TV show only came on at random times. You'd probably miss a lot of episodes. When you create a YouTube account for your school, make an effort to post regularly.

If you post videos on a schedule, like every Tuesday, viewers will know when to expect new content. San Juan Unified School District publishes a monthly recap video with photos from key events across the district.

Types of Content That Work Well

Content is everywhere! Here are some ideas for videos that viewers might love:

  • Event Highlights: Did your school have a big sporting event? Show off what happened with clips from the day or behind the scenes.
  • Student Achievements: Share stories of students who've done something extraordinary, like winning a competition or finishing a fantastic project.
  • Teacher Introductions: Let teachers discuss what they love about teaching and share fun facts about themselves. It helps prospective students and parents feel more connected.
  • Classroom Projects: Show off the projects students are working on. It's a great way to go deeper into the classrooms and showcase your school's creative side.

Fun Fact: The Korean children’s song “Baby Shark” is the most-watched YouTube video of all time, currently at over 14 billion views.

More than 2.5K subscribers support Richland School District Two’s YouTube channel, and they know what content works well — multiple videos of military members surprising their students have collected more than 140 thousand views.

Richland School District 2 YouTube

Making High-Quality Videos

Your videos don't need to look like they were made in Hollywood, but they should be easy to watch. Here are a few tips:

  • Clear Sound: You don’t need a professional-grade camera, but you do need good audio. Your audience might overlook video quality, but they won’t tolerate bad sound. Avoid a lot of background noise, and manually edit your video captions because upwards of 75% of mobile users watch videos on mute.
  • Edit Your Videos: Shorter content is becoming more and more popular with channels like TikTok and Instagram Reels, and while there’s no right or wrong answer to the question, “How long should my YouTube video be?” the average YouTube length is 11.7 minutes.

McCallie School has repeatedly produced some of the most engaging videos we’ve seen, and with more than 2 million views across its 150 videos, its fan base keeps growing.

Pro Tip: Overall, mobile traffic to accounts for 90 percent of the total traffic—make it mobile-friendly!

Fountain Valley Youtube profile

Fountain Valley School often goes live on YouTube and streams its basketball and swimming events, a great way to connect audiences off campus with school events.

3. Optimize Your Channel and Videos

Make your school's YouTube channel and videos easy to find and attractive to new viewers. You want people to know where it is and what makes your content memorable.

Here's how to ensure your channel stands out and attracts more subscribers.

Use Keywords, Titles, and Descriptions

Following Google, YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine, so consider what words parents or students might type into YouTube to find videos like yours. Adding keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags makes it easier for people to find your videos when they search.

  • Titles: Make them clear and catchy. Instead of "School Update," try "What's New at [School Name] This Month?" This tells viewers exactly what to expect and makes them more likely to click.
  • Descriptions: Give more details about your video and include important keyword research. Mention what the video is about and who might find it interesting, and ask a question to encourage comments.
  • Tags: Use tags related to your video content. If you made a video about a science fair, you could use tags like "science fair," "student projects," and your school's name.
  • Like, Comment, Share, and Pin: Don’t forget to engage with your content and stir up some engagement. Like and comment on videos, add your thoughts, ask questions, and pin your favorite responses to your videos.

Make Your Channel Look Professional and Appealing

First impressions matter. When someone visits your channel, you want it to look branded, welcoming, and organized.

  • Channel Art: This includes your banner and profile picture. Make sure they're clear, high-quality images that represent your school well. Your banner could have your school logo, a motto, or pictures of your school.
  • Thumbnails: You’ll want to create your own branded thumbnails that are bright and interesting with a clear picture or text that tells viewers what the video is about. This can grab someone's attention — after all, 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails.

Organize Your Content

If your channel features a mix of different types of videos, use playlists to keep them organized. For example, you could have playlists for school events, classroom projects, athletics, or teacher introductions. This will help viewers find the videos they're interested in more easily.

Rugby Thailand School Youtube

Rugby School Thailand collected its faculty and administrative video profiles into an RSTeam Spotlight playlist, an excellent resource for those looking to get to know the staff better.

4. Promote Your Videos and Channel

How will your community know about your channel if you don't promote it? The more people know about your channel and what kind of content you're making, the more likely they will subscribe. Here are some ways to spread the word and get more viewers and subscribers:

Cross Promote on Social Media Platforms

Cross-promote your channel with your school's other social media content on Facebook, X, and Instagram. You can even make short clips or teasers of your videos to share on these platforms that link back to your YouTube channel. This way, people who follow your school on social media but still need to subscribe to your YouTube channel might see what they're missing.

minneapolis instagram youtube link

Minneapolis Public School smartly reminded its 4.2K Instagram followers to head to YouTube to watch its original content.

minneapolis facebook profile

The district's Facebook profile header also calls out its other social media channels, including its YouTube channel, which regularly shares its videos with its 1.5K subscribers.

Include in Your School Website and Email Newsletters

Your school's website and email newsletters are where people go to discover what's happening at your school. Add a YouTube icon linking to your channel on your website, and mention your latest videos in your email newsletters — don’t forget to encourage your community to subscribe!

Participate in Community Events or Challenges

Remember the ice bucket challenge? What about the mannequin challenge? YouTube is full of trends and challenges that many users participate in. If a trend or challenge fits your school's values and can be made educational or fun for your audience, join in!

5. Engage With Your Audience

Don’t forget to put the “social” in social media — here’s how to keep your viewers returning for more.

Respond to Comments

When someone takes the time to leave a comment on your video, make sure you reply, even if it’s just to say thanks. If they ask questions, give them answers. This shows that you’re listening, making your channel feel like a friendly and active place where fans can chat and share ideas.

Encourage Viewers Through Polls and Q&A Sessions

YouTube has features that let you ask your viewers questions through polls or Q&A sessions. This is a fun way to get everyone involved. You could even ask what kind of event they’d like to see at school next or what topic they want your next video to cover...

Share Behind-the-Scenes Content

Everyone loves to get a sneak peek behind the curtain. Sharing behind-the-scenes content can be fun and exciting for your viewers, whether it's a tour of your school or how you prepare for a school play.

LBUSD youtube channel

Long Beach Unified School District does an excellent job connecting with its 11k subscribers by profiling students and teachers and going behind the scenes with its short-form video clips featured in YouTube Shorts.

6. Use YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics is a powerful resource that helps you understand what makes your school's YouTube channel work. It gives you all sorts of valuable information about your videos and who's watching them so you can make even better videos in the future.

Track the Performance of Your Videos

YouTube Analytics can show how many people watched your video, how long they watched it, and even which parts they liked the most. If you see that a lot of people stop watching your video halfway through, you can try something different next time.

YouTube analytics screenshot

Understand Your Audience Better

YouTube Analytics has a feature called the Audience Report that helps you figure out where your biggest fans are from, when you're getting (or losing) subscribers, and with enough data, you can see how old they are and their gender.

For example, if you learn that many parent-aged subscribers are watching your videos, you might make more videos about how to help kids prepare for college applications or the value of your public speaking program.

Using Data to Refine Your Content Strategy

Once you know what works well on your channel and who's watching, you can plan to make your channel even better.

  • Look at the Numbers: Regularly check your video views, likes, and comments to see what's popular.
  • Watch Time: Pay attention to how long people are watching your videos. Longer watch times can mean your content is engaging.
  • Subscriber Growth: Watch how your subscriber count changes. If you notice a jump after a specific video, think about what made that video special.

Key Takeaway

With YouTube's massive reach, focus on producing quality content consistently, optimizing your channel for search, and engaging actively with your audience. Increasing your school's YouTube subscribers means implementing a content plan, but above all, a well-executed YouTube strategy relies on understanding your audience to create content that resonates and drives subscriptions.

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Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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