How One Creator Went Viral on YouTube (A Case Study)

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Carla Marshall
March 14, 2022
How One Creator Went Viral on YouTube

Jessica Stansberry, a YouTube creator and educator, went viral early in 2022 with a video around selling digital products.

By doing so, she added over 10,000 new subscribers, increased her income from Google AdSense by 7x, and tripled her views and watch time

And that was only the jumping-off point to create even more content that would go viral for her. With the help of TubeBuddy, she intentionally created content that also blew up on the tail of that specific video

Going viral is the dream for many YouTube creators, but what’s the strategy behind that goal? Jessica broke this down into five easy steps. Read along for her top tips or watch the video below:

To get the most out of her example, you’ll need TubeBuddy’s Legend License access. It’s a paid plan but definitely worth it for the value it provides.

Going viral is subjective. For Jessica and her YouTube channel, it’s any video that’s going to get about ten times the views that she usually gets. 

#1 Identify What Content is Working On Your Channel Right Now

If you want any of your videos to perform above and beyond, the first thing you need to do is identify what viewers want to watch. 

An excellent way to determine this is with TubeBuddy’s Click Magnet tool, specifically the Power Rankings section of the tool. This feature will run an analysis of your content, and rank your last 50 uploads by performance. TubeBuddy will do all the work for you here and rank each video from 1-50.

To access the tool, open your TubeBuddy dashboard and click on ‘Click Magnet’ under the ‘Tools’ tab. Jessica used it to confirm which recently published videos performed well for her so she could repeat that success:

Power Rankings will give you real-time feedback on what YouTube likes, and what your audience likes. And that’s golden.

#2: Pick the Right Keywords

The second step is to pick keywords that you can actually rank for. While this seems an obvious strategy to take, consider one thing:

If your channel is relatively small (around 1,000 subscribers), you will find it difficult to rank against bigger channels creating the same videos. Those channels usually have more authority than yours.

However, by using TubeBuddy’s Keyword Explorer, you can quickly identify what keywords will work for YOUR channel. Keyword Explorer gives you two types of scores after you enter in a keyword or keyphrase:

Unweighted Score: This score pulls data from across all YouTube channels and videos to identify search volumes and competition. It takes a high-level and generalized view of any keywords. Based on the unweighted score, it might not be a good keyword to target if the competition is too high.

Weighted Score: This is the feature you want to use as it’s specific to YOUR channel. You can test the same keywords to see how they could perform based on the videos you’ve already published and the metadata you used for those videos. The weighted score is completely personalized for your channel and your content to give you the most accurate picture of what keywords will work for you.

TubeBuddy can also provide you with other suggestions for longer tail keyphrases that you might want to create videos for. 

So, based on the Weighted Score, Jessica was able to confirm which keywords would work best for her based on my channel’s previous content and authority.

If you have a smaller number of subscribers than Jessica (less than 140K), your keyword scores might only be fair. But you can use Keyword Explorer to keep drilling down until you find a score that’s excellent for you. 

Every time you use the tool, you’re getting closer to a keyword that will work for you!

The actual formula to getting your video found in YouTube Search is pretty simple:

  • Use keywords that you can actually rank for, and
  • Put those keywords in the right places (title, description, tags, script, thumbnails, etc.)

You should always optimize your videos to be found in Search. 

But where we really see virality happen is when YouTube says this video is good, let’s show it to more people. So focus on getting the video in Recommended or Suggested, as well as Search.

To give YouTube every helping hand in suggesting your content, ensure that you are focused on generating a high click-through rate. CTR is the number of people who are shown your video versus the number of people who clicked through to that video. 

The higher the CTR, the better that video will perform on the platform. To boost your click-through, the basics you should be doing is:

  • Writing compelling video titles
  • Creating engaging video thumbnail images
  • Testing different thumbnail and title combinations
  • Picking the best keywords for YOUR channel
  • Focusing on video engagement

#4 A/B Test Your Thumbnails and Titles

If you want to increase your CTR, TubeBuddy has the perfect set of tools to help you! On the Legend license, you’ll have the ability to A/B test your YouTube titles and descriptions, plus your custom thumbnails.

Split testing these elements will help you determine which thumbnail and other metadata will boost the number of clicks you attract.

#5 Throw More Fuel on the Fire

If you’ve gone through the steps above, you’ve just increased your chances of going viral. But this next step is the most important; otherwise, everything will quickly fizzle out. 

Now is the exact time to throw more fuel on the fire! If a video is taking off, then:

  • Identify your other top-ranking content.
  • Find the right keywords. Make sure you’re not trying to rank for keywords you can’t rank for.
  • Find a way to increase your CTR, so more viewers click on your video when they see it in their feed. 
  • Throw everything you’ve got at your thumbnail and title. Use TubeBuddy’s A/B split test tool to identify what works best for you.
  • Use Keyword Explorer to see what other keywords you could go after in that niche.
  • Draw inspiration from other people’s videos to understand where you should go. 

The above strategy is not a guaranteed method, and you may need to try a few different things to figure out what works for you. However, using TubeBuddy tools to identify what’s working and what you can test and improve will be invaluable.

Sign up for a TubeBuddy Legend plan today and take those next steps to YouTube success!

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO