How To Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers On YouTube

Getting your first 1,000 subscribers on YouTube comes with some sweet (and very profitable) perks. From unlocking revenue sharing and selling opportunities to exponentially accelerating channel growth, the milestone is significant for any YouTuber.

Less than 10% of YouTube channels reach the 1,000-subscriber mark, and those that do often upload videos for years before reaching the milestone.

However, many channels reach 1,000 authentic subscribers in months instead of years. And it’s no coincidence that they all use similar methods to get there.

In this guide, we share stories, examples, and unique expert tips from people who have built successful YouTube channels. We’ve also included a “How to get 1,000 YouTube Subscribers” checklist to kickstart your growth on the platform.

Whether you’re promoting a business you already own or looking to earn income as a YouTube creator, this guide will steer you toward YouTube success more quickly.

Why Getting 1,000 YouTube Subscribers Matters

Reaching the 1,000-subscriber goal is a major milestone for anyone with a new YouTube channel. It may not sound like a lot compared to other YouTubers you watch. But reaching that first 1,000 can be pretty tough. 

Less than 10% of YouTube channels have 1,000 followers or more.

Fortunately, YouTube relaxed some of its Partner Program eligibility requirements in 2023. Now, even new channels can access tools and features that can help them grow faster.

For example, Community posts were once limited to channels with 1,000 subscribers, but are now open to any size channel, regardless of subscriber count. Community posts allow you to engage with viewers outside of video uploads (in the Community tab) using polls, GIFs, quizzes, images, and more. 

When you reach 500 YouTube subscribers, you unlock features such as:

  • YouTube Partner Program (monetization options)
  • YouTube Merch Shelf (sell your products)

Reaching 1,000 YouTube subscribers unlocks:

  • Revenue sharing for ads
  • Revenue sharing for YouTube Premium

Unofficially, reaching 1,000 subscribers also gives you credibility, paving the way for brand partnerships and accelerated channel growth.

For example, it took Reddit user bassedmike 3 ½ years to reach 1,000 subscribers but only an additional six months to add 5,500 more subscribers.

Reddit post where YouTuber bassedmke talks about how it took him 3 1/2 years to reach 1,000 subscribers

How long does it take to get 1,000 subscribers on YouTube?

It’s 100% normal to take years for a channel to reach the 1,000-subscriber milestone on YouTube. 

It doesn’t have to take that long, though. Some people reach 1,000 subscribers much quicker. 

By learning how YouTube works, you can develop, optimize, and market your channel for faster growth.

If you aim to reach 1,000 subscribers within your first year, the tips below will help you get there. 

If your goal is a bit slower-paced, that’s okay, too. You can still use the advice to guide your growth. Many, if not most, successful YouTubers spend years developing their channels.

For example, it took Mr. Beast, the world’s #2 most popular YouTuber (with 237 million subscribers), many years to get his first 1,000 subscribers.

Post where MrBeast talks about it taking years for him to get his first 1,000 YouTube subscribers

In the guide below, we share expert advice from people who have been there. Some gained their first 1,000 subscribers in weeks, while others reached the milestone in one year or more. If you’re looking for a strategic way to build a community on YouTube, these tips will help you get there.

9 Pro tips to help you get your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers

I chatted with several YouTubers who’ve had success on the platform and also dug into the back stories of some of YouTube’s most successful creators. Here are some of their most valuable tips for reaching 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.

#1 – Choose a niche audience and topic you’re passionate about

Narrowing your target audience can help you add YouTube subscribers more quickly. 

The ideal audience isn’t already overloaded with competitors yet is large enough to justify posting content.

For example, Taxi driver Tom Hutley, who has more than 91,000 subscribers, reached his first 1,000 within six months of starting his YouTube channel, Tom the Taxi Driver

Hutley’s unique commentary on taxi driving and the city of London is a hit with his subscribers, who eagerly engage in the comments section of nearly every video he posts.

Taxi driver Tom Hutley, who has more than 91,000 subscribers, reached his first 1,000 within six months of starting his YouTube channel

Tuomas Kivioja’s YouTube channel, Internet Made Coder went from zero to 2,000 subscribers in two weeks.

In his video titled How I Got Monetized in 2 Weeks on YouTube, he explains that he struggled to get subscribers for a previous channel but learned from his mistakes. 

I was making the exact same mistake that literally everyone who starts YouTube makes in the beginning — I was not focusing on a specific target audience.”

Kivioja adds, “I wasn’t making videos I was absolutely passionate about,” as he stresses the importance of making videos on topics you really care about.

Creating videos for years to come — and avoiding burnout —  can only happen if you love what you’re sharing. Narrowing your focus to a specific niche will help you to stand out and gain more YouTube views and subscribers from day one.

#2 – Don’t skip on sound quality

To create great videos, begin with the audio. This lesson resonates across nearly every YouTube channel discussion.

Poor sound quality annoys viewers and often causes them to quickly “bounce” away from your videos. 

The YouTube algorithm notices your high bounce rates, which eventually reduces the visibility of your videos in its feeds. Those quick bounces also dramatically reduce your chances of getting people to tap the “subscribe” button.

Whether you need to buy new equipment or cushion the room, delivering high-quality sound is worth the effort. 

Wondering how to get it right? Head to YouTube and look for videos on how other YouTubers get professional sound for their videos. 

Good sound quality doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. But it does take a bit of understanding about what kind of mic to use and how to set up your studio.

In the clip below, content creator Ben Johnson provides some simple tips on getting a professional sound for your videos. 

#3 – Optimize your channel and videos for YouTube SEO

Software engineer Alex Hyatt uses his YouTube channel to help developers learn new skills. He currently has 19,500 YouTube subscribers but reached his first 1,000 in only five months

In his blog post “1000 Subscribers in 5 Months: My Strategy,” Hyatt recommends that new YouTubers focus on getting traffic from YouTube Search.

Picture of Alex Hyett's YouTube channel

How does YouTube SEO work?

YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) refers to optimizing your channel and videos for its native search engines. It involves adding keywords to your channel and videos in strategic ways.

Tim Stoddart, Owner of Copyblogger and Sober Nation

“Getting subscribers on YouTube has been mostly about SEO.

Think of the questions your target audience is asking and then make videos that specifically answer those questions. 

Most importantly, people go to YouTube to get answers and if you can answer the questions for your audience, your subscriber numbers will go through the roof.”

Tim Stoddart
CEO, Stodzy,Inc.
Owner of Copyblogger and Sober Nation

Marketing expert and YouTuber Gillian Perkins explains how to optimize a YouTube channel in her video “YouTube SEO Basics- Rank Your Videos #1 on YouTube (Fast!)”

#4 – Write effective video titles

Your video titles are among the first things YouTube viewers see on your channel and in the search engine results. Titles play a large part in gaining subscribers because they can drive new viewers from results and recommendation feeds to your channel.

A good YouTube video title includes a clear and accurate description of the video, plus its keywords. Google recommends limiting ALL CAPS and emojis in titles, using them only when they deliver genuine value.

Resist the urge to focus on catchy titles that won’t drive traffic to your channel. Instead, focus on searchable titles that help your videos reach more viewers.

Digital marketing expert and former Google employee Kevin Miller explains that titles are a trigger for YouTube algorithms and a key factor in driving new viewers.

Kevin Miller, Co-Founder & CEO of GR0

“Though many will focus on their video thumbnail and production values to gain YouTube subscribers, we concentrated on the importance of the title. 

A title is more than just a way to inform your audience of what your YouTube video entails, it is also the trigger for the platform’s internal SEO algorithms for it to be found.”

Kevin Miller
Co-Founder & CEO of GR0
2021 American Business Awards”Entrepreneur of the Year”

#5 – Partner with influencers on YouTube and other platforms

Want to immediately gain exposure to people who are likely to subscribe to your channel? Partnering with influencers who share a similar audience can be one of the quickest ways to grow a social media following

You don’t need a big brand budget to partner with influencers.

If you’re working with a small budget, consider hiring micro-influencers or partnering with other small YouTube channel owners for co-sponsored events, contests, takeovers, and promotions. 

For the best results, collaborate with influencers who have highly engaged audiences similar to yours. 

Grooveshark and Harmonic Reach Marketing founder Sam Tarantino encourages growing your YouTube channel with cross-platform influencer collaborations. 

Sam Tarantino, Founder of Grooveshark and Harmonic Reach Marketing

“By partnering with influencers and creators who share a similar audience, we were able to co-create content that provided value and piqued the interest of both subscriber bases. 

This mutual promotion accelerated subscriber growth not just through direct referrals but also by enhancing content discoverability.”

Sam Tarantino
Founder of Grooveshark and Harmonic Reach Marketing

#6 – Use other social media channels to test your content

Book author Lauren Kay reached the 1,000-subscriber milestone on YouTube at lightning speed in just one month. Her experience building audiences on other platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, gave her insights that helped speed her growth on YouTube.

Book author Lauren Kay's YouTube channel

For example, one of her TikTok videos received 700,000 views, so she thought the topic might be a success on YouTube as well. She created another version of it for YouTube, and that video made it to the top 3 results on the platform, earning her 500-1,000 views each week.

Lauren Kay, Author and founder of Lauren Kay Writes

“I started posting to my YouTube channel in November 2023 and hit 1,000 subscribers within a month.

My top tip for anyone starting out is to test out different hooks and kinds of content on TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

YouTube videos take a lot of effort; you don’t want to spend 10-20 hours making a video of an un-validated concept, only to see it get under 500 views.”

Lauren Kay
Author and founder of Lauren Kay Writes

#7 – Engage with commenters

When you create a feeling of community, people are more likely to return to your channel and share it with their friends. Engaging with viewers in the comments section of your videos is one of the best ways to build a genuine community.

Cleartail Marketing founder Magee Clegg explains that engaging with viewers goes a long way toward reaching new people and increasing your subscriber count.

We actively interact with every comment, which helps to build a community feeling and establish a direct dialogue with viewers.

Based on one campaign we managed, this approach didn’t just encourage existing viewers to subscribe bu
t also drew their networks into the conversation, thereby boosting our subscriber count organically.”

– Magee Clegg, founder and CEO of Cleartail Marketing

#8 – Engage with your subscribers in creative ways

Take engagement to the next level by looking for creative ways to interact with your YouTube subscribers.

Rongzhong Li, whose YouTube channel PetoiCamp has more than 20,000 followers, recommends using interactive elements to engage YouTube viewers.

Rongzhong Li, Founder/CEO | Petoi

“By incorporating elements like polls, quizzes, challenges, or interactive storytelling, I was able to captivate my audience and encourage active participation. 

This not only kept viewers hooked and coming back for more, but also helped to increase watch time, engagement, and ultimately attract more subscribers to my channel.”

Rongzhong Li
Founder/CEO of Petoi

Email marketing is another great way to keep your subscribers engaged. 

Sending a weekly email newsletter allows you to promote your YouTube channel on a wider scale. You can use your email newsletter to do things such as:

  • Offer exclusive tips.
  • Run contests and giveaways.
  • Encourage readers to share your videos with friends.
  • Ask what type of YouTube content they’d like to see next.
  • Let subscribers know about upcoming special events.

To encourage newsletter subscriptions, consider creating lead generation content and linking to its landing page in your video descriptions.

And (hint hint), if you’re looking for a trusted, easy-to-use email marketing platform that lets you manage email marketing, landing pages, and lead gen content from one place, consider giving AWeber a try!

#9 – Run cross-channel promotions

If you’ve already built a following on other social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Pinterest, give your followers a reason to head to your YouTube channel.

For example, you might include more in-depth content on YouTube or run a special giveaway contest from your YouTube channel.

Marques Brownlee, who makes videos about technology, has more than 18 million followers on YouTube. He began uploading videos to his channel at age of 15 in 2009, and it took him five years to reach the 1,000-subscriber milestone.

Marques Brownlee YouTube channel

Brownlee’s focus has always been his YouTube channel, but he’s taken advantage of other social platforms to promote it.

For example, when his channel was still young, Brownlee ran a live Q & A session on Reddit that attracted nearly 6,000 comments and more than 18,000 views.

An example of a social media post from Marques Brownlee

Cross-channel promotions can go a long way toward reaching your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers more quickly. Creative ideas for special events, contests, and live broadcasts can be very effective in driving social media followers to your YouTube channel.

The “How to get 1,000 YouTube followers” checklist

The most successful YouTube creators recommend the following strategies to increase subscribers for your channel:

  • Choose a niche you’re passionate about.
  • Create valuable content that’s worth watching.
  • Pay attention to the quality of your videos, especially the audio.
  • Optimize your channel, videos, and titles for YouTube search engines.
  • Cross-promote your channel on other social media platforms.
  • Engage with people who comment on your YouTube videos.
  • Look for creative ways to engage your community, such as email newsletters and cross-channel promotions.
  • Collaborate with influencers to expand your audience quickly.
  • Monitor your YouTube analytics to discover what type of content is most successful for your audience (and create more of it!).
  • Use email marketing to promote your YouTube channel.

Bonus tip: Launch your channel with at least five videos. 

Former YouTube employee MatPat, who has started several channels with millions of subscribers, says that launching a channel with only one video (or none) is a mistake. 

Without several videos, you can’t keep people on your channel very long — which makes the YouTube algorithm think that your channel can’t retain viewers.

Reaching 1,000 subscribers on YouTube is a significant milestone. Whether you’re looking to promote a business or earn income as a YouTube creator, the approach is the same: 

  • Choose a niche topic. 
  • Produce valuable content that matters to you. 
  • Engage with your audience. 
  • Promote your channel. 
  • Improve based on feedback.

By following the expert tips in this guide, you can begin to build a community of subscribers who support your channel and brand.

Building a social media community for the future

Building an engaged community on any social media channel takes time, effort, and well-thought strategy.

Before you invest in building subscribers on a platform like YouTube, consider how you’ll ensure access to your audience over the long term.

Social media algorithms can change without warning. Accounts can be hacked. Policies can be changed. And while it’s not likely to affect access to your audience, it’s always a possibility.

Before you begin growing your subscriber list, consider integrating email marketing into your social media strategy. By driving viewers to a link that encourages them to sign up for your email list, you ensure that you will always have direct access to your audience beyond the confines of social media.

AWeber simplifies email marketing with a drag-and-drop interface, easy email automation features, and professional templates. Why not give it a try? Sign up for a free AWeber account today.