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The Imitation Tactic to Grow Faster On YouTube

It’s powerful — use with caution 😉

The YouTube landscape becomes more competitive every year, making it difficult for new creators to gain traction.

It’s not easy to stand out.

But it’s not entirely necessary, either.

With the right strategy, you can “hack” your way up the YouTube ranks more quickly and effectively.

One strategy I have seen and used myself is what I call the imitation tactic.

Here’s how it works.

The Imitation Method – How It Works

The core concept involves closely following channels in your niche that are already successful.

The basic idea is this:

When they publish a new video, move quickly to create your own take on the same topic within 24 hours or less.

Now, to specify: I am not talking about copying or stealing that video and its content. I am talking about creating your own video on the same topic and idea within a short timeframe.

This does two things:

  1. First, it increases the chances of our video being discovered by people who have watched the successful YouTube channels’ video about it and want to learn more or view another take on it
  2. Second, it also increases the chances of the algorithm acutally recommending your video next to the popular one, or directly to viewers of the popular video in other places like the YouTube home page.

To increase those chances even more, consider the following as well:

Match key metadata like the title structure, tags, keywords, and thumbnail style. The goal is to signal relevancy to YouTube’s algorithm and audience.

This increases the chance of your video being recommended beside the popular one or to viewers who just finished it.

People tend to binge-watch related content. That’s key here!

Tapping into this behavior by offering a similar video can capture residual audience interest.

Timeliness is critical though. YouTube favors recent, on-trend content.

This is why I say, get your video out less than 24 hours after the popular one.

Why This Approach Can Be Effective

This strategy is not really about “hacking” the YouTube algorithm.

It’s more about leveraging human behavior.

It’s about strategically positioning your content to be discovered by an engaged audience seeking that topic.

My View

I’ve tested this tactic myself.

And to be completely honest, results were mixed.

But that’s for a reason. The imitation tactic doesn’t work in every niche and topic. It works far better on trending and relevant, sometimes even newsworthy content than on generic, evergreen stuff that has been done many times in the past.

But it can work there too.

I’ve observed many successful channels utilize it, especially in certain niches like tech reviews and fashion.

When an upcoming creator employs this method early on when publishing videos around the same topics and titles as popular channels, it can help kickstart the growth by gaining views from the big channels’ audience pool.

When used appropriately, piggybacking off a top channel through strong topic-relevance and metadata relationships can get your content surfaced alongside or following theirs.

And that’s a humongous opportunity.

It’s not all peachy though.

Potential Downsides to Consider

While the imitation tactic definitely has its place, only relying on this approach has some risks:

  • Quickly producing content on the same topics is extremely time-consuming and might result in low-quality output.
  • It’s easy to cross the line from inspiration into copying. Ensure your videos stay original and reflect your unique perspective.
  • If everyone in a niche does this, it becomes an oversaturated tactic. Better suited for less crowded spaces.
  • As a small channel, you’ll still be buried below the popular videos. This alone won’t make you go viral overnight, most of the time.

The Key is Balance and Patience

Gaining a loyal audience on YouTube takes time and consistency.

Yeah, that’s always what they say. I know.

But it’s for a reason. Overnight success is rare. No amount of hacking will negate that.

While not a magic bullet, selectively utilizing the imitation tactic can provide a significant boost in the right circumstances.

Here’s what should go hand in hand with it:

  • Focus on developing authentic content and optimizing your videos for discovery through SEO and promotion.
  • Leverage trending topics when you have something unique to say, not just to chase views.
  • Set realistic goals and be patient. With regular posting of high-quality content tuned to your niche, you can build an engaged subscriber base over months and years.

The YouTube landscape is vast.

With smart strategies and persistence, there is still ample room for new creators to become successful in 2024 and beyond.

Why not give it a go?

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