Building a successful brand is not an easy process, and doing it right often takes time. There are ways to buy subscribers, but any YouTuber who knows their business will tell you that buying subs is a shortcut to failure.
Unfortunately, building an audience organically takes time, so when you get the itch to start something new, it’s understandable to wonder whether you should use an existing channel if you have one, or start entirely from scratch.
Should I Start A New YouTube Channel Or Keep My Old One?
If you have an existing audience and dead channel, it is almost always easier to rebrand the existing one to match the new content. If the old channel make sure the new content is in a similar niche. Looking to establish a separate audience within a new niche – then start a new channel.
There’s no clear yes or no answer to this question, however. The best course of action for your situation will differ significantly from that of another YouTuber.
In other words, we can’t tell you which way to go, but we can help you make that decision – lets walk you through your options.
The first and easiest situation to judge is when you have an existing and active channel, and you are considering starting some new content while still producing your original videos.
If your new content is in the same—or at least very close to—the niche your existing content is in, you should consider sticking with your current channel. As mentioned above, building a new audience is hard, and if your new content is similar enough to your existing content, there’s no sense in going through that process again.
On the other hand, if your new content is significantly different from your existing content, you could damage your channel’s discoverability by muddying its focus. If YouTube can’t make a clear decision over what your channel is about, it is less likely to recommend it to viewers, which is obviously less than ideal.
Repurposing Old Disused Channels
So, you have a channel from a previous project that you don’t use anymore? You wouldn’t be the first one.
If that channel has some leftover subscribers, it makes sense that you’d want to use it that rather than starting again. After all, they are your subscribers who you worked hard to gain.
This can work to your advantage, but again, it depends on your situation. If you just want the subscriber numbers, then it should be fine. If you are looking to build a meaningful, engaged audience, then using a channel with existing subscribers will not help.
Subscribers who are subscribed to your old channel won’t necessarily be interested in your new content. And any notifications YouTube gives may only serve to remind the viewer to unsubscribe as they are no longer interested in your content.
That being said, there is no real harm to re-using an old channel. You may find those original subscribers falling away, but it shouldn’t be a hindrance to you from gaining new subscribers.
Something that happens to many YouTubers—particularly after long periods on the platform—is the organic divergence of your content into multiple distinct things. A typical example of this would be setting up a second channel to post vlogs to, or behind the scenes content of the videos from your main channel.
In these cases, you will need to weigh up the popularity of this additional content.
If it is significant enough to warrant its own channel, then go for it! If hardly anyone watches them, however, it may make more sense to keep them where they are.
Rebranding Your Existing Channel
Sometimes there is no new or extra content. It’s human nature to want to change things up every so often, and YouTubers are just as prone to this as anyone.
If you feel the urge to rebrand your channel, whether it is a considered and researched move or a whim, plain and simple, then whether you should start over with your channel depends on your current channel’s status.
If you have problems with that channel, such as copyright strikes (see below) or you have found yourself with a toxic subscriber base that you would rather distance yourself from, then a new channel would be an excellent option.
When I wanted to keep my channel and give it a face-lift I needed a new channel banner, end-screen and flashy intro. I am not the best with graphic design so I used PlaceIt to make them for me. They offer easy to edit templates from free to as little as $15 – go check out their website and give your channel a new look to wow your subscribers.
Reviving a Dead Channel
It doesn’t have to be a tale of two channels, of course. Perhaps you have an old channel that you abandoned for one reason or another but have since become reignited by the premise of that channel. In this case, the situation is mostly the same as mentioned in the above scenarios.
If your old channel is in good standing, you could look to reboot it, bringing in new viewers and getting things off the ground once more. If your channel has a spotty history, it might be best to leave that history behind.
Another thing to think about is your channel’s reputation with consistency. YouTube viewers like consistency; they like to know their favorite YouTubers are putting weekly or monthly videos out. And if you have a channel that started strong and then went radio silent for a long time, your viewers may be skeptical about whether any rebrand attempt will last.
Buying a Channel
The vast majority of the time, this should fall into the same bin as buying subscribers. It is possible to purchase channels that already have subscribers and a history behind them.
These can come in two primary flavors;
- Legitimate channels that are no longer wanted
- Channels that were created just to sell
With the latter, there will almost never be a case where this is a good idea. Subs for channels like this are typically unfocused. They will not translate into any kind of meaningful audience as their interests in no way align with whatever the channel was purported to be about.
On the other hand, you might be considering a legitimate channel in which the owner has decided to quit and is selling their channel. While subscribers on a channel like this will have matching interests with each other, you will need to find a channel with a similar niche to yours if you hope to translate that purchase to viewers of your own directly.
Other Things to Consider
There are some other things to consider that apply regardless of the state of your existing channel, or how the content of that channel compares to your new idea.
Is There Anything to Save?
If an old channel is completely dead; no subscribers, no links, no views, then there isn’t really any point to rebranding it. There might not be any harm, either, if the channel is in good standing. But there will likely be no benefit.
In this case, it is entirely up to you. It could come down to something menial, such as not wanting another YouTube account to manage. Whatever the reason or path you decide to take, you should be fine.
Copyright and Community Guideline Strikes
YouTube isn’t always the most forgiving of platforms when it comes to rule-breaking. If you have an account—even one with a lot of followers—that has some black marks on its permanent record, it is probably best to abandon that channel as a base for your new venture.
Of course, we’re sure you have no intention of breaking any rules going forward. But with a platform such as YouTube, where the rules are continually changing, accidents can happen. You don’t want to fall afoul of an unfortunate incident, only for YouTube to obliterate your channel because it has a history.
One of the main reasons you would want to rebrand a channel rather than start over is to take advantage of the established reputation of that channel in the eyes of search engines. There are two main things to consider here.
Firstly, if you are revamping the content of the channel, the authority of any links leading to old material may be weakened. Secondly, if you are entirely rebranding the channel and removing or making the existing videos private, you should completely disregard any existing link authority to this channel, as it will soon disappear.
In the latter case, not only will search engines stop viewing the channel as relevant to those links, but any people who click on those old links will be frustrated to find that the video they wanted isn’t there any more!
How to Revive a Dead Channel
If you do decide to bring an old channel back from the dead, the approach is largely similar to starting from scratch… but not exactly. The main differences lie in old channels that had something of a following. Re-engaging with subscribers after your channel has been AWOL is tricky business. Many subscribers will immediately forgive and forget. Others will have forgotten they were subscribed to your channel and immediately unsubscribe once you remind them with a new video.
Make sure you are up to date. Take a look at videos from competitors channels to see if anything has changed significantly since you were last making videos for this channel. If it has, consider incorporating these changes in your revived content.
If you still have an audience on this channel, think about talking to them, asking them what they would like from your new content. Again, you run the risk of merely reminding some people that they were subscribed, causing them to unsubscribe promptly, but there isn’t much you can do about that.
You should strongly consider giving your revived channel an overhaul when it comes to artwork, even if you still like the original design. By starting over with the design, you can do your into what YouTubers in the same niche are doing, and incorporate some of those elements into your branding. It will also help to give the channel a fresh feel.
Think carefully about how far you want to take any rebranding. For example, do you want to change the name of the channel you are reviving?
If so, are you at risk of losing out on any brand recognition that your channel’s old name might command? Similarly, are there any negative connotations to the old name?
This doesn’t have to mean universally negative, but rather negative in relation to the new content you plan to release. For example, a channel that covered political issues might struggle to attract a crowd from the gaming section of YouTube, as it is typically hostile to this type of content.
Content is King
It gets said a lot but it always worth reiterating; no matter how many times you rebrand a channel, no matter whether you are starting from scratch or reviving a popular dead channel; content is the ultimate dealbreaker.
If your content is poor, your channel’s performance will also be. There is simply no getting around this universal truth. A channel with little to no advertising can do really well with good content, whereas a channel with a hefty advertising budget will always be fighting a losing a battle if the videos it puts out are below par.
Always be prepared to put as much effort as you can spare into your content, as it will pay off in the long run. You don’t have to spend money to get seen just share your videos in the right places – I did a blog the the best places to share your videos for more exposure.
For the most part, any advantages you might think you’d get from using an established channel to kickstart a new premise will probably not apply, unless the channel happens to have the exact same kind of content as your new videos.
And, if that were the case, you would have to wonder if rebranding was necessary when you have the ideal set up already in place.
When you are sticking with the original premise of the content and are just looking to breath new life into a forgotten channel, overhauling the look of the channel can help. Still, ultimately it will be your content that will bring new viewers to the party.
Having said all of that, if you only take away one piece of advice from this posts, let it be this; buying subscribers—either outright or as part of purchasing an old channel—seldom works. Even if you get lucky and manage to find a channel for sale in a similar niche to you, there are no guarantees that the viewers will respond to you as favourably as they once responded to the previous owner of the channel.
And that’s assuming those viewers are real!
Get your viewers the old fashioned way. You’ll thank yourself later.
If you need help to pick the right titles, optimizing your descriptions, tags and giving your videos the best launching pad they need then check out VidIQ – I use them to optimize all of my videos and their browser plugin is free to download on their website.