Having a YouTube channel can be an excellent way to promote your music and make it available to a broad audience, but as with so many platforms, knowing how to effectively manage a YouTube channel is critical to making it successful.
Want to have your own channel on the most popular video sharing site on the web? Whether you are using YouTube to reach new audiences or simply to promote music to your current audience, here are some tips that are guaranteed to get you off to a good start!
1. Aim for: High Quality, Regular Quantity.
Regular uploads will produce a regular crowd of viewers, but only if the content quality is consistently high. You don’t necessarily need to have the best camera, lights, and microphone, (though it helps!), but really, the most important thing about a video is the quality of the content. For example, a video of impressive vocals or incredible drumming skills filmed via webcam is going to be much more entertaining, (and inspire more sharing), than a video of a poorly rehearsed performance captured in an expensive studio through an expensive lens. Once the quality of the content is high, regular uploads can lead to a dedicated and exponentially-growing fan base.
2. Compliment videos with more videos.
Uploading a great video is the beginning, not the end! Add more videos to create a story. As a fan, I love to watch behind-the-scenes footage of my favorite bands on the set of their latest music video shoot or backstage before a show. I get to know the people that write the music that I love, and I find out when their next performances are and when the new merch is released. I absorb all of this information through watching videos that surround their latest music video release.
3. Give your video the best chance.
Accurate representation of video content through customized thumbnails is essential. After going through my videos and creating customized thumbnails that captured the main message of each video, I saw my views (per video) increase significantly. Furthermore, having optimized titles, tags and descriptions for each of your videos will give them the best chance to be seen by the people who are looking for them, as well as those who aren’t! This is where the magic of audience growth comes in.
4. Collaborate as much as possible!
As well as meeting new people and learning music and video production techniques from others, collaborations are brilliant because they can expose you and your music to new audiences. Cross-promotion of content through other creators’ channels can potentially expand your fan base – especially if you are collaborating with someone who uploads videos that have similarities to your own.
5. Analytics are for geeks.
So embrace your inner geek! If you don’t, you are seriously wasting an opportunity to get real insight into what is working for you and what isn’t. Use the data generated by your YouTube channel, (which is presented in a very practical way via the ‘Creator Studio’), to learn what your audience likes and when they like it. Here, you can discover your video playback locations, demographics, audience retention, traffic sources and much more. This information can be very useful in booking tours if you are an independent act, (promoters will be more inclined to work with you if they can see the right numbers), and discovering the optimum timezones for publishing your videos.
6. Don’t just upload, interact.
Think of your video as the conversation starter. Don’t just upload a new video and expect audience engagement to be high – if you don’t interact you can’t expect your viewers to. Aim to answer questions that are asked via the comments section below your video, and ask for feedback in the form of comments.
Recently, I uploaded a demo of a new song I had written to see what my fan base thought – this was a conversation starter. I learned what they liked about the song, what they didn’t like and what they thought I could improve on. This was really valuable for me, I’m currently working on the finished version of this song with all of these comments in mind! Linking back my first point, I had made sure that the quality of the video I uploaded was high, which meant that it was entertaining and it encouraged sharing. The end result: I was able to promote new music to my current audience whilst growing my fan base via their video sharing – all the while getting the positive feedback and constructive criticism that I needed to encourage me to work up an official studio version of the song.
If you don’t have much to say or you’re not really feeling the song you have been working on, don’t upload a video. Don’t just post out content for content’s sake. People will see through videos that aren’t genuine and lose interest. It has to be real, and it has to be something that you are passionate about – whether that’s an interesting arrangement of a well-known song, an exciting new song, or a new tour announcement! I think it’s most important to do what you want to do, but don’t be afraid to experiment and find out works works for you and your fan base. And don’t expect to grow a worldwide fan base via YouTube overnight, perseverance is the key.