When people ask me the inevitable question of how I got my music “out there”, the short answer I have for them is this: YouTube. YouTube helped me build an initial fan base that I could promote to and really got the ball rolling for me.
If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, I’d highly recommend getting one. I like YouTube because the content you post has the potential to be much more discoverable than music you post on Bandcamp or the content you post on Twitter or Facebook about your music.
So today I want to give you a few tips to help your YouTube channel be more successful.
1. Put a link at the very beginning of your video description
I see so many people missing out on this one. By default, YouTube only displays the first two lines or so of your video description. If people want to read on, they have to click a button to open up the rest of it, and as we know a lot of people won’t take the time to do that. So make sure you get a link in there at the beginning. You can say something like “Check out my music here”, or “Follow me on Twitter for more”. Stuff like that.
2. Be overly detailed in your video description
Try to anticipate every possible question that you might get about your video and say something about it in the description. List every piece of gear you used. Talk about what inspired the video. Say what you used to edit the video. Say what video camera you used. There are two reasons for this, the first being that people will want to know, and they’ll be grateful to find out the info is already there. The second is that YouTube sees what you put in there and will include you in search results for everything you included in the description. Now maybe someone who wants a demo of a piece of gear you used will stumble upon your video, along with someone who’s interested in the software you used to edit the video. You are now more easily discoverable.
3. Minimal editing goes a long way
Don’t just record something with your camera and upload it straight to YouTube. Cut out the beginning and ending where you walk back to the camera and turn it on/off. Think about some quick text overlays that might be helpful to viewers. Make it a tiny bit more professional so that you’ll stand out and so viewers will get the sense that you’re serious about all this.
4. Respond to comments
Do your best to engage with the people who’ve taken the time to watch and comment on your video. Answer their question nicely, even if you’ve already answered their question in the description they didn’t read. A new viewer will be happy to see that you’re answering questions and being a nice guy on your videos. Resist the temptation to respond to negative and overly critical comments. It’s not worth it.
5. Be consistent in posting videos
As with anything like this, consistency is key. People are far more willing to subscribe to a YouTube channel that’s been active recently. Consider coming up with different levels of content. Post short, easy to make videos more often and in-depth videos that take more time to create a little less often.
6. Put in as many relevant tags as you can think of
In addition to the description, YouTube lets you tag your video. These also help include your video in search results. Tags are not public, however, and can be a lot more general than the content in your description. This is a great place to list different genres of music or related artists that might apply to your video. Get creative here, but make sure you’re being truthful. Don’t try to deceive YouTube or viewers by putting tags that don’t really relate to your video. You’ll mislead people and your video might get taken down.
7. Be member of the YouTube Partners program
Being a YouTube Partner is what enables you to make money by putting ads on your videos. But this is NOT why I think it’s important to be part of the program. Whether or not you care about the ads, being a partner opens up a lot of great options for your channel. The main perk, in my opinion, is the ability to brand your channel page by adding a header graphic with an image map. For an example, check out my YouTube page. I’ve got a simple banner with prominent links to my music, blog, and social media accounts. Having this banner will help direct your viewers/subscribers to your music and other sites while boosting your channel’s professionalism and legitimacy. And just to be clear, once you’re a partner you don’t have to enable ads on any of your videos. Check the YouTube Partner page to see guidelines and rules for being part of the program.
That’s it! These tips have really helped me, and I think they can help you too. And a lot these you can go do right now with just a few minutes of your time!!
Let me know in the comments below which of these tips you’re now going to go implement with your videos now that you know the secret : )