Last week YouTube was nice enough to release a 40 page “creators guide” for musicians advising them on the best ways to leverage YouTube to build a loyal and engaged fan base. In case you don’t have the time or energy to dig through all 40 pages we were kind enough to create our own bulleted list of what we considered to be some key takeaways. For those of you who want to dig a little deeper, you can check out the rest of the guide here. Enjoy!
Optimize for Better Discovery
1. Get Your Metadata Working for You: First things first, don’t forget to lead with the song title, artist name [your name] and album title in the title of your video. And be sure to include heavily searched terms as well. If you have a famous guests on the song, be sure to include their name. If you cover a song, be sure to include the name of the artist whose song you covered. Remember, most people find music channels through search results, so optimizing your videos for discovery is key.
2. Tag Tag Tag: Tag as many terms that are relevant to your video as you can. Use both general and specific key words.
3. Use An Intriguing Thumbnail: Be sure to choose a thumbnail that is compelling. You want people to want to know what is happening in your video so choose something that invites curiosity.
4. Descriptive Description: Take advantage of the real estate under video description to include calls to action like “click to buy here” or “view new video here.” Be sure to include new album release date, up coming concert dates, links to socials, digital store, etc.
5. Take Advantage of Annotations: Annotations have a few important uses. First, you can add annotations to your older videos to direct fans to your newest video. Or you can add an annotation to a new video encouraging fans to check out your other videos so they can get to know you as an artists better. On top of that, you can use annotations to promote your licensed merchandize directly in your videos. Just don’t forget to leverage your top performing videos!
6. Choose a Layout that Meets Your Needs: A single channel layout makes it easy for you to target announcements to specific groups of fans and encourage fans to help shape your content. A single channel layout will include all of your curated content, live performances and official videos on a single channel. A multi-channel layout allows you to separate your content into different channels. You can upload official music videos onto your main channel and your favorite music, live performances, funny videos, etc to a different one. This makes it easy for your fans to find exactly what they are looking for.
Releasing an Album or Song
7. Not One but TWO Videos: If you are going to use YouTube to release a new song, they highly recommend you create both a lyric and an official music video. Lyric videos are easier to make and will help build buzz for when you do drop your official music video. Lyric videos also help your fans connect with your music by getting them more acquainted with your message and words. For many people, lyrics can make or break a song.
8. Leverage the Community: Get your fans to particpate in this intimate process with you. Ask them for their feedback and thoughts on your song. Enourage them to comment, share and subscribe to your channel. You can even ask them to create re-mixes or covers of your song and share them with you.
9. Use Data: Be sure to pay close attention to the regions that are driving the most traffic to your channel. Examine your traffic sources. Are there any specific blogs or sites that are driving a significant amount of traffic? Use this data to help determine where to hold live events, interviews, reach out to the local press, etc.
Engage With Your Fans
10. Exclusive Perks: A great way to keep your fans engaged is to offer them exclusive perks. Give your fans and subscribers first crack at new tracks, behind-the-scenes video clips or even concert tickets. Leverage annotations and/or your video descriptions to help promote them.
11. Q&A: YouTube recommends dedicating one day a month to holding a live Q&A or Google Hangout session with your fans. Take questions, talk about new projects you’re working on and just hang out. Your fans will appreciate the opportunity to spend quality time with you and you’ll continue to gain new YouTube followers in the process. A win-win.