We all know the tale of the YouTube celebrity. Whether it’s a Grumpy Cat or a Norwegian comedy duo, video content has exploded in the past few years as one of the most shared types of content on the web. Plus, Nielsen will tell you it’s also rising in the ranks of music discovery for teens. So how do you leverage YouTube to promote your music? Let’s dive in.
First things first: determine your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your music? Some artists have broad appeal (think Top 40, pop) while others are more niche. Figure out what the characteristics are of your potential fan base so you know how to target your marketing. Knowing who to attract is critical in positioning yourself.
Once we figure out who these folks are, we need to ask: what does this target audience search for online? Who else are they listening to? Knowing these things means you can categorize or tag yourself properly so you’ll show up in their searches. Christopher Sharpe wrote this great piece on his blog: “Filling out a detailed description of your video, writing good headlines and strategically optimizing your tags is the part of video publishing that everybody would like to ignore. But the meta data makes a HUGE difference.” Properly describing yourself allows people to know what to expect while watching one of your videos, and it’s a way to include buzz words people are searching which makes you more likely to come up in their results.
Another way to increase traffic flow to your channel is to do covers of popular songs. If one of your musical influences releases a new song it provides a news vehicle to attach yourself to. If you create a cover version that offers a twist that is distinctly you, you’ve struck gold: potential fans will find you searching for the hit song, and they’ll stay (and maybe subscribe!) because of your unique take. The experts at Social Times and Simply Zesty recommend the use of annotations, which are the little bubbles that pop-up in videos that link to other videos, a channel, etc. prompting viewers to visit those as well. Include a link to an original song in the video of a related cover, and you’ll boost the likelihood that people will watch it. You could also create a playlist so once the video is over the viewer is simply immediately taken on to the next one.
Once you know who the videos are for and have them made and labeled properly the work doesn’t stop. It’s just started! Now it’s time to build momentum and keep it going. There are lots of ways to do this. The first is by regularly producing content. If have a continual flow of new material, fans have a reason to keep coming back. Second, keep the flow of the existing content in motion and don’t forget about it. Make sure to cross promote your videos across other platforms you use – like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog – and don’t be afraid to repost it a few weeks later with a handy “in case you missed it” tag. And don’t forget to be a fan! If you comment on and share other videos of artists you think are doing a great job, they’ll be more likely to return the favor. Share tips and help one another by linking each others channels and videos. Collaborate.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. As Hypebot says: “One million views won’t come overnight. This process is going to take a serious investment of time and effort.”
Want to know more? Here are some good places to start: