Today we will be talking about ways to use youtube in order to further our music carreers. Good youtube marketing will not only affect the number of clicks and subscribers we get for our videos and channels, but also our popularity and, of course, the amount of records, downloads, tickets and merch we sell.
In this article we will address both creative and technical aspects of successful youtube marketing. To begin with, though, we have to understand that youtube is not just a website that hosts videos, but a fully fledged social media platform that enables fan generation and content distribution and thus generates a disseminator effect.
So which creative methods can we use to increase our youtube presence?
Upload lots of music
The more we cultivate our youtube presence, i.e. our channel, the better we can entertain and keep our audience. Musician Luke Dowler even suggests to release every one of your songs additionally on youtube, be it with a full video clip or simply with a still image or song lyrics. New song uploads give us something to talk about and share with our audience.
Behind the scenes and weekly soaps
It’s not only music that entertains our audience. Fans love behind-the-scenes documentaries, making-ofs or just the band goofing around. Hair Metal revivalists Steel Panther are making use of this to the max. Yet other bands and musicians produce regular shows or little soaps to enhance their presence, something that really pays off in times of musical downtimes.
People love stuff they already know, which is why they embrace cover versions of already popular songs easier than new original material. So it’s not a secret that many new artists are using cover versions in order to get their name out before they put out their self written material. On youtube we even have a chance that our cover song will show up in search results for the original version of a song and make quite a few listeners curious. When recording and publishing – and that’s what we do on youtube – a cover version we have to make sure to clear the rights with the original publisher first.
Paul Estrela, Manager of The Makemakes und keynote speaker at MusicBiz Madness 2013, points at the importance of a thumbnail that draws attention. Since youtube suggests random scenes from our video as thumbnails at its sole discretion, we can trick the system a little. By adding a long still image at the end of our video we increase chances youtube will pick and suggest exactly that picture as a thumbnail.
There are also some technical things we can consider to successfully use youtube. Here are a few methods that even tend towards search engine optimization and are being used by a number of successful internet marketers:
Name your channel
When naming our youtube channel it should be obvious that in terms of marketing our name or that of our band is more powerful than a fantasy construction of letters and numbers. By adding the music genre to our name, e.g. The Mojo Workers – Classic Blues, we keep a chance of being discovered by users who are not searching for a particular artist but for videos of a special music genre (here: blues).
Name your video
Online Marketer Craig Ballantyne recommends using the main keyword – probably our name – twice in the video title. In our example that would be: The Mojo Workers “Chicago Street Blues” The Mojo Workers. Again we are free to add more keywords to the title such as the genre, name of the club or TV show the song was performed in etc.
Many links that lead directly to our youtube channel or video will not only direct listeners to our way, even search engines will love the fact that our channel or video has many backlinks.
Promote your videos
Let us pick two or three of our best videos – or best songs – and promote them individually: through our website, social media profiles, newsletters and – very important – our media contacts. Let’s write a full press release for each video and include the embed code right away. If the media love us they will be happy to publish our video right in their online news section. SEO expert Nicky Parsons says it helped her when she linked the strongest keyword right in the first sentence of her press release to her video. In order to create even more backlinks we can as well send our press release to generic press release dirtibutors such as Prweb and others.
Link to your website
Right on top of our video’s description we will place a link to our website, even better, to our shop page. It is important to add the “http://” prefix in oder to make the link work properly. Another way to add links to our video is through annotations that pop up within the video. That’s a good thing to use especially when our videos have been embedded, e.g. on our website, and the video description isn’t visible.
Of course, there are many, many more ways, both creative and technical, to market ourselves and our music on youtube. I hope I could provide a few ‘not-sooo-common’ ideas that will help you further your success. Please feel free to comment and share your ideas and methods so we can all benefit from them.
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