If you’re an independent musician planning on posting videos to YouTube, work to increase YouTube views and the number of clicks for your next creation by following these seven steps.
Because YouTube has become the number one search engine for music, many independent musicians are using video to promote themselves. As we outlined in “How to make money on YouTube with your music,” when music videos generate a lot of views, they can also generate significant income. If you’re planning on posting videos to YouTube, work to increase YouTube views and the number of clicks for your next creation by following these steps.
- Make videos that are cool to share. Pete Shukoff (a.k.a. Nice Peter), one half of the brains behind the popular “Epic Rap Battles of History” video series, explained that one stated goal of the duo is to create videos that make people look cool for sharing with their friends and social media circles. With most ERB videos clocking in at 50-90 million views, Shukoff and Lloyd Ahlquist (a.k.a. EpicLLOYD), have obviously found a winning formula.
When you create content with a focus on making it shareable, your videos will be more likely to cultivate engagement with your fans. You might add questions to the content (such as asking the fans for ideas), develop themes (like the rap battles), over-the-top scenarios, or a style that makes sharing almost mandatory. Get inspiration from videos you’ve shared with your friends (even if they’re not music related) and try to analyze what it is that made you want to share.
- Come up with an irresistible title. Clever titles can get your video viewed even if fans aren’t sure what’s in store for them when they click on it. After all, videos don’t take a lot of time or commitment to try out, so titles that are mysterious, sexy, or hint at controversy get clicked no matter what’s in the video. Test out different video titles with friends before posting to see which one might be the most intriguing. Keep in mind that picking the right title is also important for your blog posts, newsletters, tweets, and other links (though bait-click titles that have nothing to do with the content might end up turning people off, so don’t get too carried away).
- Create a YouTube Channel and organize your content. If you are going to be releasing more than just music videos, organize your channel by grouping related content into playlists so viewers can easily find what they are looking for. For instance, create separate playlists for live footage, music videos, behind-the-scenes, and so on. Although you can split different content into separate channels, it’s better to merge all of your subscribers and views into a single channel, because higher numbers help drive new viewers.
- Cross-promote and collaborate with other video creators. If you can find other video creators (not just musicians) with whom you can collaborate on your video projects – especially those who have large followings – do it. It’s all a matter of scale. but Nice Peter worked with Key & Peele, Snoop Dogg, and Weird Al Yankovic, which certainly helped widen their audience. Remember, videos can also be cross-promoted on blogs, social media, newsletters, or email. If you can find a way to make your videos relevant to websites and blogs with built-in audiences, contact them to see if they’ll post them. Don’t just limit yourself to YouTube.
- Add a call to action. When the song (or skit, etc.) is over, don’t just let the video end! You worked hard to get people to watch your video, so add a post-roll so you can further promote your channel and act while you still have their attention. Use a post-roll to ask your fans to:
- subscribe to your channel
- like your video
- buy your track or music (link it in your description!)
- share your video with their friends
- watch other videos on your channel
- watch other artists and creators you work with
There’s no need to do all of this with every video, but you should always ask viewers to subscribe so you can get new viewers to catch your next release.
- Use multi-channel marketing (social networks, website, email, etc.).
- Pay for advertising (if it makes sense). Advertising isn’t expensive on today’s platforms, and YouTube allows for a few types of paid promotion. For example, if you meet conditions, you can create a video ad to promote your channel (FanFinder). Or you can use Google’s Adwords to promote your video and channel (Adwords for Video). Other advertising options include Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to keep an eye on your statistics. They will help you understand which videos fans like and help you determine if your promotional campaigns are working.
Video is one of the easiest types of media to share online, and your social networks are the seed that can start getting your video posted, noticed, and re-shared. In your posts, make sure to tell fans to check out your video, share it, and like it to improve your response.
The steps for improving your viewership start before video is produced and continue after the release. The more you plan in advance for generating views, the easier it is to pull off.
Finally, if your video gets popular, don’t forget to modify the video description, discussion, and annotations on it in order to promote your other work. A single success can be used as a launching point for all of your future efforts.
Billboard Magazine called Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan “the ideal mentors for aspiring indie musicians who want to navigate an ever-changing music industry.” Together, they’re musicians who are working on their 21st album, authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual For The Do-It-Yourself Musician, 2nd Edition (Macmillan), creators of the 15-hour online course, Making Money With Music (CreativeLive), and regular contributors to Electronic Musician Magazine, including the free weekly web column, The DIY Advisor. They also teach and consult about music business.
How to make money on YouTube with your music
How to optimize your YouTube channel to get more views
Online music marketing etiquette: tips for email, social, and YouTube
How to link to your website directly from your YouTube video
YouTube for musicians