Being a musician has changed tremendously over the past decade. The new tools and communications options available to you give you tremendous control over how you promote your work. It is now much easier than it used to be to make a big splash as an independent and YouTube can serve as a valuable tool in this effort.
Feed YouTube More Than Music Videos
Your first instinct for turning YouTube into a promotional tool is probably going to be uploading every scrap of video you have that shows off your band’s talents. While more video is always better, you have to take the time to explore the full possibilities of the site!
Don’t restrict yourself to live performance videos, music videos, and audio-only clips. Including some behind-the-scenes content can be a treat for your most devoted fans and letting people catch what you’re like when you are not actively performing can help new fans make a personal connection. Simple video announcements are also a great way to spread news about your band and these can be linked to from virtually anywhere.
Customize your YouTube channel to make it as useful as possible for fans. You can build multiple playlists to separate out different kinds of videos (to keep concert vids separate from news updates, for example) and build themes for your viewers.
Individual videos can be customized in a lot of ways and one of the most powerful is by annotating them. Annotations can be updated at any time, which makes them a great way to add fresh information to your older videos. Point viewers towards your latest and greatest work to get them more interested.
Optimize Your Content
People execute nearly as many searches on YouTube as they do on Google. While your YouTube channel probably shouldn’t be the primary focus of your promotional work, you have to keep in mind that a good channel can be a powerful tool for winning you new fans.
In order to catch these fresh listeners, you need to exercise some care with the information you attach to your videos. YouTube is pretty transparent about how it ranks search results: The title is the most important, followed by the video’s description, its tags, and only then its number of views and its ratings. Notice that you have full control over the three most important ranking factors!
Make sure you always give your videos a fully descriptive title. Including the word “video” is often a good idea, because this is a very frequently-used term when people go looking for music. Make sure the titles of live recording reference the time and place they were taken. This will allow listeners who remember your show but not your name to reconnect with you.
While you can make your description as long as you like, remember that only the first 20-30 characters will show up in search results. Even on the video’s page, the end of a long description will be hidden under a “show more” button. Put your most important and eye-catching information up front. Descriptions are an excellent place to add links to your other pages, other videos, or the stores where you’re selling your music.
Make YouTube Part Of A Broader Promotional Effort
As noted above, YouTube is such an enormous medium that you can grab the attention of a lot of new fans through the site itself. Don’t forget that this process works in reverse, too. YouTube videos can be embedded in websites and social media posts to create a richer, multi-sensory marketing tool. Publishing a new video to YouTube also gives you an excellent reason to touch base with followers and remind them of what you’re up to.
A modern indie musician needs to share his or her work online in order to reach a wide audience. This process can be easier than you think, especially when you take the time to learn how to use a powerful site like YouTube to your best advantage.
Robert Menne writes and plays music in his spare time. He runs a site, FreeSongs.us that shares the latest tips and advice about guitars and guitar playing, as well as the best video guitar lessons to help you learn to play guitar.