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How to Optimize Your YouTube Channel

  • 10 January 2014, Friday
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optimize your youtube channel

Later this month we will be launching our YouTube MonetizFmFation service to help our clients to get more exposure and monetize their content via their own uploads, 3rd party uploads or using our upcoming genre-based channels

It’s crucial for musicians, labels, and fans to understand how YouTube channels work, and what you can do to maximize the impact and virality of your content.

Want to find out more about how to improve your channel layout and videos? YouTube has very helpfully released a comprehensive guide for music content owners, which we’ve summarised for you below:

Optimise your channel for better discovery

People only find what they search for, or what they've been directed towards by links and annotations. For this reason, it's crucial that you know what to include in the metadata for your videos, to make sure that people can find you!
  1.  Make sure that you list all relevant information when uploading video content, including: title, artist, album and director.
  2. Use commonly searched for terms in the title.
  3. Include both general and specific words in tags. Don’t forget to put key phrases in quotation marks.
  4. Always include a Call to Action in your description, as well as lyrics, tour dates or other useful links.
  5. Use bright, high contrast images as thumbnails. Try to give an accurate preview of your content.
  6. Choose carefully whether you need a single channel, multi-channel, or curator layout, depending upon the kind of content you will be uploading or curating.

Releasing your music

Releasing a song:

  1. Make a simple video with your lyrics, and make a music video.
  2. Include links to your other videos from your most popular ones, to help all of them get played more.
  3. Be creative – for example, you could try releasing a song on a Google Air Hangout.
  4. Encourage your fans to get involved by making their own remixes or covers.
  5. Ask your fans what they think, and encourage them to use the comments section.
 Releasing an album:
  1.  Make sure you create promo material building up to the release, including teasers, trailers, behind-the-scenes clips etc.
  2. Use links and annotations to direct users from one track to the next, making their experience easy and interactive.
  3. Include links directing people to sites where they can buy your music.
  4. Make a playlist of songs from your new album.
  5. Offer fans limited, exclusive opportunities to pre-order the album by using Click-to-Buy links.
  6. Prepare short video presentations about the release for blogs and external websites.

How often to upload content

You don’t have to constantly upload videos to have an active YouTube channel. Just make sure that you give out good ratings and share new playlists. The more you update your channel by writing and replying to comments and responding to users, the more active it will appear to your fans.

Alongside your videos, you can add:

  • lyric videos
  • remixes or b-sides
  • tutorials
  • artist video blogs
  • interviews
  • behind-the-scenes tour or gig footage

"Using the Talent" (how to represent my artists)

  1. Create ‘bumper’ videos (or encourage the artists you represent to create them) to keep your artist content current. These should be YouTube-specific, and give an insight into the processes going on behind the scenes, including tours, recordings, and anything else interesting or amusing.
  2. Remember, on of the main purposes of a Call to Action is to try and get people to subscribe to your channel. Use Calls to Action as much as possible to achieve this, by uploading as much extra artist content as you can.
  3. Encourage the public to be active – ask fans questions, respond to their comments, and get them involved by asking them to submit their own videos.

How to increase "watch-time"

  1. Organise your channel by using playlists.
  2. Make sure there is plenty of variety - include covers and remixes on your channel.
  3. Upload recordings of whole gigs, documentaries or short films, and mark them with time-coded links to enable users to easily find the tracks they want to hear.
  4. Use annotations and links in shortened versions of footage so that viewers can easily find the full version if they like what they see. 

Cross Promotion

Cross-promotion is the process of sharing and collaborating. Famous artists can use this to help less famous artists get more fan exposure.
  1. Try to work with artists/interpreters who create similar content or have a similar style to you. It’s also a good idea to make collaborative videos with bands you’re on tour with.
  2. Make a guest appearance on other channels – they don’t have to be music-related!
  3. Offer your services as a musician to other channels – for example, you could write the title track for a channel, or help them to make a music video or parody for fun.
  4. Use Calls to Action to direct users towards other channels (if these channels support you in return.)
  5. The best types of cross-promotion are: collaboration between musicians and non-musicians, artist interviews artist, cover songs, a collaboration between musicians.
  6. You don’t always have to cross-promote in a video itself. Try giving other people’s videos positive ratings, or linking them to your playlists, thereby integrating them into your channel.
  7. Use Social Media platforms like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter to promote other channels too. Make sure that you ask the channels you promote to do the same for you!

Fan Engagement

YouTube encourages you to see your fans as a giant focus group. You should get involved, ask questions, listen to their feedback, and work with the public.
  1. Try making ‘thank you’ videos for your fans, and give them exclusive offers. These gestures will encourage them to stay active in the future.
  2. Encourage your fans to make their own videos in response to yours, and to comment on your videos.
  3.  Moderate the conversations which occur on your channel. You could even have a live Q&A once a week with your fans.
  4. Not sure what to do next? Consult your fans and ask them which song they’d like you to use for your music video!
  5. Work with your fans, encourage them to make covers, mash-ups, and remixes of your music.
  6. Offer your fans exclusive merchandise, albums, or gig tickets via annotations or the description section beneath your video.
These are some of the many things that you can do on YouTube to create fan engagement, promote your latest releases, and fulfill a modern and interactive role within the music industry!

If you already release your music with iMusician Digital, find out more about our monetization process via YouTube.

For more details on this subject read the 2nd part of our series about YouTube channel optimization, or check out YouTube’s help section, which has lots of good video tutorials and advice.

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