YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world.
This makes it one of the best places for people to accidentally discover your music (i.e. they weren’t actively searching for you in the first place).
That’s why it is so important to take that extra bit of time with each video upload to give it the maximum chance of being discovered.
If you upload a video straight from your phone, it might have a wonderfully memorable filename like “2016-10-26-15-38.mp4”.
If you then simply hit the “publish” button on YouTube, there’s not much chance you’ll be found by anyone.
After putting all that effort into making the video in the first place, it is a complete waste not to put a little more time into maximising it’s usefulness – you almost needn’t have bothered making it in the first place.
So it’s vital to add as much information to your upload as possible, to give it the greatest chance of being discovered.
This information is called “metadata”, and includes things like:
- File Title
- Post Title
- Video Thumbnail
Countless posts have already been done that will walk you through how to add this, so I’m not going to go into it here.
But here are a few “best practices” and lesser-known hacks that can really help:
- If it’s music, the title should be “Artist Name – Song“. If it is a cover you should add your name and the word “cover” in brackets afterwards; e.g. “Bill Withers – Lovely Day (Romeo Crow cover)”
- The video file that you upload should be renamed the same as the Title. This means you need to rename it before you upload it (yes, YouTube / Google gives preference to the original filename!)
- Include the lyrics in the description
- Use the description to add clickable links to all of your other online profiles (e.g. http://yoursite.com)
- Make sure your most important clickable link is on the first or second line of your entire description (because YouTube cuts off from line 3.5 down, until you click the “read more” button)
- Make use of the “translations” feature; use Google Translate to translate your description into as many languages as you can bear (why? because over 60% of search traffic is non-English – that’s a whole lot of potential fans who will otherwise be less likely to find your video)
- Keep any pre-roll titles (i.e. intro titles, before your actual song starts) to a maximum of 4-5 seconds (and ideally start fading it out after 3 seconds, so the viewer knows it’s about to go into the main content)
- Add a personal message at the end of the video; get on camera yourself and speak to your viewers, making sure to tell them what action you want them to take next
- Add a final title card at the end with that action spelt out – and keep it there for about 10 seconds (i.e. so that it stays on-screen for as long as possible/bearable)
YouTube can be an amazing source of fans, but if you don’t optimise your videos to take advantage of their potential you’ll miss out on a great opportunity.
Since I believe getting their email address is the most important thing you can do, I would recommend that your main call to action (the one that you use in your opening and closing titles, your personal to-camera message at the end of the video, and the main link in the first or second line of your description) should be an offer of some of your music for free, if they visit the link (and enter their email address in exchange).
“Thanks a lot for watching my video! I would love to hear what you think about it in the comments below. If you liked it, please don’t forget to share it and, as a thank you for watching, if you would like to get my latest EP of six songs, for free, right now, just head over to MyWebsite.com/FreeSongs, or click the link to it in the description below. See you next time, bye!”
It’s best to have this link take them to your website, but if you don’t know how to set-up an email-capture-in-exchange-for-music mechanic, then services like noisetrade.com will do it for you.
Whatever you do, putting that extra effort in during the upload and publishing phase of your video’s lifecycle will pay dividends in the long-run, helping you accumulate more and more fans over the days, weeks, months and years that your video will be floating around the globe.
And who doesn’t want more fans, right?! 🙂