Whether you’re a new musician who is just getting started or a veteran who has been in the game for a while, if you want to learn how to utilize the massive video streaming platform that is YouTube then you’re in the right place. From setting up your artist channel and creating videos, to optimizing keywords and interacting with your audience, this article will be a step-by-step guide to YouTube for musicians.
Customize Your YouTube Channel
The first thing’s first, you need to make sure that your channel is set up and customized. This can be done by uploading a profile picture and channel banner, adding a short channel description, as well as making sure all possible social media and music streaming links are on your page (ie. Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Tik Tok). Though quite simple, this step can help fans and listeners easily find out more information about you and your music as well as where they can find you on social media!
If you’ve already done these steps and have a published video on your channel, you can select a channel trailer or featured video to spotlight on your homepage. This will allow watchers to see what kind of content/ music you create, making them more likely to subscribe.
Create Video Content
When beginning to make video content, you might be tempted to do covers of popular songs or trending artists within your music niche. However, there is a whole plethora of video ideas that can also help draw in an eager audience. Some examples are:
- Music video reactions
- Behind the Scenes of Making Music
- How to use a piece of software (ie. Logic Pro, Ableton, etc.)
- How to play a certain song (ie. on guitar, ukelele, or piano)
- How produce a particular sound (what EQs, effects, synths are used to create a distinct sound)
- Writing a song in an hour
- Writing a different genre of song you’ve never written before
- Writing a song using youtube comments
*All of these are fun videos that can not only showcase your musical talent/niche, but can also showcase your personality*
Upload & Optimize Your Video
To make the most out of your video upload there are some things that you need to focus on: the video title, video description, keyword tags, thumbnail, and end screen.
Your video name should be short, to-the-point, and contain the most important key phrases that describe the video content. If uploading a cover, the key phrases would be the song name, original artist name, and your artist or band name.
- The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun (cover by Bob)
- Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles (acoustic cover by Bob)
- Here Comes the Sun // The Beatles (Spanish cover by Bob)
- [COVER] The Beatles – ‘Here Comes the Sun’ By. Bob
An easy formula you can copy is: “Cover Song” – Original Artist (Cover by Your Artist Name)
*REMEMBER: Your artist/band name should be in EVERY video you upload*
Your video description can be divided into two parts: custom information and default information. Custom information is the top paragraph that will contain catchy and key word specific video information. The top two lines of this paragraph is especially significant because that is the description people see when scrolling through their YouTube feed. It’s important to use as many relevant key phrases as possible in these first two lines. Your default information should go below your custom information and tell your new audience who you are, what you do, where they can find you online (social media links), as well as any other relevant information. You can also include hashtags at the bottom of your default information that are relevant to your channel and niche.
Tags are important when uploading a video because they tell the YouTube algorithm what exactly it is that you do. Along with some generic musician tags, it’s essential to have specific, niche tags that act as a keywords.
When editing the details of your video in YouTube, you are going to be given a selection of thumbnails generated from your video. DON’T CHOOSE ANY OF THE YOUTUBE GENERATED THUMBNAILS. You’ll want to create a custom thumbnail that is eye catching and will grab your attention. Two sites that are good for creating thumbnails are Adobe Photoshop (a bit advanced) and Canva (free and easy to use). However, before you can add a custom thumbnail, you’ll need to verify your channel.
The last thing you’ll want to do before uploading the video, is going to the video editor and adding an end screen. Within the editor, YouTube will give you a small selection of templates that you can just insert into the video! After the template is inserted, it will automatically suggest to the viewer which video of yours they should watch next, as well as provide the viewer with a large subscribe button, so they don’t forget!
Interact With Your Audience
After your video is uploaded, make sure to engage with your audience by replying to as many comments as possible! Also, don’t forget to talk to your followers even when you don’t have a video to post. You can continue to create conversation with your fans using the community tab within your channel. In this tab you can post messages, photos, as well as take polls. This is a great way to connect with your fans and make them feel involved in your channel’s content!
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