So you’ve taken the excruciating steps it takes to express yourself visually and made yourself a professional video. Your next move is making sure that people see it. Below are 9 ways to optimize your video’s potential on YouTube.

1. YouTube Titles Are Everything – Choose Carefully

The single biggest contributing factor to your success on a video click through will be related to how you title your video. Make sure that the title of each of your videos is short — Approx. 65 – 70 characters is a good target range as many people will be viewing from hand-held devices and YouTube will cut you off at 100.  Also, use the word “video” in the title as people may be searching for videos when they are searching outside of the YouTube platform (like on Google). Be captivating: create a title that will make the viewer want to watch.  However, remember that it must relate back to the actual video.

Having a short and sweet title is key. If you are titling a video of a cover you did, try this format (as applicable):

[Song Title] [Short Description] [Original Artist Name] [Your Band Name]

For example, if you have done a cover song of “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” a great title would be:

We Are Never Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift Cover by Sasha

2. Use Google Keywords

Think of what people might ask when searching for something.

Here is how to use Google AdWords for free to see if you are on track

Questions begin with Who, What, When, Where and Why – so when applicable, answer these questions right in the title!

TIP: There are times when official artist videos are not licensed to view in other countries. Where the official video is not available for viewing, yours may be the first (or only) option for a fan in that area to listen to the song!

3. Write a Description of Your Video With RELEVANT INFORMATION!

It’s important for your video description to have keywords that improve your ability to show up in fan (and potential fan) searches. While it should be thorough enough to include all necessary information, avoid wordiness.

Remember that only a portion of your video description is displayed before your viewer has to press a drop-down menu for more information, so list the most important information at the top.

4. Tag and Categorize Your YouTube Video!

Choose a category that best fits your video for most of you – most likely, it will be music. Tags further support your search rank and are a part of the equation to better visibility. Use short phrases and descriptive keywords here– YouTube will auto-generate some from the way you titled your video. Add and remove as you feel necessary. Make sure your brand or artist name is a tag, also.

5. Is Your Thumbnail Amazing?

Keep in mind that the thumbnail is the total visual representation people will see first when you share your video onto socials. An interesting image will compel people to click and view. YouTube allows you to choose from 3 thumbnails.  Select the one that is the most compelling. If your channel is verified, you can upload a custom thumbnail.  Make sure your thumbnail has some text and a clear image that conveys what your video is about.

6. Use the Annotations to Promote a Call to Action!

The reason you make videos is not simply to get views.  The purpose is to get people to take an action, whether that action is to listen to you on Spotify, follow you on socials, donating to your crowdfunding campaign, or buying music.  Always include one Call to Action (CTA) in every video you post.  A CTA could be “Donate to my campaign,” “follow us on Instagram,” “subscribe,” “ or “visit our site.”  Include only ONE CTA in each video you post, so you don’t confuse your audience.

7. Monetize Your Video!

If you own the rights to the music used in your video OR have licensed the song you have covered, you can MONETIZE your video. Just be careful to make sure you are legally allowed to collect money for your content. For guidelines on what is and is not appropriate to monetize, check out YouTube’s Guide.

8. Publish and Start Promoting your Video!

You have spent all this time optimizing the metadata (yeah you have created metadata– bet you didn’t even know that is what you were doing!) to make sure it can be found, now it is time to publish your video and start sharing it with your fans. Share your video with communities who share similar interests, as well, to find new fans. Is your video similar or inspired by another YouTube video? Add a positive comment in that video and ask viewers to check out yours, too!

9. Analyze and adjust!

Is what you have uploaded not meeting your goals or expectations? Take a look at your title, tags, and description and make edits, if needed– you can edit these items any time you want! Maybe try a different type of video for your next upload.

TIP: We have a list of ideas to help you brainstorm on new content to try: 7 Musician’s Killing It on YouTube

Like our blog? Get even more advice with Ariel’s latest book Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity

ultimate guide to music publicity


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