Chances are you’ve heard how big the YouTube monster is. Stats and facts get thrown around like, “It reaches over 1 billion people in a month,” “It’s the second largest search engine behind parent company Google,” and “It reaches more US adults between 18-34 than any cable network.” This evidence gets you excited about implementing optimization strategy. After all, YouTube is the only social network that allows you to directly monetize the content you upload. Why is it then, with all these impressive points, that YouTube is sometimes last on the list for social interaction for musicians and brands? Why is it when you sit down to “start” you suddenly feel overwhelmed and intimidated?
The answer is simple. YouTube is complicated.
Being creative with text, photos and videos is often all you need for the other social networks. It does help to have basic tagging capability and a flare for short and impactful text, but to truly be successful in utilizing the tools that YouTube has available, one must be comfortable in straddling both the creative and the code, as well as dabble in legal, publishing, video editing, advertising, copyrighting and copy editing. Yes, that’s a pretty robust job description – none of which can easily be accomplished from a phone, backstage, or without great Wi-Fi. That being said, creative still remains 100% most important for the actual content, but the rest of it remains imperative in order for that content to be seen.
As daunting of a task as that may seem, here’s what we’ve done as a company to make it less so:
Invest Your Time
• Make sure all of the metadata is entered in correctly surrounding each and every video. Tags, descriptions, thumbnails, playlists, annotations and snappy, consistent titles are worth the time and will affect search results in not only YouTube, but Google overall.
• Organize your channel with fun and intuitive playlists, and encourage subscriptions to your channel. If someone has taken the time to check out your video, why not take advantage and keep the viewer engaged with a follow-up? Think of yourself as a programmer, and think of your channel as your network.
• Read your comments, and ask for feedback. There’s nothing like the brutal truth to help cultivate ideas for the kind of content you should be making.
• Play counts can be gamed, but subscriptions are earned. How will you keep people caring and coming back for more? Have and maintain a strategy.
• Subscribe to channels of all types. Pay attention to what other people are doing and the comments on their videos. Learn from your peers.
• There are insightful websites out there like these guys, who have a great grasp.
• Know that even if you only had one channel to manage and you could spend your whole day doing it, there will never be enough time in the day.
• Once you get into a rhythm, the system does become, well… more systematic. You will get used to it (not to say YouTube won’t change that system).
• No, it’s not just you: Google+ does not make sense.
• When you are on a major label, you will find the waters even more complicated to wade through due to Vevo, Multi-Channel Networks, etc. However, aside from the monetization process (if you want to read more, go here), all of the nuts and bolts of metadata and content creation and syndication apply to the content creator. No one is going to make sure this stuff is happening for you.
Call The Experts
• You have probably been reading a lot about the MCNs (Multi-Channel Network). There are some great options for musicians out there like INDmusic. You can also check out this article on the current biggest networks and channels.
Jennie Smythe is CEO of Girlilla Marketing, a strategic digital marketing agency based in Nashville.
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