Five tips for marketing your music on YouTube

Welcome to the first in a series of M guides to getting noticed on YouTube: essential reading for artists & songwriters

Kyle Fisher
  • By Kyle Fisher
  • 12 Mar 2013
  • min read
Performers and songwriters have a suite of free online tools at their disposal, but YouTube is the trump card of the deck: it's the world's second largest search engine after it's parent company Google. It's also the biggest music discovery platform, so provides a great stage for getting your music out there.

Following last month's article from industry insider Caroline Bottomley (covering YouTube and VEVO best practice), we've compiled our five essential tips for marketing your music on YouTube. Here, you'll find everything from starting out to leveraging other social networks to increase your traffic on your channel.

This is the first in a series of M articles exploring YouTube and we'll be going into some of the more detailed subjects in depth over the coming weeks, including video optimisation and engaging with fans. Think of this as a brief overview to get you started.

  • You don't need to break the bank - All you need is a decent broadband connection, a mid-range computer capable of coping with video editing, editing software (most operating systems, such as Windows or Mac OS, ship with basic video editing software these days), a camera and a mic. Obviously, your camera and mic are the most important pieces of equipment here, as this is what your image and sound will be recorded on. You may already have a mic of your own as a performer. If not, both affordable mics and cameras can be acquired from technology and music retailers, but be sure to shop around to get the best deal. Remember, you don't need to film yourself if you feel uncomfortable performing on camera - teenage sensation Madeon first made waves on YouTube and he only filmed his hands! Alternatively, you could play a slideshow of images. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable, as long as your music is getting heard.

  • Integrate other social channels - Nobody will be able to watch your YouTube videos if no one knows they exist. Hopefully, you are already on Facebook and Twitter, and have some sort of following on at least one of those channels. When you upload a video, tell your Twitter followers you have a new video up. YouTube makes this process really easy by way of automation, automatically tweeting on your behalf when you publish a new video (Just go to 'Account settings', then 'Activity sharing'). Make sure you also link to your Twitter and Facebook profiles from your profile and also video descriptions, as you might get a few followers and 'Likes' this way too. Which leads us onto our next point...

  • Use the video description to its full potential - Video descriptions can be a great boon to your video content when used correctly. Not only is this space a great place to add carefully selected keywords for the sake of search engine optimisation (we'll go into this in more detail in the next guide in the series), but you can also add really important information. Make sure you add release dates for singles/albums, tour dates, your website and links to other social networks, and links to iTunes/Amazon. You can even use free trackable link services such as too, so you can measure how well YouTube refers fans to online retailers. Check out the way Jessie Ware tags her videos:

  • Annotations and call to actions Annotations can be annoying when they pop up every second and cover most of the video up, but when used well, annotations can provide good calls to action (a way of encouraging someone to do something or take an action), and a good way to link content together, such as a series of videos. For example, if you uploaded videos for every track on your EP, make sure you add an annotation to the end encouraging viewers to watch the next in the series. Annotations are also a good way to encourage subscribers - why not add an annotation with a link that subscribes users to your channel at the end of a video? But remember - don't over do it! People go to YouTube to watch and listen to content, so adding lots of annotation links might make them click away faster than you can say, 'Subscribe to my channel'.

We'll have some more detailed guides coming out soon where we'll tackle the slightly bigger subjects like search engine optimisation. But in the meantime be sure to check out YouTube's official Creator Playbook guide and dedicated Music Playbook Guide to give you some ideas. Happy YouTubing!

Words by Shaun Mooney