The Dos and Don’ts of Promoting Your Music on YouTube

YouTube can be a huge asset to any creator’s music career.

Read on to learn how to effectively promote your music on YouTube

Seriously. We’ve reported before that YouTube has over a billion users — that’s almost one-third of ALL people on the Internet. Growth in watch time on YouTube has consistently gone up 50% year-over-year for the last three years. In 2015, the number of people watching daily videos on YouTube went up by 40%.

In this post, we break down some important dos and don’ts of promoting your music on YouTube, from preparation, to the release itself to keeping your audience engaged.

Leading Up to Your Release

DO create teaser content & supplemental material

Katy Perry created an album sampler for ‘PRISM’ to give fans a taste of each track

It’s important to get your fans excited for your upcoming release. While you’re working on your music, artwork and accompanying videos, consider creating the following videos to share on YouTube and social channels:

  • Trailer or teaser for the whole album, or the debut single
  • Behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album
  • An album sampler. In this video, include a 30-second clip of each song to get fans excited (then use annotations to direct them to purchase!)
  • Lyric videos for each song

DO plan for lead-up time to get the word out

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

Build in at least one week of lead-up time to promote the release and generate interest from your fans and friends. Let them know what you’ll be releasing, where it will be available and how they can find your YouTube channel.

DO cross-promote on your channels & with collaborators

Work with your collaborators to spread the word about your upcoming releases

Create a tailored approach for each platform you are active on to let the fans that follow you there know that you will be releasing new content on YouTube.

For example, your fans on Twitter may respond best to tweets with photos, so perhaps post a teaser image with your release information. If your fans on Instagram respond well to videos, use this as an opportunity to post a teaser clip to that platform to engage with them. If you have a great Snapchat following, preview some of your tracks in your Story and tell fans to listen on your YouTube channel.

Also, if you have collaborators on your album, share the promotional assets you’ve created and any relevant information with them, and encourage they promote to their audiences as well.

DON’T oversaturate your feeds with teaser content

Over-promoting can do more harm than good

Know when to hold off. It’s important to get the word out, but equally important to not overwhelm your channels with announcements. Promoting TOO much can cause your message to fall on deaf ears, or even worse, lead to fans unfollowing you.

We recommend sprinkling in promotional material into your regular content schedule. On YouTube, perhaps lead off with the teaser video, then further engage your audience post-release with behind-the-scenes material.

Releasing Your Music

DO match your profile to your upcoming release

Moxie Raia uses her profile banner to let fans know that her mixtape, ‘931,’ is available now

Your banner and profile image should be branded to support your release so that when people come to your page, they know you have new material from the get go. If you have regular content being posted to your YouTube channel, use your profile banner as a place to let users know when to expect new material.

DO create a playlist of all your lyric videos

Taryn Southern organizes her songs and covers into a playlist to make it easy for fans to continually listen

Creating a playlist will let fans listen to an entire album or body of work in succession while learning the words.

If you are releasing just one song, create a playlist of all the material relating to that track.

DO upload your music to YouTube Content ID

Uploading your music to YouTube Content ID enables you to monetize UGC

We’ve discussed in-depth the benefits of utilizing YouTube’s Content ID software to monetize UGC using your intellectual property. With Stem, creators will be able to take advantage of monetizing their music and videos on YouTube with Content ID.

Read our Content ID 101 guide here.

DON’T skip over metadata

Don’t be lazy with your metadata, it can help get more eyes & ears on your content

Good metadata is your chance to optimize your videos for search. Here are some simple tips that can make a world of difference:

  • In the video title, include artist name, song name and album title
  • In your description, place calls-to-action above the fold. This can include links to purchase your music, follow you on social channels or subscribe to your YouTube channel.
  • Include other information, such as your album release date, upcoming live performances, band members’ names and lyrics in the description, too.
  • Create tags that are a mixture of general and specific terms. Include the artist name, album title, song title(s), type of video it is (music video, interview, lyric video, etc.), location of artist and similar acts.
  • Choose an compelling thumbnail. Close-up or bright, high-contrast images are recommended by YouTube.

Engaging New & Existing Fans

DO utilize annotations

Peter Hollens utilizes annotations in his videos to drive fans to his Patreon page

Annotations are a great way to drive your fans to complete different actions. Some examples of actions you can drive your fans to complete include:

  • Purchasing the EP or single on iTunes
  • Navigating to your website or merchandise store
  • Following you on social media
  • Subscribing to your YouTube channel
  • Watching other videos on your channel

As a best practice, we recommend holding off on including an annotation until about one-third of the way through a video. You want fans to continue watching your video, and don’t want to navigate them away from it too soon.

DO talk to your audience

Talking to your audience is integral in keeping them engaged, and can help you trend

This is the most important piece of advice for engaging your fans. Posting your video and not guiding the conversation is a big mistake many creators make; the best way to drive conversation is to help lead it, and doing so will help your music get heard.

Some ways to drive conversation include:

  • Encouraging comments & feedback in your video or the annotations
  • Responding to comments
  • Asking fans to create remixes or cover versions of your songs

DON’T disregard your data

Probably not, but they should

YouTube provides creators with as frequent as daily data, and it’s imperative to check it, read it and learn from it. Paying attention to your data on YouTube can help you decide what types of videos to post, when to post them and how long they should be.

For more great tips on how to promote your music on YouTube, check out their Music Playbook here.

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