Posted: Mar 24, 2014
Category: Online Presence
**Guest post written by Brandon Seymour, musician, SEO analyst, web designer, and social media marketer.
One aspect of online marketing that many have let fall by the wayside is video marketing. But that's all about to change. With nearly 70% of digital marketers incorporating some form of video into their marketing strategies, video now ranks among the most popular mediums for online marketing professionals. According to Moz, blog posts containing video attract up to 3 times as many links as blog posts without video, and users are also more likely to take action after watching a video about a product or service. Plain and simple, videos work. It's just a matter of figuring out how they can work for you.
Independent bands and musicians in particular stand to gain a great deal of exposure if they put the time and effort into creating quality, engaging videos and marketing themselves on popular video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and others of the like. Although there are many different sites that bands and musicians can use to publish their videos, in this post we’re going to talk specifically about YouTube and how to leverage your YouTube channel to gain exposure and grow your fan base.
I put together 8 super easy tips to help you improve your band or artist YouTube channel. I promise that everything I talk about below is highly actionable and fairly easy to implement. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment below and I’d be more than happy to help out.
Since YouTube is such a high authority domain, YouTube videos tend to rank very well in search engines. So when people are searching for your band or artist name on major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., your YouTube channel will more than likely show up somewhere towards the top of the search engine results pages. In some cases, your YouTube channel might even outrank your own website or blog for some queries (just something to keep in mind). By creating profiles on high authority domains, you can ensure that you dominate the search results for your band/artist name.
YouTube isn’t just a video sharing platform; it’s a search engine. And as the world’s 2nd most popular engine, it can be an extremely effective discovery tool for bands and musicians. One of the best ways to get people to see your videos is to tag them with related keywords and phrases so that they are more likely to appear in search results. Keep in mind that the more tags you use, the more you dilute the value or weight of each individual tag – so in this case, less is more. Remember, tags aren’t categories. Think particulars, not generalities. The video descriptions aren’t so much for search value as much as they are to provide the user with a brief overview of the video content and ultimately increase click through rate and/or provide additional information or a call to action (CTA).
Descriptions can also be used to include a link back to your website. You can even throw in a nice CTA, like “Download our latest single here!” followed by a listen/download link. YouTube does not “follow” external links – meaning that sites you link out to from YouTube do not pass along any page authority or SEO value. However, these links can make it easy for your fans to find your main website. And if you don’t have a website (which you should), you can also link to your Facebook, Band Camp, or any other social/band-related page of your choosing.
In addition to using YouTube to drive traffic to your website, you can also use your website to build up the page authority of your YouTube channel, by adding a link to your channel from your website or blog. One thing to keep in mind when doing this is to include the “user” parameter in your url. For instance, www.youtube.com/PrettyGirlsMusic would be entered as www.youtube.com/user/PrettyGirlsMusic. The reason for this is because Google and other search engines include the “user” parameter when they crawl and index the page, therefore that’s the version that will rank in search results. For more information, check out this post.
Hopefully you already rank well for “branded “ search queries - that is search queries that contain your own band or artist name, titles to original songs you’ve written and recorded, etc. But anyone who searches for you by band name and/or song name already knows who you are. A great way to grow your following is to record some cover songs and tag them accordingly, so that when people search for popular songs, your videos appear in the search results. Now I want to be clear, this is NOT technically legal unless you obtain a synch license! In fact, according to Entertainment attorney Michael I. Santucci, the need for synchronization licenses is one of the most overlooked copyright infringement issues. But so far I’ve never personally had any legal issues, nor have I heard of anyone ever running into any issues.
Just because you’re a band or musician using YouTube, it doesn’t mean that everything you upload has to fall under the “music video” category. You should try to vary the types of videos you incorporate into your video library. Include some interview videos to connect with your fans on a more intimate level. Maybe some live videos from past shows to show your followers what they can expect when they see you live. You can even take some audio tracks from an upcoming album and overlay them with a static image or logo and upload it as a video. Be creative.
YouTube allows you to embed captions – or annotations – into your videos with clickable CTA’s. You can use these annotations to engage with users and encourage them to sign up to your mailing list or follow you on other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Annotations are a great way to drive more people to buy your album or band merch.
YouTube offers some really powerful analytics and reporting tools to help you understand how your video content is performing, what you’re doing right and what areas may need some improvement. YouTube insights breaks down videos by view count, minutes watched, engagement (comments, likes, dislikes, etc.), the time of day the video was watched, and geographic locations for users. By comparing your videos, you can see a quick overview of your best (and worst) content and gain some valuable… um, insight - … into how your channel is performing as a whole. It also doesn’t hurt that the YouTube analytics platform is extremely user-friendly and you don’t need to be a tech wiz to use it.
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Brandon Seymour has been playing in bands for over a decade, playing hundreds of shows at many different venues across South Florida. He currently plays in 3 different bands and works full-time as an SEO analyst at BodyLogicMD in Boca Raton, FL. He also does freelance online marketing for bands and musicians, specializing in search engine optimization (SEO), web design and social media marketing.