So you've decided to start building your presence on YouTube. Maybe you've even been posting videos for a while.
But you don't seem to be getting any kind of traction. Your videos are only getting a few views, and no matter how many times you post something new, it seems like you aren't getting anywhere.
Look, YouTube is more crowded than it's ever been. There's just no getting around that. The videos that used to get hundreds or even thousands of views have all but lost their novelty. If you're just starting a new channel, it can be an uphill battle.
But don't worry – it's still possible to build a substantial following on YouTube. Just keep in mind that you will need a long-term mindset – quality and consistency are absolutely key. Here are several ways you can increase views for your YouTube videos.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Craft Great Titles For Your Youtube Music Videos
It amazes me how many musicians fail to give their videos proper titles. They upload an acoustic cover of a top 40 song, upload it, and then don't even touch the title, which is inevitably something nonsensical like “VID_BP_ASP-20140122”.
Let's not forget that YouTube is the world's second most utilized search engine. This means one thing: keywords matter.
And if you're sharing an acoustic cover with the world, there are plenty of keywords you can (and should) cram into the title. Try something like:
“Cover Song” – Original Artist (Acoustic Cover by Your Artist Name)
Tweak the bolded portions to come up with your video title.
This comes with one warning: don't over-stuff your title with keywords. I know, it may seem contradictory to what I just said, but please don't include any words that aren't relevant in an attempt to get more views. In the long run, this will do nothing for you.
As a general rule, your artist or band name should be in every single video you upload, unless you just can't fit it in.
If you're at a loss for what to call your video, trying using HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator, which should give you some ideas.
Write A Compelling Description For Your Videos
Gee, what a revelation! You need a great description for your videos too?
Before I go any further, let me say this: if YouTube provides you with the opportunity to offer titles, keywords, tags, descriptions, or text of any kind, do it!
Text based content is much easier for search engines to understand when they are indexing new web pages. Without that, your videos are anything but SEO friendly.
With that out of the way, let's get back to the topic at hand: your video description.
Remember to include your web address in the first line. It would be silly not to send people back to your site if they enjoy your music, don't you think? This is a good way to drive more music sales or get more email subscribers too.
Include links to anything or anyone else you mention in your video. Write up a compelling summary, and if your video is just speech, then transcribe it and put it in the description, word-for-word.
Don't skimp on words here – deliver the goods!
Create & Share Great Content Consistently On Youtube For More Views
This should be fairly common sense, but to many, it's not. If you want to build a following, you need to upload great videos, and continue to do it week in and week out.
No matter how good your videos are, nobody will be paying any attention to them at first. But if you keep publishing quality content, you will begin to accumulate more subscribers and views.
On the other hand, if you publish poor-quality content consistently, or worse, inconsistently, your chances of being seen will greatly diminish.
If your focus is on making videos and becoming better at it over time, that's totally okay. You can grind it out. But don't whine about a lack of views if you're publishing content nobody cares about.
Use Custom Thumbnails To Drive Interest
You won't necessarily have the option of using custom thumbnails when you first set up your YouTube account. But they do start rolling out various features to you as your channel grows (although it's a little arbitrary to be honest).
Once your account is verified and in good standing (whatever that means), you may have the ability to use custom thumbnails for your videos.
Think about the kind of thumbnails you tend to click on. What catches your attention? Color? Faces? Large, bold text?
Let's get our minds off of hot girls and guys just for a moment, because exploitive tactics will surely backfire (unless the content of your video is actually made up of attractive people). But you can create custom images in Photoshop or with a service like PicMonkey, using some of the elements I just talked about – faces with interesting expressions, bright colors, bold text making absurd declarations, and so on.
As with getting emails opened, the first step to getting your videos viewed more is to get them clicked on. So make your video thumbnails very clickable.
Share Your Videos Through Email & Social Media
Hopefully you've already been putting some effort into growing your email list and social media following.
Email is easily one of the easiest ways to drive up views and engagement. Anyone that has signed up for your email list is clearly more invested in your music than those who haven't.
As for social media, keep in mind that Facebook is more interested in driving up views for videos that have been uploaded to their platform versus YouTube videos. There are some tactics you can use to get clicks on Facebook too, but you should be aware that they're not that vested in pushing your YouTube videos.
Twitter and Google+ are still great places to drive attention for your video content.
If you have really great content, then growing your channel could just be a matter of building awareness. If you have a marketing budget, you could promote your channel with ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and so on.
There are a lot of different ways to promote your video, and while I will never take away from the importance of marketing, please keep in mind that it all starts with you. You're the one coming up with ideas and creating the content, so put your mind to good use.