How to Optimize Your YouTube Profile

So by now you should know why you, as a musician especially, should have a YouTube Profile, you know how to optimize your videos and music for YouTube, but there’s one more thing missing: How to optimize your profile itself. There’s not TOO much you can do with your YouTube profile as far as optimization goes, but it’s a good opportunity to talk a little bit about yourself, get some links out there, and direct users to other outlets such as Facebook, twitter, your personal website, etc. The absolute best example I can give for this is OverClocked ReMix’s YouTube Profile.

Some important things to remember are:

  • Use your whole description, and every field you have that’s relevant. If you get X amount of characters, use as many of them as you can. Drop as many links in there as are relevant, and make sure you list them in the order of importance. Every bit of information about you in there is more information that someone will read.
  • Make your background image relevant. Have the address to your mainsite, twitter, Facebook, etc. You can even include a small description of yourself and your music as well. Remember information in the background displays above the fold (aka “near the top part of the page, before the user has to scroll down”). This is some of the first information they’ll see. Some users won’t scroll down at all, make sure you make your information very accessible. Try not to go over board with how “busy” your background was. Don’t let your information get distracting, and make sure the information that you want to put forefront is visible and obvious.

That’s really all I have. As I said, there’s not too much you can do, but there are steps you can take. I can’t emphasize enough that you should text every stop possible. Every little bit helps. As always, any questions or suggestions, just leave a comment, and I’ll catch you next week.

How to optimize your YouTube videos

Last week I talked about the importance of a YouTube account, and this week I had planned on talking about how to optimize your profile, however with the recent discussion on OverClocked ReMix about how to get more views on YouTube, and with my own recent work in trying to get promotional videos made for the Nerdapalooza,  the nerd music festival taking play this July in Orlando, FL, I thought I’d skip forward to video optimization this week. As I mentioned last week YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine on the internet, this makes it INCREDIBLY powerful for getting your music out there. The YouTube algorithm also makes sure, best it can, that related videos are linked together, so someone who’s watching one video might find any one of these related videos interesting as well. This is huge. This is your bread and butter. This make is how YouTube helps people find sleeper artists they never knew they loved. So how can you make sure that artist is you.

In the thread on OC ReMix, artist CyprusX posted a video of his Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia guitar remix that he’d submitted to OC ReMix,  and asked how he might be able to get it more views. His song is actually quite good, have a listen:

So how does someone, whom obviously already has good musicianship, get their music to a wider audience? There’s been so many good suggestions, I thought I’d pluck a few from there first.

Dhsu said:

Actually one thing that works fairly well is making it a reply video to another video that’s already popular.

This is an absolutely great way to get views, and is highly encouraged, for both the poster and the responder. When you post a video response to a popular, relevant video, your video shows up under it as a video response. Additionally, their video also is linked under your response video as what yours is a response to. This way both you, and the video you respond to get additional exposure. That said, it’s equally important to encourage visitors to make video responses to your videos as much as possible. You’ll notice Auto-Tune the News does this a lot.

Benjamin Briggs (aka chthonic) said:

also make all of your thumbnails boobs

I’m not joking

I’m not going to deny that this works, but this is one of the situations where you want to weigh views/conversions. As a musician on YouTube looking to get your musican heard, you conversion is essentially when someone who doesn’t know about your music ends up listening to your songs, likes them, and gets converted to a regular fan. While putting suggestive images in your thumbnails, or stuffing your video full of popular, irrelevant tags, or just spamming your URL all over the place, whether or not it’s relevent, is a great way to get lots of views, it’s a very poor way to get a lot of conversions. Your best conversions are going to come from people who are already interested in something similar, and find your videos as a result of that.

zircon said:

  • Make really compelling videos
  • Make videos regularly
  • Encourage people to subscribe + Like your videos
  • Share your videos on Facebook
  • Make video responses to popular videos
  • Make really compelling videos

This is pretty much it, right here. All these things are pretty dead on, especially with the like/rating and subscribing suggestion. The more subscribers you have, and the better your ratings are, the more likely you’re going to be the show up in results and related videos. It’s that simple, but wait, there’s more!

Modus said:

[…] putting your songs to a creative, high quality montage can sometimes do the trick. This windows movie maker screenshot crap isn’t going to catch anyone’s attention but montages DO, as lame as that is.

This is somewhat true. While it’s absolutely important that you have something more interesting than a still image or a slideshow, it’s even more important that you have information about yourself in there as well. Make sure to have, at the very least, a title card that has information about yourself, your channel, other places to hear your music, and having “annotations” or in-video links to like/subscribe incase your video gets embedded elsewhere.

Lastly, artist Luhny said as the 2nd reply:

how about you post a link? advertise it on facebook, twitter, myspace, when you are on IRC or when you are using any messaging services such as ICQ, MSN, AOL, YIM, etc. Advertize it more, so most likely more people will view it.

Bam. So easy, right? Advertise your video in relevant places and people will view it. Share it on any and every outlet you have where people would find it relevant. What this is called is “building authority.” You can’t promote your work in a single place and hope someone stumbles upon it. You have to put yourself out there in as many places as it seems relevant. Keywork: “relevant”. Don’t get overly spammy, and don’t try to push or sell people too hard. Psychologically people aren’t really going to accept things you try to shove down their throat. HOWEVER if they look around a few places, you constantly start coming up, then you seem relevant to their interests and their more likely to be interested.

To anyone incredibly serious about promoting their music independently on YouTube is suggest this (this will be catered specifically to video game remix artists, but other musicians can find it relevant):

  1. Set up Google Alerts
  2. Have it search for terms such as “video game remixes”, “game remixes”, “videogame remixes”, “castlevania remixes”
  3. Have it send you daily e-mail updates
  4. Watch, and wait for a discussion like this one to show up somewhere on the internet:
  5. Register, contribute, and then plug your own mixes. The contribute part is extremely important. If you just hop into this community and say “hey guys check this out” people are going to be turned off immediately by your spammy behavior. The first thing you want to do is drop in there and say “Hi, these are some mixes that I liked. Additionally, I’ve done a few remixes myself, here’s 1 or 2, let me know how you feel about them.” Make sure to always be polite, and encourage people to give you feed back and establish personal connections. Don’t just drop in, post your mixes, and leave. This is probably one of the best ways to get fans. If you do this on enough threads on the internet, not only are you videos getting more views, but they’re getting more internal links, which helps your videos show up more often, and it’s getting you more authority for  the “video game remixes” search terms. This can also work for your original works as well if you say “I also have a few originals on there” etc.
  6. Repeat. Very few people go viral over night. Especially people peddling to a market as saturated as video game remixes on YouTube. If you want to get views, never stop promoting. Don’t expect the magic internet fair to do all the leg work for you.

In addition to everything mentioned above:

  • Optimized Titles. CyprusX is on the right track but could actually benefit from including “Order of Ecclesia” in his title, rather than just “OoE”. You have something like 120 characters for your title, use as many of them as you can: eg. Castlevania: Order of Ecclessia – Empty Tone Rock Guitar Remix
  • Don’t feel bad about stuffing those titles as big much as possible. Why? Well how are people going to see your video? Either they’re going to get to it from another video, they’re going to be linked directly to it, they’re going to know about it already and go themselves, or it’s going to be embedded somewhere else. They’re more likely to find it if it has a title with the keywords relevant to what they’re searching for, if they’re getting linked to it they’ll listen to it regardless of the titles if they’re interested, if they’re coming back to hear it after already having heard it, then you’ve already won, and if it’s embedded they won’t even see the title. I’ve heard excuses like people not wanting to alienate their audience by having an obvious SEO’d title tag, but I’ve never heard a good reason to not do this. Also: keyword being relevant titles. Do not spam.
  • Optimized descriptions. Information about the song, the source, you, your channel, your website, twitter, facebook, etc.
  • Do covers. When possible, do covers. Optimize your tags & titles bigtime. eg. Weezer Say It Ain’t So NES 8-bit remix. “Guitar Rock Remix” etc.
  • Post video responses
  • Encourage video responses
  • Encourage ratings
  • Encourage subscriptions
  • Links in your signature
  • Linking people you might think are interested
  • Having your own website with links to your YouTube
  • Having a twitter, linkedIn, Facebook page
  • Tumblr’s are nice for this
  • Look and see what POPULAR artists are doing, and do that, because they were doing that before they got popular, and it worked pretty well for them.

Anyway yea, you can see where this is going. You might as “which one of these are most important?” Per usual the answer is ALL of them. Every little thing you can do that might help is worth doing if you actually want to get heard. Don’t give up. Put yourself out there. Do it with to 100%.

If anyone has any question about anything discuss, or any suggestions about anything else they might want to hear me talk about, leave a comment 😀

Why YouTube is especially important for Musicians

Update: This week we’re going to talk about YouTube, however there have been some important changes in Facebook since the last 2 weeks and I wanted to fill everyone in on those first. First of all, Bing is now using the Facebook API to show what your friends have liked within their searches. What does this mean? Well, Bing has been having a growing in relevance as far as web exposure recently, and this is a huge step towards making it a real competitor to Google. Two weeks ago I talked about how Facebook’s biggest draw is that people are more likely to be interested in what others in their social circle are interested in. By leverage the “Like” data from Facebook, Bing can now theoretically become the most powerful tool for finding searches relevant to your interests. I say theoretically because, despite their pretty video explaining everything, I’ve yet to actually find a search that actually displays Like information. More information on that as it becomes available, but again I absolutely can not stress enough how increasingly important it is to have a Facebook presence.

Additionally: Remember all that stuff I said about setting up an engaging Facebook Page for musicians and using FBML to make a nice custom landing page? Throw that out the window. The new hotness is setting up your landing page using iFrames. Mashable explains it in length better than I could, but to summarize: By using iFrames now for your Facebook Page landing page you can now utilizes languages like PHP, ASP, JavaScript, etc, to give your page some dynamic content. You can still use FBML to make an engaging and effective landing page, but for those who know how to use it the ability to be able to use iFrame to deliver data is incredible.

In just 2 weeks things that I have talked about have changed pretty drastically from a marketing perspective. The internet, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, all change like the wind, and can get difficult to keep up with, and that’s absolutely why I write Just the Tips.

So back on track:

Why YouTube is Especially Important for Muscians

So immediately I’m going to give you a pretty powerful stat: What do you think the 2nd most powerful search engine on the internet is? Bing? Yahoo? Facebook? Well you can probably guess by the context: It’s YouTube. Not only that, but Google now embeds YouTube search right into it’s dynamic search. That’s pretty incredible stuff if you’re looking to get exposure. By why is it especially important to musicians?

  • Videos have sound. GASP! It’s no brainer that you can upload a video with your music in it to YouTube. People do it all the time. This gives fans and fans-to-be a way to listen to your music without having to dedicate any hard drive space or time into download an MP3. Users and listen to it on the go, fans can pull it up on their iPhone and play it for a friend, or stream it at work; the amount of applications are endless.
  • Videos have VISUALS. Well…they should anyway. Your video doesn’t have to be playing guitar, or sequecing a song live (though it could!). You don’t have to do a whole AMV to post your music on YouTube. You can simply just have a static image, or a loop video like OCReMix does. You make something like this pretty simply in iMovie or Windows Movie maker, and it doesn’t have to be all sorts of flashy. My advice to you is to put as much information about yourself as you want people to know, without over doing it. I’ll go over this in much more detail in the upcoming weeks.
  • Talented artists get a A LOT of exposure on YouTube. Have you heard of Justin Bieber? I mean, you probably have, but did you know he got discovered on YouTube? I don’t hate the kid. I don’t care much for his fan base, but he got where he is today by having some degree of talent, and a YouTube account. Be warned: This isn’t the last time I’ll bring him up in my discussions of YouTube, either. So be ready.
  • To combat plagiarism. As I’ve said before in the OCR Plagiarism thread: You absolutely can not control whether or not you or your music will get onto the internet, because it absolutely will. It will not necessarily be what you want to end up on the internet, and it will not necessarily be in the places you want it to be on the internet. You can’t stop it, however you can control it. How? By making sure that all the information you do want to show up shows up first, more often, and more relevant. If you get popular enough, it is certain beyond a reasonable doubt that someone will post your music on YouTube. It may have an innocent omission of information about you, or they may be trying to pass it off as their own. You can search down every iteration of your song on YouTube, and flag all of them as inappropriate, and how YouTube takes action against them eventually or you can post your music yourself, with all your legitimate information, so that there’s absolutely no question what the official source is. I can guarantee you that if you post a video of “Zelda Ocarina of Time/Chrono Trigger: Eponapoch (Guitar Remix)” posted by Willrock07 with a video about you, and links to your Facebook Page, and website, and all kinds of info, it will get more hits on YouTube than some kids “ZELDA KRONO TRIGGR GUITAR MIX” with a picture of a dancing storm trooper by coolkid0009 with 30 videos of the same thing and bad spelling, and hopefully yours will show up in the “Related Videos” sidebar when that DOES happen. Optimizing video titles, tags, and descriptions will be important for this as well, and will also be discussed in the upcoming weeks.
  • People can’t stop watching YouTube. The thing is addicting. I go to watch my own video of Shnababula‘s amazing live Terra remix, end up clicking on the Batman playing Terra in Black Video, then I see Terra in Black in Guitar Hero, then I see You Are Not Alone from Final Fantasy 9 in Guitar Hero, then I find You Are Not Alone on Classical Guitar, then katethegrate’s Roses of May from Final Fantasy 9 (love her, by the way), and then…crap I’m supposed to be writing a column here. SEE WHAT I MEAN? Powerful stuff. You want your video to show up on YouTube, because people will find it, and they will watch it. Hopefully they’ll like it and know where to go to find out more about you and your music!

So there you have it. As mentioned about, in the weeks following I’ll be explaining how to optimize your videos themselves, your profile, your titles, tags, and descriptions. I’ll also go over some other ways to drive traffic to your profile, and get yourself some more exposure: namely covers. Pretty huge, but that’s for another time!

As always if you have questions about anything discussed, or suggests on what you might hear about in future articles, post a comment!

Setting Up your Facebook Page

So hopefully by now you’ve got a Facebook Page set up. A Facebook Page is not the same as your Facebook user profile and, If don’t have one yet, or you’re unfamiliar with Facebook Pages in general, then you should check out last weeks entry on why you NEED to have a Facebook Page as a musician.

The first thing you need to realize is that your Facebook Page is not just for Facebook users. Granted, you will get the most of out people who are both a Facebook users, and a who have subscribed (or “Liked”) your Page, this is not the only traffic that will pass through your page; You’ll also get people who aren’t even members of Facebook who get there through links posted to them or via Google. This means you have to realize that your Facebook Fanpage is more than a microblog; It’s a whole new mini-site, or a portal, for your users to find more information about you. Some users may land on your Facebook Page before even your website. How will you welcome them?

  • Do not let someone land on your wall. This one is a very easy mistake to make, and it’s one of the most important things to do right away. Would you let visitors land on the guest book of your personal website? Of course not! Why then would you let them land on your Page’s wall? Admittedly, our Facebook Page currently isn’t setup like that (yet), nor is OverClocked ReMix’s, but zircon’s Page is a good start for what you want to go for in a Facebook Page landing page, and many major franchises are great examples. You can make an engaging landing page like this using the Static FBML App. Some things you should consider having on it are: Some information about you, some of your other sites on the web they might be interested in such as your personal site or YouTube profile, and most importantly…
  • Give incentive to follow/like you. The first questions in your head whenever you create something like a landing page are: “What are the long and short term goals of this?” and “How do I achieve these goals?” In this case your long term goal is to convert visistor into fans, and maybe at some point sell them music. You achieve this goal through the short term goal of giving them information about you and, most importantly right now, getting them interested enough to follow your page. You do this by telling them to follow your page, and giving a clear reason why they should. Sounds crazy, no? This is what we “selling the value” and giving a “Call-to-Action.” Everything you do should have some Call-to-Action, and incentive to do so by selling the value of it, and be sure to not give away the value without the action, first. In the case of your Page one value right away is up-to-the-minute updates on you and what you’re doing, but consider that someone who’s landing on your page might not be interested in your updates upon first getting there, and might not even stick around long enough to find the value themselves. Why then, would you stop there with the value? Give your visitors some incentive right away, and try to make it something more than your Facebook spam in their news feed. What kind of incentive? Here is an example of a case study done by “Socially Buzz“, a social media marketing firm, for restaurant. In it they explain how, by giving visitors incentive through value to “Like” the restaurant’s Facebook page (in this case, coupons), they were able to drive over 5,000 new Facebook followers, and create more social awareness of the brand. What kind of incentives can you create? Maybe downloadable and/or stream-able songs available ONLY on your Facebook page? If you charge, maybe it’s a coupon for your music. Maybe you could release an entire exclusive EP available ONLY to people who like your Facebook page. Play with it, and see what you can think of.
  • Make sure to keep engaging your audience. The biggest grace of social media is the ability to engage your audience. Make sure, once you get followers, that you use them! Keep them informed with important, relevant updates about what’s going on with you (subscribers probably don’t need to hear how drunk you are tonight), consider releasing exclusive or world-first items on different social mediums, and make sure whenever possible to end your updates with a question. You’ll notice OverClocked ReMix often does this, as does mashable. You want to engage your audience as often as possible, and encourage them to engage you as well. This gives them a much more personal experience, and gives them a stronger connection and dedication to you, and your brand. Remember: A personal connection could be the difference between a casual fan, and a die-hard fan.

These are just some of the ways you can use your Fanbook Page to help increase your visibility on the web, and hopefully help you convert more users into die-hard fans, but remember: Facebook isn’t the only social medium out there, not is it the only one people are actively using. In the upcoming weeks I’ll explain the important of things like a twitter page and, more importantly, a YouTube profile, before getting into the down and dirty of building and maintaining your own personal site, but for now go make yourself an awesome Facebook Page and start collecting followers.

If there’s any questions about anything discussed this week, have any Facebook Page suggestions of your own, or if you have any other questions relating to marketing yourself on the web that you’d like me to cover, feel free to leave a comment.

Why You NEED a Facebook Page!

Every Thursday, I find myself incredibly bored while starla heads off the One Hour Compo. I’ve worked in web marketing for a year, and every day I see a video game remix artist or some other musician who’s trying to promote their music, but just doesn’t know how. Just the Tips is weekly-to-bi-weekly article on how to take control of your web presence and promote your brand. I say brand because that’s what you are: A brand that you are trying to sell. Maybe you’re selling it for free, maybe you’re collecting digital downloads, but you are selling your name above all all else. If you are serious about your music, and serious about getting it heard by everyone out there who might want to hear it, these will be some helpful hints to getting the most out of your web presence.

If you’re an artist these days, there’s 2 things that are absolutely required: A YouTube profile, and a Facebook Page. Even more so than a website, these 2 things are going to get you the exposure you want. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a personal music website, because you should, but a Facebook Page and a YouTube profile are 2 simple, free, things you can set up quickly and easily. As you can probably tell by the title of the article, today I’m going to focus on Facebook Pages, but in the upcoming weeks expect more tips for setting up a YouTube account. Be prepared to get yelled at if you don’t own a custom domain name for your website at the very least, but again, that’s for another time.

Today, Facebook released it’s new Pages layout, so thought it’d be a good topic to talk about. When I say Facebook Page, I don’t mean your personal Facebook profile. Facebook Pages, previously “Facebook Fan Pages,” are Facebook Pages for your brand. Why is it important to have a Facebook Page? Well consider that over 500,000,000 people were using Facebook by late last year. That’s 7% of the population of the entire planet, and over 25% of the people using the internet. Quite literally everyone, and their mother, is using Facebook these days. So how does this help you as an artist?

  • It’s additional web real-estate. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: There isn’t much legitimate real-estate on the web that can’t be turned into good real-estate. When someone searches your name on Google, you want to have as much relevant information available for them as possible; Facebook pages, personal websites, blogs, twitter, heck even MySpace is bouncing back now a days. So long as you curate your web presence, it can only help.
  • It’s much simpler, and professional, than having people add your personal Facebook profile. You’ll see all the time pseudo-celebrities with thousands of Facebook friends, but what if you don’t want your entire network to know you and your fiancé just broke it off? Or that you’re in the hospital for some embarrassing injury? Or even those photos your friends took when you passed out last night? These things aren’t just embarrassing, but they could be damaging. Sure you can set up lists and privacy filters, and you should regardless. If you do it right, it is much easier, and much more effective to let your Page handle this.
  • It’s very easy to collect followers. Facebook is probably the easiest way for you to get people to follow you, and your music. A simple “Like” and suddenly they’re getting up-to-the minute updates from you when ever they’re on Facebook and, let’s face it, they’re on Facebook all the time. While at work, while at school, on their phone, while driving. ITZ SO EZ. (Note: I’m PRETTY sure you can’t be held legally responsible for someone reading your Facebook updates on their phone while driving, but I’m not a lawyer so this is not legal advice.) You can even embed your Fanbox on your website and collect followers that way. This is infinitely easier than expecting people to follow an RSS feed, or have a twitter account, or even worse, have to continually check your website for updates manually.
  • Social Proof. It’s a proven fact that people are more likely to trust the opinions of someone else they know. Social proof is one of Facebook’s biggest draws when it comes to marketing. Chances are if 6 of your friends are a fan of a certain artist, and you know and trust their tastes, then you may consider listening to that artist yourself. The same goes for your followers and you.
  • Facebook advertising is THE BEST out there. Now you might not be considering advertising yet, which is your own decision. I personally find it acceptable to put away a few extra dollars a month to help promote my brand. I understand it’s not in everyone’s budget, but consider this: Facebook allows you to target the audiences you’re looking for, specifically, and you only pay per conversion. You heard that right, you only pay if someone likes your page, thusly becoming a new follower, and becoming a subscriber to your content. How specific can you get? You can target people who are between the ages of 14 and 30, male and female, in the United States, the UK, Australia, and Japan, who are fans of OverClocked ReMix or ThaSauce Network or deadmau5 or zircon or whatever else your sound is, that aren’t already fans of you. Depending on what you’re looking for your price-per-click will vary, but it will likely be less than a dollar per conversion, you can set a max amount of budget that you have for ads, and they can be started or stopped at any time. Did I mention that every click is a real life new follower who sees all your updates? Yea.
  • Analytics. Analytics. Analytics. What are analytics? Analytics are something VERY important for managing your brand. They are essentially stats that tell you whether or not what you’re doing is working, and how well. Facebook analytics  tell you how many impressions your posts got each day, and also how many actions (likes/comments) each post got per impression. For those who don’t know what an impression is, it’s basically when ever a page loads and your content is on it. So basically how many times your updates have shown up in other peoples feeds. You’ll probably be surprised when you see how much exposure you’re getting through Facebook.

So that’s all I have for you this week. If you haven’t already, hopefully you will go out and make a Facebook Page for yourself right now. Set it up, have fun with it, dip your toe into the waters a bit, and see how it goes. Next week I’ll be telling you how can get the most out of your Facebook page, how to post engaging content, and what engaging content actually is, how to keep people coming back and, most importantly, how to turn this all into ROI.

If you have any questions at all, be sure to post a comment. (and please excuse the forum theme, it’s a work-in-progress.)