Devising A Content Strategy For Your YouTube Account – PART 1

Today’s post is a contributed article by the folks at Radar Music Videos. They share some insightful thoughts on how to capitalize on your YouTube presence and give some great ideas on content creation for your channel. If you’ve been wanting to give your YouTube account a makeover, this is the article to read.

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It’s an inescapable fact that YouTube is now the world’s largest music streaming site, and also its second biggest search engine. As YouTube continues to mature as a content platform and revenue stream, it’s more important than ever for record labels and artists to have a solid content strategy in place for their YouTube content. But with over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute*, how do you optimise content creation and make sure your content stands out? We speak to key music industry figures at record labels and MCNs** to put together a two-part best practice guide to devising a content strategy for anyone in the music industry working with YouTube.

What’s Possible on YouTube?

Your first step is to identify your target audience and what you want to achieve on the platform. Building subscribers is the foundation for success, whatever you decide success will be. Jeremy Rosen, The Orchard’s Director of Audience Development, outlines the possibilities: “Ultimately, building a successful channel gives the artist or label a large marketing platform. It can be a creative outlet, a good way to connect with fans visually, a place to test out material, and even a primary revenue source. As tools like Google+ integration mature, I estimate it will also become an important direct-to-consumer hub for artists.” 

That direct connection to fans and the increasing importance of streaming music represent the main opportunities for Laura Bruneau, Anjunabeats’ Label Executive: “YouTube is one of the main platforms where consumers stream music, especially younger audiences. Having a great content strategy means more people will find your music, play your music, and hopefully buy your music. And while they’re streaming they’re earning you revenue too. With the boom of streaming in 2014 with Spotify, Beats Music, iTunes Radio and of course YouTube Music, this is a key platform you can’t afford to ignore.”

So, marketing possibilities on YouTube relate to:

  • discovery
  • revenue
  • cross-promotion
  • up-selling / creating a D2C sales hub
  • artist creativity
  • fan relationships 

Developing A Strategy 

To develop a content strategy, work on tying in your on-YouTube goals to your off-YouTube goals.

Artists and labels will naturally need to focus on creating different kinds of content, according to Jon Baltz, INDMUSIC’s co-founder and Vice President. Baltz says, “An artist that is about to go on tour should release videos that further their tour promotional efforts – reminding [the] audience where they will be and when they will be there. A label on the other hand is juggling release schedules for several artists and tours. The label should be producing art tracks (videos with still image and audio), lyric videos, and official music videos, with a focus on upcoming releases.”

Should established and new artists create different kinds of content on YouTube? Yes, according to Laura Bruneau: “The most important distinction between an established artist and a new artist is the size of their current audience. If you have an established artist with a big audience, you can focus on creating more ambitious and interactive YouTube experiences. For example, live-streaming or Google+ Hangouts On Air are examples of content that I would recommend more for established artists than a new artist, as you know you have sufficient numbers for your audience to be engaged in a live event. For a new artist, you need to build their personality on the channel alongside their brand. A good way to do this is to create a fan-led, pre-recorded interview series…where fans are encouraged to send in questions for the artist via social media in the run-up to filming, and then the questions are posed to the artist on camera. That way, you’re ensuring that the questions asked are what people really want to know about and it makes your audience feel involved. Interviews are also a great way for artists to put across their personalities in a relaxed and enjoyable environment and plug (in a non-salesy way) what they’ve got coming up.”

Content Checklist

What kind of content do you want to create? The possibilities are endless.  Here’s a checklist of content that artists and labels should and can be creating and curating on a regular basis: 

  • Official music videos / release videos
  • Audio uploads of music with a static visual (aka ‘art videos’)
  • Live performances: gigs / rehearsal footage 
  • Lyric videos
  • Behind the scenes (which could be anything from a ‘day in the life of’ to a
  • tour video diary or the making of your latest music video) 
  • promo: lyric videos and full blown promos
  • Covers 
  • Breaking news announcements (e.g. a new album/single/tour, or a big
  • milestone)
  • Tutorials
  • documentary: self-shooting, artist point-of-view mobile footage, interviews / pieces to camera
  • Interviews including fan led
  • Video press kits promoting your latest album/single/tour
  • Playlists 
  • Fan-generated videos 
  • Competitions 
  • Google+ Hangouts on Air
  • Live-streaming (archivable streaming may be necessary across different
  • timezones)
  • Episodic events

Cost and complexity range from free and easy to expensive and professional. As Jon Baltz says, “Not every video has to be an official music video with a big budget; syncing your music to what you film with your smartphone out of a train window can be just as effective.”

It’s also worth bearing in mind that building engagement doesn’t always mean having to create new content; curating playlists is a great way to mark yourself out as a tastemaker, and will keep your homepage looking fresh and interesting with regular content. Updating your subscriber feed is also key, as Jeremy Rosen advises: “It’s possible for your subscribers to see when your channel likes, favourites, adds to playlists, or comments. Scheduling this activity to, say, promote a video from a band you’re touring with or a crazy viral video can help keep you at the top of your audience’s mind.”

Coming in Part 2 – scheduling, optimisation and measuring success

  • Shay Leonia

    Excellent article, however I’d still love to know how to gain subscribers most efficiently. I find that new fans will arrive at your Instagram account before anything else, and while they may search a video of yours on YouTube, they won’t necessarily subscribe.