It’s pretty amazing how much content is on YouTube. Over 150 million visits per month to the site. This shows that all the stuff you thought nobody else but you remembered —that “lost” TMNT episode, every music video you could imagine— someone else remembers it too and wants you to see it.
In the pre-Facebook era, if you wanted to hear a band’s music, you probably went to their MySpace page. In particular, indie musicians flocked to MySpace in its heyday. These days, the kiddies are just searching the group name or song title on YouTube, and odds are they’ll find exactly what they want.
Today, Google owns the world. And conveniently they own Google Analytics and YouTube. For musicians, this will rock your world. If you post a cool video to your YouTube page, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll see some conversion to your website.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s discuss what makes for an interesting video. There’s a few ways to accomplish this without requiring you to spend thousands of dollars and hiring a production team.
First off, have an idea about what it is you want to do. It can be as basic as a vlog (video blog post), or as big as a full scale music video. Either way, knowing what you want to accomplish going in saves infinite frustration. Make an outline – or even a basic script/guide.
Team D.I.-Why are huge Apple nerds, and with good reason. Most of what you need to create quality audio/video comes standard with every MacBookPro and iPhone. We’re guessing there are some Android phones and PCs that can do that too, but seriously and for realz, Apple rocks. With the built in iCam, included iMovie, and a little iMagination (sorry, couldn’t resist), you can be the next YouTube sensation.
So you’ve got some video content, and you need to do something with it. Setting up your own channel (page) on YouTube is pretty damn simple.
- Create a YouTube account – keep the account name as close to your artist/band name as possible.
- Set up your channel with a color scheme/design that matches your website
- Upload content to your page.
Seriously. It’s that easy. From there, you can get all creative and fancy, but for now, we’re just getting started. If you’ve got easy access to the design files for your website, it’s simple to upload a matching background to your YouTube channel. Wow, branding!
About a year and a half ago, we worked with a band to create a fundraising video. They were gonna hit the road, and wisely, they didn’t want to lose money in the process. With nothing more than a MBP, digital camera, and creativity, they created a video that was heartfelt, funny as hell, and effective. The entire production was composed, produced, and completed over a weekend and for a total cost of about $50 – in beer and wigs.
From that video and accompanying website, Facebook, and Twitter promotion, the tour was accomplished at a profit. Not a huge profit, but nobody lost money either.
When you’re starting a band, and you’re trying to come up with content for a website without actually having finished your disc, recording a acoustic demo is a nice easy way to show what you’re up to without going nuts on the budget and time. Turn on the webcam, pick up your guitar, and just go for it. We recommend proper lighting as well as picking the spinach out from between your teeth before starting.
YouTube also gives you the option of adding captions and annotations to your video. This added “commentary” can include information you want people to know about you, your music, your next gig, or whatever.
Here’s an example:
YouTube makes it easy to time/sequence the captions and annotations so they fit inside the action. When done properly, it’s very cool. Done badly, it can look totally amateur, so take your time with this.
On its own, YouTube provides very similar (looking and functioning) analytics to what you’ll already have inside Google Analytics. The difference is that they’ll give you some added info about where people are watching your video.
We reposted an interview one of us did with Blink 182 from 2004. Here’s a snippet of those analytics:
While not earth shattering in terms of the number of views we got, it was very interesting to see that 83% of viewers were male. It’s also interesting to note that while this video was also posted on our website, a solid majority of the views came from YouTube. We can then take this info and compare it with what Google Analytics tells us.
In this case, YouTube drove a whopping total of 4 hits to di-why.com. While not thrilling, it definitely helps us figure out where to direct our focus. In other words, we’re not going to bank our success on converting traffic from YouTube to di-why.com.
Yet again, the point to be made is that the analytics are what helps you figure out what to do. We had an intern once who swore by posting stuff to YouTube and watching the flood gates open. I asked him if he had proof of concept – specifically analytics that validated his concept.
Sure enough, when we dug a little deeper, it just wasn’t there. Creating unique video content can take some time to do. If you’re going to invest a concerted amount of time/effort, make sure you’re getting something back in return. And make sure you can prove it!
Another strategy for YouTube is to “favorite” videos you like and create a channel that along with helping promote your band directly (with your own unique content) but also by helping clarify your band’s brand/image with content that defines your likes, dislikes, and sound. It can also help draw some traffic to your channel. When D.I.-Why posted that Blink 182 video, we got a lot of attention from Blink fans. Odds are, they wouldn’t have found us otherwise.
 Conversion – moving website interest from one destination to another. Ex. “I saw you on WooTube, and now I’m on your website!”