When you have new music ready to launch, creating a music video can be one of the most creative, enjoyable parts of the process. But promoting the music video is often a different story. When you feel like your creative work is done, you’re actually just getting started on the most important part for your business as a musician—getting your content in front of viewers.
One challenge is that most music organizations are less than transparent about the industry best practices for music video promotion. That’s where we come in. For your next music video, treat these eight tips like your checklist to a stellar launch.
Interact with Your Audience Regularly
The key to your music video’s success begins long before the music video is finished—or even begun. If you’re hoping to have a built-in fan base for each new release, you’ll have to build a relationship with your audience over time. Send updates, respond to comments and questions, and generally let people in on what you’re up to. When they feel like they’re genuinely connected to you and your music, they’ll be more likely to support your next music video.
Build Excitement Before the Release
The next tip also requires a bit of advance planning. When you know you have a new music video coming soon, start building excitement with your audience ahead of time. You can go the direct route by announcing the music video and its release date, or take a more mysterious approach and tease a vague launch without a specific date. In either case, your fans will be invested in the new music video long before you release it.
Nail Your Music Video Youtube SEO
So now your music video upload to YouTube is complete. But wait! Before you hit that “publish” button, there are a few important actions to take to maximize the chances of your video showing up in search results and getting views!
Here is a checklist of the 5 crucial SEO optimizations you can make to enhance the discoverability and viewer engagement of your music video:
Thumbnails that pop
You’ve already heard a million times that thumbnails are the most crucial element to getting people to click through to your video. You’ve been told to make your video thumbnail “irresistible”. But how do you do that?
Choose a still from your music video that evokes a strong emotional reaction. (It could be surprise, curiosity, fear, horror, or a touching, “awww!” type of scene, like someone hugging a puppy.)
Avoid visuals that are predominantly red, black and white or combinations of these colors (like black and white or red and black). You’ve no doubt guessed the reason why—these are the YouTube theme colors.
For your thumbnail to pop out, grab viewers’ attention and make them click, choose from other color palettes such as yellow-orange and blue-green.
Tip: If your video visuals happen to be in shades of red, black or white, experiment with color filters to achieve a different shade in the blue-green or yellow-orange spectrum for your thumbnail.
Effective tagging using the 3-tier ‘NIB’ approach
A study of over 1 million videos found a high correlation between the video rankings on YouTube and the tags used in the videos. Specifically, the study found that videos whose tags included a mix of ‘narrow’ or very specific keywords as well as ‘broad’ or generic keywords ranked better compared to those that used either only narrow or only broad keywords.
For optimal results, you could adopt a 3-tier keyword tagging approach, going from ‘Narrow’ to ‘Intermediate’ to ‘Broad’. Here’s an example: Say your music video is titled "The Joy Of You". You could choose your three tiers of keywords along these lines:
You could use the exact title of the music video, “the joy of you” as your primary, ‘narrow’ tag.
Variations of the title, for example, “joy of you”, “joy with you” and even “enjoying you” and “enjoying with you” could serve as diversified, ‘intermediate’ tier tags.
In the ‘broad’ tier, tags could include the mood and theme of the video, as well as the musical genre, for example, “uplifting song”, “lovers’ reunion”, “ and “cool jazz”.
Leveraging visibility through “Recommended Videos”
Music videos often get more views through showing up as YouTube “recommendations” than when they’re part of actual search results. The key to your music video showing up as a recommendation is to align your tags with those of other, popular videos in your genre.
Tip: Use the following method to view the keywords used to tag other, popular music videos in your genre:
- Use the Chrome or Firefox browser to view the YouTube music video page.
- Right-click on the page (not the video) and select the “View Source” menu. This will open up the HTML code for the page in a separate tab.
- Now, use “Ctrl + F” to pull up the search bar and type “keywords” to view the keywords used to tag the video.
Boost engagement by inviting feedback
YouTube’s algorithm is good at identifying which music videos are getting high viewer engagement, and then serving these videos up in more and more searches. The most obvious indices of viewer engagement with your video are the number of likes and comments it receives.
So how do you get people to leave likes and comments on your music video? Simple – Ask them!
Under the ‘Video Description’, share some interesting snippets about your music video – a production technique that you experimented with, a funny anecdote about the filming, an interesting fact about the shoot location… something that you think viewers will engage with. And ask people to respond by liking and/ or commenting below your video.
Tip: Responding to comments is a great way of building rapport, turning casual viewers into loyal fans. While you can ignore the “trolling” and obnoxious comments, replying to genuine comments is an investment in your fanbase.
Use End Screen to increase ‘Session Time’
A lot of attention has focused on the ‘Watch Time’, or the duration of a video that people watch before clicking away. But there’s another metric that is just as important to the YouTube algorithm, and that is the ‘Session Watch Time’ or just ‘Session Time’.
The YouTube Session Time metric is a measure of how long the viewer spends on YouTube after watching your video. And YouTube rewards videos with longer Session Times, by serving them up more often.
So, how do you extend the Session Time of your music video viewers? Apart from making your music video as fascinating as possible, there’s one other trick you can use to ensure that viewers stay glued to YouTube after watching your video.
Use the ‘End Screen’ feature to insert a link to another interesting music video that you think your viewers would enjoy watching. Ideally, this could be one of your other music videos, but a video by another artist can also work, just as long as it is likely to engage your viewers.
Share Across All Social Media Platforms
After you do release the music video, your first step should be sharing it across the most popular social channels. When in doubt, the more channels, the better—you never know where your content might take off and unlock a whole new fan base. Your options here include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and even Pinterest. Share away!
Tip: Create a receptive mindset in your audience first when promoting on social media platforms like Quora and Reddit. How?
- Find discussion threads about music videos of a similar genre and style on platforms like Quora and Reddit.
- Find a way to contribute meaningfully to the discussion: add a technical detail, historical snippet, or industry insight you happen to possess.
- Post your own music video link at the bottom of your response, with an, “in case you’re interested” note.
Collaborate with Other Artists
Your next step in promoting your new music video is to ask or encourage other artists to share it. This approach will work better if you already have a network of musician friends—and if you’re ready to return the favor next time they have a launch.
You have two main options for this promotional tactic. The first is simply to share the launch with your artist network to announce the new music video and hope that some of them will share it just because they love the work or want to be supportive. The second is to share the launch with your artist network and ask them directly if they can help spread the word about the new release.
Both options are fine, but as you can imagine, you’ll likely get more traction when you explicitly ask for promotional support. You can also mix and match both approaches, asking for shares from your closest music allies and just sharing the release with everyone else. Whatever feels best to you!
If you want to go one step further than your network of fellow musicians, you can also engage influencers to share the new music video and voice their support.
The scope of this tactic can be as large or as small as you like—you can spend a fortune on big names who can get your content in front of millions of followers, or niche down to go after a specific target audience.
The rise of ‘micro-influencers’, social media users who have a following of between 10,000 and 100,000 users, represents a great opportunity for smaller artists working on tight marketing budgets. You can find and hire a micro-influencer yourself, using hashtag searches, or use a platform such as Grin or Upfluence to find one.
Run a Contest
Right after your video release, announce a contest for the best dance video (or funny video, if your song isn’t a dance number) created by fans using your song. This technique is a tried and tested method for maximizing fan engagement, building a buzz around your video, as well as opening up the opportunity for your song to go viral on social media – don’t forget, you’re harnessing the creativity of tons of other people out there!
Pay for Ads
Last but not least, don’t forget about the many ad placement options you can use to promote your music video. If you’ve engaged with our blog before, you’re probably familiar with the series we did explaining exactly how to launch an ad campaign on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. A new music video is the perfect asset to promote in your ads, so follow the tips we’ve outlined there according to each platform you want to use.
Now that you have a mental blueprint for promoting your next music video, you’re likely looking to swing into action right away. For a zero obligation, no-strings-attached consult that’ll help you learn how the pro team at DeNovo Agency can help you boost the buzz and ramp up viewership for your upcoming music video, send us a message.