Common Mistakes Musicians Make Making YouTube Videos...and How-to Fix Them
You Tube is the third most popular website in the world, and the fourth most popular in the United States, behind only Amazon (3), Facebook (2), and Google at the top slot - according to Alexa.com.
More than 1 billion unique users visit You Tube every month.
One billion. Every month.
So yeah, it's very popular...and it's here to stay. It's the new television for the modern age. But the great thing about living in this time is that you have control over the broadcast, and anyone can do it - and do it well. All you need to know is the basic fundamentals and put them into practice.
Of course, quality of content will always come into play with respect to the amount of views you get, and subsequently, the amount of money you can make. However, the following tips will help any musician that uploads a video to You Tube, regardless of the level of skill or experience.
If you already have videos on You Tube, go fix the issues that you're able to correct immediately. If you plan on shooting video in the future, keep all of these tips in mind and you will definitely see a difference in the amount of traffic that you receive.
Whether you're aware of it or not, this is the most important part of your posting, and you need to learn why this is and what to do about it.
This is the field that you see at the top of the screen while your video is uploading that needs to be filled out. It will default to the file name that you chose when you added the video to your computer, so you need to change it before publishing.
Your title consists of keywords. If you don't know about keywords, the simple explanation is that they are the words that people type into search bars to find things.
The title of your video should consist of keywords, and only keywords.
So how do you know what words to use for your title?
It's a pretty simple formula when it comes to uploading music. Here are the important things to include in your title:
- The name of the song
- The name of the performer
- The name of the venue and/or location
Sometimes it's also a good idea to include the date, but only if it would be relevant in a search.
If it's a cover song, you absolutely should include the name of the original artist in the title as well.
If you want views, you want to take care when creating your title. Think like someone who is searching for things when selecting your keywords.
Is your video a cover of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons? Then your title should have the keywords "cover" "Radioactive" "Imagine Dragons," because it will then come up in a search for any of those keywords.
Without writing a good title, your video will only be seen if you share it directly, and only very occasionally by a random surfer.
The title of your video should consist of keywords, and only keywords.
There are a lot of things that you can and should include in this section.
For starters, this is where you describe the content of the clip. You want to word this as if you're talking to someone, but formally.
Go into further detail about the video - and repeat the information that you already included in the title.
For example, your description could look like this:
St. Louis, Missouri's Imagine Dragons tribute band "Dragon Imagines" performing a live cover of the hit song "Radioactive" at The Swan Station Rock Club at 1516 Main Street on September 22, 2014.
The words in your description are also keywords, meaning that anything you include in the section will be a part of search results, and it will increase the chances of your video being seen.
Be sure to include any other details that are relevant to the clip (i.e. "Kate Austin's 30th Birthday Party," "New Year's Eve Celebration," etc.), but only if they are directly related to the video.
There's no need to be shy in this section, but make sure every word you type in there counts for something.
If you neglect to write a good description, you are missing out on a very easy way to get more traffic to your video.
Do you have a website? A Facebook Page? Instagram? Twitter? Reverb Nation?
I'm guessing that you have several of these things.
With every video that you upload, you want to include links to the social media platforms where you have a presence. Add these in the description section as well to make it easy for people who like your video to connect with you elsewhere.
It's also yet another thing that will aid in you showing up in search results.
Google likes links, and especially when there are two-way streets created (Your Facebook page points to your You Tube videos which points back to your Facebook Page.)
Most people that play music want to be heard, yet too many musicians don't take the very small amount of time and effort to include links in their You Tube description.
If you're proud enough of the work you've done to upload it for the world to see, you owe it to people who like you to be able to easily connect with you elsewhere on the web.
These are a little different than keywords, but you can approach them pretty much the same way - by considering words that people might use to search, find your video, and want to watch it.
You should always include tags with all of your uploads (you can go back in and add or remove some at any time). Here you can get more creative with keyword ideas.
You tags should include words (music, band, live, club, concert, etc.) and phrases (Halloween party, live rock band, New Jersey shore, etc.).
Again, use as many tags you can think of, but be sure they are relevant to the video, or the spam police will find you, and you will hurt your chances of getting views.
Now that we've covered what you can do to fix your existing videos, let's go over what you should focus on for any future videos that you shoot and upload.
5. Camera angle
I feature a "Spotlight Video of the Day" every weekday on my Facebook Page Cover Band Central, and I get several dozen submissions every week. One of the reasons that I would not select a clip to feature is a poor camera angle.
As a casual viewer, I'm going to get easily frustrated if:
- I can't see the whole band
- the view is from the side
- the view is from the back
- the stage is too dark
- there are people standing in front of the camera
...and I'm most likely going to click off of the video rather quickly, unless the performance itself is worth at least listening to.
If your setting up your camera on a tripod to get a still shot, be sure that you can see the whole band, and shoot from an angle that you, as a viewer, would want to watch the show.
If someone is shooting for you by hand, make sure that they capture the action that is happening on stage, in the same way that someone would watch the band if they were in the venue. In other words, when the lead singer is singing, they should be in view on screen. When there's a guitar solo, the viewer should be able to see the guitar player.
This stuff seems simple and obvious, but many people neglect these fundamentals with live performance videos, and it compromises the quality of the clip to the point where people will click off.
6. Sound quality
It can be difficult at times to get good audio from a video camera, but it's essential if you're looking to showcase your music.
The most common issue here is that the live music overdrives the microphone making the audio sound distorted.
The best way to rectify this issue is to set up the camera far enough away from the PA speakers so that it's not too loud on the recording. As long as your camera has a zoom where you can crop in tight enough to see the action on stage, then you'll be in good shape with both audio and video.
There are also times when the sound is not loud enough. This is usually due to the camera being too far away from the speakers.
So it's important to find the right balance to get the best quality clip. If you can, experiment at sound check (if you get one), and make adjustments accordingly.
7. Running time
The attention span of people on the internet is limited, so when you post a video of your band performing, make sure that it's long enough to get the point across, but short enough so that you don't lose people's interest.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep people wanting more. If you have several videos of your band online, and your clips are all quality and concise, you'll end up getting multiple views.
If your video is too long, then people won't usually watch the whole thing, and it won't even count as a view on You Tube.
Before you upload your video to You Tube, in many cases you'll need to do some editing. If you're just using the raw footage from you camera, quite often you'll have parts of the video where nothing is going on, and the viewer will quickly lose interest.
There should be very little or no "dead air" with your clip. If it takes too long to get to the song, you won't get a lot of views.
You also want to be careful, though, to not do too much editing. When there are abrupt cuts, or the continuity of the song is disrupted, it will make for a poor overall video.
It's a good idea to watch several videos of bands performing live to see what they do right (and what they do wrong) to get a better idea of how you should present your band online.