10 essential tips | YouTube for new artists

Mark Adams from Music Gateway gives us his top tips for artists taking on YouTube for the first time...


YouTube attracts more than one third of all Internet users so as a platform, it's an important one for new artists to consider. 

But at the beginning of your career, YouTube can appear confusing. What do you need to get you started? How often should you post? And how do you drive traffic to your videos to increase your audience? 

In the first of a series of ICMP Spotlight blogs on YouTube, we caught up with Mark Adams, Music Gateway's Global Head of Artist Development and Music Promotions for his top advice for those musicians and artists new to the platform. Tuck into his tips below...

At what point in an artist’s career should they start using YouTube? 

For me, video content is king and YouTube is a massive part of the global video landscape. So I would start a channel as soon as possible. YouTube is as important as the other social channels and has the potential to create viral content.

What assets do you need to have in place before launching?

Before launching make sure you have the basics like a logo, a strong idea of your aesthetic from a colour perspective and high quality photos. I swear by canva.com as a useful tool to create low-cost, high impact assets. Failing that you can use the Music Gateway platform to access our marketplace to find a creative to do the work for you

Have you any advice around optimising YouTube content? 

Absolutely, make sure your thumbnails images are high quality, think about how small the image will be on certain devices, make sure that you use pictures that fill up the space. 

Tagging is so important. So, consider how you search YouTube and ensure you add as many key words as possible.” 

What is the secret to creating engaging/compelling video content? 

Have fun and ensure the content is relevant and topical. Try new things and various creative ideas to find out what your audience likes, keep a track of the content and make notes on the marketing tactics you employed i.e. platform, hashtags, shares etc...

From the perspective of the fledgling artist, the back-end of the platform can be a little confusing - what do they need to get right before posting any video content to ensure they can be found? 

Keep it simple, create a nice simple piece of YouTube art, a decent icon and just post your content. Do not get overwhelmed by creating carousels or about videos, just get started and experiment. Check out the Music Gateway YouTube tips blog here.

Is there a good time to post your video content? And how often should you be posting? 

We operate in a global environment these days and while you should optimise your content based on user behaviour, the most important thing is to post, share and share again. Try different timezones and experiment with what works or dig into the YouTube analytics software.

When it comes to marketing your channel, are there any tips/words of wisdom you can impart? 

Be brave, creative and ensure your content has a clear call to action i.e. "enjoy this video? please subscribe to the channel" - never be afraid to ask people to follow you!" 

Is there an optimum length for a successful YouTube video? 

Depends on the type of video; music videos are around three minutes and interviews are usually modular pieces and still around 60 seconds - we call this 'short form'. However, as YouTube music has grown there are now opportunities to create much longer pieces of content and monetise it! Similar to traditional TV if your content is above 12 minutes then YouTube inserts ad breaks. Optimum length is based on the type of content.

Also, what should you include in a video description? Is it worth adding web URLs/social links? 

The key to describing content is to keep it concise, precise and interesting i.e. use key words, urls (if it makes sense) and try to be engaging.

Are there any artists who you think are currently using YouTube in an exciting/innovative way?

I think artists are generally using YouTube to showcase their music these days rather than building their personality on the channel via funny clips and interviews largely because Facebook and Instagram are more effective for developing an artists profile (just look at Lewis Capaldi!). The traditional 'vlogger turned pop star' is a bit old hat these days and we're seeing that less.

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by Jim Ottewill
September 2, 2019
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