How to Run a YouTube Channel
So you think you could be the next Justin Bieber or Austin Mahone, but how do you get started with making your YouTube channel work?
Maybe you want to pursue a career in presenting; or you want to film live sessions with bands you love to stream online – YouTube is one of the most powerful platforms that you can use to promote what you do, and we’ve got a very special insider on board to share her expert advice.
Cherry Collard is a Digital Executive with music media company LoveLive, who develop strategies to help brands, record labels, broadcasters and artists reach new audiences. She runs Transmitter a new music channel on YouTube dedicated to promoting British music which has featured sessions with the likes of Tinie Tempah, Ella Eyre and The Saturdays.
Cherry tells us how she has made a career out of doing what she loves; and shares her top tips on building a successful YouTube channel.
How I got started in the industry
I’ve always loved music – played the sax, filled my shelves with CDs and even took a Music Tech A Level – but I ended up studying Classics and playing basketball at uni so felt a far cry from the music industry. I’m big on extra curricular activities though, so kept one toe in music (which helped buff up my CV), and got really into social media and digital whilst I was at uni. Throwing it all together, I started thinking about social media opportunities in music…
I took a risk and left my first full-time post-uni job to go part-time whilst doing freelance social media training, and just kept as up to date as possible in my field. I kept my eyes and ears very much open for job opportunities, updated my LinkedIn (essential for job hunting) and made sure any of my discoverable social media accounts were in order. I applied to several jobs on LinkedIn and got nothing back, then heard through a friend about an ideal starter role coming up in a music company for a social media manager. I applied in the usual way online, but made sure I followed it up with an email this time to the relevant person to ensure I got myself an interview.
As the role was social media management I just siphoned out my relevant experience to discuss and showed my enthusiasm by how up to date I was with current trends and brought some ideas to the table for how we could maximise social marketing at the company. I got the job and have been focussing on YouTube for over a year, running live streams with everyone from Plan B to Madonna and setting up digital marketing campaigns around each YouTube event. I’m currently the Channel Manger for Transmitter – a new music YouTube channel launched in November 2013
How to: Run a successful YouTube channel
I’ve set up two YouTube channels with the LoveLive team: LoveLive TV and Transmitter. We’ve been lucky enough to work with major music artists which definitely helps drive traffic, but there are key things anyone starting a YouTube channel or looking to grow theirs should know… My top tips are below!
Have a clear goal
Are you a musician wanting to get signed? A lifestyle blogger or budding stylist looking for opportunities? Know your purpose and strengths and ensure each piece of video content reflects what you’re about. And show some personality! Make the fans want to come back for more of you: get creative and let them get behind the scenes.
Branding, branding, branding:
You have an avatar, a channel skin and video thumbnails to play with. Master the basics of photoshop and make the most of the space! Add a tagline into your banner, put a picture of you or your band/logo as your avatar and make sure every thumbnail is a custom one. What would you want to click on? Think close-ups, bright and clear imagery and visibility if you add text – thumbnails are very small on mobile.
Keep an eye on trends:
And respond to analytics. If a format isn’t working, mix it up: Present your next piece with a monobrow. Bring in your pet cat. Look at what’s trending and find your hook! On Transmitter, we had Ella Eyre coming in – searched YouTube and saw that she hadn’t done any acoustic videos of her hit single ‘Waiting All Night’ with Rudimental. She performed the acoustic version for us just as she was building her solo profile and the video got mad hits very quickly… YouTube fans love covers and topical content!
Take a look at successful channels and the things they include in descriptions. Usually you’ll see a short description filled with keywords, followed by a subscribe link and social links. Use relevant tags and tag your video as much as you can with top keywords first. If you want to get into detail, read theYouTube Playbook (like the YouTube Bible).
Claim your videos!
If your content is completely original, when you upload make sure you’re clicking ‘claim’ under the monetization tab (and monetize if you want to) and tracking for unauthorsied rips. You need to check in on this – and FYI, if Madonna ever performs for you, HUNDREDS of people will rip your videos. It will be stressful if you don’t keep on top of it. More info can be found here.
Find channels similar to you and start engaging with their videos in the comments. Drop them an email and ask if they want to collaborate… One of our most successful Transmitter videos is split into two parts, with Part One on Little Mix’s YouTube channel, linking through to Part Two on ours using annotations. They had a lot more subscribers than us, but we could offer great production and deliver content to them. Play to your strengths.
You’re making amazing videos and getting hits on YouTube, so use your social accounts to share your content – but don’t spam. You should be using socials to share what you’re about, what you’re interested in and to engage with people. Definitely share your new videos when they’re released and make people aware of them, but don’t fill people’s timelines with repeat spam messages.
If you release one video every couple of months, it’ll be very hard to get people to subscribe. Upload regular content and use the ‘About’ section to let your fans know what they’ll be getting. Again, sharing this messaging on social networks is key! Never underestimate social channels for promoting your content. Get onto the major players (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram – You’ll automatically be on Google Plus as it’s tied into YouTube now) and keep on posting.
#BestMoment in your career so far?
Successfully managing a huge, global YouTube live stream of Rihanna’s 777 Tour… From the front of a truck in the venue car park. In the freezing cold. Tea has never tasted so good!
Probably asking Lily Allen for a photo for a twitter account I was running and being rejected!
LinksThe Big Music Project