1. Have a strong visual identity. If we haven’t got a video for our music, that doesn’t stop us uploading it to YouTube. Every time we do this, we make sure our big H logo is at the centre of our visuals. If people want more from us, we make it easy for them to find another H in the suggested videos and click it!
2. Guide your audience with annotations, links and a channel trailer. We want people to subscribe and come back for more, so we prompt them to do so with annotations – pop-up messages within the video, which can link to other parts of YouTube – like “Subscribe for more”. We also make the top of every description a link to our store or iTunes; this drives a lot of traffic. Finally, we made a trailer showcasing the best of our content. When you head to youtube.com/hospitalrecords, it’s the first thing you see.
3. YouTube is a Social Network. You have the ability to comment, like, playlist, and recommend videos to the YouTube audience. So make sure you do. A well-placed comment on a popular video on another channel can see people flocking to find you. Also be sure to talk about your uploads on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If you are doing it right, they should all start feeding into each other.
4. Cultivate the YouTube search. YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the web. You want people to find your channel and videos, so sometimes removing videos on other channels — even if they have lots of views — can be a good way to bump your videos to the top of the search. If you have a popular song that people search for, make sure your video is the one they are going to find by blocking other uploads in the CMS (content management system). Tagging, clear titles and a great thumbnail will also help people find your video. One final caveat, however. If all labels set YouTube’s CMS to simply block any user-generated uploads of their music, something like the harlem shake could never have happened, so be careful what you block.
We love to leave up videos on YouTube which add something creative to our music, and remove stuff that is simply just a repeat of our content. Here is an example of a video we would leave up on YouTube, and one we would block:
This is ok: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcHsjMaZiuk
This is not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhT_ntitSsk (We would usually remove this from YouTube, but have left it as an example)
5. Invest in new and innovative content, and upload regularly. The most effective content on YouTube is visual, so investing in music videos, documentaries, gig footage and live streaming is definitely worth it. Great ideas are the key; something that keeps people watching, sharing and liking, whilst complementing the music. Finally: upload regularly. We upload something almost every day, usually in the afternoon, to maximise impact on both sides of the Atlantic.