Haulix Advice: Optimizing Your YouTube Presence (Pt. 3)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the third installment of our ongoing series on YouTube optimization. This will be the last installment in this series before 2014 and also one of the final Advice columns of the year. If you have any questions regarding the content of this article, or if you have a topic you would like to see address in the coming weeks, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts.

If you have been following this optimization series since its launch earlier this month then you’ll hopefully remember our coverage on metadata and the importance of profile design. This week we’re continuing our efforts to better your presence by taking a look at the importance of longterm care for your content, and why keeping tabs on the latest YouTube updates may help boost your streaming revenue.

One of the many reasons technology is so exciting is the ability for it to evolve in leaps and bounds over relatively short periods of time. YouTube, for example, has changed greatly from its original design. Videos uploaded in 2006 or 2007 now look like home movies shot on VHS in comparison to the slick HD clips of today. As an example, here is the official video for From First To Last’s 2004 hit, “Ride The Wings Of Pestilence,” which was uploaded in 2006.

A little rough, right? The clip has received nearly 2 million views since launch, which is 2 million people – fans new and old – who found this to be the highest quality version of this clip available online. They may still enjoy the song and video in its current state, but the likelihood of sharing low quality material like this is relatively low.

Now look at this video from Rise Records’ Crown The Empire, which was created when the band was still unsigned:

You don’t need me writing at length to understand the quality of the above video is exponentially better than the previous clip, even if you do not enjoy the song quite as much. A big part of this is due to when the clips were uploaded and the type of files YouTube was capable of hosting at that time. Things were simpler when that From Fist To Last clip went live, and as a result of the person in control of the account that posted the clip not maintaining its presence a beloved single is beginning to show its age.

Whether you’re a new artist on the scene, or an independent talent a decade into your career, it is incredibly important that you dedicate time to regularly update and maintain the videos you have posted online. YouTube is now the number one method of music discovery for the teen market and it is winning over more adult demographics with each passing year. Regardless of your sound video is going to play a major role in raising awareness for your music and brand if you hope to make it in the current music industry. This not only means you need to put extra effort into your video content, but you also need to maintain your presence on the video market as new technology and updates becomes available. Like songs available to stream online, you never when someone will come across your video and/or how familiar they will be with your music beforehand. Every video you post could very likely serve as a first impression for though sands of people, if not millions over time.

Another reason to care about the quality your video library is how it may or may not impact your income. YouTube offers a number of ways to monetize through its site, whether allowing advertisements or adding purchase links, and
more opportunities are being added on a regular basis. Regular maintenance of your video library will allow for you take full advantage of these opportunities as they become available, as well as offer you the ability to update the quality of your hosted clips as new capabilities are added. As we mentioned above, sharing is key to success in the video market, and maintaining a library of high quality clips will go a long way towards encouraging social engagement.

Music videos do not have the same characteristics as most viral videos, but many do possess the potential for high virility if marketed correctly. Music videos, like great songs, are something people will share with friends and family for years to come. When future generations study the music of the past, videos will play a large role in understanding not only the song, but the culture that inspired it. That is, after all, what music videos represent. Whether or not you want to admit there is no denying the influence Miley Cyrus has had on pop culture in 2013, and a large reason for that impact is owed to her music videos. “We Can’t Stop” presented the reinvented Miley to the world, and within days the clip racked up tens of millions of plays. “Wrecking Ball,” which followed a few short months later, did even more impressive numbers while featuring a far more naked Cyrus. Some of us laughed at the clip, others found their new pop idol, but regardless of where you stand the song changed how you viewed the world. For days, if not weeks after you and friends joked about Miley, her twerking, and all the teens online trying to copy their newfound heroine. Her album, Bangerz, did none of that, and almost soon as it hit shelves it was no longer part of the conversation. That’s not a slight against Miley, but simply listening to her ‘wild new style’ is not enough to generate the type of headlines made from singing the same material while straddling construction equipment in the nude. The album may (probably) be forgotten, but the videos live on for as long as sites like YouTube exists, and they will continue to be a topic of conversation every time someone talks about culture in 2013 until the end of time. The same goes for your content, and you should not take that knowledge for granted.

We cannot tell you how to make videos that will go viral, but we can tell you that high quality footage goes a long way toward winning over increasingly distracted young minds. By regularly maintaining and updating your video library you are positioning your content to be received by viewers worldwide in the way that represents you best. Do not underestimate the power of first impressions.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.