YouTube has become the primary way that music fans find new music online. This is why it’s also important that your YouTube channel represents your music in an attractive and engaging way.

8 tips for making a YouTube channel that engages your audience and encourages music sales

1. Use a custom YouTube channel photo background

When you are logged into your YouTube account, you can style your YouTube channel page by clicking Themes & Colors and then Advanced Options. Here you can upload your own background for your YouTube channel page.

Tips for choosing and uploading your background:

  • Choose a picture that is more panoramic than close-up. Think: wide angle shots of your band on stage or something scenic.
  • The center of your picture will be somewhat obscured by videos and text. So if the focus of the pic is on the left or right–all the better.
  • Use a picture taken in landscape rather than portrait. This will work best for modern widescreen monitors.
  • Use a photo that is wider than 970 px in width. This way your picture will extend beyond the edges of the main content area on YouTube (which is 970 px).
  • Make sure to set the transparency under General and Color Palettes so that your photo can be seen through the foreground boxes.
  • Try setting your transparency to somewhere between 10% and 40%. You can also change the text color to make it more readable.
  • In most cases, it doesn’t look all that great to tile your image. It’s probably better to choose a larger image.
  • Set your background color to something that blends well with your photo.

2. Set your channel type to “Musician”

When you’re logged into your YouTube account and go to your channel, click “Settings” and you can select musician as your channel type. Now you can add performer information and publish a schedule of show dates (by enabling the “events dates” module).

3. Add links to your website and where they can buy your album

Linking to your website is good, but making a link that takes fans to your purchase page on iTunes, CD Baby or your website is the most effective way to encourage sales.

As long as you have selected musician as your channel type you should be able to add your own buy buttons using your album artwork.

You can also use the channel description or about me area to place a text link for your album.

To create a link, simply enter the URL of your store page and YouTube will hyperlink it.

Also, be sure to include a website or buy link in the first sentence of your video description for every video you make. It must be in the first sentence because YouTube will truncate the text so that only the first sentence can be read unless you click to expand the description.

4. Add tags to your channel and your videos

Tags are important. Tags are keywords that help people find your video in YouTube’s search engine.What will your fans type into YouTube to find your video? Tag your videos with venue names, your band name (correct spelling and misspellings), song names, city, state, genre and other relevant keywords. Then when someone types in a search for your song or band, you have a much better chance of coming up first.

To add tags to your YouTube channel, look under Settings.

To add tags to an individual video, click Videos from the drop down menu at the top right of your screen. Then click edit next to the video you want to add tags to.

5. Be mindful of what you title your videos

Not many people on YouTube are going to be searching for “sadsong-ver.2 w/o vocals recorded at John’s.”

Include your band name, song name, the venue or location (if relevant) and maybe even a few specific keywords that accurately describe your music.

For instance:

Tommy Jug Band plays Silly Girl at Sunnyside Tavern, Portland, OR – Country Funk and Bluegrass

6. Add a variety of video content

Mix things up. Not everything has to be a traditional music videos. Interview your bandmates. Interview your fans. Check out this post on the 12 kinds of video to promote your music.

7. Use YouTube annotations

Video annotations allow you to add comments and links in your video. You control what the annotations say, where they appear on the video, and when they appear and disappear. While it can be easy to over use them, adding links to where people can buy your album (directly in the video) is pretty cool. It’s also useful for adding song lyrics or commentary that may further engage your audience. Learn more about creating YouTube annotations here

8. Respond to every comment

Responding to comments will not only make your fans feel appreciated, it will also inspire others to comment on your videos. Try starting the comments off yourself by asking a question or pointing out something interesting in the video.

For example:

Can you spot the scene where Chris drops his guitar?
Is the end of this song too long?
Check out the gaff at 3 minutes 12 seconds.

Do You have any tips for improving your YouTube Channel? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let us know in the comments below.

Sell your music on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, Facebook and more!