Fiona Flyte shares with us tips on how to grow your YouTube channel.  I talk with her about how to increase your views, subscribers and engagement. There is a lot of training out there about YouTube, but this is specific to what musicians can do to improve their numbers. Fiona has been very intentional about growing her YouTube and I get questions from musicians about YouTube all the time.

Fiona was a classically trained classical singer and musical theater was her first love. She eventually realized she needed she does not earn enough from the opera so she started teaching voice. Further along the way, she realized that teaching voice is not her passion and she was also frustrated that her students undergo the same kind of challenges she had about money as a performer. She eventually pivoted as a business coach and taught musicians to ditch the starving artist mindset. She hasn’t really let go of her passion as a performer and this is why she started her YouTube channel.

Using SEO to Grow Your YouTube Channel

Fiona was alternating with teaching videos and performing videos. SEO is huge on YouTube since it is a Google property. You can go viral using SEO to drive your music videos. You just have to be strategic, thoughtful and creative. Covers is one way to drive SEO. One example is what Fiona found out from the back end that an American art song called Come Ready and See Me by Richard Hundley was doing well. When you’re in school and you have to sing in a recital, it’s the first song you do so the young people must be searching for it.

We’re always wanting to grow our reach. We’re always wanting to bring in new people and bringing in somebody who’s maybe not our ideal customer. They may share our video with people who are our ideal customers. The question there is, are they our ideal followers? Everybody doesn’t have to be a customer at the point when they find us. They could be part of our cheerleading section, audience or community. From Fiona’s standpoint, we’re always wanting to draw in the people who if not ideal customers, are ideal community members.

One example of this is when Fiona did a video about an app called Firework. It’s her highest performing video. However, the people who watch it have no interest about her music nor her coaching, so it’s not good.

She always tell her students to honor progression. You may not like an old video you created and you are tempted to remove it but Fiona suggest to leave it on your channel. The people that go into the archive are the fans. They’re the ones that are excited to see your genesis and enjoy your early content. A lot of the time, they don’t even notice that by your standards, it’s inferior to what we’re putting out because the content is still the core of you there and the fans who are excited about it.

Starting Out and The Importance of Consistency to Grow Your YouTube Channel

When starting out and learning how to grow your YouTube channel, you have to let your audience know what you can do consistently — if you can be on your channel once a week or once a month. You have to be realistic with what you can commit, and be consistent in doing it. You can reach out to a small group of people — your core group. Fiona started with adding her mom and brother to her email list, then her friends. You can tell them that every time you put a new video out, for them to watch it, like it, and leave a comment. It’s important to have someone supporting you and cheering you on when you start your channel. If you are a member of some group such as the Academy, you can help each other out, support each other and have accountability.

Committed in learning how to grow your YouTube channel, Fiona produced consistent content in her YouTube channel. She did two videos a week. Five months in, her business started to grow in other areas. She realized that YouTube was a distribution channel for her business. She needed more time for her growing business but still wanted to commit to being consistent. She cut her videos to once a week. You need to be consistent, but you need to be realistic about what consistency means to you. I also had to take a break from my podcast when I was burning out. I took the break when I needed it. Now I’m excited to do my podcast every week.

Monetizing YouTube

One of the major points of being consistent is to build your subscriber base and build up your body of work so more people will find it. One of those metrics that is hard to reach is watch hours. People don’t understand this especially people new to YouTube. In order to monetize your YouTube channel, which means to allow YouTube to run ads that you would be paid for, you need 1,000 subscribers and you need 4,000 watch hours. A lot of people will hit that 1,000-subscriber mark but not have the watch hours, which is the situation you’re in. This is an important thing for people to understand as they are hopping on YouTube hoping that it’s going to be another amazing income stream. YouTube can be an amazing income stream but for few people, that income stream is going to be the ad revenue as the big driver. When we look at the people who are the most successful on YouTube, they’re not making the majority of their money from the ad revenue. They’re making it from their merch. They’re making it from their course or whatever they’re funneling people from YouTube to. None of that changes. The ad revenue is just a little icing on the cake.

Your Sales Funnel

In terms of the income stream, Fiona advised that as musicians, you want to be doing what I’ve been doing in my YouTube channel, which is funneling people who find me via search on YouTube into my world. We want to have some kind of lead magnet that can add them to our mailing list. Maybe it’s your MP3, a free song download, your lyrics, your book of poetry or whatever it is that you give away to get people onto your email list and become subscribers into your world. This is the primary way that almost everybody makes actual money on YouTube. It’s not via the ad revenue. It’s via our services. YouTube is primarily a distribution platform.

Increasing Watch Hours

Watch Hours is an important part of how to grow your YouTube channel. We need to improve our videos to make people watch them longer. For a podcast, it’s great to add a video because for YouTube, you really need to have that visual element. Yyou can add in your editing to make it pop more, make it more visually compelling, make people want to stick around, etc. Another thing that you want to do is analyze the videos that are doing the best. It will require extra work and it’s also an investment. You can decide to get an editor. You need create the videos in spaces that look pretty or interesting. The production value itself does matter. If we’re talking about growing, you want to look at people like Lindsey Stirling, Peter Hollens and Whitney Avalon. Their production values are awesome.

It’s also worth collaborating with somebody. Even if it is recommended that you choose one channel where to publish the video so you don’t distribute the watch hours, a friend will encourage his or her audience to support you too.

Fiona also advises about maximizing the banner space. Your channel banner is the first impression and you want that first impression to be good. You want to be strategic with that banner. Make sure that in that center of your channel banner is exactly what you most want people to see. It’s great to include your social media channels and website as well as your call to action. Your intro video is also important as that shows people why they should follow you.

A tip Fiona leaves for indie musicians is to make covers. Apart from doing your own music, you can do covers for artists in the same genre or those who you think your target audience will follow. The point is to find a way for people to search something that will make them discover you. When the biggest name in your genre releases a new song, you do want to cover it. A great thing is to do a cross-gender. If they like the opposite gender performer, they still would probably like your music. Another thing that can be super fun is taking someone that’s not in your genre who’s super popular like Taylor Swift or somebody and then making it your genre. What an interesting, strange mixture you might create and then bring a lot of new eyeballs. Branding is also important part of how to grow your YouTube channel so when people see your thumbnails, they know that is one of your videos.

Check out Fiona Flyte on her Instagram. She has a Facebook group called The Profitable Performer for more exclusive content. Find her on YouTube at Fiona Flyte.

This episode was previously published on The Profitable Musician Show.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Fiona Flyte on Instagram

The Profitable Performer Facebook Group

Bree Noble on YouTube