Cover songs on YouTube: What worked in 2017; My strategy for 2018

I’m uploading my first cover song of 2018 to my YouTube channel, a piano version of the Camila Cabello smash,”Havana.” I plan to be a lot more active with cover songs in 2018 because that’s where I had my biggest channel success in 2017.

First, here’s a look at “Havana,” my cover of the Camila Cabello hit:

I posted almost six dozen videos in 2017, and of those, a third were cover tunes. My strategy for posting cover songs was pretty haphazard in 2017: I posted covers of current songs I liked and covers of old songs I loved, and I did both with mixed success. For each tune, I’d invest a couple dollars of Google AdWords, which guaranteed video views.

The money did not guarantee engagement, and I would use engagement as the arbiter for whether I had hit the mark on the cover. In my estimation, I only hit the mark on a couple songs, namely this cover of The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming.”

I have a couple ideas as to why this particular cover performed well: First, I played it pretty well, and I added my own style to it. Heck, toward the latter-middle of the song, I was adding to the song with a completely different set of progressions. Second, I dressed like a banker in the video, an ode perhaps to the late Robert Palmer? It was what I had worn to work that day, nothing more strategic than that. However, I looked like an old man playing a young kids’ hit.

However, beyond that, the fleeting success of that one cover beats me.

Another song that did pretty well for me was this cover of Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like:”

Again, I kept it instrumental, and I added my own flavor to it in the middle. One thing that both posts had in common is that I recorded the cover songs as the song was moving up the charts, not after it was really popular.

My tactics for 2018 will include being less romantic about the types of songs I cover. If there are chords and a melody, I’m liable to try it. Secondly, I think I should at least consider a bit how I’m dressed. Look at this cover I did of the No. 1 song of all of 2017, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” I’m wearing my jogging outfit with a newsboy cap. Dreadful (said with a laugh).

The cover song strategy is, of course, a funnel to lead folks to my original music. As is this blog. As is everything I’m doing content-wise. So, when you visit me at youtube.com/RyanWeltonMusic, I hope you’ll give a listen to the playlists “2017 Original Songs” and “Essential Ryan Welton.” Would definitely appreciate it.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll show you how to use AdWords to promote your videos. It’s super simple, and it appears the reporting on Google AdWords has undergone considerable improvement over the past year.

I’ve also been using TubeBuddy since November. It’s been helpful, but I’m not sure it’s worth the $19.95 I’m paying for it. More in another blog.

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