Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Tag Archives: YouTube

2 of the best tips ever for improving your mental health

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“Chycho” is one of my favorite subscriptions on YouTube. I started listening to him for the ASMR but soon figured out that he’s a smart dude and cool cat.

I’m a huge believer in his first two points.

  1. Eat healthfully. You are what you put into your body. Period.
  2. Declutter. Space is energy. Clutter is bad energy.

There’s more than just that. He’s totally worth the listen. And give him a subscribe if you’re into YouTube!

Ryan’s Playlist No. 5: Nothin’ But Damned Great Music

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The month of October has came and went, and just like that we’re faced with the onset of 2020. What a wacky year it’s going to be.

But it’s another chance to offer up some good music, perhaps something you hadn’t heard of or hadn’t listened to enough. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a chronic Shazam-er. I Shazam everything.

And then I go back and listen to what caught my ear and pass the most interesting along to you.

My first selection is a song from Cincinnati band The National. It’s called Rylan, and it first caught my attention because that’s the name of the daughter of a friend of mine. It’s such a unique name that I had to listen to it — and it’s quite an odd song.

But it draws me in. I’m not sure that I get it. But I think I have to acknowledge that I quite like it.


This second song is one of the most depressing I’ve ever heard, and it’s a brilliant example of the power of storytelling. It’s The Unifics, a late-60s band from Washington, D.C., and this is “Beginning Of My End,” a tune that peaked at No. 36 in 1968.

I’ve got SiriusXM Soul Town, Ch. 49, locked in on my car stereo, and I find that it’s an education on a bevy of lower-charting tracks from the 60s and 70s. The  lyrics are desperately mournful, and the music fits it like a glove.

Heretofore, I had thought the saddest song ever was Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again,” but Lord-have-mercy does this tune take you to a sad place. This is some lyrical mastery right here.


Sufjan Stevens
is hit-or-miss for me, but on 2005’s “The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts,” he’s sounding like a hipster Dan Fogelberg, and I’m here for it.


This next one is from St. Paul & The Broken Bones, one of the best bands on the planet right now. Paul Janeway’s vocals and the horns from Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Amari Ansari (saxophone), and Chad Fisher (trombone) have this Birmingham, Ala., octet at the top of their blue-eyed soul game.

Here’s “LivWithoutU:”


Speaking of musicians who turn my head every time they come on the radio, there’s Maryland’s own Maggie Rogers. Discovered by Pharrell Williams as part of a class at NYU, Rogers has leap-frogged into critical acclaim if not worldwide popularity. Anytime I hear one of her songs, I’m walloped by how much talent she has. Great ear. Great production. She’s like a modern-day Nicolette Larson, a reference that totally confirms my age. #Olds Yeah.


Sometimes when I see songs pop up on the SiriusXM, I don’t know which is the title and which is the artist. Such was the case with “Sofia” by Clairo. The artist is Claire Cottrill, the daughter of a marketing exec from Boston. I like to read the stories behind artists and musicians mostly to find out what base they were born on.

But I think this is groovy as heck, so there.


California trio Sir Sly shows off their funky stylings and Beck-styled sensibilities in the 2017 track, “High.” Needs to go onto my running playlist. BTW, this dude totally listens to Beck. I’m sure of it.


I’m a sucker for an awesome music video. Hey, I’m a child of the 80s. I remember when MTV was born! And this 2015 tune from British band Nothing But Thieves doesn’t strike me until the chorus, but it’s an earworm after that. And an eyeworm.


It seems like a lot of the tunes on this list are from 2015. I’m late to the party, but even with a blog post like this, you don’t know when somebody will hear or see something. “Postcard” is a 2015 track from Washington, D.C., trio Jukebox The Ghost. I don’t know that I love this one, but it’s catchyAF and I’m not sure why they’re not huge. As a musician, I sense that this one is a fun one to play live, too.


And now I save the best for last from The Avett Brothers. It took me so long to come onboard their groove, but “High Steppin’,” I think is sheer brilliance. Listen to the lyrics. Watch the video. This is fantastic songwriting, and I think they’re one of the most interesting bands on the planet.

Ryan’s Playlist No. 4: How ‘The Git Up’ became a TikTok challenge + Houses, Bleachers, Aldous Harding, Mitski & Local Natives

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I’m way behind on my blog playlists, and I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or because of a lack of good music I’m hearing. Maybe I’m out rhythm with it all; I didn’t think it would be a big deal to knock out one of these per month.

Goodness knows I ‘Shazam’ everything.

As I reviewed each of my songs for the month and started down that YouTube rabbit hole, I realized the theme of this month’s playlist was about what a golden age of pop we’re in. There’s more music than ever, and it appears there’s more opportunity for everybody thanks to social media. Take Blanco Brown and his hit, “The Git Up.” I should note that I’m not making the argument that this song is brilliant music.

It is, however, out-of-this-world brilliant marketing.

Brown had already made a name for himself as a producer, but he astutely leveraged the growing popularity of social app TikTok to make a hit for himself. “The Git Up” is one part hip-hop, two or three parts country and all parts catchy af. Thanks to The Git-Up Challenge, it’s one of the songs of the summer for 2019, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 a couple weeks ago.

The point behind ‘The Git Up’ is to put a smile on people’s faces, Brown said, and that’s how the TikTok challenge was born — to spread that vibe. Its success is where worthy music meets a social, cultural moment, and as a marketer, I’m extraordinarily envious. One of the things we’re taught in digital marketing is to be a first-mover on emerging platforms just in case it takes off, and it’s clear that TikTok is legit.

Here’s a video highlight of some of these challenges in action:

The other trend I’m noticing is one part music and one part persona. It’s widely thought that pop singer Billie Eilish is going to dominate the 2020 Grammys. I recall hearing her “Bury A Friend” on the BBC early this year and thought it was extraordinary. I couldn’t figure out if it was just weird or brilliant.

I’m not sure I know the answer, but she has really taken off with her No. 1 hit, “Bad Guy.”

With the hits out of the way, here are some songs you might *not* know that have caught my ear over the past six weeks!

Aldous Harding, “The Barrel”

This has kind of a Dido vibe. Harding is a New Zealand singer-songwriter, and this tune is from 2019.

 

Local Natives, “When Am I Gonna Lose You?”

This L.A. band got Kate Mara to star in their video for this tune. Great harmony, even better video. TBH, I kept expecting her to get pushed underneath a train.

 

Saint Motel, “Move” (2016)

They had me at news. The video is on a news set. It made me get up and “move.”

 

Mitski, “Nobody” (2018)

Born in Japan but living in New York, Mitski reminds me a little of Kate Bush with maybe a hint of Laura Nyro? The more I hear this, the more I think it’s a masterpiece in emotional dissonance. The lyrics are so sad but the music is so opposite.

 

Houses, “Fast Talk”

Powered by Chicagoan Dexter Tortoriello, “Fast Talk” is hypnotic in its sound and thoughtful in its lyrics:

So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks
Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops, and
Maybe God is just a Cop that we can fast talk

I particularly love the lyric, “Maybe karma’s just another word for bad luck.”

 

And then sometimes you stumble upon a masterpiece. Bleachers is a band, a group, really the work of a guy named Jack Antonoff. He’s apparently in the band, “Fun,” also. I don’t know. I get all this from Wikipedia; who’s with me?

The song is called, “I Wanna Get Better,” and it’s from 2014. It’s catchy. But like “Fast Talk,” above, the lyrics are uber-powerful:

Hey, I hear the voice of a preacher from the back room
Calling my name and I follow just to find you
I trace the faith to a broken down television and put on the weather
And I’ve trained myself to give up on the past ’cause
I frozen time between hearses and caskets
Lost control when I panicked at the acid test

And then this from the chorus:

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better
I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better

And the video is fantastic.

 

Anyhoo, I rambled on about ‘The Git Up’ and TikTok because the digital marketing part of it gets me all giddy — but I also gave you a handful of great songs you might not have heard of. If any of them strikes your ear or eyes, brain or heart, let me know in the comments!

R.I.P. Baba Sen, aka the Cosmic Barber

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Reprinted from another (former) site of mine, bunnygap.com:

When I tell you that there’s something for everybody on YouTube, I mean something for everybody. And when somebody in that community passes, it’s a loss felt by all.

Baba Sen, the Cosmic Barber, reportedly has died in Pushkar, India, or thereabouts of cardiac arrest on the morning of October 19. Word came from a YouTube live video on the channel, Indian Massage:

For those of you who are familiar with the world of ASMR, many of those artists credit Baba Sen as being an original, unintentional ASMR artist. Word spread fast on Reddit.

Word from Baba’s Facebook page was that he was only 47.

Apparently, he had been out at some kind of festival and just didn’t wake up this morning.

So, you’re asking yourself, what did this man do? He gave head massages in a very unique manner that was fascinating to watch. Surely, it was quite relaxing, too, for the recipient. Word is he charged only between $8-10 per massage, and if you didn’t have the money, he charged less or nothing.

This is reputedly one of if not his last videos, which the poster says will go to help his family:

And now for some of Baba Sen’s greatest hits. Enjoy the YouTube rabbit hole, er, the bunny gap — and if you can help this guy’s family out, do so!

Easiest, surest way to make your Facebook brand page grow

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Digital Image from ijclark on Flickr

By day I’m the director of digital content for a pair of local TV news stations. I’ve been in the digital game a long time, helping businesses grow their audience and leverage platform algorithms to their benefit.

I don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, but I can help with what’s worked for me over the years. I’m going to start using this blog to help you, too, especially those of you who are a little older, like me, and feel left behind by technology and digital content, unlike me.

It’s rather easy to do this in the macro: provide the reader with value, use the platforms the way they want you to, spend some money, and repeat often.

Let’s talk about Facebook for a second.

I’m working with a bunch of folks to start brand pages. I’ve started a brand page, too, to help promote music I post to YouTube. If you have any focused personal or business objective, you need to get off the ‘friend page’ and onto ‘pages,’ what we might call a business or brand page.

You’ll also want to associate a credit card with that new page via business.facebook.com.

At some point, I’ll blog about how to do that. But let’s say you’ve got your brand page and are posting content to it. Here is the simplest strategy to grow your Facebook brand page.

It goes like this:

  1. Post compelling, interesting content
  2. Put money behind it against a targeted audience
  3. Convert those who react to your post into fans

Something about my Facebook page that I’d like you to ignore is how poor my art is. I’m going to spend a few dollars on fiverr.com to get my cover photo a whole lot sharper. The goal for my page is to bring attention to music videos I record, covers and originals. The ultimate conversion is for viewers to become fans or to visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel. To be fully vulnerable and transparent: I haven’t spent nearly the time and effort on my own pages as I should have.

This is me documenting that process.

This is what I do.

Post compelling content
For me, that means that I’ve recorded a music video, cover or original, that I think was particularly well executed. I post the video to my channel on YouTube and am sure to leverage all the fields to my benefit. The first 24 hours is crucial in the life of a YouTube video, so you don’t want to post it today and detail it tomorrow. Do it all from the beginning.

Also, don’t add one of those thumbnails that has writing all over it. Not at first. You might later; it’s just that you want to optimize the video for a Facebook ad first. Facebook has always said that it doesn’t give much audience to posts that have writing all over the graphic associated with it, but they have really throttled them recently. It’s best if your thumbnail has no writing on it at all, for Facebook.

For YouTube, it appears to be a different answer.

So, we’re posting to YouTube to share to Facebook to grow audience on a Facebook brand page and to drive people to my YouTube channel, and we want to adhere to Facebook’s post preferences just long enough to get an ad on the ground. Afterward, you can go back and add the thumbnail that has words all over it to YouTube.

Put money behind it
Once you get your post live, immediately put money behind it — and do it with your phone. Look for the blue button under the post that reads, “Boost Post.”

Once you click that, you’ll see:

Several things I’d like to note here.

  1. I strongly prefer to make ‘Get More Engagement’ my primary goal. You can make ‘Get More Website Visitors’ your goal, but I’ve found that you end up with more website visitors if you focus on engagement. Plus, your post does better overall, and you end up with more new fans.

    In my experience, focusing on content that produces engagement will take you to your business goal faster indirectly than even directly.

  2. In the vast majority of situations, you’ll want to use an audience that you ‘choose through targeting.’ Click ‘Edit’ next to that.

    After you’ve created one audience, you can save it and re-use it. Or you can create a new one each time. Or you can start to re-market your posts to people who like your page or who have interacted with your posts. For my purposes, since I’m covering mostly songs that were big hits in English-speaking countries, I tend to target either the United States by itself or the U.S. plus Canada, England and Australia.

    But that’s not all, I like to target people based on interests. For example, I just boosted a post that linked to a cover song I did for “Lady” by Kenny Rogers. At first, I targeted fans of Kenny Rogers who also like piano, but I found that I got more traction when I just targeted people who liked piano. Typically, adding the artist helps because it tightens the audience. When you create a Facebook ad, it helps to manage it throughout its life-cycle. If the ad is not performing to your satisfaction, make changes!

    Once you select an audience, Facebook will critique it and tell you how broad it is:

This audience with all the ages and no interests, demographics or behaviors included is much too broad. Not only do I limit the number of countries that can see my video (which is not shown precisely in the image above), I limit the age grouping. “Lady” was a huge hit in 1981. I figure folks who love the song are pretty close to my age and older. In fact, when I cover 1980s songs, I typically target an audience that is 35 and older.

You’ll see in a moment why I really should be targeting 50 and older!

But I make a couple tweaks, and “voila,” I have an audience that Facebook says is good.

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Once you’re done, it takes an hour or so for Facebook to approve your ad. At that point, I’d recommend you start paying attention to the performance of your ad. Do two things, specifically:

  • Interact with people who interaction with you. Like their compliments, and thank them. Do not feed the trolls. Be social.

  • Look through everybody who has liked your post and invite them to like your page. This part is a must.

Here’s where you’re not going to be impressed, I’m afraid. I only have 153 fans so far.

The truth is: I’ve only posted to the page 15 times this entire year through seven months. If you have a brand page, that’s unacceptable. If I really want to make this page take off, I need to be posting at least once per day — and it needs to be a strong post. Every day.

However, for just a few dollars, I’ve built an audience of 153 people who aren’t my real-life Facebook friends. If I were to do exactly what I’ve done at scale, I’d have 1,000 fans in no time flat — and then 10,000. Everything I’ll show you how to do on digital is about taking micro-steps and doing them at scale.

It’s a challenge when you’ve got a regular job and other life obligations. Preach.

You can learn a lot about the audience that likes you as part of this process, too. For example, check out the results from my $20 ad campaign on the song “Lady.”

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From a Facebook perspective, I reached 2,794 people and got 437 engagements on the post. I was able to convert that into 18 new fans, which for $20 comes to about $1 per new fan and a 4.1 conversion rate. Is that good? I think it depends who you are, what business you’re in and what you’ve done thus far — a baseline, if you will. I feel like I could have done a better job with this ad, particularly if I were to have honed in on an older audience.

Check out the bottom of the graphic above.

Most all my audience was 65 and above. Wow. I must be the new Liberace. Long-term, however, it’s not my goal to grow an audience of AARP members, a club I’ll also be in very soon. On the other hand, the 50-80 year-old demographic is absolutely the fastest-growing group on Facebook — and I bet that if I were to re-do the ad and focus on that audience, my conversion rate would be significantly better.

If that were a goal of mine, I’d do just that. For now, I’m content to experiment with another ad on another song. For you, however, whether you’re a Realtor or a comedian or a so-called social media expert, the formula for growing a Facebook brand page, at its easiest, is exactly this.

What about my YouTube channel? How did this ad impact that? It’s hard to say. It did bring the video 342 views, and most of them came in the first couple of days of the video’s existence — a big deal in the world of YouTube. Early performance on YouTube predicts long-term performance, not merely against the quality of the video but also within YouTube’s algorithm.

Plus, with each new YouTube subscriber, it’s hard to know for sure why they decided to subscribe. About the only way I know to find out is to ask them or hope they’ve already “liked” one of your videos, which would show up on their page, I’ll address that later in a blog post. I’m currently at 865 fans and would love to be at 1,000 by the end of the year.

But every time I do a new Facebook ad, I’ll show you the results. If you’d like to come along on that journey, follow this blog. We’ll grow together!

Header graphic comes from ijclark on Flickr

 

How to Play Kenny Rogers’ classic hit, “Lady”

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Kenny Rogers has had many hits, but this is arguably his most beautiful song. It was written by the great Lionel Richie, and it’s super easy to play. It starts with Dm.

That’s D minor. The chord progression is Dm, Gm9/D, C/D — so you’re basically going from D minor to G minor to C with the D in the right hand. Mind you, watch my right hand as I’m playing the intro. You’re not playing a straight Gm triad in the right hand. You’re playing a Bb, D and an A in the right hand — a Gm9 (G, Bb, D, F, A) You’ll just leave out the G and F.

The first chorus is a pretty straight ahead Gm7, Am7, BbM7, Am7, Dsus

After two verses and choruses, you glissando up and down the piano and hit the BIG BIG chorus where Kenny sings, “LADYYYYYYY” — and that’s BbM7, C/Bb, F, C/E, Dm7, F/C and repeat until you get to the end.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard from Kenny Rogers came on an episode of ‘American Idol’ a whole bunch of years ago: Play the notes and sing the lyrics, but emote the words. Pay attention to the story as you’re singing / playing.

SING ALONG! Here are the lyrics to “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say “I love you”
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?
Lady, for so many years I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and made me whole
Forever, let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly in my ear
In my eyes, I see no one else but you
There’s no other love like our love
And yes, oh yes, I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long
Lady, your love’s the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
‘Cause, my love, there’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life, you’re my lady

I’m Still Standing: Elton John cover + chord progressions, lyrics

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Elton John’s 1983 hit, “I’m Still Standing,” is my favorite song from the Rocket Man.

I am not playing it in the original key. I’m playing it in A. If you’re following along with the video to try to learn the song, here are the chords:

INTRO: Left hand should stay on A. The chords in the right hand are: Am, Dm7, E, F, G 2X

VERSE: A, D/A, E/A, D/A, A … Bm7, A/D, E, F#m+5, D, A

CHORUS: Am7, G7/B, C, Em, G6 … Dm, E7

And then the “I’m Still Standing” part: Am, Dm7, E7

BRIDGE: A … D, E, F#m, D6 … to the chorus

The tempo to this song is faster than what I’m playing it. I’m guessing 110 BPM? Maybe my BPM radar is a little off. “I’m Still Standing” should definitely be a little faster than this. If you dig the cover and like such things on YouTube, if they ‘spark your joy’ as Marie Kondo says, I’d love it if you’d pay me a visit on YouTube.

Lyrics to “I’m Still Standing”

You could never know what it’s like
Your blood like winter freezes just like ice
And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you
You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you useAnd did you think this fool could never win
Well look at me, I’m coming back again
I got a taste of love in a simple way
And if you need to know while I’m still standing you just fade awayDon’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahOnce I never could hope to win
You starting down the road leaving me again
The threats you made were meant to cut me down
And if our love was just a circus you’d be a clown by nowYou know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahDon’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mindI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeahI’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah

The YouTube king of ASMR has returned after nearly a year

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For those of you who are into ASMR videos, I’ve got great news for you. Arguably the king of ASMR is back.

After nearly a year-long hiatus in which he graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida (and a minor in Physics), RaffyTaphyASMR dropped a new video on YouTube two weeks ago — and he has since produced two more. To give you a sense of how popular he is, Raffy has 435,534 subscribers as of this moment, and he has a growing audience despite not having posted for the past 10 months.

ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” and it refers to the tingle sensation or relaxation that comes from hearing certain sounds. It might be a whisper or the swishing of a water bottle. ASMR might explain why my dad always fell asleep in the barber chair; the entire process of a haircut is one giant ASMR event.

Not everybody experiences ASMR, but I have from the very beginning and remember reacting to it as young as 8 or 9 years old. ASMR is why PBS painting instructor Bob Ross has long been called “human Valium.” The sounds he and Raffy produce induce relaxation to the point of meditation and physical sleep.

And what I’m writing about doesn’t even begin to touch on the visual opportunities in ASMR. Many ‘ASMR artists’ as they’re called use hand movements to further induce relaxation.

Anyway, what makes Raffy so popular, besides being highly likable in my opinion, is his mastery of audio production for ASMR combined with having a perfect voice for ASMR, a round, breathy quality that isn’t high in pitch like most female voices. Just a preference. Raffy also is one of the only ASMR artists on YouTube who has mastered tapping for effect, especially sounds he makes with only his own hands.

So, he’s produced three videos in two weeks.

The first has 1.1 million views (or listens).

The second, which I’m listening to now, has 1,029,246 video views.

And a third that he posted less than 12 hours ago has 153,000 video views already.

Given that he hadn’t posted for 10 months, it makes you wonder whether he’ll fade away into oblivion for another 10 months — but he gave viewers an update noting his school work and his girlfriend of two years. On the other hand, he noted that he’d never be one of those YouTubers who would post every single day. I think there is something to be said for the way Raffy has managed supply and demand.

As he noted, keeping YouTube as a hobby and not an obligation keeps the “magic” in it.

Anyway, his absence made the hearts of his fans grow ever fonder. Welcome back, dude!

The secret to small-channel YouTube growth? More about ‘subscriber’ than ‘creator’

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Combing through my October reports on YouTube, and one thing is clear: I did something right last month.

I’m a small-channel creator on YouTube. I have 755 subscribers as of this morning, and while we’re all chasing the elusive 1,000 mark for monetization (which is only part of that equation), we’re all chasing growth.

I’ve tried YouTube’s ad capabilities. It’s good for garnering mass amounts of views on the cheap, views from real people — but views without serious targeting and views with virtually no engagements.

We forget sometimes that YouTube is both a search engine and a social network.

One of the tactics Gary Vaynerchuk has always preached relative to Instagram is the ‘grind’ required to build audience by being a good platform participant — meaning that to grow an audience that provides your channel with real, quality engagement, you have to take the first step. You have to get into the comments.

You can’t just create for your platform.

You have to use it like a madman.

For the month of October, I got 4,165 views on youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic — up from 1,919, 1,418 and 2,053 the previous three months. On YouTube, however, “watch time” is the more important metric. My watch time for October was 4,207 minutes, up from 3,108, 1,703 and 3,288 the previous three months, respectively.

There are a couple of ways to increase watch time, the most obvious of which is to drive the number of views you get. That could mean creating more videos, more often. Another tactic is to create longer videos. But you can’t just create lengthier videos for the mere sake of doing so: folks won’t watch unless they’re getting value from your content.

Value can be information or entertainment, either or both.

What was a bit odd in my measurements for October was that my average duration-length-per-person was actually down — 1:00 versus 1:37, 1:12 and 1:36 respectively for the three months previous. That’s not as important as watch time overall is because YouTube’s mission is to cause folks to stay on the platform for more time each day.

Makes sense, right?

So, what did I do to drive that? First, I lucked out with a tutorial video. I created a “How to play ‘Rosanna’ by Toto” video that did really well for me. Despite the fact that five people smashed the “dislike” button, more than 1,550 people have watched the video at this point, and it has garnered a lot of minutes of watch time and, I suspect, provided some value to at least some viewers.

It helps to create content often and to create longer-form content. Check, check, check.

But it was what I started doing mid-month that really moved the needle both in terms of views, watch time and subscribes. Oh, let’s talk subscribes for a moment: I gained 28 new subscribers in October, my biggest gain probably ever. The previous three months, it had been -2, +3 and -2.

That felt really stagnant.

What I did was real simple, too. I became a YouTube junkie. I started looking for other musicians and songwriters, identifying compositions and performances I really liked — and then I did something utterly crazy.

I complimented them. Kindness.

So crazy it might work.

If I really liked their content, I subscribed. I didn’t ask for a subscription back, but I did try to provide value in my comment. That might mean that I made them feel good or that I gave them a tip. On one person’s channel, I ended up being their first subscriber. I subscribed, let them know I had done so and then offered some encouragement and a couple YouTube tips.

YouTube is a search engine. Your creations are index-able, and so are your comments.

The subscribes started pouring in.

But you know what else started to happen? I started gaining new YouTube friends. Like every other social media platform on the planet, that’s ultimately what their creators seek — the development of a community of users.

If you’re stuck on YouTube with no growth or slow growth, I’m here to tell you — your challenge might not be all about your content. It might be about how you use the platform. Spending 30 minutes a day participating as a viewer and commenter on other videos will do you a world of wonder on YouTube.

It is guaranteed to work. It’s natural. It’s totally aboveboard — and dare I say, it’s the way we’re supposed to do it all along.

Last but not least, here are my Top 10 videos for the month of October, in order of “watch time:”

youtube-top10-october-2018

YouTube songwriter discovery (Oct. 28): Emily Schultz, Andy Tunstall, Bill Fonner + more!

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Life as a YouTube creator has at least two parts: the creation and the participation. To grow a channel in 2018, one has to be as good a participator as they are a creator.

And that means commenting on other videos.

Being part of the community.

However, it can’t be shallow and spammy either. As a songwriter, I try to devote an hour or so every week to finding other songwriters on YouTube, and I’d like to start introducing you to them on my blog as well. I make it a point to only offer positive comments and only do so on songs or channels I really enjoy, as a means of offering other artists encouragement.

What you end up finding are a whole bunch of talented folks. Let me start you with my favorite find of the entire week, a young woman named Emily Schultz.

I’m just guessing that Emily already lives in Nashville or L.A. Vocally, she’s a lot like Colbie Caillat or something you’d hear in Little Big Town. However, my first impression of her was the same as when I saw Amy Winehouse or Tori Kelly for the first time — an immense talent. How she only has 70 subscribers on YouTube is shocking to me.

Shocking. Go subscribe now!

This is the song that caught my attention, and it showed up this week using the search term, “original song.”

That’s just fantastic. She’s clearly a pro. All three of them; the harmony is tremendous.

I’m guessing that most of the original songs I feature I out here aren’t written by “pros,” meaning not by people who make their living in music. I could be wrong though. Oh, before I forget, the other female singer and guitarist on the song is Alexandra Willett, and the young fellow is Jordan Hart.

The next tune I’m featuring is a song called, “I Break,” by a singer-songwriter named Andy Tunstall.

He’s based in the United Kingdom, but I was feeling a strong Kenny Loggins vibe. Kristi was sensing more of an Oasis’ Gallagher vibe.

Bill Fonner posted this one recently, a tune called “This Fire.” I really enjoyed the musicianship and his vocals, which remind me strongly of Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts.

Speaking of soundalikes, I sensed a strong Darius Rucker-vibe from singer-songwriter Graham O’Connell. Of all the videos I stumbled upon in my new “original song” queries this week, his was the most developed. The tune is called, “Get A Life.”

There aren’t many original country writers on YouTube, not at least that I’ve found. I stumbled upon one guy who impressed me quite a bit both with his musicianship and vocals. The writing of all these people here is solid to boot.

The name = Chris Munson. The tune = “Let Her Be.”

Last but not least is a young guy named Matthew Robinson, and I ended up being his very first YouTube subscriber. Listening to his original song, “Stories of Dragons” evoked images of Ed Sheeran in my brain. I was particularly impressed with Matthew’s lyrical ability.

Is it a memory
Or Is it etched here in stone
Was it carved by our mother or one of our brothers
We couldn’t be here alone

So when the lights go out, what will you leave
you think you’re all alone, that’s way too hard to believe
when you stand on stone you didn’t lay

even told stories of dragons you didn’t slay

As for me, the little bit of positive participation on YouTube netted me 10-15 new subscriptions. It’s by a mile the most effective tactic I’ve ever used to build my audience on YouTube in a short period of time.

By a mile.

You can’t go into this effort expecting the people you say nice things about to subscribe to you, quid pro quo. In fact, you probably won’t even know who subscribed to you.

Instead, you have to go into this with the mindset of spreading positive influence on other creators worthy of a good word. That encouragement can be a big deal to somebody! It’s the right thing to do as a member of the YouTube community.

Ryan Welton just watched the Cleveland Browns lose again this week, which could be compounded by the Thunder starting 0-5 and the Dodgers being eliminated by Boston in the World Series. Not a great sports week — but it’s been an awesome week for him on YouTube. You can check him out at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic

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