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Building a Bigger YouTube Audience

Today we held our fourth Academy of Electronic Music hangout and were joined by YouTube expert Jelle-Jan Bruinsma. JJ is Head of Content Partnerships at YouTube and he took our finalists and hangout audience through some key guidelines to building a bigger audience, getting more subscribers and monetising your YouTube channel. JJ also took a look at the channels of the finalists and showed how they could be improved as well as using high profile examples to show some best practices. There’s plenty to learn for beginner and experienced YouTube users so check out the video below and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date with the rest of the Academy hangouts.

Video Transcription:

Luke: Hi everyone, I’m Luke Hopper broadcasting from Point Blank music school in
East London. Welcome to the fourth hangout in the Academy of Electronic Music, brought to you by Google, Armada Music, DJ Mag and Point Blank.

The Academy has brought us all together in a search for the world’s best undiscovered producers. Seven winners were found and today, they are all taking part in a YouTube seminar on how to grow your audience. You can follow their progress and find out how to improve your channels as well.

We’ll be talking to Jelle-Jan Bruinsma from YouTube, Head of Content Partnership and somebody who really does know his stuff. He’ll be letting you know how to increase your audience and monetize your YouTube channel.

First off, I’m just going to ask some of the participants about their experiences with YouTube. Hi Gabriel, are you there?

Gabriel: Yes, I’m here, hi.

Luke: Hey, man. First of all, can you just tell us a little bit about how you got to over
11,000 views on one of your tracks on YouTube?

Gabriel: Just promoting it a lot on Facebook, Twitter, even posting pictures of the video
on Instagram. And telling everybody to share it and like it and comment on it.

Luke: Cool man, thanks for letting us know about it. Perkarlois [SP], I know that
you’ve got over 750 subscribers on your channel, how did you reach that audience?

Perkarlois: Well, I did a tutorial before for Gale [SP] studio, I did a tutorial. It just kind of
picked up from there, I got over 60,000 views on that one.

Luke: OK, wow.

Perkarlois: It was amazing, I don’t know how it happened. I just shared through sites and
social networks.

Luke: Cool, man. And finally, Jonathan, I also wanted to come to you to ask you
about how your channel grew. Did you follow any kind of particular strategy? . . . I think we might have lost Jonathan, Jonathan, are you there?

Jonathan: Sorry, I muted the mic. No, all I did was create a big board contest, and I guess a
lot of the songs. The same, on Twitter, Facebook, I posted the links, that’s all I did.

Luke: OK man. Well guys, thanks for giving us a bit of an insight into your channels.
Next up, let’s move onto JJ. How are you doing man, are you well?

JJ: I’m very well, thanks.

Luke: Good to hear it. First of all, I just wanted to ask about what it is that you do at

JJ: I look after the nordics and bellamix [SP] of the YouTube partnership. Basically
means that I work with large YouTube partners, content owners, and help them to make as much money and get as much reach as possible.

So I work with Armada, Spinning Records, but also with large public broadcasters, commercial broadcasters and sports clubs.

Luke: OK, cool man. I know you’ve got a bit of a kind of presentation to take us
through about channels and growing audience. Can you take us through that?

JJ: Yeah, I think you already touched upon a couple of the key subjects, how do you
get as many views as possible, how do you grow your watch time, how do you get as many subscribers as possible?

So I’ll try to run you guys through the key points there and give you some highlights. Hopefully get you to use that and see what works and doesn’t for you. Just a few pointers, some strategies, maybe some things you didn’t know that existed. And hopefully that will be helpful for you.

Luke: Cool man, let’s do it.

JJ: All right, let me share my screen. That might look funny for a bit, hang on. . .
All right, let’s wait for that to fill up.

Luke: There we go.

JJ: You guys good?

Luke: Yeah, we can see that.

JJ: All right, hope you can see that on fullscreen. It’s checking the live feed, there,
it’s coming up. Not yet, but that will follow up. All right, so there’s a couple of resources that we have for any creator that works with us.

You will find that at and is the key site where everything is where you can find directions to all of these assets. So this is what it looks like. There’s loads and loads of resources there.

I will just skim across the highlights today, so let’s just get going. All right. Let’s start with the basics. YouTube is a search engine, so you will need to add metadata. You will need to add titles, tags, descriptions to all your content. If you don’t add anything, if you don’t add relevant stuff, you’re stuck, your video will not be found. Custom thumbnails, I’ll get into more details later on, but use a bright, eye-contrasting image that represents the video content.

People zoom in on clear things because if you see a thumbnail on your mobile, it’s the size of a postcard, it’s the size of a post stamp. Make sure it’s really visible and clear on any device.

Finally the general layout, I’m not sure if you guys are you using, but make sure that you layout. Add a channel, use all the tools that you have to curate or to bundle stuff in shelves or playlists.

But before we kick off and practice this, everyone who works with YouTube, watch time is key. The longer people watch your content, the better we will rank it in the search results. Make sure people watch as long as possible to your content, that will drive all our algorithms in showing that your content’s good.

That’s one. Two, subscribers will watch more and they will watch longer. We’ve done all measurements and that’s just what comes out of it. Your subscribers are more engaged and they watch more and longer.

Thirdly, make subscribers your best friend. Go out and get them. You need to make sure you get the most subscribers you can get possible. Reach out to them, do call directions, and get them in. Remember this across everything I’m going to tell you, keep that in the back of your head.

So, how can your partners use YouTube to release a new song or an album, this goes for any YouTube creator. Optimize your channel better. So on the top of your page you can change it as much as you’d like, you can add announcements in there, you can add whatever you want.

Use that to announce stuff or to break the latest news or to show people what you’ve got or what you’re bringing on. So that’s the channel page planning.

Secondly, update the channel feed. Some of you I think have been using that already, but if you do it effectively you will guide your subscribers and the people visiting that watch your channel page to what you think they should watch.

It can be your own videos, but it can also be videos from other people that you like. That’s also where collaboration comes in hand. We’ll get to that later on, but there’s a lot of opportunity in all you seven working together to grow each other.

YouTube is not a zero sum game. If you send people to your friends, or to other creators, that means they will like that content as well, they will come back to watch yours because they already watched yours, and you can drive each others’ watch time enormously. Remember that it’s not a zero sum game, you can grow each other.

Building playlists and curating content on the side is a great tool for that. And then utilize simple tools, standard coded annotations in video programming. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that, but the YouTube URL consists of different things.

You’ve got and then it says and vs, the video ID, but then there’s also the playlist ID. After that again the time code. So you can decide where people will jump in the video in the playlist. So you can have a video start at ten seconds, three minutes, or at the moment that you think is exactly the most relevant.

So you can use these types of additional URLs or URL codes to drive people to the places you want and then have them stay longer. Anytime you share a YouTube video URL, make sure you use the video ID and add a playlist, and make sure you use a playlist URL with that as well.

Use the longer URL, so people will watch for longer, because they’ll enter into the video which is part of a playlist, so they will stick around for longer, driving watch time, watch time drives you in search ranks, you will do a good job.

Second point in video programming, you can find that and please make sure you check it out, under your channel settings. You can highlight a single video or your channel across all of your videos. This is a very easy way to channel your subscribers, the people who visit your videos, to a particular video or to make sure they’re on your channel.

In video programming, remember that one and try to play around with it. Here’s an example of time coded annotations, you can press and it will take you to a certain point in the video. It’s in the annotation section and then you can add or push people to a particular point in a particular video. Relatively easy, you just need to try it out a couple of times.

And finally, it’s not just about music, right? Your fans want to know about you, they want to know about what you’re doing, what you like. So make sure you create additional videos with that, background videos, almost video log stuff that you like. It doesn’t have to be for hours, it doesn’t have to take up that much time, but that’s what people like.

So watch time, how does that work? As I said, create playlists, which you can see here. You can make playlists of your own content, but also use other content. So maybe one of you already made a playlist of the top seven tracks, I know the guys here at Google have been doing that and listening to it and sending that around, driving your watch time, but it’s stuff that you can do yourself as well.

Secondly, do additional content. Maybe ask your fans what they want to see. They may want to see how you live, maybe they want to see your city, maybe they want to have you visit your favorite clubs.

Make sure you engage and interact with the guys that you like and the guys that like you back. And then long form content, it works.

As I said, we optimize for watch time. A longer time that’s watched for a longer time, works great.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a hundred videos of ten seconds and people will stick around for hours and hours to watch that, session links go the long way as well. So don’t worry about not having any long form content. And then, as I said, use the call to actions in video. You can do that in annotations, but you can do shout-outs in your videos as well.

Annotations you can paste stuff across your video, say, “Don’t forget to subscribe, don’t forget to check out my friends’ channels, don’t forget about the other winners, don’t forget to go to Armada, etc, etc, etc.” Do the call to actions, drive people to the places you want them to be. That’s what brings me to my next point, and I’ve been hinting on it before, collaborate with other channels.

If you guys can do stuff together, you will both benefit. Maybe one of you had 750 subscribers, maybe someone else got a thousand, there is usually not more than 30% overlap in the subscribers. That means that each of you can benefit for 70% of the other guy’s subscribers.

And as I said, it’s not a zero sum game. Subscribers will stick around, they like you already. You can only benefit from doing this and create amazing content at the same time.

So, here’s an example of an artist interview, but there’s so many other examples out there of people doing tracks together, making music together, making funny videos together, what have you. Create other channel’s content, quickly discussed that already, and then I think that came out in the first question that we asked here, is “how did you end up with so many subscribers?”

And the answer is, you have told everyone where your channel is. It sounds simple, but sometimes people still forget it. Tell everyone what you’re doing, keep them involved, keep them close by and make sure everyone knows about your latest release, your latest video, and your latest channel updates.

And then involve your fans, right? Have them talk back, ask questions. Ask them to tell you what they want to know about you, etc, etc. That’s very powerful.

Co-creation of lyrics, maybe your fans can help you out. Maybe they can add local subtitles to your tracks if you’ve got lyrics involved. There’s a huge amount of things that you can do there. And naturally, host Google hangouts as we’re doing now.

Have people watch live, right? It sounds simple but do try it, it’s a lot of fun. Your fans like you, they want to be close, so this gives them the best opportunity to do that. And then provide fans with exclusive offers, and that’s where Google + comes in. YouTube’s got a feature that if you’ve got over a thousand subscribers, you can share things privately, you can share things with your top fans. We’ll get to that later on.

First, maybe a quick note on the commenting systems over updating the commenting system on YouTube whereby the Google + commenting system is brought to YouTube. Comments used to be just one linear line of comments and some top comments in there, one or two, and the rest was just one big linear feed firehouse of comments that nobody really knew what to do with.

Now we’re just bringing everything back to a social network. You want to know about the comments from your friends, so you can see now what your friends said about this particular movie, video or song. Those are the things that we bring up for you to see.

That also means that if there’s official replies from official Google + partners are verified identities, we’re able to bring that up on top as well. So we will find the most relevant comments for you, which is a massive change from the commenting firehouse on YouTube that we’ve had so far.

As I said earlier, the top fans, you’ve got the opportunity that if you’ve got over a thousand subscribers to add people, your top fans to a circle. We will rank the most engaged fans and then you can see more details on them and you can put them in a circle and share things privately with them.

So maybe you can, one or two days ahead of the official release, already show them a YouTube video or clip or what have you. We’ve just come up with this, it’s really up to you to come up with ideas on how to best use it. We’d love to hear from you, so if you come up with cool ideas or cool ways to do this, then we’d love to hear from you on this.

Actually that was my last slide, so I ran through this, it’s a lot of information. And I’d love to hear from you guys, what you think or what you think would work or what you’ve tried and doesn’t work.

Luke: Thanks very much JJ, that was really insightful. I hope you guys watching can
take something from that. Any comments for JJ from the slideshow there?

Perkarlois: I think the top fans are a really great idea to be honest.

JJ: Cool, that’s good to hear.

Perkarlois: Yeah, I need to reach 1,000 subscribers, definitely.

Luke: Not far off though, Perkarlois.

JJ: Maybe we’d hear from one of you guys that have tried any video programming,
has anyone used that already?

[inaudible: 17:25]

Luke: Say that again, Perkarlois?

Perkarlois: Is that the thumbnails again?

JJ: It’s the small thumbnails at the top of your screen, at the top right you can put
either your channel or any individual video, which will be featured across all of your videos. So it sounds like nobody really used that, as I said, try that out, that’s a very powerful tool.

Luke: Cool, actually, I think right now we’re going to take a look at some of the
channel front pages to get some feedback from JJ. First up, we’re going to take a look at Adrian’s [sp] channel, which we can see in just one second. Let me just share the screen for you guys.

So right now we’re looking at Adrian’s channel which is a fairly new channel. JJ, do you have any feedback for Adrian on this?

JJ: Yeah, I think we can pimp this a little bit. Let me get the right screen here. Yeah,
so he’s uploaded several videos, this is just a feed. So we allow for a couple of different things. The YouTube channel has got a view for people who’ve subscribed and a view for people who haven’t subscribed yet.

So for the people who haven’t subscribed yet, you can add a featured video or actually a trailer for the channel. That should be a short and snappy video, thirty seconds, maximum a minute.

Say, “This is me, this is my channel. Subscribe because I’m doing great stuff and have a look downstairs or below and see some great videos.” That’s one. And in both of those views, you’ll be able to add shelves. Shelves are basically playlists that you create and you feature. You can give them your own titles, say, “These are my best tracks, these are the tracks I’ve made awhile back, these are the tracks on this type of genre, these are tracks on the other type of genre.”

Then you can really start organizing your content, that makes it easier for a first-time viewer like me to decide what they want to see. Now there’s just too much, and I’m like overwhelmed. It’s too much crawling, doesn’t work.

But it’s very easy to organize your page and in using the shelves, you group content. And have you tell your viewers what they should watch first.

Luke: OK, cool, Adrian, I hope that helps.

Adrian: Yeah, thanks very much.

Luke: OK, cool. Next up we’ve got Perkarlois’s channel, which is slightly more developed
than Adrian’s. Let’s check that out for JJ to have a look as well. Can you guys see my screen?

JJ: Yeah, this looks a lot better. I like the channel banner. You can add some stuff to
it, say a call to action or what have you, but it’s really your real estate. Think about what you want to do with that.

Luke: Yeah, I can see his Twitter and Facebook, but maybe you can develop on that a
little bit more.

JJ: Yeah, we’re missing Google +, Facebook is there, I can see, make sure you
communicate all the different social networks that are out there. You will just do yourself short if you don’t. And then you can see this, you’re not subscribed, so you will see the channel trailer.

And you’ve added a single video, one of your videos there. So maybe if you press subscribe here if you could, then reload the channel. You will see the layout will change and put up there a “what to watch”.

Luke: Ah, here we go.

JJ: You see that? So now we’ll say, you subscribed, you know what you can expect
and we will feed you what we think is the best video from that channel. And you get the recently added, below that you get the shelved. There’s now my tracks, recent uploads.

But maybe you’ll want to split this up more generally, saying, “These are tracks of this genre, these are tracks of that genre.” You can also fill a playlist or shelf with other people’s content.

Maybe you want to add a playlist with the finalists’ content so you can start cross-promoting.

Luke: Very good advice, Perkarlois, what do you think on that?

Perkarlois: Yeah, that’s great, thanks JJ.

Luke: Cool. Next up we’ve got a couple of videos for you guys as well. So Ramon,
we’ve got a video from your channel to check out. Let’s have a quick look at that. You guys can see that, right?

Perkarlois: Yeah.

Ramon: It’s a really easy video.

Luke: It’s got some annotations as well, right, JJ?

JJ: Excellent, I can see that. And maybe add, “Don’t forget to subscribe,” to that.
But annotations are good. So the call to action, it’s not really a call to action, it’s a thank you, which is great. There’s no in-video programming, at least not at this point in time.

You can program when you want to show it. That’s what I would do, think about when you want to do your track experiment with it, because I think especially with music people you watch maybe in the beginning or in the end, this track now is not part of a playlist.

You need to think about how you can add the playlist URL to it. Other than that, yeah, get your call to action in there, make sure they subscribe and experiment with in-video programming.

Maybe if we go back to the other channel I can show you how the playlist URL works.

Luke: On Perkarlois’s channel?

JJ: Yes, if you could. And then if you could press on “my tracks”, click on that, if
you can see play there. Now you can see exactly “play all”. Now if you look at the URL, if you can highlight the second bit of the URL, saying “and list is”, that is your playlist part of your URL.

Make sure anytime you share a video that it’s included in a playlist and that you share this part of the URL with it.

Luke: That is very good advice.

JJ: I hope that make sense for everyone.

Luke: Also guys, we’ve got another video to check out. This one is actually one of the
videos on Armada’s channel, it’s a video from Armin himself, who we met obviously in the first hang out. Let’s take a look at this as well. . . JJ, do you want to talk us through what we’re looking at here?

JJ: If you could pause for a second, I’m not sure if the top left or top right is the in-
video programming. If you could hover over it and see what happens. It’s the white logo. Yeah, see, that’s the one, if you press that, that will bring you back to their channel.

That’s good, they put their branding in, it’s not just stuff happening there and you want to stick around. There’s no music yet, at least I couldn’t hear it. Maybe take a quick look at the descriptions of this video. So it says, “Armin [inaudible: 20:04].” Which is strong, people will search for that. Featuring Jeff Goodfrey [SP], this is what it feels like.

You can experiment with what works better and that’s something for you to figure out. Does it work to put the title or artist first? It’s really depends on what is the strong word, what people will be looking for. And then a lot of metadata there right?

That will always help in your search results, get relevant stuff in there and include the tags. That seems to be all sorted. Then they don’t talk back, they don’t comment back, which, for Armada, is just too much work. But that’s definitely a quick win for the young and eager guys to get doing that.

Make sure you comment, you get back to at least the top 15 to 20 comments. And also to the guys who are trolling, make sure that you get back to them and show that you respect them, at least when all is right.

But get the conversation going, have people share it and it’s a fly wheel, you need to get it going.

Luke: Most definitely. So we’ve got one more page to check out, this is Hardwell’s
page. JJ, can you talk us through this?

JJ: Yes, let’s start at the top. Right at the top you can see, “I am Hardwell.” That’s a
documentary, so they’re announcing the fact that there is a new thing out, which is the documentary that just came out.

And the title of the channel is called HardwellTube, which can be confusing right? I would call it Hardwell Tube, put a space in-between. This doesn’t help your search result. There’s not that many people that would be looking for HardwellTube. I’m not sure if that’s the best way of having titles.

What to watch next, obviously you’re subscribed, we’ll tell you what we think is best. It will show you the world tour video, and then there’s a couple of playlists shelves again, right? Live, on air, releases, maybe if you scroll down there’s even more. Q&A, you can see here, it’s not just about music.

There’s more there. You can see the hangouts on there, you can see backstage stuff. And then there’s popular uploads down there as well. This is a great way of curating all of your own content, he’s not using other people’s content on his channel, which is fair enough if you’ve got plenty of it.

But if you don’t you might want to put some other stuff in there and I think this is a great example of how you can combine music with non-music content with backstage and other stuff. This is a pretty good channel, how I see it now. Maybe if you pressed the about section on the right.

his is the section where you add more metadata to your channel, and that’s off here. That’s failing on this part, right?

Official Hardwell channel here, you need to add more metadata to this to make sure you get read higher in the search results. This is a place where they could still add some things through it.

Luke: OK, cool. JJ, many thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Guys, do you have
any thoughts on the pages that we checked out in the videos?

Gabriel: It inspired me, yes, to do more about my page.

JJ: Cool, good to hear.

Luke: Cool guys. Right, so as we are approaching time here, I just wanted to say a big
thank you to Jelle-Jan for taking the time out to talk to us, it’s been extremely insightful to hear from you about how we can use our YouTube channels, all of us, to kind of increase our audience and work together as well, which I think is something that I think you guys could definitely make the most of.

JJ: My pleasure guys., check it out.

Luke: Thanks again JJ.

JJ: Thanks you guys.

Luke: Thanks to all of you guys and to you guys watching at home and hanging out
with us today. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we did, and now you can hopefully ramp up your channel activity as well.

That’s all we’ve got time for today, the next EMC session is tomorrow, Friday, at 3 p.m. UK time.

And if you’re watching at home and you want to get involved in a load of free tutorials from the number one music school, Point Blank, just head over to And don’t forget to subscribe. We’ll see you very soon, thanks for watching, bye-bye.

. . .

Editor’s Note: This is an old article and things have moved on considerably since the original publication date 🙂

For more information head over to the Point Blank Music School website to learn the very latest about our school.

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