Online etiquette, also called netiquette, is the concept of behaving well and simply being more socially aware online. Previously, I introduced five tips to online etiquette when using emails and social networking; here, I’ll discuss netiquette as it applies to creating videos and posting them on YouTube. These tips aren't groundbreaking, but they serve as reminders that can help us all be more mindful online.
1. Give your videos proper titles
Don’t use misleading titles. If I click on the heading, "Exclusive new video by Beyonce" only to find you sitting on your bed playing a cover version of the song, I’m gonna be pretty pissed and will likely move on – no matter how good the video may be. No one likes to be tricked.
2. Be thoughtful with annotations
Avoid placing annotations where they cover your face or other important parts of the video. Instead, place them strategically to the side, or only at the beginning or end of the video so that they aren't too distracting and annoying.
3. Decide on casting
If you're going to act out the lyrics of your songs, then learn to act, or hire trained professionals (or students in training) to do it for you. No explanation is needed here – I hope.
4. Write compelling ad copy
If you're going to film short video ads for your shows or releases, then learn how to write ad copy. In short, don’t say that you’re the best thing since sliced bread. Instead, turn it around: tell me why I should care about the event. What mood will your music put me in? Will there be drink specials? Is there free parking? Will there be beautiful people in attendance? In other words, always sell the benefits first and strive to answer the customer question, "What’s in it for me?"
5. Prepare for the shoot
If you’re going to film yourself sitting on your bed playing a cover, you might at least want to tune your guitar before you start, make sure your phone isn't going to ring while you’re playing, and avoid potential distractions (like Mom calling you for dinner). While this can sometimes be charming and rather raw and real, it can also be annoying to the busy industry professional who wants you to get to the point. Either prepare your shoot or edit the distractions before posting.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books" or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.