Jake Coco is head of Keep Your Soul Records, a production company which has produced over 700 masters and boasts 400 million collective views on YouTube. He has over 300,000 subscribers on his own YouTube channel and has helped many successful YouTube artists in getting tens of millions of hits.
1. Don’t Wait To Start Your Channel
Understandably, the point of entry can be intimidating for someone new to YouTube, but Jake Coco says you should dive in. “People like to see progress,” says Coco. He’s not saying you should put up bad videos, but fans may stay with you longer when they see you improving. “Everyone started with a crappy microphone and a crappy camera,” says Coco who didn’t have real instruments when he started on YouTube and did everything with an (often shaky) iPad.
2. Play to the market of one
When you make a video of yourself performing a song, do you like it? Do you enjoy watching your video? “If you like it, someone else out there will too.” Every song you do must appeal, first and foremost, to one person: you. Many artists think it is “do or die” with each song. Coco has a different attitude. He believes the artists of the world are making a soundtrack for life. “If you are making something you like, then someone will add it to the soundtrack of their life,” says Coco, “It will eventually get out there.”
Check out this early video by Jake from about 7 years ago. He didn’t have lots of fancy equipment in this video. Yes, he had a few bits of gear including a nice microphone, but no fancy lighting, and he uses a pill bottle as a shaker!
3. Put up new videos every week
Consistency is crucial. Post new videos every week so your fans – no matter how many – will stay with you. You may have dreams of reaching multimillions of subscribers, but Coco says to focus on getting ten fans. That’s right – ten. Then, once you have ten, get 20. “Twelve years later, my first fans are still with me,” says Coco, “I think it’s because we never let them down.”
4. Never be content with your work
“I shake my head at stuff I did just six months ago!” says Coco, who works to improve himself by learning new instruments and production methods. “The second you become content with yourself and think you are good, it puts a damper on your creativity.” He recommends reading blogs and joining Reddit so you can learn from the best – and the worst. Be careful not to knock your earlier work, however, he says. “Don’t diminish who you were just because you are growing to who you want to be.”
5. Be honest and passionate
Coco says it is essential to be real about who you are. Some people write songs for a catch trend. They make contrived videos hoping to go viral. There is nothing wrong with that, but it will not retain fans. “I would rather have 100,000 views or even just 20,000 views, says Coco, “If those people take away my intended message and experience me as an artist.” Your job is to foster a community that will grow with you. “You want to find a community of people who understand you and like you for who you are.”