The TikToks Musicians Make To Go Viral

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So in the last video, I told you that we’re in the greatest era of music promotion perhaps ever, since you’ve never had a greater chance of blowing up your song from your own promotions, ideas, and a tiny bit of research. But in that video, I did notice some comments that you were looking for me to tell you exactly what to do. In fact, some of you got a little rude about it, which, to be honest, is a little rough when my only compensation is getting paid pennies by you all for sitting through some ads where you shoot a lot of people in a video game.

Anyway, since I’m such an angel, I’m gonna give you ungrateful bastards exactly what you want and tell you the most extreme version of promotion you could do to promote your song and basically do all but make the videos for you. But really, the only thanks I’m going to ask is that if you love this video, you send it to another musician who you want to be closer with.

So before we go over the videos you’re gonna make, this may get overwhelming to some of you and I get that. I myself am way too busy to make a TikTok every day, but the fact is it won’t make my dreams come true since I’m not trying to be a famous musician till I’m in my 70s at least so I can be just like the Northern Boys, my favorite group right now, so I got some growing up to do.

Anyway, here’s one of the best hacks I have for you. Many of you have your song hooked figured out and in the tempo you’re gonna record it at for two to six months before the song is ever released. That means every time you’re in a cool looking scenario around something that feels like the vibe of your music or around someone cool to make a TikTok with, well, you can make these videos and get a head start so they’re ready to go before you ever even drop your song and have most of this work done months in advance. In fact, TikTok even allows you to save them in your drafts so you can just open the app and drop them later.

And let’s say you have three songs in a good enough place to lip sync, perform, or make content to. Well, guess what, chief? You can do three videos in that same cool location and get three times the work done because no one’s gonna remember months from now that you did this TikTok in the same scenario for another song. Look, you’re basically a life hacker at this point. Wouldn’t your mom and dad be so proud of the productive little nerd you’re becoming?

The second thing I have to tell you is a warning. And I know some of you think you’re so much smarter than me and everyone else and will ignore it anyway, but here goes, well, something. Teasing your song or putting out TikToks of it before it’s out to build hype or to make you feel good about when people ask for it works for us with a fan base already that’s sizable. If you do not already have hundreds of thousands of followers, this is a fool’s game.

This is because every video you post after your song comes out gives it a chance for someone to go deeper with it and stream it and get addicted and deepen a relationship with you. Whereas if you drop it before that song’s out, they don’t have a chance to make it a relationship with you. It may feel good to have people beg you to drop it, but for each person who goes to stream it and then sees it’s not available and forgets about it, you lost an opportunity for them to love it and share it with people who will grow your fan base. So remember, every video you release after your song is out instead of before has much more potential to make your dreams come true. So Make Like Axl Rose, have a little patience, but not as much as him since he worked on that one record for like 14 years.

And the last thing I’ll say before we get into the strategy is to remember some of these TikToks can be raw and low quality. People love honesty on this platform as well as polished produced video. The fact that I constantly see artists who are doing well on this platform with music and are blowing up have both Hi-Fi and Low-Fi content and even some in between. But remember, the vast majority of these videos just need some movement, unique visuals, like a fun scenario, background, or just a creative thought you put into life.

And as I’ve said before, make a new TikTok account just for studying the platform. Take two hours and every time you see a video of a musician doing something, comment and like it. And when somebody does something exceptional, make sure you bookmark it too. But every time it gives you something like that influencer guy with the ducks hit not interested. And in two hours, you’ll have an account with endless inspiration for days, if not weeks.

Okay, I lied. One last thing, both your phone, tablet, or laptop can have CapCut or DaVinci Resolve for free. And those are your best friends. Let’s remember, most of these videos are going to feature your music, so you don’t need to record good sound. Both CapCut and DaVinci can do any editing you need and frankly, a lot more and are really simple to use and learn. But okay, let’s talk the nerdiest part of this that’s going to apply to every video you make.

So before we get started posting videos, you got to do a little investigating. What I want you to do is take 20 of the artists you’ve established on your community spreadsheet that are similar to you. And if you haven’t done that yet, you need to watch my video on that, which is down in the description. But all hope’s not lost if you haven’t done that, which I’m sure comes as a relief to some of you who have never heard that all hope’s not lost for you.

Anyway, go to Spotify and look at your fans also like section and some artists similar to you and then look at their TikTok pages. And also now let’s look at the descriptions of their TikToks. What hashtags are they using? Let’s write those down and we’re going to experiment with using the various ones they do. Skip ones like musician and FYP. We want really specific ones that get into niches because those niches are likely to be the first people who appreciate you at first.

While we’d love for your videos to blow up and be mega viral, what we have to remember is what hashtags actually do is give TikTok hints who to serve you to first, and then they will learn as your video spreads who to send it to next. And yes, sometimes all works out if you skip this, but over and over again, we see this as more consistently effective than skipping it. Anyway, use that big brain of yours to figure out which ones to use and feel free to play around.

And remember, when you see TikTokers with millions of followers say their videos without hashtags do better, that isn’t for you. The algorithm has tons of data on who to serve those big TikTokers to, but it doesn’t understand you yet. So three powerful hashtags on each of your videos does a world of good of teaching TikTok where you belong. Okay, now it’s time to make some videos.

Let’s start easy. We’re going to do five to 10 lip sync or performance videos, which can even be your live set like this one. I like to get these out right in the first two weeks. They’re doing really well on TikTok right now for a lot of artists, and you can make it in a few minutes and anyone can do them. These are literally as simple as singing or performing your song or even having someone or something else do it and putting the lyrics on the screen in a fun way.

And you’re seeing tons of examples on this video of it right now, since I wanted to litter this video with some of the best TikToks I’ve seen a music promotion that I’ve been stashing away for months now. There’s tons of ways to do these ones, but the active ingredients for them to blow up are this one motion. You need compelling movements, zoom ins and outs or dancing or some expression tape yourself, sing the song a few times in your scenario, then cut between the different performances or whatever you have to do to get some motion going to put the lyrics on the screen.

Obviously, if there’s none, well, skip that, but doing them in a compelling way, like some of the videos on the screen now, which will help maintain watch time. And let’s remember our goal here is that people take in the whole hook and have the video repeat. So keeping the viewer’s little scrolling brain interested is the key here.

Three story. Now I know I’ve been joking a lot in this video, calling you all ungrateful and some people dumb, but I’m being playful, but also lyrics take a certain type of metaphorical person to get and telling a story is really solid gold in these videos. While the hook is what really matters most and getting the song to blow up. And for those of you uncomfortable explaining your song, well, I’ll be honest, you can be pretty vague here or just put it in a different scenario.

Oh yeah. And creativity showing people cool scenarios or wild scenes, having cool transitions, filters, et cetera, all make these videos more appealing. But the next type of video we’re going to do is five POV videos, which are those videos where you play the hook of your song and say in the title, POV, you’re listening to, and you could say your artist’s name or your song name, and you could show the emotion someone would feel if they were listening to your song.

Like for example, industry plant-based God, my song from Incel Hypeys. I took this meme and then I would write a POV like this. This is what happens when you put on an industry plant-based God in the club. It really is that simple. Sometimes here’s some thoughts though. The caption of the text on the screen is the most important thing up to the hook. Don’t write a novel, but sometimes keeping people engaged, reading gets them the whole hook.

Finding something fun, playful, insightful, cute, silly, or whatever all can work. Just make sure you start it with POV. These could also be a meme or a video you saw that goes along with your song’s emotion, something you make yourself, or even just a pose of you doing a sick fit. In fact, I see that more than anything because y’all love showing off fits.

The solid goal though of this genre is if you could do something your audience may imitate, where you say something like POV when Incel Hypeys slut-shaming the green M&M plays at the club and shows like a scenario of you grinding Tucker Carlson after being fired or something. And if that feels like your song emotionally, well, it can go pretty far. Honestly, if I were you, I’d try to make a couple just like that and hope your audience catches on.

Particularly, putting this later in the promotion of your song after people have hopefully taken it in is optimal. Unlike most videos, these could have lyrics or not and don’t always need a ton of motion if the captions compelling. Then we’re going to do five BTS videos that are fun behind the scenes videos of what you do with your life. They can be making your song video at a photo shoot or just you hanging out.

Physically showing some personality or something funny or ridiculous in your real life happening really helps. Lyrics really help in these videos and even a story or context goes a long way. But really the goal here is to show enough personality that the listeners take in the hook and it repeats. You can caption them things like what we do when we’re not in the studio, our disgusting tour van, or do a tour of the gross trash in your van.

Just the reality of your life being vulnerable, funny or entertaining goes very far. Then we’re going to do five to ten concept videos. Now these videos are where you should study TikTok and you come up with potential TikToks that could turn your song into a trend by making users want to imitate it. You try to take the lyrics you’re seeing and make scenarios that are relatable where others will want to make videos similar to it.

If you need to learn more on this, hit the description and watch my guide to TikTok where I’ve explained this before. Study what’s trending on TikTok and then maybe you could bring your song subject into that trend or do something similar to it. But most of all, you’re really trying to think of what you could do around the lyrics that would turn the song into a trend.

This is what is important but much more freeform and specific to each song, which is why I’m being so ambiguous. It’s always changing what works so it’s important to take in inspiration from that TikTok account you’re going to make and when you see other artists doing videos like this, try to take in what they’re doing and how you could do something similar.

And remember, if you have an idea that will only work if you don’t use your song’s hook, you can put it on lightly in the background or turn the volume all the way down to zero and TikTok’s algorithm will serve your song to people who liked the other videos they’ve seen of that since videos with a song in them is a connection TikTok sees. So if they previously liked videos with that song in it, they will still get served this even if they don’t hear the sound. Though it doesn’t really help get your hook across, it can help if it blows up then have your song served to more people.

Then we want to do three artist context videos. Compare yourself to other artists in your community or do like this video shows and compare yourself to a hot record everyone’s talking about and insert yourself into the context of that record so that fans who are really loving it will then think if they want more of a dose of that emotion, they should check you out. We’re hoping to also link you algorithmically to that artist and get you in front of those fans who want more from their favorite artists. So tag one to five of them in a TikTok including the description and be sure to hashtag your micro genre. But most of all, since a lot of people miss this, make sure you do something engaging with movement during it.

So then to fill in the rest of the days, we’re going to make one to ten overlay text videos. These can be stock footage, cool footage you shot that has a mood like your song. All you do is overlay the story or lyrics of your song over it. The video for this is super easy to find. This is some of your most easy content to make and try to match the emotion of the song really helps. But if you have trouble finding what to use, you can use stock footage libraries like Envato, Storyblocks, or Artlist, or even a free site like Pexels. AI art sites like Midjourney or Daletube or free imagery sites like Unsplash all have great content you can work with. Hell, you could even just do a series of memes. I think we all know that’s what I’d probably do. Duh.

But seriously, when it comes to these videos, make it, don’t think it. We’re trying to just pad out this content a bit, but I should say this. Now’s a good time to discuss some strategy. So if you have ever had any success on TikToks, Reels, or YouTube shorts, you may have experienced what is called “neighboring effects.” Now some of you with thin walls may be assuming this is what happens when your neighbor is tired of hearing your quote unquote “beats” through the wall and then put some LSD in the cookies they baked you and you start feeling the effects. But you’d be wrong.

Neighboring effects are where the videos you make next to a popular one often do better. So when you really kill it with a video and it blows up, well, you want to follow it up with another great one, not trash. And since those overlay text videos are the lowest effort and least likely to do well in the bunch, well, let’s not use them unless we have to and you’re all out of ideas. They’re really there for when you have nothing else to turn to.

But let’s also keep in mind, if things are going well, it’s worth it to cancel your Call of Duty raid on Elon Musk’s compound or whatever the hell you do with your video games and make it TikTok instead since it may be what makes your dreams come true rather than my dreams of making Elon Musk as miserable as he makes me whenever I use Twitter and it’s breaking all the time.

But the next type of video we want to do is clip as many scenes from your music video as possible. You may remember I made a video a few weeks ago on how Caroline Polachek made a music video specifically to post on TikTok and if you missed it, it’s of course in the description below. Anyway, we want to clip your music video and play the hook over imagery from it as much as we can, meaning as many unique videos you can make from your music video, even if your mouth isn’t sitting the hook, if the video looks cool, we want it.

I know a lot of you are thinking your video isn’t in 16 by 9 and you have no idea how we’re going to make that happen, but there’s tons of sick apps like Munch that will convert it for you or you can watch one of the hundreds of tutorials on how to convert your landscape video into a TikTok. Now by your math, you’ve probably guessed this hasn’t gotten us to 60 videos. So with any luck, you’ve received some user-generated content and when I’m not speaking nerd, I mean some fans have made videos to your song.

TikTok has a reposting function as well as stitching where you can react to that content that the fans have made and spread it. But one of the things with UGC is it’s often inspiring. You can see what one fan is doing and try to encourage it by doing it yourself so hopefully other fans follow along and keep spreading your song. And let’s also remember, if you saw my video on TikTok influencer marketing, if you have some spare cash, you may even be able to pay some users to do this since it’s literally some of the best spent money in the music business right now. Since this really helps your hook spread even more and if you missed that video, well hit the description when we’re done.

You could also make videos with your hook that improv off comments you get on your videos. If someone writes a funny, witty or interesting comment, well you could turn that into a compelling TikTok sometimes. These collabs with fans are part of the fun of the app and encourages more fans to comment and interact with you. But we should also talk about the most solid gold way to encourage UGC which is the open verse challenge where you play your hook and then an instrumental part of the song and someone could then stitch it and add to it. This can help your song spread all over TikTok and also inspire your creativity.

Anyway, these have helped blow up plenty of songs and even created remixes that have done really well. It’s one of my personal favorite parts of TikTok. And the one last really important thing I’m going to tell you is you need to collaborate on here. So whether it’s doing an open verse challenge, making sure to stitch users who make videos of your songs or reposting them, even if they don’t get the hugest engagement, the time you spend to encourage this and spread it can be the time it breaks through to another listener to make a video that actually goes viral and blows up your song.

You can even do collaborations with other musicians in your genre since when you tag other users you collaborate with in a TikTok, it will serve both your algorithms and help grow the audience that sees your videos and spread both of your music.

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