The Berklee College of Music YouTube Marketing Story

The Berklee College of Music YouTube Marketing Story

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Berkleemusic is an online music school that is part of the Berklee College of Music.  Hailing from Boston, their online college been around for 10 years or so, and they are the world’s largest online music school, teaching 30,000 students in over 130 countries.  They are the 5th largest EDU channel on YouTube, and were named YouTube Marketing Ambassadors back in April of last year.  What they do is very simple and what seems to work best for all brands and small businesses: they provide music instructional videos for free, so that they provide value and are able to generate interest in other products, giving them the ability to monetize their business in a unique way through YouTube marketing.  In fact, they’ve successfully signed up hundreds of new students to their program directly from their YouTube presence (read our Berklee Music case study).

Berklee Music’s YouTube Marketing Success Story

We had a chance to talk to Milan Kovacev, Director of Interactive Marketing at Berklee College of Music about their YouTube marketing goals, strategies, and tactics.

Berklee Music became successful through offering great video content that they picked out very carefully before they uploaded it to YouTube.

Kovacev says,

“The best advice is to scale your business expectations.  Build your online video presence organically, as opposed to uploading hundreds of videos at once.  It just doesn’t work that way.”

What Berklee does is very simple: provide a great service for free and get great return from those who would like to engage more with them.  Believe me, free musical instruction is an incredible deal.  You can pay quite a bit of your budget to get personal instruction, and that Berklee provides these lessons for free is amazing.  By providing a service with great value, they are more likely to get people who want to enroll in their college, buy instruction books, and so on.  They also provide sample tutorials and other bundles of content.  In all, you’ll be more likely to want to enroll, working with the best music instructors in the world.  That’s where the free videos pay off.

Kovacev also gives a good shout-out to good metadata and proper SEO.  They provide great content, sure, but they make sure that the tags, keywords, and descriptions are all properly optimized.

We’d like to thank Milan Kovacev for his time!  Check out Berklee Music and their YouTube channel.

View The Full Video TranscriptDropdown chevron

Hey! This is Mark Robertson with ReelSEO and I’m here with Milan Kovacev – yeah, I got that right- with Berklee Music.

Can you tell us a little bit about Berklee Music for those that aren’t rockin musicians like myself.

Sure. Berklee Music is an online music school of Berklee College of Music. Basically we offer instructional online course in a variety of topics: music production, song writing, guitar, bass, drums, voice, music theory, arranging, music business, and everything else you can think of in music education. We’re the largest online music school in the world. We’ve been around for about 10 years. We’ve been teaching probably about 30,000 students from over 130 countries around the world.

And you’re sort of an early YouTube adopter, and you’re—what was it—the fifth largest “edu” channel on YouTube?

Right. Yes, our Berklee Music YouTube channel is amongst the fifth most viewed “edu” channels of all time.

If you could—maybe you can’t attribute it to just one thing, but was there one thing that you guys think you did that really got it working?

Our content was just incredible and we were really, really careful what kind of content goes on YouTube.

One of the things you guys have done in my opinion that really works is you’re providing value that ordinarily in other mediums you may not, and you’re actually providing lessons that you would charge for. So how do businesses provide value without giving it away? How do you get people to watch these videos and want to learn more, as opposed to just using that?

If you think of the potential you can gain by offering some free content—obviously it’s not a full—there’s nothing that will be exchanged, like interaction between students in online courses, interaction between faculty. And once they realize they can study with the top music faculty in the world, obviously giving away 300 videos is a great way of engaging these musicians that are hungry for Berklee’s education. And now we have the ability by offering content, by giving them the ability to see our video clinics, interviews with famous musicians that went to Berklee, they’re just getting excited to be able to really get a sense of and get Berklee educated.

Yeah, I mean I think it’s incredibly important that businesses understand that they need to provide some value, other than here’s what we do and you know like television ads.

Yes, and also there are several ways. I mean if you look at how organically we work with, we have plenty of free content for— All our contents as a matter of fact, offer a piece of content. Like if you go to any of our banners or any of our AdWords contents, throughout the content you basically lead our prospective users into obviously downloading a PDF notebook or getting access to additional videos or bundles of content. We also offer about 20 different online sample courses, where they can get a taste of all the interactions that are happening within Berklee Music learning management systems. So we pretty much give all kinds of incentives for people to engage with us. And we don’t feel like we give it away—we have to give enough to get back.

Well yeah, that’s kind of the difference. So you’re a YouTube Ambassador, with the YouTube Ambassador Program. For those that aren’t familiar with what that is, can you mention what that is and what that’s done for you?

Yeah, that’s a great honor. A few months we were invited directly from YouTube to become part of their first Ambassador’s Program, a marketing ambassador program. And obviously that had a great impact and obviously we are able to tell a story out there. Because I think it’s important for businesses to understand and for schools and nonprofits and everybody in similar businesses or smaller businesses, midsized businesses to understand that there is a great potential out there though online video obviously. And potential tools that YouTube and Google provide are incredible. So for us it was just sort of a natural continuation of what we are doing anyway.

What is one of the biggest mistakes that you see—it could be businesses, it could just be YouTubers—what’s the biggest mistake you see people doing when they’re starting off?

Probably the best advice would be to scale your business expectations in terms of obviously looking to grow your online video presence organically, rather than hoping to upload a hundred videos at once, because it just doesn’t work that way. So I think that obviously as they build their channels, meta tagging, optimization are just very important, obviously. You guys write about it every day. But for us for example, every single video that goes out uploaded onto a channel needs to be properly optimized, properly meta tagged. Obviously contextual links are there, so all that together has incredible meaning.

That works for me, since that’s what we talk about.


Thanks for your time. So people can go to—is it Berklee Music—?

It is or go to our channel, which is

Berklee Music, okay. And that’s how you spell that right there with two e’s.

Berkleemusic—one word, yeah.

Thanks for watching and if you’re new to our videos—Subscribe up here. We’ve got tips every week and we’d love to have you back. Thanks!


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