Give Thanks to your Fans

In this fast paced music industry it is easy to skip merrily through the holidays and forget our fans. During this Thanksgiving week use the Mailing list feature to send out a simple THANK YOU message to all your fans. This is a good time to express your gratitude for all the support they have given you or your band throughout the year. You might even want to include a free track or gift with no strings attached. Everyone appreciates encouragement, but especially during the holidays. On that note, the Bandzoogle team would like to take this time to thank YOU all for being such great members. We are proud of all the wonderful websites you've made and happy for your successes. Stay tuned for some great things coming in early 2011!!
Posted by Allison on 11/25/2010 | 15 comments

It’s Your Website – Give it a Great ABOUT Page!

If reality television, blogging, and social networking has taught us anything, it’s that fans want to know more about the real you. An About page can be a huge source of traffic for your website. Think about the people who are visiting your website. Maybe your band opened for another band and their fans want to see what you're about. Maybe a journalist or blogger needs material in order to review your show, or your new album.

They're interested in finding out more - it's up to you to give them a great first impression! A good About page gives context to your music, and that enables the listener to better appreciate it.

So what should you include on your About page?

Back to Basics: The 5 W's. Who, what, when, where, why and how. Keep these in mind as you write out a bio for yourself. Tell a story that you’d be interested in reading. Imagine you are describing yourself to a stranger. You might give them some kind of reference to relate to such as a familiar genre, band, or style of music that they can identify with. But you wouldn't go into every itty bitty detail of your history. Same thing here. Keep it short, sweet and relevant.

Make sure to mention your name. Consider writing your About page in the third person, just like you'd introduce yourself at a live show. It might seem a bit impersonal not to use "I" when talking about yourself, but using your name will give your bio text a professional edge. It will also help your website rank for keyword searches in Google done on your name (or your band name). It also allows journalists, bloggers, show promoters, etc. to indulge in a bit of cutting and pasting when they want to talk about you.

Your accomplishments. This is the time to brag about yourself! Write out all of the interesting things you have done. Use a great quote from the press, list places you have played or bands you've played with. This could be in paragraph form or even as a list. Once you have written everything out, trim it down to the most relevant and most attention grabbing information.

The story. What sets you apart from everyone else? What makes you different and special? In other words, what is your story? Give your fans a reason to go to your next show, buy your CD, or join your mailing list.

Make it Personal. Include a photo of yourself or your band on your About Page. Putting a face to your words will give your page a personal touch as well as making it more visually appealing.

Keep it current. Revisit your About page every few months and update it accordingly with your latest and greatest musical activities.

And...Action! Now that they know all about you, make it easy for your visitors to contact you and buy your music, by including some kind of action. You can include a contact form, a link to your store or album feature, or even just your email address.

Last but not least. Read your About page out loud to make sure it flows nicely. Double-check your spelling and grammar, and then have someone else check it as well.

Check out some of these About Pages as examples:

If you have a great About page, leave a comment below and let us know!

Posted by Melanie on 11/23/2010 | 12 comments

CONTEST ALERT!! Show off your Website

CONTEST ALERT!! Post a screen shot of your website's Home page on Bandzoogle's FACEBOOK page for all to see. Next Friday we will randomly choose two lucky winners to receive ONE MONTH FREE!! Looking forward to seeing all the incredible BZ sites on our Facebook wall. :) For a step by step help article on how to take a screen shot, go to the HELP tab and search for 'screen shot'.
Posted by Allison on 11/19/2010 | 16 comments

Creating a Perfect Pitch - Laser Focus Your Message

We had Music PR superstar Ariel Hyatt as a guest here a few weeks ago, announcing Bandzoogle's sponsorship of her Music Success in 9 Weeks Blogging Challenge.  The Challenge is in full swing, with many old and new Bandzooglers taking part... among others: Jennifer Grassman, Hudson K, J Ammo, Sean Wright, Core Zero, Jacknife Stiletto, Atlas Take Aim, Brett Barry, Ed-O, Gord Yelich, Jay Trainer, Jordan Martyn, From Chaos, Maura Jensen, Meghan Morrison, Nicholas Howard, Agenda Red, Saturn, The April Maze, (wheeew... and more... let us know in the comments if we forgot you).  After setting some goals, Week 2 was all about creating a pitch about your band or solo act.  We liked the advice so much that we asked Ariel if she would re-blog that chapter here and she gracefully accepted.  Feel free to post your pitch in the comments here, or get a conversation started on our Facebook page or in the Community forums, if you'd like other members to comment and help out.

The Internet is full of messages only the ones with Laser Focus will stand out. Here’s how to focus yours:

A pitch has many names. You may have heard elevator pitch, some marketers call it a USP (unique selling point), my friend Laura Allen calls it, a 15-second pitch. Call it what you want, this thing, will change the way you market yourself and your music. It is critical that you have a concise and easy-to-understand pitch that will help you shape your brand. Your pitch does not have to be lengthy to be effective, it just has to explain your sound in a few words.
Here are some of my favorite pitches to jump-start your brain:

Leftover Salmon – Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass
John Taglieri – If Vertical Horizon and Third Eye Blind got hit by Train!
Devil Doll – Jessica Rabbit meets Joan Jett

Creating Your Pitch

Take out a clean piece of paper, or open a new doc on your computer and:

1. Write out the type of genres you play. Roots, rock, reggae, folk, punk, jazz, alt-country, chillout, etc. No more than two or three should actually be selected in the end.
2. Write down all the artists that other people say you sound like.
3. Write down a list of all artists (or authors or famous people) that have influenced you.
4. Write down all of the feelings and vibes that you want to create or convey with your music.

Use these elements as a guideline to help you come up with a few words or sentences that sum you up. Once you have a 15 (or so) second pitch that you like, read it out loud standing in front of the mirror. Does it feel comfortable to say it? If you don't, then don't use it. I once worked with a band that chose the term “Soul Rock” to describe their sound, and after it was published countless times they hated it, so make sure it's something that you can deal with in print over and over again.

Still not sure? Read it to a bunch of friends and fans and ask them to work on it with you!  Don’t over think it. Keep it simple and as concise as you can.

Here’s What to do once you have it!

Online Branding:

A. On your website’s homepage (yes, on the HOMEPAGE – not buried in the site).
B. On your Facebook, Twitter & MySpace pages
C. On all social-networking sites that you use and anywhere else you have an online presence.

Offline Branding

1. On your postcards & show flyers.
2. On your Business cards
3. On your posters, and anything else you have in print.

So now when you hand someone a flyer announcing your show, or when someone new comes to your website he will know exactly what you do, and it will be a laser focused message and therefore highly effective marketing.

Ariel Hyatt is the founder of Ariel Publicity, a social media PR firm based in New York. Their Cyber PR ® Campaigns place musicians on blogs, podcasts, and Internet radio stations and coach them to create authentic relationships with fans. Since 1996, Ariel Publicity has represented over 1,500 independent musicians. Her book Music Success in Nine Weeks has helped over a thousand musicians get in control of their online strategies and her ongoing blogging challenges keep artists accountable through the reading process. The current challenge features a Bandzoogle website as a main prize.

Come watch all of the artists here:

Posted by David Dufresne on 11/05/2010 | 14 comments