New Year’s Resolutions for Musicians from Bandzoogle & Sonicbids Part 3: Your Online Presence
It’s that time of the week again – time to get a dose of tips and tricks to making 2012 the year for your band. This week we are covering your online presence. Between content, your site, your EPK and social media – there’s PLENTY to talk about. Dave Cool at Bandzoogle teamed up with Sonicbids to bring you the best and brightest. Have question or comments? Leave them below!
Content is King: Using Content Marketing to Promote Your Music
One great way to promote your music is through content marketing. Content marketing is defined as “encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases, and subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.”
OK, that was painful to read. Content marketing is a huge buzz phrase in business, and there are thousands upon thousands of articles online about the subject, most of which might as well be written in *Klingon (*nerd alert). But here is why content marketing is important for promoting your music:
- The content you create can help add value to your music
- The content you create can help build a connection to your audience
- The content you create can help drive people to your website, where they can get to know your music better, sign-up to your mailing list, or buy something from you
OK, so what exactly is this “content”? It can be a lot of things, like:
- Blog posts
- Video (live videos, cover song videos, official music videos, etc.)
- Photos (official photos, live photos, photos from the road, photos of fans, fan-submitted photos, etc.)
- Q & A sessions with your fans (online chat, Ustream live Q & A, etc.)
But the most important content that you need to have? MUSIC. All other content is irrelevant if you don’t have great music to back it up.
Band tip: The content can be anything you want, and there’s no limit to the creativity you can put into it, but the most important thing is that it shows your authentic personality and who you are as an artist. This will help create a stronger connection with your fans.
Where should you post your content?
As much as possible, you should post content on your own website. If you’re blogging, blog on your website. If you upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo, make sure to embed them onto your site and drive people there. Why? Here are a few reasons taken from Bandzoogle founder Chris Vinson’s blog post “3 Reasons to Drive Fans to Your Band Website”:
Unlike with social networking sites, on your website there are no ads to distract your fans, and there also aren't dozens of other links vying for their attention.
No Design Limits
With your own website, you don't have any design limits or restrictions. Your website gives you the opportunity to make a deeper connection with your fans, without the limits of the one-size-fits-all social networks.
Better Buying Experience
Social networking sales tools force fans to interact within a tiny widget, or redirect them to another website altogether to complete the transaction. Having your own store on your own site allows you to give your fans a seamless buying experience, and full control over what that experience is.
Shouldn’t social media be part of a content plan? We’re going to talk about social media later in the blog post, but for the purposes of content marketing, for the most part you’re going to use your social media profiles to give people a taste of your content and then drive people to your website.
New Year, New Website?
The New Year is a good time to think about refreshing your website. If you’re using Bandzoogle, it takes only a few seconds to change your template or create a custom design to give your website a new look. If you’re working with a designer, talk to them about options to refresh the look of your site. If you’re releasing a new album in 2012, you can work with your designer to customize your website to match the design/branding of your new album to give it a new look that way.
Here are some other ways you can give your website a quick refresh:
- Update calendar: Do you have all of your confirmed 2012 gigs added to your calendar?
- Add photos: Do you have new photos or ones that you didn’t get a chance to post last year? How about hiring a photographer for a new photo shoot?
- Add videos: Do you have any videos that you could embed on your site? Maybe some live footage? Or how about a 2012 message for your fans, giving them a glimpse of what they can expect from your band this upcoming year.
- Update latest news: have any news to start 2012? How about a preview of what you’ve got planned for the year?
- New blog post: If you haven’t started blogging yet, it’s as good a time as any to start. If you already have a blog, get a new post up there so your fans know you’re hitting the ground running in 2012.
- Update your bio: Is your bio still current? Did anything significant happen in your career last year that you could add to your bio? Band Tip: 5 Key Elements to a Solid Bio
- Update press kit: Make sure you have your latest press articles, awards, an updated bio, latest photos and updated gig calendar for your press kit.
- Change the music: How about putting different or new songs on your site that fans can listen to? You do have music on your site, right?
Keep it fresh. Update your EPK
Now that you have all your content on one glorious looking website, it’s time to update your EPK. While websites are more fan-focused, EPKs allow bookers to find exactly what they need to know about your band for booking purposes (i.e. what you sound like, where you’ve played, what your “look” is). With a new year, it’s important to make sure that your EPK reflects your most up-to-date information.
Think: Music, Photos, Discography, Bios, Videos, Press, and Calendar dates.
Not only should your EPK include an updated bio and discography but tracks from your latest EP and a filled out calendar that shows bookers exactly when you are available AND where you’ve played in the past. When you put tracks on your EPK, put your single first! Be sure to update your photos with your latest press pics, and your press section if you’ve been written up recently. Nothing says a band doesn’t care like an outdated and empty EPK.
Band tip: While your EPK should display most of the information a booker needs, do include the links to your website and social media sites as well (I can’t tell you how many times people post a broken Facebook link or just don’t fill it in). You don’t want to make a promoter work hard to get the full picture of your band since they only have limited time to review bands.
Get social: Your Social Media Strategy.
We started off this post talking about content for a reason. You need a strong stream of cool content to best make use of your social media platforms. Whether you’ve been avoiding social media or you’ve just let it slip for a while, here are some tips to killing it online this year.
Decide which platforms to use.
It seems every day there is a new social networking site out there, and while the experts can tell you that you can’t miss out on any social site, you need to think about two things; your fans and your time. Think realistically about where you fans are interacting regularly and then go there. Don’t force your fans to join another platform just to keep up with you. Time is something else to consider. Every social media platform demands your time and attention. If you know you won’t be able to blog at least once a week, opt for other platforms that may be less demanding.
Who is responsible for what?
If you’re in a band, there may be plenty of people who want to be on social media sites. Decide as a team if everyone will have to participate on each platform or if one or two bandmates are responsible for updating your sites with the latest tour information, or respond to fans on Facebook. It’s totally up to you as a band what will work best, but do make sure at least one person is in charge of the platforms so you don’t drop the ball.
Band tip: Think about your network. If you have a friend who is really into social media or likes taking photos regularly, ask them if they can help as well.
What are you saying?
Each social networking site is good for sharing different things. Facebook is great to post videos, pictures, updates and interact with fans directly. And getting a sweet Facebook app makes it easy to share your music directly. Twitter is a good platform for sharing updates quickly and simply, but to gain a good following on Twitter often requires spending serious time tweeting (here are some tips). YouTube is the perfect platform for posting videos from your shows or posting vlogs for your fans while you’re in the studio or on the road. Instagram (only for iPhones right now) is fun way to post interesting photos of what your up to and it can be synched to your Facebook or Twitter making your life easier. Google+ is relatively new on the scene but it is getting attention for its “Hang out” capability that can let you have real-time conversations with fans or share music live. Whichever platform you are on, think about who your audience is and the best way to talk to them (whether it’s with photos, quick silly updates or more lengthy news about your latest release).
Band tip: When you are setting up accounts on different social media platforms, make sure your name is close to your band name to make it easier for fans to find you. Also, be sure to add buttons to your website so fans can go back and forth between the site and platform. As a reminder, social networks come and go, but your website will always be yours. Make sure that you are updating content on your website regularly as well.
So what do you think? Let us know in the comments!
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