It’s comedy week on the Bandzoogle Blog! To celebrate our partnership with the Just for Laughs Comedy Conference this week, we’ll be featuring some blog posts aimed at helping comedians maximize their online presence. If you're a comedian attending Just for Laughs this week in Montreal, come visit our booth for a free website review, anytime between Wednesday, July 25 to Saturday, July 28, 10AM-6PM at the Hyatt Regency Hotel lobby.
Do comedians really need a website? With Facebook, Twitter, and even MySpace, you might think that your own .COM isn’t necessary. But with the rise of the direct-to-fan approach in comedy, having your own website as a comedian has never been as important.
Think about it:
Where did Louis CK send his fans to buy his $5 standup special “Live at the Beacon Theater”? His website. How about when he cut out the middle man and sold tickets directly to fans for his upcoming tour? He sold the tickets through his website.
And where did Jim Gaffigan send his fans to buy his latest standup special? His website. Aziz Ansari? His website. You get the idea.
And there will no doubt be many more to follow, with Joe Rogan already announcing that his new standup special will be sold through his website this Fall.
So why is it so important to send fans to your website? Here are the Top 3 reasons:
1) You own the address
First and foremost, you own your .COM address. As long as you maintain it, it will always point to your website. This is powerful -- you are guaranteed to own that little slice of the Internet. Even if you switch companies that host your website, your .COM can be transferred, so your fans will always be able to find you.
This is not the case with your social networking profile. They can get bought out, lose out to competition, or simply become un-cool. Thousands of comedians relied on their MySpace page as their home base, then there was a mass-exodus from the site.
But who knows what will happen in 5 years? Will Twitter still be around? Facebook? Google+? It might be an entirely new social networking site that will be “THE” place to have a profile. Your best bet is to make sure that you always have a place where fans can go to find out about your career.
2) You Own the Experience
With your website you also own the experience. You can control what your fans see, when they see it, and the messaging that you send to them. This means:
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. If you want to add a blog, or put a hi-res press kit for download, or even a special “fan-only” page, you can. 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.
A Better Buying Experience
If you sell any kind of merch, standup specials, tickets, etc., your own website is even more critical. 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.
3) You Own your Data
On your .COM site, you can get far more detail on your fans than what you can get on a social networking site.
- How many people previewed a sample from my album last week?
- Which ones downloaded it?
- Did they skip ahead?
- Where do those fans live?
- What site brought them here?
More than stats, you also own your fan list. You probably noticed that you can’t move your old MySpace fans to Twitter. That’s because you don’t own that fan list, MySpace does. Same thing could happen whenever the next hot social network appears. There is no easy “export from Twitter” option.
Remember, your list of fan emails is gold. It allows you to always maintain contact with your fans, regardless which social networks they might be on.
Social Networks Are Still Important
This is not to say that you shouldn’t be present on social networks -- they clearly have a place to interact with and find new fans. Twitter has been great for comedians to build a following and develop a relationship with their fans. But what’s even more important is to have a home base to bring your fans back to that you own, where they can always find you regardless which social networks are popular at the time.