Making The Most Of Your Music On The Web
Making the most of your music on the web means a lot of marketing and promotion. For many bands that means something that, in the early stages of a band’s life, tends to be put together very informally by band members and their friends. In the real world, this tends to revolve around fliers and perhaps the odd promotional gig (shopping centers, etc) being common ways that bands use. When it comes to a your music on the web, a whole new set of options arise. Band websites, blogs in all their flavors, band pages on Online Music Distribution (OMD) sites, video promo, YouTube channels, mailing lists, advertising, online radio, forums, chat rooms, newsgroups, social networking sites… the list goes on.
This article explains how planning can make a difference and it gives an overview of the tools available to most bands and how you can use them to take your music on the web to a different level.
Table of Contents
According to Wikipedia a marketing strategy is “…a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve sustainable competitive advantage. A marketing strategy should be centered around the key concept that customer satisfaction is the main goal.”
Strategies include advertising, channel marketing, internet marketing, promotion, and public relations.
Calling most bands an “organization” seems a bit unrealistic, and it is. Most bands have, realistically, very small budgets, little business skills, and a lack of manpower. As a result, most bands use a guerilla marketing approach, relying instead on imagination and effort to create a buzz. This is the strategy of choice for bands, born of necessity, and it is a guerilla marketing approach that this article will explore.
Strategies are built, by joining together a number of specific tactics toward a unified purpose. That takes awareness of the landscape of platforms and tactics, self-awareness of strengths weaknesses, skills and experience, and it takes planning, so that you can efficiently achieve the maximum result. It also requires that you measure your successes and failures and then use the knowledge gained to improve what you do as you go forward. It is your music on the web, but you will have to wear many hats to take it somewhere.
The good news is, that you can learn about them all, right here on Songstuff.
Planning To Make The Most Of Your Music On The Web
What bands often fail to do is plan exactly how they are going to use promotional tools, and they usually fail to coordinate what happens across the breadth of those tools. Planning can really make a difference. Writing things down is simple and generally doesn’t take long to do. The important bits are to write down clear goals and objectives, to be realistic, and to agree with those concerned.
This is in effect the creation of a “Marketing Plan” containing a set of specific actions required to successfully implement your marketing strategy to transform your music on the web, and take it from obscurity to your immediate and ultimate goals. Write down target dates so that your efforts to promote your music work together. Working to a deadline is a great way to aid your motivation and help focus your efforts.
The idea of a “Campaign” really works. Campaigns serve to provide focus on specific goals. They help you to coordinate efforts across a variety of different promotional tools, and they allow you to see exactly how those tools fit into your planning. Write down how your campaigns will fit together.
By preparing a plan you will also gain a better understanding of what tools to use, how to use them, when to use them, and what you need to learn in order to use them effectively.
Preparation is everything. Deciding what basic strategies you will use, and the tools you will use to help you achieve your goals make a big difference in a competitive market place giving you a significant advantage.
Your Own Website and Domain
This is essential. Sites come and go, but you can always depend on your own site being there. This is not an either/or. You create your own site to build as a hub, as insurance and as an important asset.
Keep it active and interesting. Add new content and of course, have a page that links to ALL your other pages. Try and have links out there in the web land that point to ALL your main pages, not just the home page.
This is the HUB of your musical universe. All your other assets for your music on the web should connect to this hub. This hub should also be the home for your music blog, a repository for your music news, a place to showcase your music and to connect to all of your other platform accounts that together represent your music on the web.
For promotion and marketing, this is the current buzz. Word of mouth is an important part of promoting your music, especially your music on the web. People exchange their likes and dislikes in a variety of ways, and one motivated person can pass recommendations on to countless others.
Music in itself creates groups of fans: we usually like to listen to the same kind of music our friends listen to. This connection between people with similar tastes is something that major labels have been exploiting for some time. They rely on the word of mouth to spread interest and awareness. Social networking sites allow individuals to pass on comments about their tastes and views and they are ideal places for you to promote your music on the web in a viral way.
There are many ways to promote your music on the web virally. It’s just like anything else that you might want to promote virally.
The basics are simple: you create something that people want to pass on to friends, and what you create is somehow linked to what you want to promote.
A good example from a non-music area is the promotion of Kylie Minogue’s underwear collection a few years ago. She recorded a video of her wearing some of her underwear and riding a bucking bronco. Released it on the internet and wham! Who would have thought men would want to see a video of Kylie in underwear? Men buy sexy underwear for their partners. Women wanted to try to emulate her, so they watched the video and they buy the product, and they are the ultimate customers. One video pretty well reached everybody she wanted in her potential customer base, but the explosion that fuelled the viral growth was that raw appeal to men. From that, reach for this new product line was established overnight.
Start a mailing list. Growing a list of email addresses is vital to your success. Why? They allow you to easily stay in contact with your fans including the ability to set up a newsletter. Sending out notifications of new products to people who are already interested in what you do is the best way to get a reliable level of sales.
Whatever you do, when you get a mailing list setup, make absolutely sure that it has an autoresponder capability, and use it. Set up a Welcome Sequence to help on-board new fans. You will ultimately have several sequences.
Set one up! Send out newsletters regularly if you can, every 2-4 weeks is ideal.
You may have newsletter facilities through some of the other sites mentioned in this topic. They all do the same job… allow you to push information to your fans.
There are many, though much fewer than there once were. First thing, follow the rules of a particular board, so make sure you read them before you go posting. I know you want to make the most of your music on the web, but don’t get overzealous. Don’t spam boards or you could find all your posts removed.
Many artist focus on musician boards. Great for feedback, but crap for getting fans. Identify bands like yours, and join those boards so you can post topics either as direct promo, where allowed or in your signature or board profile. Focus your effort on active communities from a promotion perspective. From a web presence perspective, you want to have links to your music on the web on as many RELATED websites as possible. Do it legitimately. No spammy shortcuts!
Web presence-wise, try and refresh links, etc at least every 3 months.
Also include links to a variety of your pages for a web presence but specific pages for web promo.
Spend some time on key active forums so your name gets known and respected as a member, not a self-serving, self-interested spam engine.
Most forums also allow you to set up a profile page, make sure you do. This is simply another portal to your band and you can reuse content that you use on artist pages so it doesn’t need to take time.
These are something you need to use regularly so that the members respect you more and take more notice of your posts. Does little for a web presence but it does help with the promotion of specific items.
Yet again there is a multitude of newsgroups. If you don’t invest the time, you don’t get the gain.
Blogs are a great tool to help you make the most of your music on the web. For example, create an online diary for you the artist/a band/songwriter/musician within a band. You can run several (choose popular music sites to host one, but try and run your own on your own site too. Myspace gives you one, so do lots of big popular sites where you have the chance to make “friends” and gain blog subscribers.
These are great for crosslinking and for promotion, and fundamentally giving your latest news to your fans.
Almost all blogs (including Songstuff blogs) include RSS feeds. That means that people and other websites can take an RSS link to your blog and either display it in a desktop application (aggregator) or they can display it on their web page.
There are automation tools that will allow you to write one blog entry and that post is pushed onto your other blogs. i.e. write and post once update multiple blogs. Similarly, some blogs will let you import another blog.
I would still suggest that you create several versions of the post and post each version to several different sites.
Register your blogs with blog directory services to leverage larger blog networks for increased reach for your posts.
Great for web presence, but generally crap for your image. It says amateur to most music fans. Ideally, you want to move from being a big fish in a small pool to at least swimming in the big pool. Can be worth using if you have no web presence or a small web presence. Yet again I’d suggest only one track and a catchy page (wish I followed my own advice on the look and feel!)
Yet again cross-linking is essential.
The main benefit is to increase links and put you in contact with another web audience.
Social Networking Sites
These are great for building fans, and you don’t necessarily need to do a myspace music page… create a normal one if you don’t want your music up there.
Myspace of course does allow you to sell your music now.
Other social networking sites to set up a page on are:
YouTube: Video-oriented social networking site, owned by Google. The defacto number one video site on the web. www.youtube.com
Facebook: Useful for news but harder to target people by topics. Good once you have a fan club of sorts. Facebook also allows the posting of images, videos, and streams. www.facebook.com
Twitter: Ok, but not great. Like Facebook, it is good for connecting with people but building up a contact list and subscribers take time. Twitter also allows the posting of images. www.twitter.com
Instagram: Image-based social media site. Can get you a lot of traffic. It takes a little time/effort to build to the point where you can link images but definitely worthwhile. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Instagram allows short videos and streaming content. www.instagram.com
Pinterest: Image-based social media site. Can get you a lot of traffic. Unlike Instagram, you can link images to external websites right away. However, it is considerably less popular at the time of writing than Instagram. www.pinterest.com
Concepts – Cross Linking
Across all your sites/blogs/accounts/posting use cross-linking.
Try and cross-link your pages, but when posting on other’s sites make sure you follow their link guidelines. Post to appropriate topics, and don’t swamp it with links to the same page.
In-board signatures link to several of your pages if you can, and make sure those pages link with other pages of yours and so on.
Exchange links with your musical friends.
Ask other friends to link to you, but provide them with the link code. make sure your customized link code is available on your site for others to directly copy.
Marketing and Promotional Strategy
Building on this, a viable marketing and promotional strategy is not any one individual platform and a tactic that uses that platform. Generally, it is a combination of platforms and strategies that help build a large enough footprint, gathering interested audiences from across the internet and directing them toward your intended purpose.
One simple strategy to help you to make the most of your music on the web, that stitches together a number of tactics across a number of different platforms might be:
- Send a mail to your mailing list telling them about the upcoming release of a video to your YouTube channel
- Record a video of you playing one of your songs
- Upload that video to your YouTube channel
- Add a link to where people can join your mailing list in your YouTube video description. Include a direct instruction (a Call To Action – CTA) to join your mailing list.
- Send a mail to your mailing list linking to your new video.
- Write a short blog post and embed your YouTube video in your blog post.
- Create social media posts on each network (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) that links to your blog post
- Create forum posts that link to your blog post
- Create social media posts that directly embed your YouTube video
- Create a live stream where you talk about your song and then stream your song video
- Create social media posts that promote your live stream (where it is not done automatically)
- Create forum posts that link to the live stream
- Create a blog post that links to the live stream video
You get the idea. Link everything to something else. Deliver a unified message. In this case, play my video and then sign up for my mailing list.
Making The Most Of Your Music On The Web – Conclusion
Artists often try single tactics or single platforms at a time and wonder why they get nowhere fast. You need to coordinate activity across platforms, drawing people towards simple, individual goals. Don’t fall into the “I tried Facebook and it doesn’t work. I wasted a load of time and got nowhere” trap.
Each of these platforms requires content to drive activity. Creating that content takes the most time, so don’t waste it on single platforms. Each piece of content you create should be leveraged by using it, in some form, on all of the platforms that you have a presence on. Build anticipation. Post several times about new content. If you have 1000 followers, you’ll be lucky to reach 10% with a single post. So post multiple times. Sure, find different perspectives or different ways to say it… but say it multiple times… and at different times of day.
Each of these topics above could easily require several articles to explore in detail. Meanwhile, I hope this article has given you a suitable overview of what you can do for free on the internet.
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