Band Promotion Blog

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October 2, 2011

Writing An Effective Email Asking For Help

Filed under: Band Sponsorship, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:10 am

Spam, lovely Spam, wonderful Spam

Q: Do you know what pisses me off? A: People like Elaine!

Elaine emailed me asking, "We’d Love Your Help With Our Online Promotions." I thanked her for contacting me and as per usual, I was sorry I was a little late getting back to her ~ a couple of days! I had spent three hours looking at Elaine’s website, social media profiles and linking strategy; I then answered her request for help by offering up 20 tailored ideas, observations, and tips to improve her website’s visibility and performance ~ not bad for free! Do you know what pisses me off? When I don’t get an email of acknowledgement or ‘Thanks’ ~ receiving a small donation doesn’t even come into the equation!

So, how do you think I would respond to an email that simply, but only states, "Hey! Check our band out!?" That’s right, I ignore and delete it!

Here is a massive tip: If you want to get the best out of people who are willing to support your band, get into a meaningful conversation with them ~ email conversations should be interactive, two-way and follow rules of etiquette! ~ BTW., I am always pleased to answer additional specific questions that may arise from my initial response, in fact I expect questions and I love feedback.

Writing An Effective Email Asking For Help

I am constantly amused by the number of crappy, spammy and suspicious emails I get, luckily my spam filter copes quite well, but I find it very boring sorting out the Real requests for help from the loathsome heap of egotistical shit I receive. *HEY bands wake up* and do yourselves a favour, send emails that are worth reading and prove that you are worth supporting.

Make An Impression At The Inbox: You only get a nano-second to make a first impression as your email languishes in the recipient’s inbox; make the most of your email name and subject line ~ don’t send emails with wierd headers: From: The Jackson Five <yd8kcaji@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Help. Use your real name linked to your band’s email account and write a meaningful and descriptive subject line: From: Daniel Cool <dancool@bandname.com> Subject: Advice needed regarding website promotion ~ I would open that email!

Trigger A Response With Good Content: Keep your email focused and get to the point quickly. Ask a clear question and include all the relevant details so the recipient can work out the answer quickly. Don’t be too brief or too waffly, however, explain yourself and say what you expect to gain from the answer. Proofread! If this is the sole & entire contents of your email, "Well, since i’m not too grate at promo my band, I will heed your advice and ask. How can I promo my band more?" (someone actually sent me that) ~ it will never get a reply from me!

"Thanks in advance." Thanking the reader in advance doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respond promptly to their slow and sloppy reply ~ etiquette is always super-polite ~ remember, no f.ing flaming.

Identify Yourself Clearly: Contact information is one of the most important and fundamental elements of an email; knowing someones name and address is the cornerstone to building a relationship, and it’s totally underrated ~ lack of contact information is a constant bugbear with music industry professionals.

Include: your name, your band’s name, a couple of telephone numbers, postal address, email address, website URL ~ use the definitive URL because it’s usually clickable eg: http://www.theskarlets.co.uk/ ~ list your main social media platforms in the same way.

No Atachments On The First Date: It is common for bands to send attachments of: (5mb).jpg images, (6mb).mp3 files and f.ing *.zip files ~ that I’m never going to open. Only include attachments when it is prearranged. Some email servers ignore messages that include large (over 3mb!) attachments and some people don’t clear out their inbox as often as they should; it all starts to look a little overfull and messy!

Etiquette and converstion are key words when corresponding with a potential helper and maybe sponsor & future champion of your band. Don’t f.it all up by being selfish ~ give out and you will receive.

September 12, 2011

100 Fan Decathlon

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:11 pm

I was reading Chris Rockett’s Blog and feeling a little peeved because he hadn’t asked Me to contribute to his excellent blog post 100 Fan Sprint, where he asks the question, “What is the fastest way to get 100 targeted fans per day visiting your website on a consistent basis without using paid traffic?”

The answers given by each of the experts are right on the money and well worth the good read. Host your own blog is always popular advice with marketing and promotion experts, because a blog ticks so many of the SEO and Web 2.0 boxes; as is content, content, content - Content Is King (the title of an article by Bill Gates 1996) has been around for a long time.

The reason Chris didn’t ask me is probably because I’d give a boring answer that would lower the tone; well, here it is on my boring blog instead of his glamorous website:

“The fasest way initially is to collaborate with others. Warning: collaboration will kill you if your band is crap and has a pisspoor website!
Create a ‘Target Fan Profile’ and figure out how they will come to your website; there are three usual ways (with multiple criterion): 1. By searching in a search engine. 2. By clicking on an incoming link. 3 By typing your URL directly into the address bar.
Create the right environment on your website that will satisfy your target audience. Point your potential fan towards your website using both online and real world techniques. Visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained!
…How Fast? Well it is not going to be a 9.58 100m sprint, more like a decathlon! Visitor numbers improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time.”

The 100 Fan Decathlon

Any one of the hundreds of website promotion & band promotion ideas, tips, tricks and gimmicks could bring a sudden surge of traffic to your band’s website, but that’s not what we’re talking about, gaining consistent targeted traffic is not a short term quick fix sprint, it requires a multi-disciplined effort more like the decathlon (or running a small business)! A band should educate themselves (read: Build A Team Of Online Support For Your Band) and get help from a dedicated person who is capable of handling all things to do with Media, Promotion and Marketing.

Here is a simple and basic outline of a typical website promotion effort:

Day 1

  • Firstly, obviously, you need a real website. D’oh!
  • Make your band’s website the focal point of all your social networking and Internet activities - err… link to it!
  • Tweak and improve your band’s website, it needs to: load quickly. look good. be in character. connect (link) correctly. be useful. be interesting. have a purpose. be different. be entertaining. offer an easy mailing list sign-up. give a freebie. have very clear navigation - (read: Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend).
  • Use WordPress - free blog software, easy to install, loads of free templates and plugins.
    Add Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress.
    Sign up to MailChimp - a free email marketing and email list manager that allows you to design, send and track HTML email campaigns.
  • Find the top 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and genre. Think about what your potential fans will search for, then add them to your website (think SEO). Now you’re being found for something else in the search engines other than your band’s name - for example, it could be: your genre (indie rock band), your location (Chelsea, London), the name of your favourite venue or your album, song titles (all very obvious, sorry)…
  • Create an email list (use: MailChimp) / database of fans, friends and family, especially target those within your locale; ask them for promotional help and support (i.e. help spread the word) - a group of four should be able to assemble an instantaneous and legitimate mailing list of about 300 (ask people first), aim for around 1,500 - 2,000 subscribers.
  • Write A Blog Post Three Times A Week (Mon, Wed & Fri) - blogging regularly will really get you thinking about your subject and enable you to talk about your music. It will increase the size, quality and visibility of your website and therefore make linking easier - share.

Day 2

  • Find a couple of struggling blogs that are enthusiastic and compatible with your band’s lifestyle and genre; join in and support their community - never practice the art of shameless self-promotion (it’s all about the community, not you).
  • Set up a small, hands-on and dedicated ‘Promotion Team’ (superfans only) that work both online and offline - a proactive and knowledgable ‘E/street’ team can really help to increase your fan base.
  • Team-up and collaborate with upto 5 local bands who have the same or a V.complementary genre - play gigs and promote each other online and offline.
  • Collaborate with a fashion house (a fashion company, a designer, a shop: selling off-the-peg, custom-made, haute couture clothing) - also include: a hairdresser (could be a salon), a make-up artist, a photographer, a fashion stylist (to help build & control your image. A good stylist will help with branding), a lifestyle magazine/website. Do-it-yourself, noobie bands who can’t attract the attention of professionals, are usually at an age where they can collaborate with students, assistants and the like. Also think about local charities, record shops, cafes, pubs, clubs, venues… Note: a hairdresser sees approximately 200 clients every 5 weeks, and she talks to each of them for about 45 minutes - “Something for the Weekend Mademoiselle?”
  • Check to make sure your superfans, friends and family have all joined you on your main social networking platforms. Then ask them to spread the word by/via: Updates, Bookmarks, Bulletins, Emails, Pings, Retweets, Tagging, Comments and Posts etc… regularly provide them with interesting information so they can talk about your band, lifestyle and genre with reckless abandon.
  • Announce your (updated) website by newsletter (MailChimp) about five times a year to your mailing list - give ‘em a treat at the same time.
  • (Legally) Hand out, post, pin up, stick and drop (accidentally!): flyers, stickers, business cards, button badges (include your band’s name, website address & free gift inf.) - in and around: schools, colleges, universities, record shops, fashion shops, cafes, pubs, clubs, venues, churches…

Every Week

  • Link with 10 other websites. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with ten new people each week.
  • Write 10 sentences (no more than 140 characters each) about your lifestyle and genre (not your band) - be elegant. Share.
  • Participate in popular forums and blogs.
  • Keep track of your website’s statistics and social analytics.

GOOD LUCK

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

June 27, 2011

Promote Your Gigs On Twitter - #BandPromotion

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 6:26 pm

Promote Your Gig on Twitter

If you want to give your gig a little boost, and at the same time give a few of my followers a kick up the arse and the heads-up, join me and contact me on Twitter; I will RT and ShoutOut your gig information.

Please share this post on Twitter, to help spread the word :)

June 21, 2011

10 Quick Music Marketing Tips

Filed under: Music Marketing, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:12 pm
  1. #MusicMarketing Too many advertisements slow Websites down and are usually ignored anyway!
  2. Content, Design and the ability to Listen are the key ingredients to a successful and effective Website.
  3. Your Fans are the apple core (or is that Heart?) of your website - Well that’s what I believe anyway!
  4. US and THEM = V.Bad karma.
  5. A Loyal Fan is a Royal Fan.
  6. Your band’s Website Message must be delivered in 90 seconds or less - only 1.5 minutes to get your entire communication across.
  7. Collaborate with other bands who share your niche.
  8. The more you listen to your fans, the more they’ll listen to your music - Which means they should become New Customers.
  9. Your band’s market share (slice of pie), within your locale, can be enhanced considerably by promoting your Niche.
  10. Your band’s website will grow if you keep it focussed and your message simple!

Helping Indie Bands With Music Marketing,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

June 20, 2011

10 Quick Band Promotion Tips

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 2:45 pm
  1. #BandPromotionIt’s the way a band uses Social Media Blogging platforms and not the ‘theme’ that’s important, pick a theme that fits in with your band’s branding.
  2. Improve your band’s ‘website rankings’ (SEO) by aiming relevant keywords towards your target audience.
  3. Don’t start the music playing on the initial load of website because it’s f.ing annoying if I’m/they’re already listening to some!
  4. Monthly: use Google Analytics to analyse your band’s Website prior to tweaking.
  5. Make your website as interactive as possible. Fans want to have a conversation with you.
  6. Show your supreme confidence by linking to other bands’ websites that are relevant and related to yours - You won’t be disappointed with the results.
  7. Don’t oversell your album by overloading your band’s website with adverts - that’s So annoying and therefore futile!
  8. For Title Tag & H1 Header Contents read/think KEYWORDS. They go together like f.&chips.
  9. Band’s Websites should be updated frequently, 2-3 times a week would keep your fans happy.
  10. Make your most important web page open as fast as lightning, and as quick as a flash you’ll have a new fan.

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

June 13, 2011

Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 1:27 pm

parental-advisory

I was talking with a very old friend Steve Walker (a rock and roll aficionado) about his favourite subject the other day (Rock & Roll 1945 - 1971) and during the conversation he asked me, “do you know why many of the famous rock ‘n’ roll artists got into music in the first place?”
“No!” I said shaking my head, but thinking it’s probably got something to do with escaping the drudgery of life.
“Because they wanted to have sex” said Steve!
A bolt of lightening struck me on the side of the head and I said, “Oh - My - Good - Fucking - God, it Is all about sex, I should’ve known, hang-on, I did know, but I’d forgotten. Tosser!” I remembered all those angsty songs Nick Young and I had written late into the night after a few pints of Diesel [Snakebite (half a pint of strong larger and half a pint of Scrumpy cider) and Black (dash of blackcurrant cordial) - result looks like agricultural diesel fuel, hence the name] hoping the toons would get us laid sometime V.soon. Sex and drugs and rock and roll (Ian Dury 1977) were all part of my mental imagery of the rockstar’s lifestyle - there must be more to life than my normal nine to five existence - I really do want to be a rockstar so the girls come easy and I get laid! God, that’s all a long time ago now.

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve viewed hundreds of websites in my effort to help bands promote themselves on the Internet, and most of them are not sexy, They Are Fucking Useless, so much so that they wouldn’t get the juices flowing of even the most ugly, desperate, sex starved and zealous groupie. Frankly, a lot of band’s websites have the same effect as taking a freezing cold shower - which is extremely unsexy unless you’ve had a lot of beer!

physical conversation © Jan Brand van der Haar in acrylic

Real relationships, not fantasy pornographic relationships, I believe, are founded on love and trust. That might sound boringly monogamous, very un-rockstar like and the antithesis of a one-night stand philosophy, however, if you want to attract women (whatever), you need to be able to connect, love, laugh and enjoy a physical conversation! Creating a sexcessful website is exactly the same and the results are bliss.

How To Make Your Website Sexy

Firstly, obviously, you need a website. D’oh!

naaktslak slug © Jan Brand van der Haar

Speed It Up ~ Is It Love At First Sight? - Make sure your opening page loads at an ultra fast speed. [1] How quickly your website loads is now a green, carbon sensitive issue. Fast loading websites help to reduce bandwidth and costs, which is why Google looks kindly on speedy websites. [2] People don’t like waiting! [3] The faster you can get your message across, the more likely you are to score.

Keep HTTP/image/JavaScript requests to external websites to an absolute minimum, i.e: Google and affiliate ads, online image hosting (ImageShack & Photobucket), free hit counters and stats… Don’t use frames (which could mean loading four pages), web redirects or web cloaking. Don’t use Flash (for a number of reasons) or massive images.

Following on from getting across your message quickly, there is also the speed at which a first impression is formed and that leads me to, ‘Presentation’ - where will you insert your most important message?

unbutton result © Jan Brand van der Haar

Spruce It Up ~ What Are You Going To Wear For Your First Date? - Subjective. I wouldn’t normally talk about the visual design of a website, because in reality, prettiness is not that important to your website’s success! However, if you want your website to be sexy, there are a number of design suggestions to consider. [1] Present a simple, clean and easy to understand website. [2] Use contrasting colours (i.e. black on off-white) for text/background combinations so your readers find your message easy to read - eye strain usually results in a lame headache excuse! Position the main headings and subheadings to make blocks of text skimmable. [3] Create a website that works dynamically, not fixed width & sizes. [4] Your website will be a chick magnet if you design it with chicks in mind, find out what they like and ask them for their oppinions, then act on the inf./advice.

no underwear © Jan Brand van der Haar

Style It ~ Are You The One? - Be yourself. Be true to yourself. Know your own style, these are ‘constants’ and an important part of building a brand.

Express your band’s personality through your website, but don’t look like you’re trying too hard and always keep it in character with your Sound.

beautiful looker © Jan Brand van der Haar

Put Some Effort In ~ Be Cool. - Produce enough new and changing content (text, images & music) to hold the attention of your fans. Give out little nuggets of insider information, like: which fashion shops sell your gear, how to get a backstage pass [wink, wink] and which pub you are drinking in later… - radiate good vibrations.

By the way, if a blogger gives you a review, mention it and link back to the review from your website. Some people are really up their own arses a bit too far, they only think about themselves and about promoting themselves - tossers, give out a little love and you’ll get more back!

Holy shit © Jan Brand van der Haar

Paint It ~ Do You Stand Out In A Crowd? - You will have greater success if your website is original and is different - but you don’t have to reinvent it! Artists, I believe, must strive to find their own individual sound, style and look. Keep working on your website to move it forward, try introducing new angles - maybe by weaving the theme of your next album into your design? Think about branding but also about entertaining - because sex must be fun!

seed box © Jan Brand van der Haar

Plug It In ~ Have You Got A Sexual Chemistry Set? - There are a couple of problems that bands have with their websites that are as common as a slut with chlamydia! [1] The Website traffic is flowing in the wrong direction. [2] There is no reason for it to exist!

Traffic should flow towards your band’s website and not be directed away from it - your website must not be the pimp who supplies the john to the social media whore! Your Website Isn’t A Splash Page For Your Social Media. Do you understand? Traffic flows towards your website (just like sperm swimming towards an egg), not away from it!

Question: “What’s the fucking point of owning a website?”
Seriously, what’s the point? Well, the point is, a band’s website exists to promote the band to a wider audience, to enable the band to have full control over their business, and to introduce an air of stability (which might also be called professionalism) in an otherwise turbulent and developing world wide web.

It used to be MySpace that was the In social networking website for bands, now it’s Facebook, but in a week, a month or maybe years down the line it’ll be another site; the Internet is fickle, constantly changing and moving on. Stability, is a key word, a sexual pheromone.

So, why would a friend or follower want to go to your website? …That’s the 1,000,000th FaceSpace fan question!
How about, to sign-up to your mailing list (it clicks* with a website like rock’n'roll)? Or to read last week’s newsletter? Or maybe to find the travel details for your next gig …parking? trains? …et cetera? Or to pick up a free gift before buying your album (which is ever so easy to buy) and that’s also called link-bait? Hey, maybe it’s just to leave a comment about the band’s Holiday Snaps? Did you know, when your website has a purpose it will attract more women than you can shake a shitty stick at! …true! …you’ll attract hundreds of local tarts!

So the answer is: “To get ourselves laid like rockstars this weekend!”

Your sexed up website needs to: load quickly, look good, be in character, connect (link) correctly, be useful, be interesting, have a purpose, be very different, laugh, offer an easy mailing list sign-up, give something away for free, make the CDs easy to buy and accept credit cards? maybe have a newsletter and have very clear navigation - fuck a duck, that’s it!

Nickelback - Canadian rock band

I’ve captured a screen shot of Nickelback’s website header, because it is a beautiful example of a sexy website in action, visit it and have a good look around.

All works of art are by the Dutch artist Jan Brand van der Haar and are copyright ©Jan Brand van der Haar.

Jan Brand van der Haar (b.1947) is a self-taught artist and painter, living in Nijkerk, Netherlands. He paints primarily with acrylic on canvas and his subjects are many. The titles of the images are not easy to translate because they are cryptic, so I’ve used my best judgement - I hope it’s OK for you Jan! In order the images are: Physical Conversation, Naaktslak [Slug], De ontknoping [Unbutton Result], Antislip [No Underwear], Stuk [Beautiful Looker], Holy Shit and Semen Capsa [Seed Box]. Very Many Thanks Jan.

June 2, 2011

A Conversation With Ross Barber Of ElectricKiWi

Filed under: website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:13 am

Ross Barber (ElectricKiWi) and I met through Twitter (@rossautomatica) - it feels to me like we’ve put our arms over each others shoulders and we’re weaving down the road together singing and having a laugh, but at the same time being serious about our journey and we’re each of us striving to reach to our destination - so there’s bound to be a little bit of jostling ;)

Ross Barber - ElectricKiWi

UBP: We opened our friendship by talking about flyer design, which I’m interested in because I promote the idea of bands using a Vertical Rectangle Banner Ad. (a reduced A6 flyer) - a good combination I feel! Ross, what are your thoughts on the different sizes of flyers, and how do you feel about turning them into website banners?

Ross Barber: Hey Ian, I think it’s a good idea to reduce physical flyers into an online format. As more and more people are discovering music online than ever before, online promotion cannot be ignored. I would say it does depend on the design of the poster/flyer as to how well it will transfer to a digital environment. As you mentioned in Band Flyers and Banners, it can be difficult to read when a poster has been re-sized for online use. It could be a good idea for designers to create a separate version once the background image has been re-sized. This would not take up a great deal of time and would maximise potential exposure for the band in question.

For use offline, I think varying sizes of posters and flyers are great, too - particularly if the designs are creative and can match the band’s style. For example, cutting posters into different shapes if the band’s name is associated with a particular shape or object. Different poster sizes work for different locations so it’s always a good idea to have at least 2 different sizes for the purpose of maximising the number of places you can advertise.

If the flyers can double up as both an offline and online method, then even better! I’ve always said that it is so important not to ignore either environment for promotion as each is extremely valuable and together they can be even stronger. They enhance each other massively when the strategy is right!

Terra Naomi Music

UBP: Thanks for the flyer, it’s an ideal working example. Yeah, I totally agree with you, promoting and marketing your genre, style, image, aura and brand simultaneously using both online and offline methods, can have an ultra-powerful effect.

Cost is always in the back of my mind, different sizes, full colour etc. cost money; one of the reasons I recommend bands should start with a simple A6 flyer, is so they can self-print four to a normal sized sheet of paper (A4) in monochrome and slice them accordingly; most bands don’t have much money - I’m aware there is also a professionalism issue here! Most venues use a local printer who may also do the designs, how do you feel you fit in with this, who are you targeting?

Ross Barber: Cost is always going to be an issue. I know that money is an issue, particularly if a band is dedicating a lot of their time to their music and don’t have another source of income. Even someone who does have a steady income may not have the extra funds available to spend on flyers. I do think that high-quality flyers which are relevant to the band’s style can make a big difference when it comes to promotion, so I would say that if they can afford to spend some money on a design which reflects their music, they definitely should - it could be very good value for money.

As for the venues who may have printers and designers in place - there is not going to be much we can do in this situation. The downside to this would be that often the designs may not represent the style of music as accurately as an in depth consultation with someone who designs specifically for musicians and bands would do. I’m not sure how you could combat the venues who will only allow flyers made by their chosen agency, though - that would be something I would look into when the situation arose.

UBP: Well from a band’s point of view, a venue who promotes their gigs is brilliant, a band can still, and should, produce their own flyers, it’s all part of branding.

Even though you’d never know it from my websites, I love art and have had a life full of art and fashion. What initially attracted me to your website was the Jackson Pollock-esque, James Brooks-ish, abstract expressionist header image. The ‘era’ of the 1950s to the 1970s (with a little 1930’s surrealist movement thrown in) is my main love and influence, what are your main influences and how do you reflect them in your artworks?

ElectricKiWi

Ross Barber: Bands should take advantage of any promotional services the venue can offer, absolutely, but I agree that they should have their own flyers made wherever possible.

As for my inspiration, it’s a difficult one to place. Unlike you, I’ve never really been that involved in art. It’s strange though because I love graphic design but don’t think I could cite any specific artists or eras that inspire me. I would say I am inspired mostly by artwork I see everyday - whether it is online or elsewhere. I do love abstract and experimental graphic design and have always liked combining elaborate abstract designs with grungy textures and patterns.

Music gives me a lot of ideas too - I often get images in my head when listening to music. Listening to instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You never fails to conjure up a few ideas! Sometimes they are vague such as a basic colour palette to start with and sometimes they are more complete visions. It varies so much! I always try to match the visuals with the audio so there is a level of consistency and branding to some extent so I try and listen to the artist’s music while working to keep the vision focused!

UBP: A while ago I was sitting and chatting to my wife, when the thought suddenly popped into my head ‘What colour is rock music?‘ and something odd happened, I could see the colours! I wondered how this would translate into branding as well as marketing and promotion. It does! Almost! Sort of! Wow!

Do you see/feel the differences between Marketing and Promotion? I ask this because of the way you present your website (BTW., that’s not a negative criticism). Also, one of my hobby-horses is ‘local band promotion’, how do you interact with your local bands in Glasgow?

rock

Ross Barber: Haha, I wouldn’t solely rely on the ideas that music creates, but I definitely think there are certain colours that are more appropriate for a style of music than others. It’s funny though, because music and art affect people in different ways - what one person "sees" music as could be something completely different from what another sees. This could be a fairly interesting topic to research!

I would say I have a pretty good understanding of marketing and promotion. Marketing has more to do with defining your target audience and presenting the product (in this case, the gig/website/album etc.) in a way that will appeal to the audience. Promotion is more about spreading the word and advertising in a sense. I offer an online marketing service, which is mostly about ensuring that a band’s website has copy which is going to be SEO friendly while also being engaging to their audience. I do provide online promotion services, marketing and promotion do go hand in hand. The services I offer are tailored individually as everyone has different needs.

I’ve only recently moved to Glasgow and am still getting to know how the music scene works here. It’s definitely different from the small town I moved here from! I do most of my interaction online at the moment and have made quite a few connections this way. Before starting ElectricKiWi, I had done quite a bit of writing for The List magazine and AbsolutePunk.net which introduced me to a lot of new bands and allowed me to connect on a slightly more professional level.

I’ve always embraced the internet as a networking tool. I started building websites and participating in online communities around 12 years ago. I think I maybe spent too much time online when I was younger and as a result find it far easier to make connections via the internet first, I would say in all honesty that I’m perhaps a little shy and reserved in social settings at first which is why I find it harder to introduce myself in an offline environment than online. Online I can showcase my abilities far easier than I could in a real-life setting, I guess!

UBP: Interesting name ElectricKiwi, where did that come from, do you have connections with New Zealand?

Yeah, small town band promotion is completely different from big city promo. Bands who come from London say, have a big advantage in terms of getting gigs and fans, over bands who come from the provinces - I was talking with a London based band who were trying to make it big on the internet, they’d ‘forgotten’ where they lived!

The most common question I get asked by bands is, "Can you help us get our name out there?" How would you respond to that?

Ross Barber: The ElectricKiWi name has been around for a long time. I originally purchased the domain about 8 years ago and it started off as a personal blog, then it evolved to include and showcase my own music. I decided a few months ago to relaunch it as a design and marketing service. As for the name itself, there is no real meaning behind it. When I decided to buy a domain, I wanted an unusual name and just tried pairing random words…ElectricKiWi was the result!

You’re absolutely right. Bands in larger cities have a greater chance of getting gigs but at the same time there is so much competition it can be harder in some cases to stand out.

When a band asks for help "getting their name out there", I think it’s important to know if they mean locally, nationally or internationally. I would offer some assistance or advice in on-site and off-site SEO to ensure their website ranks for the most appropriate and effective keywords, encourage them to network and communicate with their target audience and other bands/venues in their local area to start with. Without a big budget, it is usually going to be a slow process building up a large fanbase and becoming known either in their area or elsewhere. Of course it is possible but they have to be dedicated and be willing to stick it out for the long haul!

UBP: Put the elasticated stockings on, We’re Going Long Haul - that’s So True :)

Ross, I really like your individual and personal approach when engaging with bands, and I think that you have got it absolutly right when you talk about, encouraging bands to start off by networking and communicating with their target audience, other bands and venues in their local area. It’s always a joint effort between ‘us’ and the band :)

ElectricKiWi - I’m disappointed! I was expecting tales of travel into the mystical heartland of New Zealand, hey-ho, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet - actually I’m not so sure that’s true anymore after watching ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ presented by Alex Riley last night!

END

Get in touch with Ross Barber for graphic design, web design and online marketing and promotion - he’d love to help you with your band’s next flyer campaign. Ross: ElectricKiWi, Twitter, Facebook.

In Conversation With The Music Industry,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

May 25, 2011

Apple For Teacher - the bitch

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 10:00 pm

http://www.menendezuk.com/ are set to release their new album “Apple For Teacher” on the 4th of July 2011 - Just thought I’d give ‘em a mention ;)

May 19, 2011

Music Marketing

Filed under: Music Marketing, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:17 pm

One of the aspects I find So frustrating with my simple approach to supporting bands, is the bizarre lack of comments and feedback I get to my helpful [haha] email replies. For instance, I received an email from the chancer Sean, asking: "I’m interested in taking advantage of your offer to help with the marketing and promotion of our debut album. Despite having great and very original content in the way of music and videos, we have a lot to learn about marketing. We have just released a CD, but failed to market it well. We would like to make up for it! Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated."

I explained that "I only really help bands with their Website Promotion, not Music Marketing," and said, "I’ll do my best to give you my thoughts on marketing and promoting your album." I visited their website and social networking profiles and I discovered a number of obvious music marketing mistakes. I would like to share my thoughts with you all, I’m talking generally - this isn’t my actual reply.

Firstly, in the email they sent, the link to their website was not clickable - it’s a very common mistake - do you expect people to CutnPaste? All you need to do is add on http:// to make www·YourBandName·com clickable! Links and linking are very important, Always* provide clickable links.

Poor linking is a frequent theme that runs through the entire list of bands’ websites and social networking profiles. Your Website should be the Hub of your Music Marketing Effort - Link To It.

Secondly, It almost doesn’t matter what your website looks like, if it lacks a music marketing focus then you are doomed. It must be Immediately Obvious how to buy the album - Top Of The Page.

Create a uniform and consistent advert that includes an image (album cover) and some textual blurb that includes: your band’s name, album name, price details (we all want to know what it costs!), number of tracks, genre. Example of included information: Menendez, Menendez Mini E.P, CD/album: SALE PRICE £1.99 Free UK p&p, 6 harmonious & hypnotic tracks, Post Rock (!also use this inf. for image alt text!) Here is a real example:

Menendez Mini E.P. SALE £1.99 Free UK p&p, 6 hypnotic post rock tracksMENENDEZ
MENENDEZ SALE  £1.99

The Menendez debut album moves smoothly between the perfect pop harmonies of download single "Beef Jerky" through to the hypnotic Krautrock-like "Living on the Shore". Album of the week in Organ magazine who described it as "a beautiful album, rather special, compelling …having it in your life will make your life just a little bit warmer and richer than it was yesterday". BUY NOW

Consistency is a key word. And in my view a big problem for many bands. On one level bands are too consistent - boring; they have the same information everywhere - try to come up with three or four different slants, with the main and most important copy included on your website - note: I lifted the Menendez blurb from the Lebatol shop, not good, it’s lazy! But then there can also be a lack of consistency and confusion, e.g. by using different images for album covers or by giving out mixed messages about price and genre - genre is also a big part of music marketing (branding, identity) - it is important to get that part sorted out so you can take advantage of your niche.

Thirdly, in the case of the band who contacted me, they abbreviate their band’s name; this is another common problem among bands who have long names, often abbreviating their name to an acronym! Promote your full name at every opportunity (think about what fans will type into the search engine to find you), by using acronyms and diminutives just to save typing, is weakening your brand. Maybe you should have thought of a better band name!

Fourthly, recruit an extra band member to help with networking and music marketing - it will not cost you, it will pay you.

Lastly, I have a project in motion - 101 Resources for Marketing Music - which is a webpage with a number of links pointing to websites that will help you to get your music noticed:

Where To Sell Your Music There are a lot of websites that give you the opportunity to sell your music; I suppose CD Baby is the most well known, they allow you to sell your CDs and downloads online through iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc. When joining a sales network always look-out for the Terms & Conditions. BTW Chris Rockett of Promote Your Music has written an article: How To Set Up A Music Sales Page In 5 Minutes, that includes a nice little, worth a gander, video.

Where To Get a Band Review or Interview It’s really important to get your music reviewed, most bands crave honest and positive reviews from respected sources, music magazines and music bloggers are good places to start as they’re always looking to discover the next great band. Some reviewers make a small charge for their services.

Where To Break News - Do a Press Release Promoting your music with a press release is actually easier than you think, there are quite a lot of free press release distribution services. But results are usually measured by your newsworthiness - therefore, much effort is required!

Join Forums & Post You will get the best results from talking about your music and your band in genre related forums and newsgroups if you become a part of the community. Always spend time reading before posting, don’t just blunder in and blatantly plug your CD/album - that’s very bad for business! Create a short signature that includes a link to your website.

Where To Create a Blog, Comment & Aggregate To market your music via a blog, you must start your own blog - it’s not correct to only post spammy comments on other people’s blogs - that’s not blogging; note: the promotional value of a blog comment is measured by what you have to say!

Where To Get Links To Your Website The best place to get a link is from a local band who are the same genre and share your lifestyle. Linking in my view should be organic. Organic linking is natural and balanced, it’s linking with websites that are relevant and related to yours using a wide variety of different methods. Organic links tend to receive much more traffic than non-organic (unrelated) links.

Where To Post Your Gig Dates Look for a website that promotes local gigs like the London based London Gigs - these type of websites (like: UnsignedBandPromotion) need Your support to keep going - use them.

Get Your Music on Internet Radio Airplay is the big endorsement for your music marketing. Podsafe Music Network (now Music Alley from MEVIO) is a music discovery resource for podcasters, it’s a good place to start. But there are shedloads of Internet radio stations - search for and find a genre related station, spend some time listening before contacting.

Create a Profile to Promote Your Music We’re talking Social Networking here! I love the tantalizing list of services that many of the websites claim to offer: a friendly community, profile with bio, MP3 upload/hosting, news, press release, gigs/events calendar, directory, promotion tips, radio play, forum, blog, message board and shopping. plus: music marketing, music promotion, music distribution, record label for unsigned artists & bands - "you will be heard by the major record labels, indie labels, film studios and publishers" - says it all, they promise you the world and give you adverts!

Well Sean I hope that helps you a little. If you have got a specific question, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer it fully and promptly. Ciao 4 niao Ian x

…I haven’t heard a fucking dicky bird from him!!

May 4, 2011

Build A Team Of Online Support For Your Band

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 8:43 pm

I was scan reading @scottyhons‘ blog post Managers and the When on MicControl when the last paragraph caught my eye and struck a harmonious chord, “The DIY mentality isn’t only about doing everything yourself. It’s about being educated enough to make the right decisions about you and your team. So when it comes to adding a manager, yes, it should be about capacity. But, it should also be about filling in the skill gaps that you and your band mates simply don’t have.”Don’t forget to read Scott Honsberger’s article.

Do-it-yourself, noobie, indie bands, which is how most bands start out, have always needed help. Somewhere on UnsignedBandPromotion or in an uncertain location, aeons ago, I wrote something that sounds like, “Recruit an extra band member (a Promo sapien) to help with Marketing, Promotion, Website Development and gathering intel at gigs.” A dedicated and ‘fully included’ member of the band who is capable of handling all things Media, would lift a massive load off of the band’s shoulders. But, a promo sapien is Not a manager, @scottyhons again, “Management should (and usually does) happen organically, and the truth is that most artists are found by management, not the other way around.” True. Hiring a manager shouldn’t be on the top of a noobie band’s list - improving music and performance should be! So, along with your promo sapien media angel, it is a good idea to build a circle of contacts and support (esp. industry professionals).

A common question I get asked is, “Can you help us get our music noticed?” I may reply with something like: if you are having trouble getting noticed, start off by seeking criticism about your music from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice - it’s time to call in some help from your contacts and support network because you probably ‘Can’t Do It’!

…For instance, when a band is first starting out, it can be really hard to get your first review; you may send out loads of emails and demos and yet get no response! Music magazines (the main reviewers) get so many requests it’s almost impossible for them to review them all.

Hello! Steve Fenton, the editor of The Mag (a music magazine speciallising in new music) to the rescue; if you are looking for your first review, or just want an honest opinion of your latest recording, you are guaranteed to get a review every* time when you submit your music through The Mag’s Website. And to help you out a little more, I have negotiated an awesome 50% discount on the guaranteed review service, which means you can get reviewed for about the same cost as sending a CD through the post (£1.75ish)! To receive the discount type in our Discount Voucher Code: UNSIGNED when you upload your tracks at: The Mag - Music - Get Reviewed

Even though getting a manager may be a goal for many bands just starting out, it’s easy to interact with a professional and committed team online, Scott Honsberger, Jon Ostrow and Steve Fenton are just three of a massive list of dedicated music industry enthusiasts, here are a few more: Michael Brandvold, Chris Bracco, Martin Devaughan, Ariel Hyatt, Derek Sivers, Danny Dee and Madalyn Sklar.

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