Realistic Music Careers 101: Extending your online network
published Mon, 02 Mar 2009 – 17:14:14 -0800 PST
COLUMN: How do you reach out to fans, industry professionals and everyone else on the web? Most people think the answer is a website, a MySpace account, maybe a blog, a YouTube page, a Flickr account. While these pages are necessary, many artists don’t even have these few pages, let alone all the others they need to really make an impact. It takes a lot more sites and pages to build an effective presentation and solution to reach new fans and keep the old ones hanging on.
In order to have a persistent, effective web presence, you must be listed on as many sites as absolutely possible. The information and content on these sites must be consistent and uniform, as well as properly formatted per the site’s requirements. This will give you the best results that will find you new fans, contacts and opportunities.
The more places you are able to be found on the internet on different member sites including networking to social sites, blog sites to video sites, business listing sites to classified sites, sales sites to music sites, photo sites to microblogging sites and anything else will bring awareness of your presence to others instead of the clichéd musician who hopes that being in just a couple of locations will bring hordes of fans to him.
Whether you are a musician, an author, a business, a manager, an agent or anyone that is trying to reach a wider spectrum of an audience, it is your responsibility to be as accessible as possible. This affords the most options and opportunities to be seen so that you may bring in a new fan base and raise your profile. So when you think about it, just having a website, a MySpace and a video site is really not the most effective approach to achieving the broadest recognition.
Having a legion of networking sites that are updated on a regular basis is going to create continuity, activity and awareness of you while at the same time helping to get your name, your band and/or your brand optimized and provide you with far more exposure than just a simple website.
What should I have on these sites?
Uniformity and consistency is key. Don’t have five different sites with five different bios. That is not good branding or marketing and will not optimize you. It does not display professionalism to industry professionals. You want to display that consistency and show you have an understanding of the need of proper promotion and marketing. So choose your words or content carefully and make it the standard for everywhere you can be found.
I advise artists to have a bio that can be broken down in to a short bio, a medium bio and a long bio. Have a solid tag line. This way when you are given only a certain amount of words on one site, you can have your short bio, then if you are able to put more words on another site, you have your full bio.
Side note: Your long bio should be written so it can be cut up into the short, medium and long bio. The idea is that the content is always the same and as you go to medium bio and then long bio you are just adding paragraphs. So, the first paragraph is the short bio. Add the next paragraph to make the medium bio and then the next paragraph or paragraphs to create the long bio.
Easy, smart marketing math. Really!
So the list for these sites includes:
Bio: Short, medium and long, depending on what the site will allow.
Tagline: Your hook to sum you up quickly.
Logo: Your graphic image.
Photos: A primary photo and at least ten other photos that you can display. Some sites will allow for just one and have that primary photo always be the same; on other sites like the photo sites, you can put up the other nine or as many as you want. Get your pictures up and out there!
Artist websites and links: Have that link there, but also have a list of the other links from other sites where you can be found ready to be added so that you can be cross referenced as much as possible. Include places where people can buy your music, albums and merchandise.
Video: Have your videos ready for sites where you can add a video. These videos will get you out more and more as well.
Songs and Albums: Upload your music and music samples so that people can hear you. Get more of your music out there where it is easy to obtain it.
Feeds: Add a blog feed, video feed, picture, music feed or any feed you can to the sites that allow it. This means that every time you add a picture to the place you are feeding from, it will update without any extra effort from you.
Keywords: Many of the sites have space for keywords. Take advantage of these. Keywords will connect you with people that have some of the same interests or same words that are on their pages or their profiles.
Miscellaneous: Build a list of your 25 favorite musicians, drummers, engineers, bass players, guitarists, books, TV shows, movies, interests and whatever else. Many of these sites have columns that ask for these items, and being able to add them easily will connect you to more and more people.
Keep track of it all in one place
Create a one master document for your networking sites. Have a word document, a text document or spreadsheet where you can easily copy and paste each element listed above as needed. Some sites make simple copy/paste rather difficult; make sure to have your text in a simple .txt format to avoid this annoyance. Some sites will allow you to list all of your information, while other sites will allow for limited amounts. If you have one master document that you can consistently copy from, it will make signing up for each of these sites a breeze and dramatically reduce the set up time.
On your master document, list your logins, user names and passwords for each of your sites. Keep them all in one place and your life will be much easier when it comes to tracking and updating. Every time you join a site or set-up a site, open your master document, copy and paste your information. Then record your login, password and site address. This will ensure a simpler, more streamlined and, ultimately, more effective process.
Do I have to blog?
Blog, even if just once a week. It doesn’t have to be a long entry, but it should be interesting and provide information about your music, recording and/or shows. Blog about things that are happening and how they are happening. This will get more information about you out on a weekly basis. This consistency will bring people back to you website and your networking sites.
The types of Networking sites
The basics include:
Social Networking sites: These are places where friends can be added, as well as other information that can sometimes include blogs, pictures, videos, and updates. Sites like MySpace and Facebook are two of the favorites.
Blogging Sites: I tell people to be on a number of blogging sites with the same content updated to reach as many people as possible. The more sites you have, the more chances of having that blog read. Sites like Blogger and WordPress are two of the favorites.
Microblog, Updating Sites: These are sites where you can give a simple update about what you’re doing or up to. These sites are also great for linking your blog link in a small format so that people can read about you. Sites like Twitter and Koornk are two of the favorites.
Photo and Video Sites: The more videos you can upload to numerous places, the more they are going to be optimized and seen by more and more people. This goes for photos too. Sites like Flickr and YouTube are very popular ones.
Music Sites: Get your music and samples heard in as many places as possible. Just because you have music streaming on MySpace doesn’t mean that some one on Last FM will ever hear it, so why not be on both? Sites like Reverbnation and Pure Volume are two favorites.
Business Sites: Your band is a business and being on the different business sites and listing sites can connect you and network with many industry people and professionals that may be able to help you with other services as well. These sites can also help find general business music work such as performing for corporate functions, as well as direct licensing opportunities for licensing music for ads and theme music for other companies and businesses. Biznik and Kudzu are two of my favorites.
Classified Ad and Advertising sites: Certain advertising and classified sites allow you to post a full profile and connect with many other people. It is one more place to be found, seen and optimized. It can also allow you to easily place ads and connect with services and needs you and your band might have. Two favorites are Corkin and Zoom Info.
Sales Sites: This kind of goes without saying. Sign up for Itunes, Cd Baby, Amazon and everywhere else you can. Allow shoppers that use each site to buy from you where they feel most comfortable. The more places someone can get your product, the more sales you will have. Two great sites to be a part of are I-Tunes and CDBaby.
Bookmarking/Tagging Sites: These are sites where you can tag and bookmark other sites you are on or content that you have written. The more you bookmark and tag sites, the more awareness it can bring to you, your sites and your music. Two very popular ones are StumbleUpon and Mixx.
All of these different sites can help get the word out about you, your music, your blogs and your news. It also can display your professionalism to larger scale agents, managers and labels about how you are taking the small and precise steps to attack as broad of a market as possible. Stop with the friend adder programs on Myspace. They are not bringing you fans. They are bringing your site hits and plays of your music which count for nothing. Start reaching out further and wider to as many different sites and audiences as possible to find and create fan bases that are really going to listen to your songs and read up on information about you.
How many should I be on?
How many fans do you want? There are limitless sites out there and new ones are popping up each day. Why not just keep signing up for different places to be seen, heard and found? Don’t think of it as a certain number is the right number. Think of it more from the standpoint of creating more and more connections through more and more networks.
How often should I update?
Update once a week. Try to have a weekly blog ready to go or some kind of strong update to keep people interested and coming back. You can have an amazing website or an amazing networking site but if things are not being added and updated, no one will return to that amazing site.
It is not as time consuming as you think to update either. With sites like Ping.fm out there, you can enter a main site address and it will feed any update to numerous sites automatically.
I add my Monday articles to Ping.fm and in less than a minute, they automatically update 50 of the 100 of my networking sites.
For the remaining sites, I go to my update list and in a brief amount of time, I cut and paste from either the blog link or the blog itself and update the remaining site. If you don’t have the time to do it all at once, you can set a list of sets to update each day over a week. It’s a measly ten minutes a day that you can invest five days a week that will help get the word out and the updates up for you.
Use your brain. Think about it. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean people are going to visit it. Just because you have a few networking sites doesn’t mean you are going to be seen by the right people.
Reach out and connect with as many different audiences as possible. A band going on tour wouldn’t play just four cities, right? So why concentrate on only four networks? Stretch the spectrum of sites where people can find you. Create recognition in order to draw people to you instead of expecting people to come to you.
And yes, some sites may not be as effective as others or get the reaction you are looking for, but every site you add builds your network that much larger and allows you to be found in one more place you weren’t before.
How do I get started?
Create one sheet of all your information from the bio to the keywords, the pictures to the songs and everything else to have a solid, uniform list of what you are going to have out there for people. First, get that information up on your main website. Then, with that sheet, start signing up for a site a day. If you have that sheet organized, it will take you an average of five minutes to fully sign up for a site and load all of the information since you will have it all together on that sheet.
It really is easy. One site a day, five days a week, done. I did that for Brain Grenade and just over four months, we have one hundred networking sites out there. Our optimization on the net is over the top right now and I am getting more visits to the website and hits on my blog in the last month than in every month of 2008 put together.
Reach out to pull the audience in. Investigate more places to be found and get listed on them.
Create a spectrum of networks to find and cultivate new fans, as well as bring yourself more recognition, more optimization and more awareness. Make those search queries on your name and your music go through the roof.
Oh and to close…
If you are not sure where to start, here are the one hundred networks that list me and Brain Grenade Entertainment. So get cracking!!!!
Brain Grenade Entertainment / Loren Weisman 100 Networking Sites –
Artistopia, Badoo, BandMix, Bandizmo, Bebo, Biznik, Blippr, Blog Lines, Blogged,
Blogger, Brightkite, Buzznet, Dark Jam, Delicious DFW LiveMusic, Digg, Diigo,
Facebook, FATdrive, Flickr, Fotolog, FreeBlogIt, FriendFeed, Friendster, Furl, Go Time, GoogleProfile, Hi5, HotFrog, Identi.Ca, iLike, Image Shack, Imeem, Indie Blips, knol, koornk, Kudzu, Kwippy, Last.fm, Lifestream.fm, Lijit, LinkedIn, ListCompany, LiveJournal,
Mashable, Migente, Mixx, MOG, Multiply, Music Match, Music Nation, Musician Forest, MySpace, Netlog, Nexopia, Ning, No Samples, OnlineRock, Orkut, Ourstage, PhotoBucket, Plaxo, Plurk, Profilactic, Pure Volume, Reddit, Rejaw, Reverbnation, Ryze, Seattle Business List, Skyrock, Social Trak, Sound Click, SpokeUp, Squidoo, StumbleUpon, Tagged,
Taltopia, Technorati, Tumblr, Twitter, Ultimate Band, Unsigned, Unsigned Artists,
Utterli, Veoh, Vimeo, Vox, WordPress, Xanga, Xiie, Xing, Yahoo Profiles, Yahoo! 360,
Yelp!, You Are, YouTube, Yuku, Zimbio, Zoom Info
Watch out for Loren Weisman’s book “The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business” coming in late fall 2009. www.braingrenademusic.com