Your Music Career
What Is Branding?
A brand is a visual representation of identity. The best artists in history are all about identity and identifying with their audience. So, as a musical artist starting out in a career you are already a brand whether you like it or not.
The question is whether your brand is good, bad or just plain ugly. It takes deliberate steps to build your brand. We want to take time and learn how to invest both time and resources on branding.
Digging Deeper Into Branding
How can I start to brand my self? Some may wonder. Can I suggest these three things for a start?
Visual - Take good professional high-resolution pictures
Bio - With the help of sites and blog hosts such as wix and wordpress, you can easily put this together where if anyone wants any info about you, they can refer to your website/blog post
Strategy - As a serious musician, one must set a strategy for achieving targets. Call it a dream board, a blueprint, a map to success, either way, you need one.
We all know that social media plays a very big role in branding, especially for musicians. The trick is to realize that each social media platform is handled differently. You cannot copy and paste through the different social media platforms. Learn more about how each platform is wired and how to make it work for you. Don't forget to go through the Do's and Dont's of social media.
Electronic Press Kit
Your electronic press kit provides a central location with all of your content – like image and music files, bio, etc – for members of the media (editors, bloggers, radio program directors, etc.) to quickly access.
Click here to read more
Building Your Online Presence
Radios can offer widespread exposure for artists. With any other channel, it can be a challenge to reach a large number of people at once, but radio is still a medium where your reach could number in the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands from a single play. As a result, getting radio airplay is a worthwhile goal.
Understanding Different Types Of Rio
It’s important to understand the different types of radio that are out there.
In addition to commercial radio on the AM/FM dial, there’s College or non-profit radio, internet radio and podcasts and many more.
Essentials For An Effective Radio Campaign
Budget: you can’t carry out an effective radio campaign without a budget.
Time: you’re going to need to set aside some time to make a campaign work. It takes time to do mail outs, and it takes time to follow up with the stations.
Product: it’s easy to take for granted, but you can’t have an effective radio campaign without a professionally produced, radio-ready product. Your CD doesn’t have to be recorded in an expensive studio. However, your production quality should be such that it could be played back-to-back with other tracks on the same radio station and be of similar quality. Your CD should also be available in stores (online, offline or both) for easy access.
How To Get Radio Airplay
Research your local radios: Identify which radios play your type of music, does your style of music fit their playlist - if not you have little or no chance of it being heard.
Contact the radio: Contact them for their submission requirements. Most usually require your demo on tape or cd with a breakdown of who is in the band, where you play & what type of music.
Submit your CD: Ensure that the CD is attractive to look at as well as professional.
Follow up: it is good to keep checking whether your CD was received and if it's being considered for their playlist.
Let us then consider the Essential Elements that will capture the radio Producers Interests
Music First of all, you need to have a great song. It should have a catchy, quick intro because most music directors only listen to the first 15 seconds. The second important element is the hook. You’ll need a good, memorable hook that will linger. Be objective and compare your song with what you hear on the radio. Can you picture it being played on the radio? If so, you are ready to proceed to the next step.
Length Make sure your song is no longer than 3:40 minutes.
Mastering: When your final mix is ready, it’s time to master your music. As the final touch to your production, mastering will make the difference between a good song and a radio-ready track. Here’s what mastering will achieve: editing minor flaws; applying noise reduction to eliminate clicks, dropouts, hums, and hisses; adjusting stereo width; adding ambiance; equalizing audio across tracks for optimized frequency distribution; adjusting volume, dynamic range compression or expansion and peak limit. For radio, the last two elements are very important. Without proper mastering, your track will sound like a completely different mix on-air than what you recorded in-studio.
Artwork: Artwork is very underrated, but it is so important! Your cover art is the first thing music directors will see when they receive your release, and like it or not, books are judged by their covers. Your track could be amazing, but if the artwork is bad, directors won’t even click play.
Packaging: Give your CD or Audio Cassette a nice eye-catching cover, mark the track listings clearly, make sure they are easy to read and include a Contact Name and Number on the sleeve and on the cassette/cd!!
Marketing: An artist that has no fanbase rarely performs and has no other online presence whatsoever will have a hard time generating airplay. Therefore, no radio will consider you.
Read more here
Why You Should Do it Right?
Before we dive into many things let us first consider that there really is no right way. There are many paths to building a successful online presence. The only thing that matters is to be creative.
What is Online Presence?
A musician that isn’t striving to build a presence through online media isn’t really trying. It is 2020, and if you want your music to succeed, you require at minimum a professional website and active social media accounts.
And with that said, I would like you to consider the following questions as we begin this online journey.
The questions are to act as a stimulus on what to expect about online presence.
Do you have a good photo?
Do you have a website?
How many active social media accounts do you have?
Do you post regularly on your social media accounts?
Do you have a mailing list?
Are your social media numbers growing?
How does your Youtube channel look like?
If the above questions have set your heart racing, then I urge you to keenly look into the next three blog posts:
Building Your Social Media Presence
Promoting Your Youtube Channel
How To Create A Music Website
Building Your Social Media Presence
Start By Developing Your Profiles.
When someone looks for you, they’re more than likely going to find your social profiles through Google that's why having a clean, optimised profile on each platform is a top priority.
To improve your profiles check on the following;
Make your profile or bio link count by always pointing to your latest promotion
Your profile pictures and covers are decent and stylish
Ensure that all profile information is accurate and up-to-date including tour dates or events
Keep Your Followers In The Know
New song? Upcoming album? Road tours?
Let people know!
Additionally, it’s a good move to put your posters and album artworks on your social media posts That way, anyone visiting your profile can know exactly what you have going on.
Ensure that you make high quality and captivating posters
Post Some Behind The Scenes Content
People love seeing what bands do when they’re not on stage. Share behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and stories that illustrate your life as a musician. If you’re going on the road, consider creating a tour diary in the form of a blog or vlog. If you’re in a writing session or in the studio, share pictures and short clips on Snapchat or Instagram Stories.
Tag Brands, Venues & Other Musicians
Tagging other people increases the visibility of your posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
As such, it never hurts to tag others in your posts where appropriate. Some examples of smart tagging include:
Boosting brands (think: instruments or clothing) that you can show off in your performance photos
Shouting-out a venue where you’re performing
Highlighting fellow musicians you’re collaborating with or someone whose song you’re covering
Interact With Your Fans
Don’t ignore the importance of interacting with fans. Responding and retweeting shows that you’re listening to them. While it might not be a big deal to you, shout-outs can make fans feel appreciated and encourage them to be even more loyal followers in the long-run.
Make YouTube A Priority
Let’s talk about YouTube. YouTube is the number one place where people stream music. It is the biggest stage in the world and the number on the discovery platform. It is therefore extremely important to position yourself and create a killer strategy for your YouTube channel. We shall have a closer look at YouTube, how it works and how to make it work for you on our next issue.
Click here for further reading:
Promoting Your Youtube Channel
There’s no better time than now to figure out how to promote your YouTube channel. With the current situation at hand, being on lockdown and what not, take the time to ensure that you understand how youtube works and how to make it work for you.
Use one of your videos and try to incorporate the step by step procedures put in the guide
YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.
It is a powerful music discovery tools and the first place many talent buyers, festival bookers, and other industry professionals will look when they’re considering your music for an opportunity.
If your music is not on youtube, it simply does not exist.
This guide is a small read to help you with the following;
Optimize your channel and videos
Build your following on YouTube
Increase video engagement
Better understand YouTube revenue streams
Create more compelling video content without going broke
At a quick glance.....
How can you optimize your youtube channel;
Tip; Take your time and slowly read through the guide while taking notes. Try to practice with your own videos, where it seems hard, google it or send me an email and I will be happy to assist.
Choose a good title; A good title helps viewers know they’re in the right place and makes it easy for them to find your videos.
List relevant tags; Enter any keywords that are associated with your video, subject matter, or featured artist. Good tags can boost your ranking in YouTube search results.
Write a good video description; Your video description helps power YouTube’s search function
Put your video in a playlist; Add your video to a playlist and, whenever you share the video, embed the “share with playlist starting from current video” code. That way if a viewer clicks “next,” you can lead them to another one of your videos.
YouTube is one of the most powerful outlets for promoting music. It can also be a fantastic platform to show your personality and creativity, limited only by the time, skill, and energy you put into it. Hopefully, this guide gives you a good foundation to build upon.
How To Create A Music Website
Do you want to make a music website but don’t know where to start? Or are you thinking about giving your current website a new look? Well in this issue we shall focus on just that.
Why should every musician have a website?
It helps the musician look professional than just having social media accounts
A website shows that you're serious about making music and getting booked.
A website is an additional platform to gain more followers and promote your music
A musician is able to sell their music directly to fans thus keeping more revenues
A website helps to create a one - stop shop for all the artists information
It makes it very easy for bloggers, journalists, producers, promoters to identify and contact you.
How to create your music website?
Now that you know why you need a website, you’re ready to start creating it.
Pick a website maker: Some common examples include; wix,wordpess,bandzoogle.
Follow the instruction given on the site you choose: Some sites may ask you to fill in a form and then they give you help with the options like, they tell you how to put backgrounds on your site.
Find Backgrounds to do with music: Design your website to fit your music style and needs.
Remember to update your website regularly: Ensure your update website with all new information, including your music, new pictures and any upcoming activities.
Things to include in your website
An About Page An about page is one of the most important things to have on your website because a good one is sometimes all it takes for people to get an understanding of who you are. Start your about page with a short sentence or two describing your sound. If you’ve had articles written about you, include a quote! The bottom of your site should be a compact bio about your history, experiences, and accomplishments.
Press Photos Having high-quality photos from either shows or photo shoots is important because when you’re pitching yourself you want to look as cool and professional as possible.
Video Having videos of you is great to include. Videos show your chemistry on stage and your personality. Make sure your videos can be easily shared on social media platforms as well.
Social Media Social media is the best way to keep a following of fans and promoters connected to you. If you don’t have social media you need to and making sure your social media is easily accessible on your website in the form of widgets is just as important!
Your Music This should not even be questioned. Embedding your music onto your website from any music streaming service like Spotify, SoundCloud, or Mdundo.
Contact Info Having a contact form on your website for people to connect to you through email is important, but having your phone number on there as well shows that you care about making sure it is easy to communicate with you.
Upcoming Shows Let people know when and where they can see you play. Having an updated concert calendar is really important.
Merch Store Sometimes fans want something tangible from artists like a t-shirt, sticker, or vinyl. Having a merch store with good prices on your website will also make you look more professional to promoters that are hoping you will bring a good crowd to their venue.
Choose any of the sites below, to get started;
Click here for further reading;
Facebook For Musicians
Social Media is a powerful marketing tool for musicians. Over the next couple of weeks, we shall delve into the various platforms and take advantage of the opportunities presented.
Whether you’re focused on your existing fans or looking for how to get more fans for your music, it’s almost guaranteed they are already on Facebook.
The very first thing you need to know is that you need a page, not a profile.
Why is a Facebook page so important?
No fan limit on your page: Facebook Pages don’t have a limit on the number of fans you can have (personal profiles have a limit of 5000 “friends”).
Learn what your fans find engaging (and what they don’t!): Page Insights can be a powerful tool to let you know where your fans are from, who are the most engaged, and what kind of content is working best (photos, videos, text, etc.).
Promoted Posts: With Pages, you can “promote” a post so that it reaches more people. Depending on how much you’re willing to pay, the posts can even reach beyond the fans who have liked the page. This can be a great way to increase engagement and visibility for your music/content, but it can also get expensive quickly.
Ads: Using a Page gives you access to using Facebook Ads. You can use ads to promote your page and increase likes, promote shows, a new music release, etc. You can even target specific geographic regions, demographics, and interests. But again, just like with promoted posts, ads can get expensive quickly, so set a budget and stick to it.
Tips for musicians starting or running a Facebook page
Research similar accounts
Check out other musician’s pages and learn from their pages. Find out what sort of content is working for them.
Create a Facebook page You can start a Facebook fan page for yourself by following these steps:
Follow this link to create a Facebook page.
Click on the “Artist, Band, or Public Figure“ button
You will then have the option to select the “musician/band” category
Enter your band or artist name, read and agree to the Terms of Service.
Select strong header & profile images Facebook header and profile pictures are a very important part of creating an attractive looking profile. The latest Facebook update also lets you utilize short video clips as your header image, which may prove handy.
Consider whether to sync with other social media: Facebook allows you to sync your account with other forms of social media like Instagram and Twitter, making sure that posts go across all platforms. However, there is an argument to be made that all social media platforms are different and should be treated as such. Visual content may be better for Instagram, content that you want to add a lot of hashtags to may be better on twitter, etc… posting too regularly can be an annoyance to your audience.
Get to know your audience It’s important to establish what kind of content your audience is going to react to. What time are they likely to be online for big announcements? What kind of mix of content will they react to? Going through past posts can help with this.
Mix your content Be careful not to only post content that is specifically related to music, but mix in some more entertaining content and likely to garner a response from the audience.
Utilize Facebook live Facebook Live has been one of the best updates for musicians. It gives all of your followers a notification when you activate it! Try live streaming parts of gigs, rehearsals or big announcements. Just don’t use it too often!
Keep it updated regularly Many musicians and bands seem to abandon their pages after their first few posts or let it go months at a time before posting. One of the best ways to ensure you keep your audience engaging is by regularly posting content.
Facebook boosted posts
If you can afford to pay for Facebook marketing, then do it, and it doesn’t have to be very expensive.
The budget of a Facebook boost is entirely up to you! You simply enter the total amount you want to spend and Facebook will spread it evenly across the duration you choose.
The minimum cost of a boost is $1 per day, So if you want to run a boost campaign for a week, the minimum cost will be $7.
How to boost a post Boosted posts are a simple and cost-effective way to consistently reach a greater percentage of your audience.
First, find the post you would like to boost on your Facebook page and click the blue “Boost Post” button.
Next, choose your objective. Why do you want to boost the post (website visits, engagements on the post, or messages).
Choose the text of your CTA button.
Next, select an audience that you’ve already created and pre-saved or create a new one.
Decide whether you want to run this promotion on Instagram or not. I usually uncheck this.
Finally, set your budget and duration.
Best practices for boosting posts
The best time of day to boost a post is after gaining some organic traction(people who see your content without paid distribution first) – do not just post and immediately boost.
Don’t boost an image that contains a lot of text
Make sure that you only boost your most engaging posts.
Facebook will tell you when you have a highly engaging update on your hands and will even prompt you to boost it.
Choose the right audience for your boosted post to get the most out of it.For example, don’t boost something that only makes sense to your followers to people who don’t already like your page.
Think through what you are promoting in order to attract the best possible audience.
Setting Up an Instagram Account
Convert to a Business Account
If you plan on using your Instagram account to promote your music and connect with your fans, the first thing you’re going to want to do is to convert to a Business account. A Business account has some additional features like analytics and direct contact buttons among others.
To convert to a business account go to the “settings” menu and choose “Switch to a Business Account.” You’ll have to connect to your Facebook artist page to set it up.
4 Benefits of an Instagram Business Profile
Access to Instagram Insights: Instagram Insights provides musicians and bands with all of the essential data they need to know about their accounts and how their posts perform.
Ability to Add a Contact Button; When somebody clicks on the button, you can set so that they can email you, dial a telephone call with you, or provide them with a map showing your location.
Your Industry Will Show on Your Profile: When you created your Facebook page, you were asked to select the industry in which your business operates. So, when you then connect your Instagram Business Profile to your Facebook page, this information crosses to your Instagram profile.
Advertise on Instagram and Make Promoted Posts: If you have the budget to promote your Instagram posts and advertise on the platform, you will need to operate a Business Profile. This is another area where the connection between Facebook and Instagram is obvious. You build your ads on Facebook and choose where you want your ad placed. Instagram is one of the options Facebook gives you – the others are various positions on Facebook and Messenger.
Pimp out your profile:
Find your visual voice. Your profile should instantly give an idea of your personality and your music.
Profile picture: This picture appears very small so you should preferably go for a vibrant and colorful headshot. Note: It is advised to keep the same profile picture on your Twitter and Facebook pages, for maintaining continuity.
Bio: Who you are, what you do. You don't need to explain your whole life story here, just keep it simple and straight to the point. Note: This is also where you can add a link to your latest single or music video.
Highlights: Choose your favorite and most relevant stories and highlight them at the top of your feed. You can classify them, so take advantage of that.
Content - What to post?
The objective is to share your story visually and be creative. Success on Instagram really comes from sharing valuable content your fans will love. If you’re wondering how to promote your music with Instagram, here are some rapid-fire ideas to get you started.
You can post videos up to 60 seconds in your feed, so post short video clips of you performing a song.
#Another idea is to post short tutorial videos showing your fans how to play a song or demonstrate a certain technique.
#Post short cover videos covering your favorite songs.
#Record a short video explaining the meaning behind your lyrics.
#Share videos from your live gigs or of the live audience and ask fans to comment if they were there.
#Share images from the studio, from rehearsals, or backstage at gigs.
#Share images of lyrics you’re working on.
#Post professional photos you get taken for your website or album.
What Makes a Good Instagram Caption?
A good caption tells a story, starts a conversation, sparks discussion, or asks a question.
Your number one goal with your caption is to get your fans to leave a comment on your post This is Instagram marketing for musicians 101.
Tell your fans a story or about an experience that relates to your music.
Ask their opinions on something.
Get them to vote on something (like the setlist for an upcoming gig). You can even use your captions to learn more about your fanbase.
Ask them questions about their interests and what other musicians they like and keep this information in your back pocket for future promotion ideas.
How To Advertise on Instagram
Keep your target audience in mind. The most effective ads are highly targeted, so familiarize yourself with the audience you hope to reach. If you have a clear idea of who’s on the receiving end of your Instagram ads, all of the creative decisions you need to make will flow from there.
Make it as authentic as anything else you’d post. Just because it’s an ad doesn’t mean it needs to scream, “THIS IS AN AD!” Most people will scroll right past anything that comes across as inauthentic on Instagram. You’ll have more success if you keep your ad genuine and consistent with the rest of your posts in terms of colors, filters, tone, and overall vibe.
Use a captivating, high-quality image. Put yourself in the shoes of a fan. Would the image you plan to use in your ad make you stop and pay attention as you’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram? If not, pick a different one that’s more compelling.
Setting Up an Instagram Ad
Define your goal You can use Instagram to advertise your new single, drive traffic to an album, increase engagement on your live stream, or just about any other music career goal you can think of.
Determine your budget The cost is determined by how much you’re willing to bid, who you target, and the amount of competition among other advertisers for that audience. The more relevant your ad is to your target audience, the less it’ll cost and the better results you’ll get. It’s always a good idea to test out your campaign with a small budget first, and gradually put more money into the ads that are working best for you.
Identify your target audience: If you’re new to advertising on Instagram, you’ll probably need to play around with different targeting options for a bit until you hit on the right combination.
Create your ad When you create a new ad in Ads Manager, make sure you’re using the Guided Creation workflow. This option will walk you through all of the necessary steps, including selecting your objective, audience targeting, budget, schedule, and placement. After you finalize those settings, you’ll then be taken to the section where you choose the format, media, and text for your ad. By default, “automatic placements” will be selected. But if you want your ad to only run on Instagram and not on Facebook, select “manual placements” and uncheck everything except for Instagram Feed, Instagram Explore, and/or Instagram Stories. Once you’ve finalized and reviewed all the details of your campaign, click the “place order” button.
Measure your ad’s performance The work isn’t over once your Instagram ad is active! While it’s running, you need to track its performance and make any necessary adjustments to have the best chance of success.
Ads Manager provides all the data and insights you need to help you figure out how well your ads are doing. And as long as you’ve set up your Instagram profile as a business account, you’ll be able to see key metrics for any post or Story that you’ve promoted right in the Instagram app.
Useful Apps for Instagram
Canva: Create your own graphic designs simply with this one tool → https://canva.com/
VSCO: photo-editing app → https://vsco.co/
Repost For instagram: Share others' posts on your profile. → https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/repost-for-instagram/id570315854?mt=8
CutStory: Splits your long videos in separate stories → https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cutstory-long-videos-for-instagram-vk-stories/id917630934? mt=8
PhotoSplit: Split your photo in a grid – great for enhancing the look of your feed. → https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.techpositive.photosplit&hl=en_US
Wizibel: Music visualiser → http://wizibel.com/
Linktree: Tool for optimising your Instagram traffic → https://linktr.ee/login
How To Build A Fanbase For Your Music
They say you need a thousand true fans to build a sustainable music career. (A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you release. These diehard fans will drive 300 kilometers to see you sing; they will buy, pre-order your next album; and even ensure they have your latest merch.)
There are a lot of ways to get more fans for your music, but it’s going to come down to your level of commitment and finding the right tactics that work best for you.
Build A Brand
Before you do anything else, you must know your brand. Your brand is impacted by everything you do, from how you present yourself (both in-person and online), to how you communicate with your fans.
Take the time to discover what’s truly unique about you, your artistry, and your story, and build out your brand identity from there.
Get Discovered on Music Discovery Websites
Music fans, bloggers, Spotify playlisters, record labels, and other industry influencers search music discovery websites regularly. Music discovery websites make it easier to capture new fans. Check out sites like Hype Machine, NoiseTrade, SubmitHub, Pitchfork, TopSpin, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and ReverbNation. These sites help connect independent artists with passionate music fans. Some also provide tools and services that help you engage with fans, promote and sell music, view analytics, and more.
Do A Giveaway
Everyone loves getting free stuff! Offer incentives as a referral strategy to reach new fans.
Here are some ideas that will motivate fans to refer their friends to your music:
Offer a free song download in exchange for an email.
Run a ‘Like and Share’ competition on Facebook.
Offer a free download of your album to anyone who shares your music to ten people.
Offer a free song or merch discount to anyone that subscribes to your mailing list.
Giveaway free merch, tickets, or anything else when a fan gets ten people to subscribe to your mailing list.
Embrace Streaming and Playlisting
Getting your music featured on popular Spotify playlists is an effective way to introduce your music to the world. Curated streaming playlists are also how most fans discover new music.
With the right pitch and timing, you can strike gold with a playlist feature.
Collaborate With Other Musicians
Collaborating with other artists exposes you to their fanbase. Tapping into the audience of another artist is a great way to reach new fans and expand your exposure. And if the other artist is well-established in the music scene, then the potential reach is even higher.
Build Relationships with Influencers
This is easier said than done, of course, but as you already know, relationships are everything in the music industry. One tweet from an influencer with a big following could be a game-changer for your music career.
If you’re brand new to the music business and you have zero contacts, try going out to networking events, conferences, or local industry meetups. There are also plenty of online communities and Facebook groups you can join to build up your network, as well as websites like Fluence that give you access to people who can help promote your music to a bigger audience.
Experiment With Facebook Ads
With a little bit of experimentation and the right audience targeting, you can run Facebook ads that reach new music fans very inexpensively and effectively.
Release great music!
When it comes down to it, if your music and shows are anything less than remarkable, you’re going to have a really hard time gaining true fans. Focus tirelessly on building up your brand. If what you’re doing is really unique and amazing to your target audience, you’ll turn them into superfans who will gladly promote you to their friends and followers.
Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media: A Musician’s Guide
When it comes to social media for musicians there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
Successful social media means being smart and knowing how to promote your music right.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, here’s the musician’s Do’s and Don’ts guide to social media. Memorize it and watch the strength of your following grow.
Do: Tell your whole story
Share your life in addition to your music. You can post videos and pictures of your recording, partying, or even eating. Your social media should give your fans a small look into your everyday life. Ensure to post-professional shots of playing and the behind the scenes of making music.
Never spam your audience with hundreds of self-promotion tactics and annoying ‘buy my music’ posts. Talk to other humans online like they are humans. If you wouldn't slap someone across the face with your CD on the street, you probably shouldn't copy and paste the same "CHECK OUT OUR NEW RECORD!"
Every post does not need to be copied to every account. Some posts are better for Twitter. Some posts will do better on Facebook. Interesting photos, new music, and big announcements should be posted across every platform.
Do: Put the ‘Social’ in Social Media
Other musicians aren’t your enemy. They’re part of the community that you’re a part of too.
So follow them and get involved in discussions. It’s a great first step for planning gigs.
If you support musicians in your community, they’ll support you back.
Don’t: Buy followers
Keep your following organic (real human followers who can react to your posts, engage with your brand online, and ultimately will also spend money on your music.)
Sure, having a ton of followers looks good on the surface. But when you post something and your 40,000 “followers” are only giving you two likes, people gonna know what’s up pretty quickly. Buying followers will hurt your brand in the long run. Keep your followers real and protect your brand in every way that you can.
Do: Follow back!
If someone took the time to follow your account, chances are they came across your profile and like your music or brand.
Check out the profiles of those that follow you, and as long as they don’t seem spammy, and funny, follow them back. It’s just good manners.
Don’t: Have a hundred different names
Funny account names are great and cool to be identified. However, if you’re a musician the funny names make you hard to find. If the exact username is taken, then find an account name as close to it as possible.
Do: Link your accounts
If you post to Instagram, share the post on Facebook. If you post to Facebook, link to the post in a tweet. Make sure your fans can find you wherever they are and wherever they want to. It will make your posts count to all of your audiences. Get more exposure by doing less work.
Don’t: let someone else be you
It’s simple: post your own content. You don’t need a social media manager or a PR agent, or anyone else to post for you.
Craft your own posts and be authentic. Make yourself available to your followers. If someone comments on your content, answer them personally.
Being open and approachable means happier followers. Happier followers will be more engaged with what you’re doing.
Do: Spend a little cash on marketing yourself
There are a few ways you can spend a little bit of money to promote yourself.
Boost a post on Facebook, hire a photographer to take some professional shots, or take advantage of music mastering to make your sound stand out on streaming platforms.
Don’t: Forget about your profiles
Successful social media takes time and hard work to maintain. Don’t expect your first post to be completely successful in terms of engagement.
Post often and ensure you monitor all your platforms. Social media platforms aren’t automatic. They require resources that have to be used properly to work. So stay dedicated to your brand for best results.
The best way to build a following
No matter what your social media strategy is the one thing you can always do to keep your following growing:
Make good music every day.
No amount of social media exposure will help if you don’t have good music to share. So push yourself to be better.
Because your biggest fan should be yourself.
Introduction To SEO
Definition: SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as "organic") search engine results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword
How to know you need SEO.
SEO is a complex topic however a very important one and cannot be ignored. Over the next couple of weeks, we shall look into the basics of SEO and try to figure out a way around it.
Combine this information with some practice and you are well on your way to becoming a savvy SEO
Definition of Terms
Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages.
Indexing: The storing and organizing of content found during crawling.
Organic: Earned placement in search results, as opposed to paid advertisements.
SERP: Stands for “search engine results page” — the page you see after conducting a search.
Traffic: Visits to a website.
Backlinks: Or "inbound links" are links from other websites that point to your website.
Engagement: Data that represents how searchers interact with your site from search results.
Keywords: Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about
So the big question, which is: “How can SEO actually help me as a musician?”
Just because certain SEO strategies work for millions of businesses, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for musicians.
Musicians need a unique SEO strategy with its own unique set of tactics. In this article, we’ll define a strategic framework to start from.
The Fan Journey
It all starts with your fans.
For artists, SEO is all about using search engines to help create a positive experience for your fans.
As you build your fan base, your audience will move through some series of steps to reach whatever goal they had in mind. Throughout those steps, they will have experiences online as they engage with your music.
Some of those experiences will involve search engines. So, what we need to do first is understand where search engines get involved.
Let’s break it down by phase.
In marketing, this step is usually called “Awareness” and it’s where SEO comes to play.
Here’s an example: you want to listen to music so you go to Google and type in “free mp3 music”. There, you’ll find Mdundo. Now you’re aware of our company. And that’s very important to us.
Exploration happens after a fan discovers you, likes what they hear, and wants to hear more.
This is where search engines start to really matter for most musicians.
One of the first things they might do is Google your brand name, song name, or lyrics.
It’s your opportunity to show your new fans everything you’ve got. You want to make sure that when they search for your music, you’ve got all the information they need to use.
Help them out by making sure they can easily find things like:
Your website, so they can learn about you
Your social profiles, so they can see what kind of things you say
Music to download/stream, so they can sample your sound and decide whether they like it
Videos and images, so they can get a feel for what you look like
Interviews and reviews, so they can get a sense for who you are and what others say about you
The Purchase phase of the Fan Journey is important for any artist who wants to build a long-lasting career. Like any business, you need to make money to keep going.
Search engines can help you here.
The key is making it quick and easy for fans to spend their money on you when they’re ready. So you want to make sure your fans can easily find the following;
Tour date information and concert tickets
Somewhere to buy your music online
A store to buy physical music formats and merch
Your profile on major streaming services to easily sync your music
In today’s music industry attention spans are short, fans can be disloyal, and there are thousands of talented artists releasing great new music and content. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll keep the attention of your hard-won fans, even after they’ve downloaded your album or gone to your show.
Which makes fan Retention more important than ever.
Things like: signing fans up to your mailing list or growing your audience on social media. Maybe fans follow you on Spotify. That sort of thing helps you with fan Retention.
The Advocacy stage of the Fan Journey is where you’ve already won your fan over to the point where they become a super fan. He or she follows you, and you’ve created some sort of relationship with them. The super fans want to share your music with other people, to help build the movement. They're devoted fans.
Hopefully, you now have an understanding of where you need to start with your SEO.
SEO - Where To Start
Now that we have identified what SEO is and have seen its importance as explained on the fan journey, we need to know where to start.
The word SEO in itself may seem complicated but you will be surprised to find out that it’s more or less having a heavy online presence. In short, it is something you are doing, have already done, or aspiring to do.
What are these things;
Building a website
social media presence
It all begins with the product. In this case, music is your product. Your song or video is a reflection of you as an artist, so it is important to put your best foot forward. Take the time to make sure that you’re completely satisfied with the product you’re releasing. In short, you need good music to turn heads. You cannot sell if your music sucks.
Strategies to make your music sound great
Begin with good writing and structure; Good songwriting skill is the foundation of making your songs sound better. Having a strong hook, catchy lyrics, and a good overall flow makes it easier to make your music memorable, and dare I say even become hit songs. Great songwriters will tell you that getting good at it takes time, even if you’re naturally talented. The important thing is to practice, the more you do it, the better you will get. Luckily, we did a whole theme on songwriting; How to write a song, Song structures, Elements of a song, Collaboration in songwriting
Research Research Research For you to make good music, you must listen to what has already been done and became a huge success. This means listening to songs that have made an impact on the radio and charts - and taking notes.
Collaborate Working with other musicians can open your eyes to new techniques and different ways to make songs. Being in a place where everyone is sharing ideas and feeding off each other’s energies can help to bring about creativity and works that you possibly could never have dreamed up on your own.
Know what you are good at What are you really good at? Knowing what your true talents are will help you to focus on your strengths and become more aware of what you need to double down on or seek help with. For example, you might be a good songwriter and be able to come up with great melodies and hooks, but when it comes on to the technical aspects, such as mixing instruments and production work, your skills might be weak in this area.
Choosing a name
Make it easy for your fans to find you online. Choosing an artist name that is search engine optimized (also known as SEO) can help your career as shown on the fan journey. Unsearchable artist names can hurt sales, reduce concert attendance, and frustrate fans.
And it’s not just major search engines like Google and Bing that you should be concerned about. A poorly chosen artist name can make it hard for fans to find your music on YouTube and your social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Below are some don’ts for choosing an SEO-friendly band name.
Don’t Use Common Names - Common names are as the name suggests are common. Therefore it will be difficult for your name to appear as the first result.
Don’t Get Too Creative with Spelling - Using creative spelling will actually increase your search engine ranking, but only if your fans spell your name correctly. But a problem will definitely occur if people cannot spell your name correctly. Ensure, in as much as you are being creative, the name is still simple to spell.
Don’t Use Special Symbols %@#! - Many special characters will be unrecognized or ignored by search engines. Also, some special characters can be misinterpreted by computer programs as code and it can cause errors. Keep this in mind before you name your band: <Bl@st%>
Don’t Use Other Artists Names - If your artist name is for example “The Katy Perry Experience” you may get some traffic from Katy Perry fans who stumble upon your site, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy your music and there’s always the possibility you may get sued or the world gets tired of Katy Perry.
Create your website:
Your website acts as your one-stop-shop for fans to find everything about you in one place- your music, merch, tour dates, news, contact info, lyrics, and more
Update your site frequently with fresh, fun content; ask yourself what you would like to see from your favorite artist for inspiration, and mix that with keyword research on the terms that are being searched in your genre, your city, your band name, and more.
Host your music strategically:
There are many music hosting sites out there, so make sure you’re putting your music on the sites that are best for your genre and style. Soundcloud, YourListen, and Bandcamp are good starting points. And of course, don’t forget YouTube (even if you don’t have a music video)-YouTube is the second-biggest search engine in the world, after all.
Social media presence:
Create social media accounts for brands and update them regularly, using trending and relevant hashtags to gain followers. Link to and share music that you like as well as your own music, and show off your personality through image-based channels such as Instagram. https://www.mdundoforartists.com/post/building-your-social-media-presence
Get bloggers’ attention:
Music blogs are always looking for the next big thing, so reach out to influential bloggers with your music, your website, and a short bio of yourself and your sound. If you build a relationship with bloggers, you’ll have a reliable channel to promote your music in the future.
SEO: Keywords For Musicians
There is nothing more fundamental to search engines than keywords. Keywords are how humans directly communicate with search engines. It’s important for us to think about keywords first because some keywords get searched more often, or less often, than other keywords. SEO is hard work, and knowing your keywords upfront will help you make the most of it.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for. A keyword is any search term or word entered on Google (or another search engine) that has a results page where websites are listed.
Where are the keywords found?
Keywords are search terms that a website owner will use to optimize a website in the hopes of ranking it at the top of Google’s results. So before going any further, I must emphasize again the importance of having a website.
Why are keywords important?
Keywords are important because your website can show up when people type them into search engines. Keywords are a strategy; they are a way to bring traffic to your website, which in the long run is an investment into your music career.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords for your own website.
It is important to note the following;
- You don’t want to target the most popular keywords because they would be too competitive and expensive to advertise.
- You also don’t want to target keywords that no one is searching for.
How do you find keywords?
The easiest method is to use a keyword research tool. Using the Adwords Keyword Planner tool, let us see how best to make it work.
Step 1: Access the Adwords Keyword Planner
The Adwords Keyword Planner is the keyword tool of choice because it’s the most direct way to access Google's Keyword data.
It’s free, but the catch is that it’s accessible only from within an Adwords account, so you’ll need to take a few minutes to create one.
Once you’re in the Adwords account, go to the “Keyword Planner” from the Tools menu and choose “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
Step 2: Enter Seed Keywords
Your seed keywords are used to grow the list that will become your keyword strategy.
When coming up with seed keywords, you often start with your best guess. Here are some ideas you can use to brainstorm:
‣ Tour dates (such as live tickets, concerts, etc.)
‣ Song lyrics
‣ Specific albums and songs
‣ Wiki and discography (such as bio)
‣ YouTube, Spotify, Mdundo and download to listen - legally or illegally
What are the qualities of keywords?
Search volume: Search volume tells you how many times a keyword is searched on Google. SEMrush measures this metric in average monthly searches by location.
Competition: No matter how good the search volume of a keyword is, you should be aware of the competition. The more popular a keyword is, the more likely there will be tons of websites ranking for the top spot.
Word count: Word count refers to the number of words in the phrase.
Intent:: The intent of a keyword tells you what a searcher is intending to do. It is 2020, and people use search engines for every question and intention under the sun.
How to appear on Google for keywords?
Showing up at the top of Google for a relevant keyword might send a lot of traffic your way, but how do you do that?
There are two ways:
This where you pay Google to show your web page in the results for specific keywords.
For example, if you google SEO training, the results that appear first have been paid for.
Google has a platform where you can choose keywords to bid on. Google then displays your ad in the search results. Every time someone clicks that ad and lands on your website, Google charges you money.
You can tell paid results apart from organic (non-paid) results because they’re marked as ads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages to rank in Google’s organic results. And Google’s job is to rank the best, most relevant results for every search query.
If Google deems your page the “best” result for the right terms, you’ll get a consistent stream of ‘free’ visits to your website.
Key Takeaway: Build Your MasterKeyword List
Now that you know what keyword research is, why it matters, and how to do it, it’s time to research your own keywords.
What you need to do now
Set up your Adwords account to access the Keyword Planner tool,or find another keyword research tool.
Brainstorm seed keywords for your band.
Use tools to find even more seed keyword ideas.
Research your keyword ideas and build your Master Band Keyword List.
Music SEO: Know Your SERPS
SERPS stands for search engine results pages. They are the pages that Google and other search engines show in response to a user’s search query.
If you’re a musician, especially one who cares about your SEO, then SERP is very important to you.
We’re going to delve into what SERPs are, why they are important, and how to get them. The best thing about SERP is that it is easy and practical to do.
When your fans search for you on Google, they can explore your music and content right in search engine results pages (SERP), before they even reach your band website or social profiles.
Doing good music SEO means getting to know what your fans are going to experience in SERPs when they search for you because it’s a direct reflection of your brand.
It is important to note that SEO for musicians is about optimizing your online fan experience when they’re searching for your music and content.
How To Get In The SERPS:
There are a few ways to get into SERP and they include;
- Paid ads
- Organic results
- SERP features
However, this article will mostly focus on SERP features;
SERP features aim to provide information in the search results without the need to click a result. For this reason, SERP features have a significant effect on SEO.
SERP features can be paid, organic, or pulled directly from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
There are many SERP features and Google keeps testing new ones, however, the most relevant to a musician or a band is the Knowledge Panel. Below are some common features that you can look at:
The Knowledge Panels provide information about the main subject of the query. In this case when a fan searches your name. They usually appear near the top of the SERP on mobile, and on the right-hand side on the desktop.
As an example, let’s see what Google gives us when we search for Zardonic
The Zardonic Knowledge Panel comprises of the following;
Images that link to Google Image searches
Artist information that links to Wikipedia
A link to Zardonic’s “official” website
Other Wiki-style information like hometown, genre, band members, etc.
Album list, that links to SERPs for those album names
A list of tour dates, that link to SERPs for those events
Social profile icons that link to those profile pages
Other things you sometimes see, that you don’t see in the example above, are:
A list of songs in the Knowledge Panel
Interviews, reviews, and news (usually for higher-profile artists)
Google decides for itself what to put there (Google Knowledge Graph), based on the information it has available from around the internet. You can, however, influence what’s there by doing good SEO.
Follow normal SEO best practice advice for your music website.
Get as much information out there online about your music as possible - social profiles, reviews, etc.
Optimize your structured data, on and off your music website.
Properly tag your music videos in YouTube, and following normal YouTube video optimization best practices.
Get good digital distribution, so fans can easily find you on their store or streaming service of choice.
Get album reviews on blogs (easier said than done, we know).
You might even want to try adding all of your song lyrics, and their meanings, to the major lyrics websites such as Genius.
It’s worth pointing out that getting a Knowledge Panel for yourself or your band has a lot to do with how well-known you are. If you’re still unknown, you might need to be patient as you build your fan base.
Over the next posts, we’ll dig deeper into the technical details for optimizing your structured data to get the most out of the Knowledge Panel results. We’ll also explain how to optimize your band website, videos, and other SEO best practice.
How To Get A Knowledge Panel
For musicians, one of the most basic SEO achievements you can make is to get a Knowledge Panel to appear when on searches for you.
Why should you care about getting a Knowledge Panel?
Having a Knowledge Panel helps musicians during the Exploration phase of the Fan Journey. It helps people to get to know you and become fans. Even before they click on your website, they can see your photos, bio snippet, and other detailed information.
Remember the example that we used in an earlier post, of a complete-looking Knowledge Panel for Zardonic.
All of this information in the Knowledge Panel comes from Google’s Knowledge Graph, and reflects what Google knows about your brand.
You need to give as much information or in other terms, spoon-feed the Knowledge Graph with knowledge about your brand, in a way that Google can easily understand and organize. The information that appears in your Knowledge Panel depends on the knowledge Google has available about you.
Once you feed Google with that knowledge, it will decide for itself how to display it in search result pages.
The most obvious way to create a presence for your brand in Google is to just tell Google directly. However, doing this alone won't give you a Knowledge Panel, but it's a good place to start.
The first thing you'll need to do is log into your Google account, or create a new one if you don't already have one.
#1: Create a Google Brand Account
The first thing to do is to tell Google that you're an artist. You can do that by creating a Google Brand Account for your brand (band).
#2: Manage your Brand account
Go into your Brand account and add links to all of your profiles around the web, and any other info you can.
#3: Add your Music to Google Play
Uploading your music to Google Play is a simple way to provide Google with more detailed
#4: Register Your Site in Search Console
Finally, you'll want to connect your website
Add your band website to your Search Console and verify it.
Once you've followed these steps, you'll have associated all of this information by connecting it under a single Google account. Google will now know that your brand exists. It will have data about you including your music and other content, as well as your official website.
Create A Wikipedia Entry
If you look at the Knowledge Panels of other artists, you might notice that they usually have a link pointing to the artist’s Wikipedia page, just under their bio near the top. Like this:
Google relies on Wikipedia to show biographical information in the Knowledge Panel. It also helps Google identify you.
Creating a new Wikipedia entry is not that simple, unfortunately. Wikipedia has strict guidelines for approving new entries.
So what you can do now is head over to Wikipedia and create an entry for your brand, Be thorough and follow the best practices advice we’ve provided.
Create a Wikidata.org Entry
It might seem redundant after making a Wikipedia page, but Google gets its Knowledge Graph data from Wikidata as well.
The information you enter into Wikidata is similar to Wikipedia, but it’s more structured. That’s why Google likes it for their Knowledge Graph - it’s easier for a computer to understand.
Go to wikidata.org and do a search to see if you’re already there.
If you are there already, then just edit your entry to add more complete and detailed information. If not, then you’ll need to create a new “item”.
The form will look something like this:
Create a MusicBrainz Entry
MusicBrainz is kind of like the Wikipedia of music.
Google recommends artists add their information to MusicBrainz if they want a Knowledge Panel in their band SERPs. First, check to make sure you’re not already there, and if so just review and edit your entry as needed. If not, then go ahead and add your band’s information.
Add any album and song information you have
Optimize Your Images
The previous steps will cover a lot of the biographical information about your band for the Knowledge Panel. But it’s also nice to have a selection of different images to show fans as well, like this Knowledge Panel for.
First, you have to have enough images of yourself on the internet for Google to use. Make sure you’re putting high-quality promo shots online that actually showcase you - as in, your face (or faces, if you’re a band).
The Takeaway: Introduce Your Music to Google
Getting a Knowledge Panel for your band involves providing Google with the right structured information, in the places where Google specifically looks for that information.
This means that you do the following:
Establish your Google accounts, including adding your music to Google Play
Create a Wikipedia entry
Create a Wikidata entry
Create a MusicBrainz
Optimize your artist images
Make sure all of the information you enter, everywhere, is consistent and as detailed as possible