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Whether you write your own blog or try to get featured on other music blogs, blogging is a key part of your marketing plan. Running your own blog is a great way to connect with your fans. You can show them glimpses into your life and the creation of your music. In essence, it creates a deeper connection with the fans you already have. On the other hand, having your music featured on another blog is a great way to grow your fan base. Bloggers have a strong influence over their reader base. The readers really trust the bloggers thoughts and opinions, so if they say your album is good many will go check you out.

This interview with blogger Tim Board, originally posted on the Cyber PR Blog, has some great insights that you can incorporate into your blog strategy. Tim Board runs the blog Front Range Scribbles where he writes about music in the Colorado area. He also runs Front Range Radio where he plays a lot of the music he highlights on his blog.

 

Here’s a run-down of some of the key take-aways from this interview:

1. Let your blog evolve over time.

What you start out writing about may not be what you end up writing about in a year or so. For example, you could start a musician blog on your website about your day-to-day life thinking fans want to get to know you as a person and find out that what they really want to see is the music. In the end you could be writing about your experience in the studio and the inspiration behind songs.

2. Find your niche.

If you’re writing your own musician blog, figure out what really makes you unique and incorporate that into your writing. Maybe you love working with vintage gear to get your signature sound. You could write blog posts about what to look for when buying vintage gear. When trying to get your music placed on blogs, you need to keep your niche in mind. You could be the best punk band out there and never get placed on a blog dedicated to reviewing folk music no matter how many nice emails you write.

3. Try to form a relationship with bloggers.

Think about how annoyed you would be if people kept sending you in-your-face marketing emails. Instead, try to start a conversation. Send some music and ask for their opinion. It could read something like this: “We’ve been following your blog for a while and see that you have a great ear for folk music. We’re working on a new album and would really appreciate your opinion on our single.”

 

Here’s a short round-up of the interview, but you can see the full interview on the Cyber PR Blog.

Is Front Range Scribbles your first foray into digital media? If so, what was the inspiration? If not, give us your history.

Yes it was. The blog really started out as a test for myself to see if I could just maintain it on a regular basis. The blog in the beginning had no direction it was a hodgepodge of writings, or photos. I would write basically whatever was on my mind that particular day. I then started a show on blogtalkradio featuring music and interviews with local independent artists. It was at that time I decided to change the focus of the blog to just writing about music. Writing about independent artist and their music, combining my blog with my radio show was an easy decision for me.

Front Range Scribbles has a focus on Colorado based independent artists. What are the benefits of focusing on the promotion of local artists?

The biggest benefit is being able to see the local artist perform live and talk with them one on one. A live show give me a chance to hear more from the artist then what they have published on the internet or on a CD. Sometimes the artist will perform songs they are working on that is not available anywhere. An artist from another state or country I can’t see them live or talk with face to face. A phone interview is not the same as a face to face interview.

What do you suggest to an independent artist looking for blogs to connect with for the first time?

The internet is full of bloggers writing about music. Look at websites or social media sites of other artist you perform with or know and see if any articles have been written about them and by who. Look at sites such as ‘Indie Bus” once again see who is writing articles about various artists. Once you find some bloggers, get a feel for what the blogger writes about, genre, geographical artists etc. If you do contact a blogger, try starting a relationship first, don’t just email the blogger and say hey write about me or about my single/CD. If a blogger does write an article than watch for comments and respond. The readers will enjoy seeing comments from the artist.

How do you prefer artists approach you who are interested in blog promotion or partnering with you in any way?

The easiest way is to send an email to tim [AT] frontrangeradio DOT net

Where can people find you online?

My website is www.frontrangeradio.net, my blog site is www.frontrangescribbles.com, and my weekly radio show can be heard Sunday nights 9pm Eastern on www.party934.com

 

What’s your blog strategy?

Has your music ever been featured on a blog?

Share in the comment section below!

If you are young and use the Internet, you know more about your audience than [labels] do – for sure. This is a revolution and you can be a part of it. The old guard is dying; if you have good ideas – try them. (Trent Reznor, via the 9 Inch Nails Forum) Unfortunately talent is only part of the equation these days. Succeeding as a musician in a multi-media world requires you to understand marketing. Savvy self-promotion means the difference between empty gigs and heaving ones, between your latest tune reaching the ears of a key decision maker or languishing in the echoes of your bedroom. Traditionally, musicians have kept to the ‘creative’ corner of the room, factoring marketing and PR as the realm of the business world, and hence nothing to do with ‘what I do.’ Those days are long gone. Unless you’re one of the lucky and incredibly rare ones talent spotted before you’ve had time to think, it’s up to you to learn some new skills and put yourself out there. It’s an investment in your career which may take you outside your comfort zone, but might just get you where you need to be. Twitter With its 500 million registered users, including most of the key decision makers of the music industry, Twitter is a potential gold mine for up and coming bands. After setting yourself up a stylish and well composed account, start by investigating some of the key bands in your particular niche. Are these guys using Twitter successfully?, if so see who their friends are and follow them! Then move on to the labels which sign your kind of music, the venues, promoters and so forth. Twitter’s total transparency allows you to listen in real time to the key industry figures, and learn from their success. When it comes to tweeting, less is certainly more. 140 characters on why your band is great won’t rock anyone’s world, rather concentrate on developing a persona: be witty, creative, share helpful links. And from time to time, but no more than that, a link to one of your best tunes might just build your fan base. Remember, an effective Twitter account, highly targeted to your niche, is going to be a long term investment. Once it’s working you can use it to pack out your gigs, sell albums and merchandise, and generally build yourself as a brand. But in a world of that many Twitter accounts, you’ll need to be smart and savvy to stand out from the crowd. Blogging Pete Townsend, David Byrne and Brian May are just some of the many legendary musicians who blog. Blogs can offer a highly personal online diary of what you and your band are up to which is another great way to build an audience. Although the web exists in cyberspace, its emotionally driven and, as such people look for content which engages them on a felt level. Include mp3’s of your rehearsals, links to interviews, polaroids of the diner you stopped off at on your way through Arkansas. Tell stories which communicate what you’re about, and always respond to comments. Your website itself sits at the top of a pyramid, with your social media accounts at a level below. Above all, try to generate the best content you can: quirky and hilarious always finds an audience, as does moving and thought-provoking. Blogging is about connection and, when that’s established, the commercial side of things will run itself. Instagram Still one of the fastest growing social networks, Instagram has found its niche with a young mobile audience interested in sharing images and video. The Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Bon Iver are just of the legends using Instagram to great effect, offering quotes, setlists and insight, behind the scenes shots and humour, all to powerful effect. Images are the basic medium here, though video is allowed, so use your phone to capture moments which are going to resonate. Soup them up a little using programs like Camera + or Big Lens, which offer a host of cool filters and effects to make your footage stand out. Finally, following the example of Deftones, use competitions to maximum effect. With their 43,000 followers, Deftones use Instagram dynamically, offering rewards to fans who submit photos from some of their gigs, then showcasing the winners on the bands social media platforms. They even offered a signed guitar, as an incentive to get people involved. This kind of activity would have been unthinkable to a band in the 1960’s but is now a classic example of how a proactive and intelligent social media approach can propel a band further into the spotlight. Email If you’ve got a site, you need a sign up box on the homepage for fans who want to keep in touch with your output. This email database will end up being one of the biggest assets in your marketing arsenal, and certainly the most profitable. To understand the sheer power of email, you could do a lot worse than learning from the unlikely marketing guru of Trent Reznor from the 9 Inch Nails. Trent has written extensively about this on the Nails forum here pointing out how even the bosses of a big label won’t be nearly as concerned about the longevity of a band as the musicians themselves. He suggests embracing new media, such as email marketing, to take control of your own outreach. Trent, as well as bands like Coldplay, give away free albums on their sites in return for bands email addresses, thus bypassing major label distribution entirely. With Music City networks estimating the fiscal value of an email ID for bands as $111 annually, it’s not difficult to see that this kind of exchange ends up brilliant direct marketing, in which returns can go straight into your pocket. Remember to push your website at every gig and interview, and to then incentivise fans to sign up via prizes and rewards. Many people find http://bandcamp.com/ is a useful tool to build their lists: this site allows fans to download your music for free, as long as they give over their email ID. Definitely worth a shot. Jane McInness blogs about the music industry, as well as writing for the great Imagem Production Music blog here.

Get Busy Committee

Get Busy Committee

My friend Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin has started to co-manage the band “Get Busy Committee“.  He has begun to blog about ALL the activities that an artist manager needs to drive their band to success.  It is a fascinating read and a real world education on how to take a band to market in the new music business.  This is going to be really fun to watch as Ian lays out step by step what he is doing to break this band and “get busy” in the marketplace.

To bring a band to market in today’s indie music market is a hell of a lot of work.  You need to be an entrepreneur and you need to build a team of people to help you market, package, promote, distribute, brainstorm, license, and develop a successful artist.  Ian is taking the indie artist management route described at Music Power Network.

Here are some excerpts from his blog.  Required reading for the indie artist and manager today:

The first thing we did was define success: as I mentioned earlier, the goal is to get this music to as many people as possible, connect directly with the ones who like it, build products those people want to own, and turn a profit. Sure it would be great to make enough money that Get Busy Committee could be their primary income, but we definitely aren’t starting with the “if we don’t get a song on a radio this is a failure” mentality. We are starting at zero. The goal is to grow every single week and not lose money.

We started by putting together a release plan. I opened a Google Doc and started dropping ideas and info into it, and encouraged others to do the same. We needed a team, so we started assembling the roster of people, services, and tools which would help us get this record out the door:

Building a Team

Press Relations and Marketing
Creative Direction
Web site design and development
Digital distribution
Physical Distribution
Non-traditional physical manufacturing
Performing rights organizations
Legal

While getting the album to iTunes is the main thrust for a lot of artists, it’s only part of the story (and a very small part so far) for us. We’ve been preparing for this release for months, started selling the album in six different package two weeks ago, are selling the album for $1 on MySpace all weekend, and much more.

Web Site

The object was to make the site:

Home base. The top SEO result for “Get Busy Committee” and anything else related to the band.

Vibrant. It should update with the latest information about Get Busy Committee with very little effort, from a variety of sources. Furthermore, we weren’t going to spend time or money building any of these tools from scratch. We integrated WordPress and Twitter to make sure it was easy to update with long or short-form updates (respectively) easily.

A fan acquisition tool. The site should be sticky like fly-paper. If you visit the site you should have an incentive to leave behind your email address, follow GBC on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, a friend on MySpace, friend on Flickr, subscriber on YouTube, or subscribe via RSS. We may only get one chance to make a connection with you. We don’t want you to bounce in and bounce out without granting us permission to reach out to you later with an update.

A tool for fans to create other fans. Every page of the site is instrumented with simple ways to share on Facebook and Twitter, and feedback for having done so either in the form of a counter or free music for having done so. We want it to not only be easy to spread the word but for you to be recognized for having done so.

A place to convert at whatever level of fan you happen to be. Never heard of Get Busy Committee? No problem, you can stream the record or download a few songs for free. Super fan? How about the T-Shirt/USB Flash Drive combo for $55? Somewhere in between? No worries. We have something for you.

Useful. If you’re a college radio DJ who needs a clean version to play on your show or a beatmeister who wants an acapella to remix that should be easy to find. If you’re a blogger writing about the band there should be, even if it’s not linked from the front page. Anything you email to people regularly should be on the site and easily linked to.

Read much, much more about marketing, pricing, making connections, creating awareness and all the things a smart artist manager needs to know.  Brilliant!

Thanks Ian.

Here is a comprehensive map of sites driving the future of social media. From Overdrive Interactive, an online marketing services firm that really gets it. Enjoy and proliferate.