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Getting Heard Online

Setting up your website, social media, and more

· Music Business

This article is an excerpt from How To Get Started As A Singer-Songwriter, which available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle).

Setting up an online presence is ESSENTIAL to being a singer-songwriter these days. The internet is an invaluable resource in reaching new fans and establishing yourself as a serious performer, so you need to take advantage of that!

Here are the 4 most important components of setting up and maintaining a solid online presence:

Your Website

This one is SO important. Your website is your home. It’s the online real estate that YOU control. Every other social media platform or indie-band-site you're on should link back to your website.

 

Your website is where you establish your branding and your identity and where you can direct your fans exactly where you want them. (Have a tour coming up? Put that baby front and center on your website homepage so your fans can't miss it!)

 

To set up your website, you’ll need two different things: hosting and a domain.

 

The domain is the url your site is going to live at (aka http://katielott.com ) They’re fairly inexpensive, usually under $15/year. I get mine from 1and1.com. I know godaddy.com is another popular one. Try to get either yourname.com or yournamemusic.com.

 

Then you’ll need to connect that domain to a hosting platform (this usually includes a website builder). I’d recommend using a website building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Hostbaby when you’re first getting started. These are a little more pricey, so you may want to shop around and try to find some deals.

 

Start small – make a simple one-page website with an email opt-in (aka “Sign up for email updates!” or “Join my email newsletter!”). Then start adding pages one at a time. Trust me, it’ll be WAY less overwhelming if you do it in baby steps!

 

Eventually you’ll want to add the following pages:

  • About page: Include a bio and a picture.
  • Music: Links to stream and download your music
  • Shows: A list of when/where your fans can see you live!
  • Photos: If you just want to show off your beautiful face J
  • Store: If you want to sell your music on your own website (More about that in LINK)
  • Contact: This one’s important! Put an email so press/bookers can reach you!
  • Press Kit: It’s up to you if you want to link to your press kit on your main menu. I prefer to have it as a hidden link that I send individually to venue bookers. I’ve also seen artists link to the press kit in their "contact" page, which I love.

Take a look at some websites (both mainstream artists and smaller indie artists) and see how they are formatting things. You’ll start to notice patterns and trends. For example, “about” is typically the first page in the menu, and “contact” is usually the last.

 

TIP: Make the navigation as clear as possible. Make sure the menu bar is easy to find and each page is labeled clearly - this is not the time for cutesy puns!

This one is SO important. Your website is your home. It’s the online real estate that YOU control. Every other social media platform or indie-band-site you're on should link back to your website.

Your website is where you establish your branding and your identity and where you can direct your fans exactly where you want them. (Have a tour coming up? Put that baby front and center on your website homepage so your fans can't miss it!)

To set up your website, you’ll need two different things: hosting and a domain.

The domain is the url your site is going to live at (aka http://katielott.com) They’re fairly inexpensive, usually under $15/year. I get mine from 1and1.com. I know godaddy.com is another popular one. Try to get either yourname.com or yournamemusic.com.

Then you’ll need to connect that domain to a hosting platform (this usually includes a website builder). I’d recommend using a website building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Hostbaby when you’re first getting started. These are a little more pricey, so you may want to shop around and try to find some deals.

Start small – make a simple one-page website with an email opt-in (aka “Sign up for email updates!” or “Join my email newsletter!”). Then start adding pages one at a time. Trust me, it’ll be WAY less overwhelming if you do it in baby steps!

Your Email List

Any internet marketer will tell you building an email list is the BEST thing you can do to grow your community and increase your sales.

Get an email list platform. If you have a Wix site, they have a built-in email newsletter system you can use. Mailchimp is another popular one, which is free for the first 2000 subscribers.

Get susbscribers. Your website should be encouraging your site visitors to sign up for your email list. You should be encouraging them on social media to join your email list. You should be encouraging fans at your live shows to join your email list.

Try offering a freebie (a free EP or single) to get people to sign up. You can also give it a fancy name - like the "V.I.P. Club" and promise the exclusive content and freebies throughout the year.

Send emails. I’d recommend emailing your list at least once a month. Just keep them updated on shows you’re playing, and new releases, etc.

Make your emails personal, like you’re emailing a friend (as opposed to a fancy-shmancy newsletter format.) Remember the goal is to build connection with your fans, not impress them with how beautiful and professional you are.

Social Media

My MAIN tip for social media is this: Engage. Inspire. Be real. And only “sell” or promote yourself 20% of the time. That percentage doens't have to be exact, but the main idea is that you’re giving more than you’re asking. No one wants to follow an account that is constantly selling to them.

Don’t feel like you need to be everywhere, either. Start with a facebook fan page. Then add maybe twitter or instagram. It’s better to have a few accounts with consistent, engaging posts, than 20 “dead” social media accounts that you barely post to cause you can’t keep up with them all.

TIP: Try to make all your social media handles match. For example, mine are all katielottmusic.

All those indie band sites

Reverbnation. Feel free to set up a free reverbnation profile, but don’t expect it to do much for your music career. And don’t pay for any of the “paid” services they offer, because most of them are there to rip off artists. Pet peeve: don't let reverbnation post to any of your social media accounts for you - it comes across as very spammy.

Sonicbids. Sonicbids is a platform where artists set up an EPK and apply for opportunities (gigs, festivals, press, etc.) for a monthly fee. Feel free to try it out, but don’t expect too much to come of it.

Bandcamp. Bandcamp is basically a indie music store to sell your music from. Most artist use it because they get a higher percentage than selling your music on iTunes. But in my opinion, if you’re going to ask your fans to deviate from their usual music-purchasing platform, why not ask them to buy directly from your website, where you get 100% of the sales?

Soundcloud. Okay this one is technically a social media platform, but I’m putting it here anyways. I definitely recommend uploading all your tracks to soundcloud because of the embedding capability. If you're putting streaming music on your "music" page, it's a good idea to embed soundcloud tracks on your website (to gain likes and followers) as opposed to using a built-in streaming function of your website. Also, if you get featured on a blog, they will most likely want to embed your soundcloud links, so it’s important to have that set up.

It really doesn't hurt to try out these "indie" sites, but just remember: your website, mailing list, and your personal connection with your fans through social media should be your priority.

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