• Managing Your Band’s Website

    An unsigned band’s website is not quite like a standard small business website where its main keywords are products or services and is the first point of contact for a customer. The band’s main keyword is usually their name and the band’s website is often the second point of contact for the fan, the first point of contact might be a flyer.The differences between a small business website and an unsigned band’s website, highlights the need for an additional promotional effort on behalf of the unsigned band.

    1. Check your site for optimization: Loads fast, looks good, all links work, is useful, is interesting, has purpose, stands out, is interactive, offers easy mailing list sign-up, has a clear privacy policy, CDs are easy to buy/download, has updated newsletters, and has clear navigation.

    2. Your URL should be the band’s name or at least relevant to the band.

    3. Does your HTML coding contain a <DOCTYPE>, <title>, <description>, <keywords>, <content-type>, and <author> META Tag?

    Sarge Tip

    Keep it simple, Stupid! Get rid of: Microsoft’s smart quotes, frames and bollocks JavaScript, loose ampersands and double quotes.

    4. Make sure everything is up to date. Regularly update any news, pictures, show dates, and other changing information on your page.

    5. Make sure spelling and grammar is correct throughout page.

    6. Keep things interesting and appropriate for the audience you are reaching out to with your site.

    7. Create a clear security privacy policy. It’s a revenue helper.

    8. Make sure your site is easily found on top search engines.

    9. Your site should give a special access to your fans that social media sites don’t do. You should have a bio, band updates, mailing list sign-up, song streaming/downloading, calendar with upcoming shows, pictures/videos, merch ordering, etc.

    Sarge Tip

    All downloads, streaming, and online shopping should be as easy and user-friendly as possible for those visiting your site.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Top 5 Social Media Sites

     

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention In this day in age of ever-expanding social media, many sites seem to gain popularity at an exponential rate, and then become unpopular just as fast. It’s hard to keep up with what your fans might be using to keep updated on their favorite bands. Below, is a list of some of the top most popular sites with a little description and tips for each.

    1. Facebook – Currently commands the lead of popularity with with 900,000,000 monthly active users, you can create a artist/band page that tracks your popularity progress and gives you the option to buy add space to help get the word out about your project. Unfortunately, with growing restrictions and reduction of the view ability of your posts by users, facebook’s trendiness is on the decline.

    2. Twitter – The second most popular site with 310,000,000 monthly active users. It is a simplified version of social media that limits your message (or “tweet”) to 140 characters or less making for a rapid and strait-to-the-point form of communication.

    3. LinkedIn – This site holds the third most popular with 250,000,000 active users. Originally created as a professional networking site, it is very business oriented. It can be a great tool for musicians and those seeking to connect with industry professionals. 

    4. Pinterest – Next on the list with 150,000,000 active users, Pinterest is a more “artsy” kind of social media where you can share collections of ideas through visual bookmarks (or “boards”). Bands can take advantage of this site by helping brand themselves, their merch, and creating funny GIFs that can be shared.

    5. Google Plus+ – Finally, with 120,000,000 active users, Google+ is self described as a “social-layer” that is not simply just another social networking site, but a authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its user. Google+ can be useful to your project because it can organize your following very thoroughly as well as allowing you to live chat with members of your fan base.

    Runner-up sites: There are many other sites out there that can help get the word out to masses of people all around the world. Make sure you take full advantage of what social media has to offer. Some other popular sites are Instagram, Tumblr, and Myspace


    Sarge Tip

    Want to secure your brand on the internet? Check out www.knowem.com. This site allows you to search over 500 popular social media networks, over 150 domain names, and the entire USPTO database to check for the use of your brand, product, or name.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Gig Bag Checklist

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention How frustrating is it to get to a big show and then realize that you forgot to bring an essential item you need? It happens all the time with bands on the road. Below is a list of items that you should bring along with you that can help you get through any venture away from home. Fell free to print this so you can check off the items as you build your own gig bag. Don’t forget: its better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    - AAA card (or some kind of road-side assistance information)

    - Batteries

    - Credit Card(s)

    - ID (always) and Passport (if traveling outside the U.S.)

    - Phone number of a friend in the city you are in

    - Gas money

    - Altoids

    - Hand sanitizer

    - Sweat-proof sunscreen and lip balm.

    - Grooming items (include deodorant, toothbrush/paste/mouthwash)

    - Condoms (if you’re going to play, play nice)

    - Extra change of clothes in case you get stuck somewhere and need to stay overnight.

    - Natural baby wipes (great for makeup removal, freshening up, and removing stains from clothing)

    - Lint roller

    - Safety pins

    - A few paperclips of various sizes (you’d be amazed what you can clean or repair with a bent paperclip)

    - A few protein bars (Power Bar, Soy Joy, etc.)

    - Watch/travel clock

    Sarge Tip

    Keep your ID, wallet, cash, etc. on you at all times.

     

    Below are more items for individual members of your band:

     

    Sales/Promo/Business Items- CDs- Promo items- Mailing lists- Merchandise- Sharpies

    - Business cards

    - Performance Rights Affiliation Card

    - Cell phone (please turn to silent during the show!)

    - Makeup

    - Hair products

    - Directions to the venue

    - Name and number of venue contact

    - Duct tape and/or Gaffers Tape

    - Itinerary/Tour Book/Call Sheet

    - The show file, containing your copy of the contract

    - Important phone numbers

    - Laptop accessories (if applicable)

    - Set lists

    - Wallet or vinyl zip ouch to keep receipts in

    Acoustic Guitar- Capo- Cloth- Finger-ease, if you use it- Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Pickup- Slide

    - Strap

    - Tuning pegs/keys

    - Wood conditioner

    Drums- Adjunct rack percussion items- Carpet or blanket.- Drum key- Fingerless gloves or stick grips

    -Kick drum pillow or blanket or dampener item-Kick pedal

    -Tone control rings

    -Your drum throne

    -Your own cymbals

    -Your own high hat and clutch

    -Your own snare

    -Your own sticks and brushes (plus extras)

     

     

    Electric Guitar-Capo-Cloth-Effects Pedals (neat and readily daisy-chained)-Extra strings

    -Finger

    -ease, if you use it

    -Picks (lots of ‘em)

    -Slide

    -Strap

    -Tuning pegs

    -Wood conditioner

    -Your amplifier

     

    Electric Bass Guitar- Bass head and cabinet- Effects pedals- Extra strings- Strap

    - Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Tuning pegs

     

     

    Horns/Brass- All the pieces of your horn- Clip-on mics- Clip-on sound reflectors

    - Cloth to clear out spit valves

    -Mouthpieces

    -Music stand clip-on light

    -Music stand or clip-on chart cards

    -Mutes

    -Polish

    -Spare valve pads

    -Strap/Harness

    Keyboards- Digital in/out box- Keyboard stands- Laptop rig and appropriate connectors

    - Sample bank and appropriate connectors

    - Sound module

    - Sustain pedal

    Saxophones/Woodwinds- Cleaning cloths- Clip on Mics- Mouthpiece- Reeds

    - Saxophone strap/baritone harness

     

    Strings- Bow resin- Cables if using acoustic/electric- Clip-on music stand light

    - Cloth

    - Music Stand

    - Pickup

    - Your bow

    Voice- A water clip and sheet music clip accessory for the mic stand.- Lozenges, Throat Coat tea, or other vocal care product- Microphone and cable- Personal in-ear monitor

    - Personal steamer / pocket sauna

    - Water (not cold – lukewarm is best)

    - Honey


    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Wardrobe Tips

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention Got a big gig coming up? Planning on throwing on your favorite outfit complete with all the little accessories that identify your personality and make you unique as a person? Well, before you make a final decision on your attire, maybe you should keep the below tips in mind:

    1. Test drive new clothes with the shoes you’ll be wearing. Stretch, crouch, stand, sit, cross your legs, bend over, and jump up and down.

    Sarge Tip

    If you have to tug at your clothing to put it back in place or make it more comfortable, it’s the wrong outfit.

    2. Keep it non-constrictive. If you can’t breathe, you can’t sing.

    3. Always try clothing on with the undergarments you’ll be wearing onstage (highly recommended, even if you usually go commando).

    4. If you sweat profusely during your performance or utilize any other type of messy fluids (fake blood, paints, etc.), consider bringing an extra outfit to change into so you can meet and greet your fans after the performance.

    5. Short skirts and elevated stages don’t mix, unless you’re actually trying to give the people in the first 2 rows an extra show. Test this with the shoes you’ll be wearing onstage–higher shoes can make it worse.

    6. Choose clothing that has good “memory” after it stretches. Stretched-out clothing is an invitation to disaster.

    7. Beware of cheap dyes that run when you sweat. Navy blue, red, and black are often the worst offenders.

    Sarge Tip

    If you wear dark clothing, travel with a sticky lint roller and use it right before you step out onstage.

    8. Double spaghetti straps or ties are safer than single strands. Double hooks on halter necklines are also safer.

    Sarge Tip

    Have a brutally honest friend with a critical eye look for potential problems with your wardrobe choice.

    9. Be aware of T-shits that contain offensive words or images on them (unless you’re going for that). This is especially true at “all-ages” shows.

    10. Consider a choreographed theme for your band to stand out. Wear similar colors or accessories so it looks like all your members are actually apart of the same band. Costumes always turns heads.

    Sarge Tip

    Don’t wear your own band T-shirts you egomaniac! Have your eye candy of a merch girl/guy do that for you!

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Write A Press Release

    Press releases are an important part of corresponding with your audience. They provide an informational and informal advertisement of your product. Written correctly, press releases advertise to your audience without being dubbed as an advertisement.

    1. Use a document editor (Microsoft Word or equivalent).

    2. Create a headline for your press release. These headlines should be short and catchy while explaining why the reader should read your release.

    3. Explain the 5 “W’s” (Who, What, When, Where and Why). Include details such as address, age limit, special guest appearances, parking information, drink specials, sponsors of the event and the name of other bands performing.

    4. Keep it clear and concise. Hit key points, but don’t over do it. Generally, around 300 words should do the trick.

    5. CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR! – If you’re not a good writer, find someone who is.

    Sarge Tip

    Always provide the date of the event on your press release. Many people will spend most of their time making it sound nice and eloquent, but forget the main goal: to inform your audience on the happenings of your brand.

    6. Release to press outlets. Some good ones to reach out to would be your local college radio stations, online radio, weekly magazines and online blogs.

    7. Create incentives for the press. Free entry, press passes and special VIP privilages are great ways to motivate the press to show up to your event. 

    Compiled by Monty Burton

  • Build An Email List

    Email blasts can be a very valuable tool that a band/artist can use to keep their fans updated with pertinent information such as upcoming shows, promotions, or just to say “hey.” But how do you begin to gather these email addresses in the first place? Have no fear! There are a ton of ways! Below are 27 easy tips you can use to grab this marketing info.

    1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.

    2. Tradeshows – Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.

    3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.

    4.  Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.

    5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.

    6. Host your own event – Art galleries, retail shops, consultants (lunch & learn) can all host an event or party and request attendees to sign up.

    7. Offer a birthday club where you give something special to people who sign up.

    8. Incentivize your employees and street team – Give them $ for collecting VALID email addresses.

    9. Giving something for free like a song download. Make visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.

    10. Referrals – Ask you customers and fans to refer you, and in exchange you’ll give them a discount or incentive.

    11. Bouncebacks – Get them back! – Send a postcard or call them asking for their updated email address.

    12. Trade newsletter space with a neighboring business or bands, include a link for their opt-in form and ask them to include yours in their newsletter.

    13. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Make sure you optimize your site for your keywords. You need to be at the top of the natural search when people are looking for your products or services.

    14. Giveaways – Send people something physical and ask for their email address as well as their postal address.

    15. Do you have a postal list without emails? Send them a direct mail offer they can only get if they sign up to your email list.

    16. Include opt-in forms on every page on your site.

    17. Popup windows – When someone attempts to leave your site, pop up a window and ask for the email address.

    18. Include a forward-to-a-friend link in your emails just in case your recipient wants to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting.

    19. Include a forward-to-a-friend on every page of your site.

    20. Offer a community – Use social media platforms to host them.

    21. Offer “Email only” discounts and don’t use those offers anywhere but email.

    22. Telemarketing and phone networking – If you’ve got people on the phone, don’t hang up until you ask if you can add them to your newsletter.

    23. Put a fishbowl on your merch booth or the local music store and do a weekly prize giveaway of your product – then announce it to your newsletter. Add everyone who put their card in on to your newsletter list.

    24. Include an opt-in form inside your emails for those people who get your email forwarded to them.

    25. Use Facebook – Host your own group and invite people to it, then post new links often. From time to time, post a link to sign up for your newsletter.

    26. Use Facebook and Twitter – Post the hosted link from your newsletter into Linked Items to spread the word.

    27. Use Facebook – Include an opt-in form on your Facebook Fan page.

    Sarge Tip

    For a great email marketing tool, check out MailChimp.com.

    Now get out there and make some connections!

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin