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The Digital Marketing Mixtape: Strategies for Musicians

The Digital Marketing Mixtape: Strategies for Musicians (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do you remember that one time when Beyoncé skipped the hype and dropped an entire album, complete with 17 flawless music videos and some deeply personal songwriting, all in one night? Do you remember how it broke all sorts of records and completely changed the music industry?

Yeah, we do, too.

For most musicians, however, defying the laws of digital marketing isn’t an option. It’s a sad truth, but there is only one Beyoncé. Most musicians have to engage with the internet and promote their music with certain strategies that aren’t exclusive to any given genre. Like a piece of well-composed music, the beats, notes, and dynamics of a successful marketing campaign have to come together deliberately. Here’s an introduction to digital marketing for musicians:

“What’s In a Name?”

If you’re still in the phase of naming your act, it’s wise to consider SEO as you brainstorm. Choose something that isn’t too familiar with another phrase or wording, as language with double-meanings can disrupt SEO and cause followers to get lost on their searches for your group.

If you already have an act named after something or a one-word concept, make sure that your web presence distinguishes you from other meanings (i.e. “Chicago (Band),” “Deer Tick (Band)”, etc.).

“Do You Have a Website?”

You’re bound to get this question from admiring fans, and it’s one that you should be able to answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!” Make some serious considerations when designing your website

You're going to be tempted to build your own site. You're an artist, after all. There are a handful of really good reasons not to use a Free Website Builder. If you have the chops to go it alone, go for it. That said, it might be worth a conversation with a company like Geek Chicago as a part of your early process. 

Pick a domain name that represents your band name well. Try to get as close to “[yourbandname].com” as you possibly can.

Use meta tags to your advantage by implementing your band’s name and keywords into these elements. You can get a better feel for what words are being used to discuss your genre by doing some keyword research and figuring out which terms are being searched with similar acts and sounds.

Optimize your website’s images with alt text, a few words or phrases that can be inserted into coding.

Make sure that your site looks great on mobile devices.

And, of course, update your site regularly. Post what you’d like to see from your favorite artist, while linking to bands that inspire you or those joining you on an upcoming tour. Maybe even make a newsletter!

Your website is the central nervous system for your entire brand, so make sure that you bring in copy elements like lyrics, news, personal blogs, and music video transcriptions to optimize your content.

“Where Can I Find Your Stuff?”

Hosting music is a great way to network your band while allowing audiences to purchase and listen to your tunes.

Soundcloud lets users search by tags, share with groups, and create playlists, so - again - having a solid grasp of your genre and its language is important. But, if you’re still getting used to a new sound or genre, check out Yourlisten to find new content and artists to respond to in your work. And, when you’re ready to push the final product, Bandcamp is a platform popular for groups looking to launch full releases and sell music easily.

Youtube can also be a useful resource for musicians looking for build some publicity. The SEO for Youtube takes into account several different elements, including likes and dislikes, comments, and audience retention. Bring in your audience by writing up rich music video descriptions and building video playlists to keep them hooked!

“Can I Follow You?”

Typically, this question would be a little creepy, but, when it comes to musicians building a social media presence, having people follow you is part of the gig.

Hashtags are a great way to employ keyword research while bringing in organic traffic. You can also show the personality of the music through a solid and evolving Instagram presence. Who wouldn’t want to see backstage photos of their favorite group or ‘teaser’ images of a group in the recording studio?

Social media is also a great way to offer free music downloads and build an audience.

“Who Are You, Anyway?”

Famous groups become synonymous with their places of origin - Nirvana is to Seattle as Conor Oberst is to Omaha. Localizing your act and becoming familiar with its blogging scene can increase your traffic simply through linking third-party reviews and naming show locations within your content. Remember where you come from, even when you hit the big-time. It’s good for SEO.

Sound a Little Time-Consuming?

You might have just as many hours in a day as Beyoncé, but you’ve also got music to make! This is where the Geek Chicago team would love to step in and help you create a digital marketing strategy. Drop us a line!

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).