The first couple of weeks of a new year are generally the time when you start to think about how to do things differently (and more effectively) so in this post I thought I’d share some resolutions to help you kick-start your music career in 2019.
1. Put the music first
Being a musician these days seems to involve dividing your time between making music and nattering about it with your fan(s) on Facebook and other social networks.
This year, maybe consider putting Facebook and Twitter aside, and putting the music first. By all means keep your social media profiles relatively up to date – but not at the expense of producing great music.
Lock yourself in a room with a musical instrument (but not your smartphone) until you are 100% satisfied that you have some great songs really worth talking about.
Then, and only then, go out and talk about them.
2. Improve your website
Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on are all helpful in spreading the word about your music, but nothing beats a good website.
By having a strong site, you’ll ensure that
you get a truly professional and distinct online presence
your act is easier to find when people search for your act (a website gives you much more control over search engine optimisation than a social media profile)
you obtain ultimate flexibility and control over how you present your band to the world.
To really understand why a band website is so important, I recommend reading this great article by Make it in Music on why music sites matter, as well as Prescription’s key tips for building a great band website.
3. Capture more email addresses
it allows you to communicate direct to fans
you, not a social networking company, own the data.
Having this direct link to your fans allows you to maximise music sales and gig attendance.
Whilst it’s nice to have large Facebook fan / Twitter follower counts, don’t forget that people will only see your messages if an algorithm lets them and, crucially, if the social network continues to be successful.
You only have to think of how much effort bands put into adding Myspace friends in the mid-naughties, and how useless that effort all seems now, to understand why having a large database of email addresses is important.
4. improve your online reputation
The internet is rightly seen as the key place where artists forge relationships with fans – but it’s also a place where it’s easy to come across as a highly annoying individual or act.
It’s just too tempting to regularly spout inanities or post ‘buy me’ links every five minutes on Facebook and Twitter.
This year, make a resolution to stop bludgeoning your friends, family members and fans with too many messages about your music (or what the band had for lunch) and only post content about your music that matters.
5. Take your image seriously
Too many artists obsess over whether their album sounds like it was recorded on a big reel of tape in the 1970s and mixed on a consule packed full of valves – only to forget that sadly, in addition to sounding cool, you’ve got to look cool too…
6. Blog (And not just about your band)
One of the best ways to generate traffic to a website is to ensure it is packed full of content that people want to read.
And the easiest way to arrive at that happy situation is by blogging about interesting stuff – according to research by inbound marketing agency Hubspot, site owners that blog regularly receive around 55% more hits to their site than those that don't.
Every hit to your site is a chance for you to expose somebody to your music, or capture their email address. The key thing is this: don’t make your blog all about you – write about stuff that people are already searching about. For a band website, you might consider writing about acts that influenced you; recording equipment; a particular gig and so on.
7. Manage your time wisely
If you’re anything like me, you’re juggling a job, a music career, a baby and a cat.
And it’s tough, with music-making and music promo often taking a back seat. But there are strategies that can help you make the most of your time to make the most of your music – find out about time-saving tips for musicians here.
8. Think creatively about music promotion
There are many ways to skin a cat, as a record store owner I once worked for said about a very unfortunate cat.
So instead of taking the bog-standard approach of putting your album up on iTunes and hoping against hope that somebody actually buys it, why not take some time to dream up some interesting ways to fund and release it?
9. Manage that project!
You have a home studio. You have 10 songs. You are making an album. You are going to upload it somewhere. People will buy or stream it in droves. Simple, yes?
Well actually, no. Despite a plethora of self-promotion and self-distribution options now being available, releasing an album is actually a deceptively difficult business, and if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
As such, we suggest that you make this the year that you take a bit of notice of project planning. Recently we put a guide together on how to create a really great project plan for an album release using post-it notes — it’s well worth a read.
We’d also suggest that if you’re going to self-release an album this year that you check out our checklist of the key things you must do when releasing an album independently.
10. Don’t forget the professionals…
In a music industry where DIY production and promotion is increasingly the norm, it’s easy to think that you can do everything yourself, from music photography, to band website design to music PR. But sometimes it really helps to get somebody experienced on board. An outside eye can deliver objectivity, free up time and ultimately deliver more professional results.
So if you’re planning on releasing something this year, do get in touch for a conversation about how we can help.
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