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« The Facebook Dilemma: "New" Media, Just Like the "Old" Media | Main | The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites Part 2 »
Monday
Mar282011

10 Pieces of Essential Content For Your Band's Website

If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans - current and potential - to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.

  1. Relevant information.
  2. If you have an album out, include easily accessible info about when it came out or will come out, the track list, and the label. Post a tour calendar with upcoming shows so fans can see when and where you’re playing, how much it costs, and where they can buy tickets. Be sure to include links to the venue website, ticket sales, other bands who are playing, and your Facebook Event.

    Roxi Copland displays news about her new single and upcoming shows on her website.

  3. A current bio.
  4. Your bio is your opportunity to tell your story, share your history, and talk about your influences and accomplishments. Press and bloggers often refer to band bios when writing features and reviews, so it’s important that your bio is current, interesting, informative, and versatile. Can your current bio be used on a venue website to promote an upcoming show? Does it convey the message that you want to your fans? If not, it’s time to refresh your bio.

  5. Reliable contact info.
  6. If journalists or bloggers have questions, they expect to easily find reliable contact info on your website. If you have a PR/publicist contact, list who it is and how to contact them. If you don’t have a PR contact, list who to get in touch with and how.

  7. Hi-Res PR photos.
  8. Journalists (bloggers, web editors, print editors) who want to cover a band usually accompany any given post with a photo, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out which photos are for the press. Be sure to have high-resolution photos available on your website for journalists and bloggers.

    Chicago-based artist Dick Prall has his promotional photos clearly identified in the EPK/Press section of his website.

  9. A way to showcase your music.
  10. Your music is your art, and anyone visiting your site is going to want to hear it, so make sure you have a way for them to listen and sample it. You can share your music on your website with a music player, embedded tracks, or MP3 downloads.

  11. Merchandise.
  12. If you have merch and music for sale, let your fans know where they can purchase it. If you have an online store (iTunesBandcampCD BabyAmazon) that’s separate from your website, be sure to link to those online stores. Also, if your music is for sale locally at coffee shops and/or local record stores, be sure to list those addresses too.

  13. Sharing features.
  14. Think of your website as your home base and all of your other digital presences as extensions of that presence. Each social network potentially has a unique audience, demographic, and benefit for your fans (with some crossover). That’s why it’s important to integrate, or at least link off to all of your digital touch points from your website.

    You also want your fans to be able to share the content on your website with their friends. Social bookmarking plug-ins to allow your fans to easily share content from your site on their favorite social networks. With over 500 million users, a Facebook Like Button, Like Box or Activity Feed is a no-brainer. Want to keep your fans in the loop on what you’re working on? Be sure to add an RSS button or “subscribe via email” widget to your site, so that your fans can subscribe to your posts.

  15. Newsletter signup.
  16. Even if you’re not regularly sending out a newsletter (yet), you should have way for your fans to sign up for one. Newsletters are a great way to directly reach your fans and create a more personal connection with them about new releases and upcoming shows. We recommend MailChimpConstant Contact, orFanBridge.  In addition to having a newsletter sign-up on your website, you should be collecting e-mail addresses at every show.

  17. Videos.
  18. The key to getting your music heard is always building more fans and attracting new people through creative marketing. Music videos are just another form of creative marketing for your band. They allow you add another layer to your artistic capabilities and capture the full attention of your audience by combining your audio with visuals. Music videos also make your band look more legitimate and professional, help you stand out, provide your fans a sneak peek at what they might experience at your live performance, and give any prospects a more personal look at you as a band.


    Parlours’ video for “I Dream of Chicago,” shot and directed by David Poyzer.

  19. Google Analytics and Feedburner.
  20. Want to know where your fans are coming from and find out what parts of your site are getting the most traffic? Google Analytics can provide this information. Using such analytics can help you measure your website performance, help you drive traffic to your site, and cater to your fans’ online behavior. FeedBurner’sservices allow publishers who already have a feed (RSS) to improve their understanding of and relationship with their audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of benefits.

What essential content do you recommend that every musician or band should include on their website? Post your feedback in the comments below.
Hillary Brown is the co-owner of music marketing company On Pitch in Des Moines, Iowa. This post originally appeared on the On Pitch blog.

Reader Comments (12)

Agree with each and every one of those. All essentials. In today's world "Content Strategy" isnt just for large corporations.

Only thing i'd add is - A BLOG. Writing new songs? blog it! Demo videos? Blog! insights into the bands favorite venues? blog! you get the general idea!

i think the music industry is actually one of the easiest to keep a blog populated with resh content regularly. Of course making it search engine friendly and tracking results, thats a little bit more time consuming but very worthwhile.

Cheers!

Kilted Alex

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterKilted Alex

Great article Hillary. Would you be willing to let us re-post it on the HostBaby blog?

Chris Bolton
chris@hostbaby.com
blog.hostbaby.com

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterChris Bolton

Nice article, websites are an excellent way to build ones brand… You! With everyone these days creating profiles on Facebook and Reverbnation. Having one’s own site can make an artist look more established. By creating content that’s valuable such as exclusive news, forums, contest, and giveaways. Fans have an incentive to check out your website. This is something that I think the 50 cent website thisis50.com does a great job in doing.

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterCW

I agree with all these. One thing I try to emphasis to artist I work with revolve around these 10 pts in regard to their website..I also believe in interaction. Interaction is what keeps fans coming back to the sit and telling their friends, bringing more people to your site, whci can result in more revenue.

So like Kilted Alex said I am a fan of the blog, blog video, and most of all trying to make direct contact with fans.

L.Byrd

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterLouis byrd

Tremendously useful post - thank you!

One thing I'd add is to include both a summary and a complete bio. I'm often asked for a "brief bio" for clients. Rather than leaving it to the writer's discretion or hastily editing something from scratch, I have it right on the website and ready to go. (Example: http://curtsmithofficial.com/bio/)

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Wszalek

Nice post. What I find quite usefull is a constant flow of information, so fans and bloggers will return and see something new. A prominent news section is good to have but just if it gets updated regularly. Also allow comments from your fans if you can manage it.
A facebook feed can manage this, but a website should have "more essential" information and should not just be a duplicate of the facebook wall...

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Lets add that if you're a group... you should also have "A GROUP PHOTO". My day job is responsible for booking bands.. and all too often when I'm trying to create a poster for them playing here.... I go to the website... and lo & behold... plenty of single photos of band members.. but no group shots.

It should be common sense that if you're a group.... you need group photos.

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterTablazines

Great Article..I think the big one alot of Artists miss is the High Res. Photos..I see alot of websites where they use cell phone pics and although some of them look ok..most of them do not.. ANd contact info...I been to alot of websites looking for Artist contact info and couldnt find any...

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterTM101 RADIO

This information is very critical and useful. Thanks

March 31 | Unregistered CommenterJason Ricks

This is very useful to bands, producers and independent musicians, everyone needs to consider what information they pass to visitors via a website it can be easy to "overfill" pages. This text explains what is important in a concise and informative manner. cheers

i have, what i believe to be, a relevant question. if a site like reverbnation has all of these things, (it does and much much more) in an organized, easy to use format...why is a website necessary anymore? other than for superficial reasons like "you seem more professional if you have one."

I totally agree about Google Analytics, if you can work out where the bulk of fan traffic is coming from then you know where to focus next time.

There is also another feature in there that will let you set up goals.

It's a good idea to set up a goal for email sign up because then you will be able to work out which music marketing tactics bring the most subscribing fans.

- Chris

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