As a Search Engine Optimisation professional and music blogger, I notice a lot of new bands making the same online marketing mistakes on a daily basis. It always amuses me when bands complain about Google showing ‘torrent’ sites when someone searches for a band name or song title. The point of this post, and the one concept I want all new bands to takeaway is this: If Google is showing ‘torrent’ sites, it’s your fault for not giving it anything better to show!
If you’re unfamiliar with how Google ‘works’, here’s a (very) brief explanation - Google wants to show the most relevant sites in its results - which it measures by assessing the quality and authority of each site. So as a new band, it’s your job to create a high quality, relevant and authoritative online presence, not just so you show up in Google, but also to provide your growing number of fans a trustworthy and rewarding online experience. Here’s how:
1. Make your OWN website
Having your own Bandcamp page and Tumblr profile is all well and good, and these services should be utilised, but they all have their own restrictions on what you can put on there, how you can interact with your fans and how you can promote your music. Having your own website gives you your own platform to do as you please. Most importantly you can keep control of the music and videos you choose to upload and share - rather than signing over your copyright privileges to an online service that might not be around in 5 years time. Nowadays it’s very easy and very cheap to set up your own website, with services like Wordpress.org making websites accessible for everyone.
2. Own your own content
It always amazes me when I get a press release from a new bands PR company asking me to go listen to a new song by going to the PR company’s Soundcloud account. Why are new bands seemingly incapable of setting up and uploading songs onto their own Soundcloud account? From what I briefly explained about Google above, what do you think is more likely to show up in Google for a search on a band name or song/EP title - the bands own, dedicated Soundcloud account, or a PR company’s account with 100’s of songs from different, unrelated bands? And what is going to be better for fans wanting to find out more about you - your own account with all your songs and EP’s listed and lots of extra info about your band, or… well you get the picture. The main point is - keep control of how and where your music is available.
3. Be social
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should all be used, and often are by new bands - although mostly they are not used as well as they could be. People choose to follow new bands on these networks not just so they can be told when the next single is out, but because they want to be early to the party and be some way involved in your meteoric rise to the top. These people are your biggest word-of-mouth assets - so treat them like it. Give them exclusive songs and videos, carry out regular Q+A’s to interact with them more (check out Google+ Hangouts) and even perform free gigs for them. Do that, and watch your follower numbers, mentions and ‘band awareness’ soar!
Luke Glassford runs the popular music blog All-Noise, away from his day job as an online marketing professional.