On Sunday, I presented to Songsalive!’s LA chapter. The topic title: Online Presence & Promotion for Songwriters & Other Creatives covered a broad strategy for taking your songwriting/music seriously and for creating a more business-like approach to what you do.
And the truth is, most of the advice applies broadly to any business or endeavor you wish to take seriously. In fact, two of the attendees discussed how they might use the information in their business – unrelated to music.
In this blog I’m going to cover the basic plan and some of the tools we discussed. Over the next few weeks I’ll address more of these tools – and even provide an idea of how I use them. If I get ambitious, there could be a video and/or screen shots. And if there is something specific you’d like to see or get a further explanation of, let me know.
The information below was contained on my handout for the event. You can get the handout here as a PDF or click the image below.
A 7-Step Roadmap
I’ve published this before. It is what I tell songwriter they need to do to up their chances of success. 7 steps
1. Business/Marketing Plan
This doesn’t have to be long. Have a simple list of things you’d like to achieve – make 3 of those things really important. For me, when I started, it was: merchandise, music (recorded), and contacts – venues primarily.
This should be included in the above plan. You probably aren’t as good as you think you are.. Plus talent/ability could be musical, vocal, technical, promotional, etc.
3. Website (blog based) YOU.COM
yournameonline.tumblr.com / yournameonline.wordpress.com: these are NOT as good as yournameonline.com. When I say, “yourname”, I mean having your own private domain. Mine is matthewmoranonline.com.
4. Mailing list
People who are willing to hear from you are truly committed/connected. That is still important. Less powerful now with all the social media options – people don’t subscribe as often. But, still have one. I use and recommend mailchimp. It integrates well with WordPress (the software I recommend running your website on) and with other website builders.
T-shirts… but even postcards. And music. Give them a way to take you home with them.
6. Contacts and Connections
Venues. Other artists you can perform with. Collaborators. Connectors. Have a way to track and stay in touch with your contacts. Even a Google spreadsheet. I use insightly – though I don’t really love it.
7. Social Media
You don’t need to be everywhere. But you do need to be somewhere.
And remember, video is very important. And mobile too. Most people view content on their phone first. More on this later but keep that in mind.
I recommend and use WordPress for my websites. Not wordpress.com but a self-hosted account (see SiteGround below) with a wordpress install. This is technical/geeky a little. Lots of information but it is likely you’ll need to pay to set this up.
Here is my list of core plug-ins I use, the current themes I use, and where I host my site.
WORDPRESS PLUG-INS, THEMES, & HOSTING
- Yoast SEO (search engine tools)
- Jetpack: site stats plus many other tools
- List category post: show posts by categories
- Simple Calendar: displays google calendar on website
- Page Builder: advanced layout tool
- SiteOrigin CSS (html mod / custom design tool)
- SiteOrigin Widget Bundle
SiteOrigin Vantage or North (my theme)
SiteGround.com (not related to SiteOrigin). They have a wordpress installer as part of your hosting and very helpful tech support.
Free or Nearly Free Technologies
REAPER: Recording software. Full-featured DAW (like protools). $60 personal use | $225 studio or making more than $20,000/yr
CANVA.COM: web and print graphic generator (free plus premium)
GOOGLE APPS: Gmail, Google Drive (docs, sheets, forms, presentations, graphics, etc), Calendar… and more. If you are using yahoo, hotmail, or AOL - STOP IT!!! Get a gmail account and forward your mail to that account.
MAILCHIMP.COM (e-newsletter tool)
IMOVIE (for MAC)/MOVIEMAKER (for PC): Video editing (Mac / PC). They are free and on your computer already (in all likelihood). They aren't great - but they are certainly good enough.
AUDACITY: Recording software/editor: Destructive editing- you cannot apply effects like reverb without changing the original wave form. True DAW's like reaper, mentioned above, do not change the original wave form.
MP3TAG: mp3 tagging software. Let's you add an image and other data to your mp3 files. DO NOT INSTALL ANY OF THE EXTRA SOFTWARE. Careful on this.
FORMAT FACTORY: file converter (wav to mp3) DO NOT INSTALL ANY OF THE EXTRA SOFTWARE. Careful on this.
KUNAKI.COM: Digital CD duplication - short runs