Archive for the ‘Anyone can do this’ category

Pretty Soon It’ll be Second Nature

October 18, 2010

 

Here’s a short one for ya today…

Often when the season changes I feel obligated to make life changes – do things differently, like clean my apartment, among many other thing.  This fall, I began working out,  hanging up my clothes intead of throwing them on the floor, spending less time online,  and taking more time to read. It’s been a refreshing change and it’s also a pretty great routine that’s become hard to shake now that my schedule is used to it.

As I was power-walking (if you really wanna call it that) last night, I realized that there are alot of things in life that we don’t do even though we know we should. If people ate well and stayed consistently active, shows like The Biggest Loser wouldn’t exist. If we did little things to keep our apartments clean on a daily basis, we wouldnt have to do a major clean sweep before guests come over for special occasions.  So…

1. Spend 30-60 minutes looking for gigs each day

2. Post content on your Facebook page at least 2x a day – video from one of your shows, status update(s), details about an upcoming show…etc

3. Listen and learn from others. Music Business Radio is always great…especially a recent interview with Sara Bareille s on how she made it big.

4. Make sure your website has at least one new update per week.

5.  Do it even if you don’t want to. Pretty soon it’ll be harder not to.

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So Why is Everyone so Crazy About Twitter?

April 14, 2010

If you’re an artist who is still reluctant to join Twitter, this post is for you.

So why is everyone so crazy about 140 characters?  I mean, you can use as many words as you want on facebook. Why sign up for a twitter account? Here’s why…

1. Twitter accurately reflects an impatient culture. If you’re like most people, you have a low attention span and split you attention across several forms of media at any given time on any given day. Twitter is fast. It shares a snippet of information with people who probably wouldn’t read the full longer version. And if they do want the longer version, you can just include a link.

3. Less is More. In addition, because your information is concise, your audience is more likely to take in and remember what youv’e said.

2. Twitter is the home of “word of mouth”. I said this in Monday’s post. Twitter has gained a reputation for being an easy platform for people to share their interests. Simple actions like re-tweeting (i.e. reposting your original tweet to their friends)  give fans the opportunity to spread your information to a completely new network for people.  It’s genius, really.

3. Less is More. Because your information is concise, your audience is more likely to take in and remember what youv’e said.

4. ROI: Return on Interest. You put little effort in, you get a huge return- engaged readers, retweets, traffic to your website…etc.

5. Be Active Even When Your Not. Lets say you don’t really have any new information for your website(s).  Tweeting daily reminds your fans that you still exist even though you stagnant website might indicate otherwise.

Hey, don’t forget to follow Grassrootsy on Twitter!

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Vlogs are the New Blog

March 29, 2010

Vlog is the new blog ya’ll!  A few months back I wrote an article for Inkling Media talking about why video blogs are such a great way to build your fanbase. Well, now is the time to step up. Grassrootsy is featuring your video blogs. If you’ve got something good, send it on over or tweet us a link to your video.

Thing thing about vlogs…

1. Its a way to attach a face to your name. Fans want to communicate with the artist they love. They want a real idea of who you are. Videos accomplish something standard written blogs can’t.

2. Vlogs are easy. We all talk faster than we type (i think). Say what you have to say and post it. Just communicate with your fans and invite them to join you in the adventure of pursuing your music.

3. Vlogs can often be more creative than the written word. They don’t have to be anything complicated, high-maintenance, or over-produced, but they can be).

That said, here are two  vlogs from independent artist Jeremy Johnson and J.D. Green. I also thought I’d stick in one of my own at the bottom.


Jeremy Johnson


J.D. Green


Joy Ike

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Follow Grassrootsy on Twitter!

March 18, 2010

While you wait for the next Grassrootsy post, follow us on Twitter! We’re tweeting daily with…

  1. links to great articles
  2. retweets of fellow artists
  3. interesting thoughts and facts on pursuing music
  4. creative marketing ideas
  5. new promotional websites and resources you’ve probably never heard of
  6. DIY ideas

Being Your Own Publicist…Cause Nobody Does it Like You

December 7, 2009

 

While at a friend’s show a few days ago, it dawned on me that no matter how many photographers or reporters cover an event, no one can tell the story quite like the story. In other words, if YOU are the news, then you’ve got the best version and the best access to the story.  I think we as artists often forgot this, and for this reason, we look to others to give us the publicity we can easily give ourselves.

Don’t wait for other people to do what you yourself can do.  Yes, its great to ask for write-ups or coverage on a show (see How to Score Reviews of Your CD), but if you’re not having much success in that area, nothing stops you from doing it yourself. Here are a few ways…

Blog & Vlog
As I wrote in a former post (Blogs are still BIG!), video blogging (vlogging) is such a great way to tell a story to your fans. You can easily cover every aspect of an event in a short 3 minute video.  People will probably be more likely to watch than read your coverage.  It’s worth learning how to edit video as long as you’ve got a simple editor.  But if you don’t have access to a camera, don’t forge to blog regularly.

Snap
Take good pictures and make sure that everyone who sees them on facebook wishes they were there.  And don’t just take pictures of you behind your instrument. If you’re like me, then you’ve already got millions of shots of yourself with varying expressions on your face. Make sure to cover various aspects of the night: the crowd, other artists, and action photos in general. Posed photos are so boring (personal opinion).

Tweet
Some people who tweet a play-by-play version of their show if they have consistent internet access.  Some people think that’s overkill. But either way, be sure to cover your show through twitter – before, after, and during.

Pictures With Famous People
It probably sounds lame, especially because I hate when other people do this, but I have a folder on my desktop of pictures I’ve taken with well-known artists I’ve played with.  Why? Because it’s proof that I shared a stage with an established act. Well…you can’t technically prove that you played the same show but people will have to take you at your word.  Having that picture is better than having nothing.  If your band has opened for big names, make sure you have proof.

Don’t have a camera?  Check this out and see why its important.

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Blogs are still BIG!

October 15, 2009
Hiram Ring

Hiram Ring

They don’t seem as popular anymore. But blogs aren’t dead…at least not yet!  In the past few weeks I’ve found myself reading more blogs and have also had a few conversations with people hoping to start blogs in order to better-connect with their fans. So here are some thoughts on what gives a blog a good name and consistent readership.


Remind people that you’re human
I’m finding that the more someone blogs about every-day things, the more interested I am in themwho they are. Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you don’t.  There’s nothing worse than someone pretending that they’re more interesting than they actually are.  If you’re music career isn’t all that glamorous, don’t drum it up to be something extra special. Blog about funny things that happened on the way to your gig…or blog about random things that readers might find interesting. 

It all really comes down to how much you want people to know about YOU. I’ve noticed that Derek Sivers, the music marketing “guru”, has begun to blog more regularly about non-music related ideas. Last week he sent out a blog post (http://sivers.org/inlove) about what it means to “like” someone, “love” someone, and be “in love” with someone.  I’m sure some people were a bit annoyed by this post (including myself), but regardless of its relevance, Sivers engaged his audience in a non-music related conversation.  The post earned over 1200 comments from readers.

Try a Vlog or Plog (made Plog up)
Because the attention span of the average web surfer is getting shorter and shorter (don’t know how to prove this, but it’s a floating statistic), find ways to stimulate your web visitors interest.  Try video blogs (vlogs) or picture blogs (plogs).  There’s nothing better than accompanying your words with videos.   Most readers will not read your blog from start to finish. So put in a short video to help break things up, or to appeal to those who don’t want to read.  Good friend, Hiram Ring, does this and it seems to be working. Check out his blog.

Make Sure Your Blog Isn’t Just One Huge Advertisement
Yes, a blog is one of many ways to build faithful supporters and people interested in who you are as a musician and person. BUT, if you’re not genuine and only use your platform as a way to proselytize, you fans won’t hang around for very long.

TCPR recently posted some excellent tips for maintaining a blog.  Go check it out.  And remember: anything with quality will thrive with consistency and hard work.  If you’re putting a little effort into your blog, people will continue to visit, and maybe even subscribe.

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An Interview with Allison Weiss

September 2, 2009
Allison Weiss

Allison Weiss

The first time  I came across Allison Weiss’ myspace page, I knew she was a musician after my own heart. Grassrootsy first covered her back in July in a feature on Kickstarter.  And after reading more about Weiss, it was apparent that she is one of the hardest working independent artists you will ever come across.  I mean ever. And believe me, it will pay off! In fact she’s already scored tons of top-notch gigs and an interview with Billboard Magazine.

Grassrootsy asked her some questions about herself and her music marketing techniques.  Read on!  Read everything! (and post your thoughts below)

1.) What’s your story?
I started writing and playing music when I was in high school, but didn’t really do a lot of it until I came to college. At that point I started playing out all the time. I hit as many open mics as possible until I had gained enough exposure to land some coffee house gigs, and in time I moved up to playing clubs in my town. Eventually I reached the point I’m at now, where I play regionally every weekend and tour during my breaks from school. I’m currently a full time student and part time musician, though it feels like full time. I’m pretty much constantly thinking about writing, performing, and promoting my music. It’s second nature. It’s what I’m most passionate about. I’m working as hard as I can to get to full-time status. As soon as I finish school I plan to work as a freelance graphic designer in order to pay for my musical endeavors. I already do this now of course, I just intend to do it even more intensely.

2.) It looks like some really great opportunities have been coming your way. How did you score that interview with Billboard Magazine?
The Billboard thing was definitely amazing for me. My friend Rosie Siman has always been a huge supporter of my music, so when she befriended Billboard editor Bill Werde, she made a point to bring him out to one of my shows in New York. I guess he liked what he saw, because he ended up coming to the next one a couple months later and he only had great things to say about my performance and my music. He then set me up with an interview for the Underground section of their website. It was pretty surreal to see myself on the front page of Billboard.com. I never thought I’d be so close to the Jonas Brothers. Bill has been really awesome to me and supportive of my career. He’s also a total badass in general and I’m proud to know him.

3.) What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When I first got started, some people criticized me for my “shameless” self-promotion techniques. Four years later, the same people are now asking for my advice. It seems pretty simple, but the most important thing is to scream your name from the rooftops. If nobody’s ever heard of you, how will they hear your music? Make sure they know you exist. Do it with honesty, charm, and style and you’ll earn the trust of people who will support you for a long time. Also: get a mailing list. Make people sign it. Announce onstage that you’re giving away a CD to someone who signs the list, pass it out into the crowd, and then announce the winner right before your last song. Those email addresses are almost as valuable as album sales, because each one is a potential attendee at your next show and a potential fan.

4.) What is your biggest frustration with your fellow musician?
Nothing bothers me more than a musician who swears off the internet. It’s a new age. Unfortunately, its about more than just writing great songs. You have to be organized and you have to be on top of things and you have to be putting yourself out there in the real world and online. There are so many opportunities for musicians on the internet, to see someone swear it off is heartbreaking. It’s so easy to use Facebook and Twitter, I don’t understand people who refuse. Plus its really fun when you get the hang of it. I enjoy social media almost as much as I enjoy writing and performing.

5.) According to the Grassrootsy Reader’s Poll, the biggest frustration among readers is trying to build their fanbase and finding a supportive music community. How do you do this?
I love people. It sounds pretty cheesy, but I live for human connection. I want to meet people and I want to know them. I don’t put barriers between myself and the people who listen to my music. Aside from really personal stuff, I pretty much talk about anything on my blog or my twitter. I think that honesty and openness allows for more of a connection between band and fan. Also, I’ve never really sat down and tried to determine who my “target market” is. I mostly just put myself out there and go with the flow. I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but I think if you’re making good music, touring, and promoting yourself, the supportive community will come in time. Overall I think it’s important to remember what it’s like to be a fan of a band and how much fun it can be to really love someone for their music. I treat my fans the way I’d like to be treated by my favorite bands. It’s the golden rule, after all.

6.) If you could suggest one tool that every artist should familiarize themselves with, what would it be? Why? (i.e. html, photoshop, video editing, other…)
Honestly, social skills. I strongly believe that if you’re going to be a DIY musician, you can’t be a mysterious hermit. You’ve gotta have the guts to be outgoing and positive and ready for adventure. There are a million people out there trying to do what we’re doing, and it’s the go-getters who will succeed. It’s scary but true, and you’ve got to be willing to jump right in and join the fight.

But if you’re looking for a real answer…nowadays it’s essential to know enough HTML to edit your own MySpace profile. It’s a terrible waste of money to pay someone else to make simple changes you could do yourself. Look up tutorials online. There are millions of them. Make yourself a cheat sheet with codes used most often and eventually you’ll learn it. Video editing is also a great skill to have and with programs like iMovie, it’s very simple to learn. If my mom can do it, so can you. Having the ability to document your own tours and experiences and put them on Youtube can be really beneficial to the promotion of your own career. The real answer to this question is “All of the above.” The more many tech things you can familiarize yourself with, the better.

Allison Weiss Online:
Official: www.allisonw.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/allisonweiss
Twitter: www.twitter.com/allisonweiss
Facebook: www.facebook.com/allisonweiss
YouTube: www.youtube.com/amlingisrad


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