Archive for the ‘Internet’ category

How to Have A Pre-Internet Mentality

November 15, 2010

It’s Grassrootsy’s 200th entry! Pretty exciting even though it doesn’t really mean anything (per-se).

Today I thought I’d refer to a funny comment Hugh MacLeod posted on his twitter account a few week’s back…

“Wondering how the hell anyone could’ve been successful, pre-internet…  ” –@gaping void

Have you ever thought that? I’ve actually thought about this alot. What would we do? How would we communicate with people?  Truth is, the internet could be a digitized version of the old days if wewant it to be…and it wouldn’t be a bad thing.  And if we did take that approach, we might even be more successful in our musical pursuits. Here’s more on that.

1. Think Locally. Back in the day, every neighborhood had its own butchery, milkman, bakery and post office. What if the internet could be like that. What if you had a close-knit community of folks that you correspond with on a regular basis?  What if you could go to these folks for anything – like splitting shows, cross promotion, getting new gig leads, and more. Treat the internet like your neighborhood. No, I’m not trying to limit you, but make an effort to create an online community that mimics reality.  Play your shows. After the show connect with the audience online, strengthen that connection. Use the internet to foster the connections your already have and to build things slowly and steadily.

2. Start Small, Go Big. You’re thinking waaaay too hard. Just because the internet holds the potential for you to reach millions of people, doesn’t mean you should go and do that. I have a very strong feeling that all the big companies like Fed Ex, Subway, Starbucks, (etc) didn’t start big. The founders likely opened one location in a city or town, saw it do well, and then decided to open a few more…and so on and so forth.  Any strong, successful, long-lasting company will first work to build a strong foundation with what it has before expanding. Work to build a strong foundation with what you have before you try to conquer what you don’t.

3. Don’t Ever Forget the Importance of Word-of-Mouth. It was the highest compliment back then and it’s still the highest compliment today.  Independent music existed long before the internet. But how did people share information? Word of mouth, of course! When you make your fans top priority, they will share you with their friends. They will bring their friends to shows, and they will support what you’re doing. And this is the beauty of the internet. Word-of-mouth exponentially increases when the internet is involved. It’s an old-school concept in a new format.

By the way, MacLeod is the author of a book called “Ignore Everybody”.  Its a pretty incredible wake-up call to anyone who’s been sitting on their creativity but wants desperately to use it.  Here are some blogs we wrote referencing the book a few months back..

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RSS is Pretty Wonderful

October 19, 2009

rss1 copy

As I took some time to lightly revamp the grassrootsy site this weekend (check the sidebar), I noticed that, for a number of reasons, Grassrootsy has not been a completely functional website.  Yes, the information is useful, timely, and hopefully relevant on a weekly basis; but there were a couple things that needed to be changed and rearranged in order to make navigation easier, clearer, and quicker.  In the process, i began to delve into RSS, and its relevance to both this site and yours.

What is RSS?
You’ll notice that there is now an RSS icon at the top right of the page (that silver square thing). After running this website for nearly a year, I’ve noticed that the number of Grassrootsy visitors does not always translate into Grassrootsy subscribers.  Some people don’t want a message in their inbox telling them that a new blog has been posted. They’d rather be informed through their RSS feed reader- which lists updates for every blog an individual chooses to subscribe to. 

RSS:
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It is a way to easily distribute a list of headlines, update notices, and sometimes content to a wide number of people. It is used by computer programs that organize those headlines and notices for easy reading.

So how does this apply to you?  If you have a blog, or maintain some type of site that can generate RSS feeds, your reader can subscribe to your feed by clicking on the RSS image. Why do you want them to do this? Because you’ll be gaining a consistent visitor to your website without having to send that person an email reminder that your blog has new content.  The beauty of RSS is that you dont have to do a thing. When you’ve posted your blog (or news update), a small portion of your post gets sent to your subscribers RSS feed reader.   

Make sure that RSS image is visible!  And make sure it links directly to the feed page giving readers the option to subscribe.  Test out the Grassrootsy RSS icon below to give it a try (and subscribe if you like).  You know you wanna!

Note: If you’d rather not use an image, you can opt for a hyperlink, but images tend to catch the eye more successfully.  Also, it’s definitely recommended that you still keep a newsletter signup, because not everyone has caught onto the RSS phenomenon.

Facebook and Feeds
Facebook allows your friends to subscribe to your feeds (i.e. updated wall posts, links, notes) and also allows you to consolidate all your facebook activity into a feed. In other words, instead of getting repeated emails when peope write on your wall, send you a message, or add you as a friend, your feed will have that information all in one place. Gotta love it!

Benefits of RSS
*increase traffic to your site
*keep the connection between you and your fans
*its like sending an email update except you’re not sending an email and they’re not getting spam
*appeal to a generation of extremely technically-saavy web surfers

Good Reading on RSS
Simple, short, easy-to-understand info on RSS: www.whatisrss.com
A basic tutorial on RSS: What  is RSS?
The importance of having a blog: Blogs are still BIG!
A really excellent, brief video tutorial about RSS: What is RSS?

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Straight From the Mouth of The Big Guys

July 29, 2009

ad

Over the past 8 months, a few industry execs have come across Grassrootsy posts featuring their products.  See what they have to say about why resources such as Oasis, Tuncore, and Artist Data are so great…

1.] Posted by Brenden Mulligan (ArtistData CEO) in response toIncredible Resources You’ve Never Heard About #1
Thanks for the fantastic writeup. We’re really appreciative. Just a clarification, we have a big list of supported sites and services, and work with them all differently. But we strive to hook you into the important ones and get your information as many places as possible. Take care!


2.] Posted by 
Micah Solomon (President of Oasis Disc) in response toStarting from Scratch: What it takes to Release a CD
H
ere at my company, Oasis Disc Manufacturing, we **include** the opportunity to sell your music at itunes, napster, and dozens of other reputable sites, and the sale of your CD at CD Baby. There is no additional charge. Check out this direct link for more info: http://oasisCD.com/top. Plus we promote your music to more than 400 radio stations on our OasisSampler radio CD sampler in your chosen genre. We have genres ranging from OasisAcoustic (that one goes to more than 700 stations) to OasisUrban, from OasisAlternative to OasisUnderground to OasisRock&Roots to OasisBlues to OasisJazz to OasisAmbient to… You also get the complete radio list it was sent to so you can follow up as you see fit. Again, there is no additional charge for this service.

There is a page I’ve set up where you can get a sample of the Oasis radio sampler for our clients that I mention above and more complete information on the iTunes and other distribution you discuss as well. We can only currently ship these within the 50 united states, for which I apologize, but I would love for you to have them. Here’s the direct link. www.oasisCD.com/request


3.] Posted by Peter Wells (Senior Vice President of Tunecore) in response toAlternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution
Thanks for the mention! We really do try to do it right. If you or your readers have any questions about the industry, feel free to write me. Thanks! –Peter (peter@tunecore.com
)”

 
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Social Networking in 1 Minute

July 15, 2009
napkin status update

napkin status update

Here are a few things that seriously only take 1 minute, but will ultimately make a load of difference.
A little invite never hurt anyone
Each time someone adds you as a friend on facebook or myspace, send them a link and invite them to join your FB music group or fan page.  You can leave the link as a comment on their page or in a msg.  Something simple like: “Hey, thanks for the add, if you’re interested in knowing more about my music, check out the facebook group: www.facebook.com/myfbmusicgroup I send semi-regular updates and do occasional giveaways.”

It might seem like an insignificant act to add one single person, but if you do this for each person who requests you as a friend, you’ll be suprised at how quickly your FB following will grow.  Don’t have a facebook group or fan page?  Hmmmm…i definitely suggest changing that.

Who’s adding you?
Be aware of who’s adding you. When you receive freind requests (whether its on FB or myspace), just take a minute to check out the person/organizations page.  See what city the individual is from.  If they’re from DC and you happen to be in DC next month, you can lv them a short comment mentioning that you’ll be coming through their town. If an organization or company has aded you, then take a few seconds to see what they’re about. You might learn something or even get the urge to contact them and inquire about more information.

Post something new every few hours
Yep, they’ve all got it now! Myspace, Facebook, Twitter (and others) thrive on status updates. Be sure to post a new update every few hours. Music related or not. People will read it even if they don’t always respond.  If you’ve got nothing to say, just put up a link to your website.

An alarming number of my music comrades have begun to use ArtistData to not only update all their show calendars on various social networking sites, but also to post status updates on those same sites. Read this former post for more information on all that ArtistData can do: Incredible Resources You’ve Never Heard About #1.  Be sure to visit their site as well, b/c alot has changed/improved since that post was written.

If you have simple, quick social networking ideas to suggest, please post them in comment.  To read more about Social Networking and information overload, check out this post: The Negatives & Positives of Information Overload.
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How to Get Good Google Results For Your Website

June 15, 2009

Thanks to Tom Ciesielka of TC Public Relations for allowing Grassrootsy to use his latest TC Tip in this blog.  While many of the below tips are directed towards business owners, it is just as applicable to musicians and music PR. Make sure to also check out his PR For Laughs blog!

cbcomputer

It’s OK, just admit it. We’ve all done it. You’ve Googled your name or your company’s name. And? What did you find? Were you the number one spot? Number five? Number 86 at the bottom of the seventh results page?
 
With the way things are moving online these days, search engines have become the go-to, no-fail source for information, especially for reporters. And everyone wants to make sure their name can be found in the top results.
 
If everything could be boiled down to one key factor that determines your ranking, it would have to be “relevancy.” The goal of all search engines is to provide the searcher with the most relevant sites that correspond to the term that was searched. Whew. So, how do you prove to Google that your site is relevant and worthy of the number one spot?

 
Link up
The inner workings of Google somewhat resemble a panel of judges. Google uses a system called PageRank which gives each website a ranking from 0-10. Each website’s ranking is determined by the number of links to that site. So for example, when another website or blog or online article links to your website, Google interprets that as a vote (This kind of reminds me of “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars” only it would be called “Google Idol” or “Googling With the Stars”).  Bottom line:  the more links to your site, the better.

 
Blog, blog, blog
If I had a nickel for every time I suggested blogging, I’d be able to retire tomorrow. When you blog, you are offering new and relevant information which increases your chances of people/other bloggers finding you interesting and thereby linking to your site/blog. The cool thing about blogging is that you have so much control. If you blog everyday, you increase your odds of being noticed and linked to. You can also increase those odds if you blog about current events or news. Think about it: when people hear something about a big story or headline, they usually turn to Google for more information. If you blog about that story, it is likely your post will show up in the search results.

Keep your website active
Gone are the days when you create a website and let it be stagnant for five years. Here are the days of consistently offering interesting and new information on your website. One of the easiest ways to do this is to maintain an online newsroom. You can link to articles of your most recent published stories and highlight media mentions. You can also sync your blog with your website so that every time you post to your blog, it shows up on the site. Or you could provide a “Word of the Week” or “Tip of the Week” to intrigue new and repeating site visitors, thus making your site more valuable.
 
Follow these suggestions and the next time you Google your company, it might be in the number one spot! Then you’ll be able to call your company the new ”Google Idol.”

p.s. don’t forget to check out this related post: Google-ing Your Name Does Not Mean You’re a Loser

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The Negatives & Positives of Information Overload

June 3, 2009

SN

Its overwhelming!  The amount of information, resources, social networking sites on the internet is overwhelming.  An independent artist has thousands opportunities and avenues to get their music out there.  If you’re interested in a few of these, check out the following recent recent blogs.

Positive: If one thing doesn’t work, try another
Just because 1 band is using purevolume, doesn’t mean you have to.  Mimicking is great but it doesn’t always gaurantee that what works for another artist will work for you.  If you aren’t seeing results from a resources you’ve utilized, there are 10 more to take its place. Inform yourself on what’s out there and invest time into seeing results. Check out “An Interview with The Lost Sea” to see what Sean Atkins did to direct his myspace fans to his ReverbNation account. His efforts got his band #1 ranking on ReverbNation.


Positive: You Can do What the labels can ( with less money)

The grassroots movement is huge in every industry (especially films and  music).   Take advantage of your ability to make things viral. Just like a virus, you want your information to infectious – to spread via social networking, which is the new word of mouth.  It may take longer than it would with a label, but you can spread your music incredibly far if you work at it.  Check out Thinking Outside the Box – Thinking like a Record Label for some concrete ideas. 

 
Negative: Anyone can put out a CD
The bar has certainly been raised. In just 5 years, myspace has proven that anyone can make a CD, maintain a website, and promote themselves.  A&R reps are keeping their eyes & ears open for new music (which is a good thing), but the bar has been raised.  There’s so much good music, but there’s also a whole lotta crap!  So unless you stand out and prove yourself, you’ll fall into the pot with everyone else.
 

Negative: It’s Time Consuming
Its hard to find the best avenue for you that takes the least amount of energy. Some people have an easier time promoting on myspace, some facebook, some purevolume…etc.  Decide whether you want to be on all the major sites or if you want to pick only a handful and concentrate your efforst on pushing those.  There are advantages to each approach.  I personally know I’ll go crazy if I try to add another social networking site to my to-do list.

Please comment, and let readers know what networking websites and resources have worked  best for you.
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Innovative Advertising – Some Things To Consider Trying

May 20, 2009
T. Mitchell Bell

T. Mitchell Bell

Oh advertising!  Is it really worth it as a musician?  Well, it depends. Where are you advertings? What are you advertising? And do you have money? Of course you want to try to get as much free publicity as possible.  If you can do it for free, definitely go for that option!

When you do get the funds, check into these ideas. The great thing about the following options is that you can advertise at whatever price is affordable for you. 

And in continuation to Monday’s blog, Finding Your Niche, the below suggestions allow you to advertise directly to your niche.

StumbleUpon
Its a great source for people who wanna find good things online.  StumbleUpon doesn’t just focus on music.  It exposes surfers to every type of website in the world. How does it work?  Lets say you wanna get your myspace out to a unique type of listener (See yesterday’s post: Finding Your Niche). Click on StumbleUpon Advertising and create a campaign. As you create your campaign, you’ll see that you can choose what types of people you want to visit your website – everything from people who are history buffs to people who are vegetarian, to people who like kayaking.  Tons of random categories. 

So what if your music appeals most to men, maybe you’d want to pick people who fall into the following categories:  home improvement, mens issues,  video games.  Or if you think your music has ambience that best fits the spiritual guru/yoga type crowd; you might want to pick people who fall in the following categories: yoga, self improvement, ambient music.

You’re also given the option of choosing age range, geographic location and other demographics.  StumbleUpon only costs .05 cents per view.  So you could spend $20 on advertising and that would expose your website to 400 people.  Check out their short video tutorial.

Facebook (and Myspace)
Its much the same concept as Stumble Upon: i.e. target audiences, demographics and all that jazz.  One thing I’ve noticed and like about  Facebook ads is that it allows you to pay for impressions  by the thousands.  So that means, if you set your ad price as 20 cents per 1000 impressions, your ad will show up on the side panel of 1000 facebook pages.  Whether 5 people or 500 people click the impression, you still only pay 20 cents per 1000.   I’ve found that Facebook isn’t as straighforward as StumbleUpon and takes a little time to understand. 

I haven’t tried Myspace advertising, so if you have experience, please comment below.

The Pizza Boy (ya, for real!)
During the week of his CD Release, Pittsburgh artist T. Mitchell Bell stopped into his local pizza store, and asked them if they would be able to distribute flyers for his CD release everytime they had to make a delivery.  AWESOME idea!  They let him do it for free b/c he was a very regular customer! 

Stop into your local restaurant, whether it be a pizza store, or something else.  Ask them if they’d be willing to do the same.  You might have to pay a little something but its a great idea ( they’ll treat you better if they know you).  It’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard lately and I think its probably effective.

 

Note to the advertiser: make sure you’re actually advertising something like an event, a new CD…etc. No sense in advertising unless you have a product or concept to sell.

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