Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


November 21, 2004

Geoff Byrd Uses Buzz to Soar as an Indie Artist

Have you heard of Geoff Byrd? If not, there's a good chance you'll be hearing a lot more about this Portland, Oregon, indie artist soon. I discovered Geoff by accident last month when I was checking out random tracks on GarageBand.com. He was all over the top of the site's pop charts, and I was instantly jazzed by his hooky songs and awesome voice. Little did I know this guy has been on a steadily increasing buzz train that appears to be leading to mainstream success.

Byrd is a former school teacher who credits one experience in the classroom as a defining moment in his career. "I was before the class one day going off on a tangent about following dreams at all costs. A student raised his hand and said, 'Mr. Byrd, we don't want to lose you as a teacher, but seriously, are you really following your own advice?' I knew he was right," Byrd says. "It was one of the most profound moments of my life."

Since then, Byrd has performed as a solo act, formed a band, recorded a CD called "Candy Shell" and created a buzz that has led to his songs being used in TV shows and played on radio stations across the country. GarageBand.com has been most responsible for spreading the digital buzz online. In fact, the site, wanting to be associated with Byrd's success, has gotten behind the artist in a big way.

This is a great example of an artist who has people talking primarily because they are excited by the songs. It's word-of-mouth marketing at its organic best. However, Byrd is no dummy. He realizes the power of his fanbase and deliberately asks for their help in spreading the word. Check out this "Help Me" page on his web site: www.geoffbyrd.com/helpme.htm

You should consider making the same request of your fans and supporters. In the meantime, keep an ear out for Geoff Byrd's catchy pop songs. Read more about him here.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:58 PM   0 comments


November 10, 2004

Buzz Gives Power to the People

More about buzz ... Here are some interesting observations from the book "Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand" by Salzman, Matathia and O'Reilly:

"Buzz marketing is effective because ... it enables consumers to experience a brand rather than simply use it ... Whereas the old system required advertisers to pick their audiences, part of the value of buzz is that the audience picks itself. Once buzz gets going, its flow is natural and free. It reaches those who are open to it and passes by those who are not."

I agree. And with this realization comes some good news and bad news.

The bad: There's only so much you can do to steer and manipulate word of mouth. You can encourage it, but it is ultimately up to your fans to get excited about you and share that excitement with their friends and networks.

The good: Effective indie music marketing is all about targeting. You shouldn't waste your time communicating your musical identity to people who are not predisposed to liking your style of music. Buzz takes care of that for you, since it only "sticks" with people most likely to become longterm fans.

More thoughts from Salzman, Matathia and O'Reilly: "In essence, buzz marketing gives power to the people. Every individual in a buzz chain has the freedom to accept or reject the message ... It is the commercial incarnation of natural selection. Only the fittest messages survive."

Do everything you can to make sure your musical message is fit and buzz-worthy! Download an excerpt from the Buzz book here.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:56 PM   0 comments


November 02, 2004

Creating Customer Evangelists

As you know, this site is all about creating a buzz over your music -- hence the name "The Buzz Factor." That's why I was so intrigued to find the web site of Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of the book "Creating Customer Evangelists."

McConnell and Huba write, "When customers are truly thrilled about their experience with your product or service, they can become outspoken 'evangelists' for your company. This group of satisfied believers can be converted into a potent marketing force to grow your universe of customers."

From their research into the best practices of some of the most forward-thinking companies with legions of evangelists who spread the word, the authors have discovered these six basic tenets of creating customer evangelists:
  1. Listen to your fans: Continuously gather customer feedback.
  2. Napsterize knowledge: Make it a point to share knowledge freely.
  3. Build the buzz: Expertly build word-of-mouth networks.
  4. Create community: Encourage communities of customers to meet and share.
  5. Make bite-size chunks: Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite.
  6. Create a cause: Focus on making the world, or your industry, better.
Check out the Creating Customer Evangelists web site at www.creatingcustomerevangelists.com. McConnell and Huba also have a nice blog at customerevangelists.typepad.com.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:55 PM   0 comments