Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor
Music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas for independent songwriters, musicians and bands.
Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog
Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros
January 18, 2012
11 Ways to Create Unforgettable Music Video Content
Every artist should be using online video as part of their promotional toolkit. That means you must set up a YouTube account (also known as a “channel”) if you haven’t done so already. And once in place, your channel must feature new videos on a regular basis.
Why? Because video allows you to connect with fans and potential fans in ways that other forms of media can't touch. People experience things through text differently than they do through audio. Video, which combines both audio and visual stimulation, impacts many people on an even deeper level – which explains why it’s such a popular medium online.
Many artists get excited about video, post one clip, and then move on to the next idea that sparks their interest. Or they have the misguided notion that traditional music videos are the only thing they should post on YouTube. Not true. There are many ways to use video to attract attention and communicate with fans. And, to make the most of your YouTube channel, you should post new and varied content to it every month.
To get your wheels turning, here are 11 ways you can start cranking out fresh videos to engage and increase your fan base.
Promote your live events. Do a quick video about an upcoming show to complement the fliers you post online and off. Share the basic details about the event, along with anything special fans can look forward to that will get them excited about the show. This is something you can convey through video that you simply can’t do with a poster or flier.
Give fans a peek behind the curtain. Take your fans on a trip behind the scenes. Let them in on the recording process, show them any fun preshow rituals the band has, or record unusual things you come across while on the road. Give them a glimpse of your musical lifestyle.
Announce breaking news. A simple text-based Facebook announcement is so old school, how do you expect to stand out in the newsfeed? Catch up with the times and release breaking news in the form of short videos! Have you picked a release date for the new album? Want to introduce your new guitar player? Crank up your Flip video camera or smartphone and give fans a treat.
Show off new merch. Sure, you can post a photo with the new T-shirt design. But maybe you could take that a step further and actual wear one and model it in a video! Have any cool stories about your new designs? Wanna do a silly commercial on why fans should buy your merch? Plain ole images are so predictable. Give fans a cool heads-up on the new products you have coming out via video!
Let your fans interview you. Encourage fans to send in questions and answer them on camera. It’s a quick and easy way to make your fans feel special (be sure to state their name as the source of the question), which will inspire them to share the video with their friends. Chances are, if one fan is curious about something, there’s another out there who wants to know too.
Talk about who you are when you’re not onstage. Fans want to feel like they know you. Being a musician is just one small part of who you are. Do you have special causes you rally behind? What other artists are you listening to? Who influences your songwriting? Have any great, positive insight on life that you want to pass along to fans? These types of videos specifically appeal to the niche of super fans who are interested in learning anything you’d like to share. But they are also a great way to show another side of yourself.
Make a video for every song. In a recent interview I did with indie music phenom MC Lars, he recommended that every musician make a video for each song they want to promote. Watch that video (in which Lars shares some great tips on how to make a living as a DIY artist) here.
Give video music lessons. Do instructional videos of how to play your most popular songs. Have any tricky tuning or chord progressions? Or, do you see your songs played incorrectly on a lot in covers? Give your musician fans cool insight into how to play your tunes straight from the fingers that created them them.
Document a goal. Are you trying to raise money through a Kickstarter campaign to pay for a project? Are you already in the process of recording a new album or EP? Have you challenged yourself to write one new song a day for 30 days in a row? Great! Use video to update your fans on where you are with the goal.
Remind people of the details and let them know how they can help. This is a great way to keep creating awareness on projects that stretch over a long period of time. If you only talk about your project or goal once, it may lose buzz and momentum before completion. Keep it on their minds via video updates.
Explain the inspiration behind your lyrics. The beauty of music is that we all get to interpret it through our own filters. What a set of lyrics means to you can be completely different to someone else. But it can be really interesting to hear what inspired certain songs to be written, or to find out how the story ended in real life. Share these insights about your songs with your fans.
Share cool moments with your fans. Did someone propose onstage at one of your shows? Did you capture any video of epic costumes at a Halloween show? Did a fan send you some amazing art? Find unique ways to highlight these moments, say thanks to your fans, and let others know just how great your fans really are!
Did I leave anything out? In what other ways can musicians use video to attract attention and connect with fans? I welcome your comments.
For additional reading on video marketing best practices, check out these links:
How to Make Your Music Video Go Viral: 10 Tips From Cee-Lo, OK Go & More
9 Video Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.
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January 01, 2012
Music Marketing Trends & 2012 Predictions - Part 2
You can read Part 1 here.
Ariel Hyatt - President of Ariel Publicity, Founder of Cyber PR
1. Staying Positive and In Gratitude Will Help Tremendously
Before I make any music marketing trends and predictions for 2012, here's a good place to start ...
Remember: Success in today’s quicksand-like music business is HARD and takes WORK. Getting into a negative, overwhelmed and angry place will directly affect your success. I’ve seen it now thousands of times in 12 countries. The artists I know who manage to stay positive and who are grateful for the little wins and the small miracles are happier, more successful, and go farther than their counterparts who let it all get the best of them.
2. Music Subscription Sites (Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Deezer MOG, Slacker & Rhapsody) Will Continue to Take Over
These subscription-based streaming sites are great for music consumers and not so great for artists. To stay ahead of the pack, smart artists are going to have to come up with clever ways to incorporate their music and sharing on these powerful platforms that have music consumers going gaga. Sadly, this will mean less revenue from sales of music but could provide great opportunities for discovery-based creative marketers.
3. Be Mobile
It’s been on the horizon for a long time but smart phones are getting smarter, app developers are getting more nimble, and options more affordable. Smart musician marketers will need to have a mobile strategy moving ahead.
4. Get Back to Basics
Let’s never forget, it all starts with the greatness of your music and live show. But social media overwhelm, more apps, mobile trends and new fandangled opportunities will keep cropping up all of the time. Smart musicians should be focused on the basics:
1. Your website – Is it clear and consistently updated?
2. Your mailing list – Is it growing? And are you sending regular communications?
3. Your products - Are you still offering music only? You better not be.
5. Direct to Fan
I’ve been blogging my “In Defense of 1,000 True Fans” series for years. I won’t stop because this is the way that you can still achieve your goals. Is it easy? No. Is it fast? No. Does it work? YES! The smartest artists know it’s all about one-on-one fan building with authentic engagement every step of the way.
6. Fan Funding / Crowd Funding
I know a lot of artists say it makes them feel like carnival barkers, but fan funding is a wonderful way to make money. Of course, you need to have a loyal base of fans to achieve it (see #5).
David Hooper – Host of Music Business Radio
It will be more important than ever for acts to be doing live performances in order to connect with people and break through the vast amount of "noise" coming from the Internet, smartphones, and other entertainment options. Technology is great, but the pendulum is swinging in an anti-technology direction, as more and more people are discovering, despite having thousands and thousands of "connections" on Facebook and Twitter, they're more lonely than ever.
In short, people want to connect with others on an authentic level and experience something that doesn't involve a screen. A live performance is the perfect solution.
With that said, mobile phone technology and the growth of social media will make it easier for people to combine "real life" things, such as going to see musicians play live, with their online lives. Musicians who understand how to engage their audiences to take advantage of things such as sharing photos, audio, and video online will benefit tremendously, especially when they've developed a real world, offline community of people.
2012 should prove to be a very interesting year. We’ve seen the fall of the album, the discombobulating of the old structures and new ones trying to form. I would predict that this year will be about artists connecting direct with fans, more on this on all fronts. From website and marketing restructuring, less mystery, the walls will come down, as more direct one-to-one connections are made.
I also foresee smaller venues for fan-based crowds only and fan supported records and tour support. Less about the glory of mega-fame, and more about the intimacy and appeal of mini-fame, less pockets soaking the pie, and more interdependence.
It’s a new time, and a very exciting one, if we can all keep perspective and our eye on smaller spheres. People want to come together, to be a part of something with each other. It’s about professional camaraderie and community – the result from how we affect each other’s lives. Bring it on, 2012 will be a year to be remembered.
1) As the music industry continues to find its way in a dramatically changing marketplace, I believe we will see the continued shift from a "purchase model" to an "access model." Low ticket continuity programs will safeguard against illegal downloads and increase the connection (and longterm profitability) between artist and fan.
3) We will see a dramatic increase in the merging of platforms. For example, sign up for a mailing list and simultaneously link your Facebook account, or opt in to receive text message alerts, and so on.
2) Direct response marketing will become an increasingly popular promotion method among musicians. It's often said in marketing circles that it's the "benefit" that people pay for, not the "features." The same is true with music. People don't want a "download," they want an "experience." Understanding that, the right direct response marketing campaign will allow artists to convert cold traffic into sales, just like every other market in the world. This is something that has been missing from music and I see rising in popularity in 2012 and beyond.
In 2012, I believe the importance of mobile and location-based technologies will take off beyond the simple check-in.
Mobile technology will give artists tools to have a fully realized portable business. Look no further than the food truck movement. Budding restaurateurs used geosocial technology to thrive in 2011, and independent musicians will do well to take cues from them in 2012.
Artists will more efficiently manage funds while on the road. Setting up and purchasing from mobile storefronts will become more frictionless with NFC technology and products like Google Wallet and Square.
As location awareness becomes more prevalent and seamless in mobile technology, artists will be more in tune with where fans are. The places you love say a lot about who you are. So if fans are able and willing to share geosocial info, musicians can perform and interact with their fans at the places their fans love the most.
In 2011 I really started to see a lot more constructive discussion amongst musicians about how to actually make money. I expect that trend to reach a new level in 2012. With people like Bob Baker, Ariel Hyatt and John Oszajca leading the way, marketing for indie artists has become a more mainstream discussion that more and more people are getting involved in.
A lot of people have been outspoken about how the sky has been falling ever since the advent of the MP3. I think most people have gotten over that sentiment by now and it's at the point where the prevailing attitude is getting more constructive and there's more hope for artists who want to make a career as a musician.
Internet marketers had the blueprint figured out ten years ago. The problem is that internet marketing has typically attracted a very different personality type. Most internet marketers speak a different language than musicians and use strategies and tactics that would simply feel wrong to an artist.
As we start to look beyond that we can see that they do have a lot of things figured out that musicians would be wise to learn from in 2012. In fact, I think that as more creative people learn some of these principles they'll actually produce some ideas that traditional internet marketers can learn a lot from themselves.
I recently worked with an artist named Ali Handal to build a series of automatically generated emails for her mailing list subscribers. Instead of being over-the-top and trying to shove her CD down people's throats, we decided to use email to do some real engaging and relationship building in a way that was both fun and authentic.
In the emails she tells interesting and funny stories about her career and experiences and about making her CD. By the time she actually offers her CD (on the ninth email), her fans already feel like they know her and they've heard all kinds of amazing things about what went into creating the CD.
She's sold way more CDs than we could have hoped for, her open rates are consistently excellent, and she gets emails all the time from people who love her stories. This is the kind of thing we can expect to see more of in 2012. More optimism, more efficiency, more relationship building, more effective marketing, more fulfillment, and more money.
Here are two things that my clients and I will be going big on in 2012:
1. Online fan clubs - you deliver all your new music and videos into a private membership site and fans pay for access. There will, of course, be different payment levels for people who would like access to more content.
2. Musicians making money through ads - my experience is that one of the biggest problems musicians face is actually getting fans to pull out the cash and buy something. So why not skip that step! Just focus on producing the best music and most interesting content that will attract lots of hits to your site. Then you just put a simple Google Adsense banner in the sidebar of your site, and every time someone clicks the banner, you get paid. Not a massive amount, but it all adds up.
Google Adsense will probably not pay your rent, but it’s easy to set up. The real concept here is that you attract the eyeballs and then advertising companies pay you for a share of your hits. This is how most popular websites make money, so your fans won’t think it’s strange to see an ad or two for something cool.
The reason I love both of these models is that they simplify the process for you and the fans because everything is delivered online at no extra cost to you. With the ads, you don't even have to sell anything!
As always, I welcome your comments!
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What About Bob?
Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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