Several years ago, when I was still running my little record label, I used to receive demos from artists. To be honest I was surprised and wondered “How did they find my details?”. You have to understand I was not Kalawa Jazmee or a Soul Candi Records.
So I was curious to know and I would ask: “Where did you get my details from?”
And the response was usually the same: The Internet.
After listening to the demo, I would go to Google so I could get further information on the artist.
I did this all the time, but the search results were disappointing in most cases.
That’s when I realized that most Independent artists in South African do not have an online presence.
If your online presence is non-existent or you would like to know how to improve it, this post is for you.
Here are 5 ways to build an online presence from scratch:
- Social Media Accounts
- Digital Distribution
- Create your own Blog
Creating your own website would a good start in building an online presence. A website is your online real estate so try not to think of it as a wasteful expenditure. Instead of creating the typical boring website, make it more interesting and useful.
A musician website can include any of the following:
- A Landing Page
- Artist Biography/History
- Email Newsletter Opt-In form
- Embedded Playlist of your singles or albums
- Gallery (Optional)
- Ensure that each page is optimized for SEO
Social Media Accounts
There’s no denying that social media has become a big part of our lives. I’m pretty sure that most of us belong to at least one social network.
So I won’t show you how to sign-up for an account because the topic is too broad and would go beyond the scope of this post.
But what I want to do though is to show you how to use social media effectively for building an online presence. Let’s start with the well-known Giant called Facebook.
Say you have a Facebook Artist page, before start inviting friends and random people to like your page, do the following instead:
- Go to the About section
- Add an interesting Title
- Write a detailed (200 words minimum) description of yourself (artist) and your music
- Add keywords
See the example below.
Twitter is quite different from Facebook from a search perspective. Sure you can add a mini-bio on your profile but there is maximum word count.
But if you start getting followers and tweet more often, your profile starts to gain traction and will appear on search engine results.
Ensure that you’re using the same name or alias rather on all social media platforms including Instagram. If there’s no consistency you will confuse people and search engines. But stay active and engage with your followers.
There are different kinds of directories across all industries but you should look into the following:
Hotfrog – If you have your own record label you can list it and include your contacts. But don’t forget to add your artist name as well
MusicDirectory.com – You can list your own artist profile for free and get a host of benefits such as one video post, add a link to your website, add geographic location et cetera.
Music Socket – This directory is recommended for artists who own record labels. Listing is free of charge
Distributing your music online is by far one of the most effective ways to build an online presence.
If you have a digital distribution deal, your distributor will ensure that your music is available on most stores globally.
Searching your name and music won’t be such a mission.
You can do the following:
- Upload your music on free websites like Reverbnation and SoundCloud (Use the same alias for search purposes).
- Find a reliable digital music distributor and submit high-quality files for distribution (Image, audio, etc.)
Create your own Blog
Creating a blog from scratch is time-consuming and will cost you a little bit of money. You are a musician and not a blogger. And that’s understandable.
But when I say “blog”, I’m referring to something else (different from the one you’re reading now).
The purpose of the blog in your case would be for promotional purposes (posting your single, EP, or album).
You can do all this for free by using the following tools:
But bear in mind that when you create a free blog on wordpress.com for example. Your URL or domain will look like the following:
The same goes for Blogger and Tumblr. Because it’s free, they provide the infrastructure and tools but you do not get access to an exclusive domain name.
I just showed you five easy ways to build an online presence from scratch. Whether you are a hip hop, deep house or gospel artist in South Africa, the “rules” remain the same.
The takeaway here is to utilize all the above channels, but do not do everything at once.
If you begin with digital distribution, a blog on wordpress.com and social media, the results will be instant because of the domain authority of those websites.
I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions; you can leave your comments below.