Essentials of Promotion- Email and Web
So, you’ve got the group together…it’s pretty tight…you’ve been playing some gigs and now…
…you want to really start promoting your band in a serious way!
Well, ok then…do it! Here are some tips to make sure you’ve covered all your bases before you start sending out emails to press people and bloggers. Ok, so, first things first…
Do you have a band website?
If not, make one. Don’t freak out, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money…or have fancy software…or be a web designer/programmer to do this. You can build a really nice, clean site for free using WordPress.com…just like I did. Then, buy the domain name and forward the URL to your WordPress address. This way you’re only paying about $10-$15 for the domain registration (I recommend Namecheap.com because they include URL forwarding at no extra charge). Check out Jeff Albert’s site for a great example.
Things you should have on your website…in plain sight…don’t make people have to search high and low for them:
- Hi-res photos you/your band. 300 dpi is pretty standard.
- Your/your band biography.
- Links to your music for listening AND buying. If you can embed streaming links right on the page…that’s even better.
- A downloadable one-sheet. Check out this article from Performer Magazine for creating the perfect one-sheet…and learn how it’s replacing the old press kit. There’s even a pdf template so you can “see” the format.
- Links to press about you/your band.
Do you have an email address just for the band?
Well, you need one. It looks way more professional than using your personal email. You can set up a Gmail, hotmail…any webmail, actually…for free, of course. OR, if you own your domain name, you can set up a Google Apps Standard account where you can have up to 10 users (and thus, up to ten email addresses) for free. That means addresses for each member of the band that look really professional with the firstname.lastname@example.org format.
You’ve got everything you need; now you can get started.
You can send info to locals about important upcoming gigs, CD release party info or anything else happening at home. If you’re going to be in another town for some shows find some press people and radio people in that town and let them know you’re coming. Talk to other musicians and bands and find out who they talked to. Keep in mind to find radio stations and bloggers who actually play or talk/write about your style of music. If you play blues you don’t want to send your stuff to a heavy metal blogger…you dig? Another important thing to remember about radio stations is that many of them (not all) still prefer to receive actual CDs and not electronic files. So, contact them and double check their preferred method. If they want a hardcopy you’ll have to plan on sending some snail mail that includes a short cover letter (you could even use a nice note card if you want), your CD and your one sheet.
Remember, you are not entitled to anything from anyone you contact. They are under no obligation to do anything with what you send to them or to respond to you at all after they get it. That said, you should always be polite in your email, tailor it to the person/organization you’re sending it to AND make it as easy as possible for them to hear and get to know you/your band…just like your website. The easier something is to do, the more likely they’ll actually do it. A great way to do this is to set up your email signature (that’s information that gets automatically inserted at the bottom of an email) to include links to your music, your website, your one sheet, press links…etc. You can usually create a custom signature by going to “mail settings” or “settings” in whatever webmail platform you use. You can also attach a pdf of your one sheet to cut down on the amount of clicking they have to do. If you have your music on Bandcamp.com you can include a download code (at no cost to you) so they can get your music as well as listen to it. Don’t make them pay for it…that would be rude.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Dear Mr/Ms. So and So,
Our band, Dapper Dan and the Dudes, is going to be headlining with Georgia Brown at the annual Sunny Fest in Atlanta on May 12. We’re an old school blues/funk band from New Orleans and we think you and your readers will really dig our sound. We’ve attached our one sheet and you can check us out some more by using the links below. Listen to our latest album at http://dapperdan.bandcamp.com and even download it with this code, 123xyz, if you decide you like it.
We can’t wait to see you at the Fest!
That’s all for now. Good luck and have fun!