Inbound (again)

You already know what inbound marketing is from the last post, but how do you make it work for YOU? This article’s first new(ish) point was that obviously you can’t just write a blog and expect a million people to read it and promote your music. Your future listeners are looking for the stuff you’re writing about (because, of course, you’re writing the stuff they’re looking for), but you have to help them find you for the strategy to work…

And the tactics for getting your content noticed are essentially two-fold.
1. Show up in their searches. The idea of SEO is in constant flux between art and science, but the aforementioned article and others had some helpful points.
a. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and use the verbiage they’ll use to search. This goes not only for your headlines, but also for how you discuss your topics in your blog.
b. Use common words describing what you’re writing about, like “music promotion” in this case, as frequently as is comfortable throughout your post so Google knows it’s a prevalent topic in your soon-to-be-prevalent blog.
c. Go for length. This article mentions that longer posts are indexed better by Google, and an article has to be 2000 words to even make it in the top 10 of a SERP.
d. Constantly keep up on modern insights and build good general rapport online. This article brought good insights here, and stressed the importance of what the rest of the web thinks of your content. Having a few well-known sites posting followed links to yours will do a lot more for you than linking multiple second-rate sites yourself.
e. Oh, and #hashtags won’t hurt you… unless you hate them as much as I do.
2. Get conversations going and develop familiarity among your audience. Simply showing up in searches
won’t be enough. External (peer) validation of your authority helps them click your link when you show up
in searches, they need to have somewhere to talk about you and see other people talking about you after
they’ve searched, and Social Media sites are pretty much your only hope in the awareness phase for people who aren’t typing your keywords in any search bars (which is much of your audience.) We’ll be getting into social media later, but for now this means:
a. Being active on social media sites and building relationships with favors and helpful or simply insightful comments.
b. Paying SM sites to force your message out there (though I hate to say it.)
c. Carefully select the SM sites you use and focus them. It helps for people to see that you have a real presence in a few areas as opposed to just being around in many.

Note of caution when using social media I was reminded of from page 6 – MAINTAIN A COHESIVE IMAGE. Remember that as an artist you are a brand, and you need to protect it or your impact will BECOME decay. If people don’t know what to think about you, they won’t. Whether you make music like this, this, or this, act consistently with the image you portray. Are you a badass? Act and talk like it all the time. Are you an innocent Beemo? Show them. It usually helps, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to act like your music sounds. (Take IllEsha for example. She makes some of the filthiest beats I know of, but I can tell you she’s one of the sweetest people ever, and people love her all the more for it). However, acting inconsistently will get you labeled as fake or as a princess, and making releases of varying quality will get you labeled as untalented, whether you are or not (think of Borgore)…. Just don’t ever make the mistake of portraying an image that isn’t you or that you won’t be able to maintain…

Don't go for an image people won't buy
Don’t go for an image people won’t buy

Tangential advise for landing on an image – Remember that not only do fans want to like your music, but most want to live vicariously through you for a myriad of reasons I can’t get into right now. This is why people like to hear about their favorite celebrity wasting money but are disgusted when they see someone they don’t know driving too nice of a car. It’s why they feel like THEY won when some guy wearing a shirt with colors they identify with gets the ball across a chalk line and why they get in fights when the team they identify with is insulted. People are lemmings, even the ones that say other people are lemmings, and  even if you are it’s your job to think one step ahead of them and take advantage of this effect.This is what marketing is all about, afterall – leveraging the insolence of man. (Pro-tip on how to tell if you’re a lemming – If you’ve never considered yourself one before.)

Auxilliary points – All this being said, another article brings up the point that generating content isn’t the only way to go about inbound marketing. For example, if you gather a large group on G+ or some other forum, you will instantly be respected and your music listened to if you share it as the owner of the group or forum. And a fan that says “wow, this guy is a fuckin badass and can teach me a lot” is worth 20 passive followers.. easily. Take Forerunner for example. He doesn’t have many followers on soundcloud, but if you check his forum out, you’ll see he’s a god among men there, and for good reason.

I mentioned that blog posts should be longer than shorter for SEO purposes, but you have to keep in mind that everyone has a sort of internet-induced ADD in this age, so they have to think they’re going to be able to digest your content easily and quickly (especially in the case of music because they’re not paying anything.) So I suggest you front-load the interesting or grabbing stuff as much as possible and then blab on to your heart’s content… or from it’s content (sorry.)

Email marketing isn’t quite dead yet. There’re lots of ways to get listners’ emails, (think Bandcamp), so use it if you have more than 1000 followers or have distinctly good material. If you barely got someone to click on your song (the most likely case), requiring another click, and God forbid, actually TYPING, you will lose them. Guaranteed. You’re better off making the music easier to download, giving you a greater chance to be heard by more ears. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen too many clicks in my future and said “eh, more where that came from” and moved on so I didn’t have to type in my email address and get your spam emails. Realize that even in my tiny corner of the internet I go through about 50 pre-HIGHLYfiltered songs per day MINIMUM. And when you do that you really start thinking about how each second is spent.

And remember to PERSONALIZE YOUR EMAILS. This applies when emailing fans and when submitting to blogs. I don’t know why people care about their names so much, but when you use them in the greeting people are much more apt to do what you want them to, especially if it took you any trouble at all to find out. (Many bloggers will attach a certain degree of difficulty to running across their name to see if you even looked at their blog. Take the time. (As for me, call me George, I don’t give a fuck, names are arbitrary and I don’t have time for the meaningless nuances of ego-stroking. If it’s good I post it, if it’s not I tell you why. I wish this were generally the case but it’s not.) Most bloggers need you to grovel and tell them a nice story about how you came up with the song and how much it means to you… so… I’m sorry… but you gotta do that usually.)

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