OVERVIEW OF ONLINE PROMOTIONS STRATEGIES
Breakdown of Kurbs online services:
+ storefronts - full support and advice
Please note this doesn't cover discussion on postering print and placement services cd/dvd and press kit reproduction and distribtion strategies for which we offer generous discounts to those in NZ + Australia on our artist packages, or graphic and web design support which is provided for those on packages - in starting at $300 p/month.
A campaign covering
each of these elements is likely to be costed at $NZ400p/month. Packages
start at $NZ200 p/month and go to $NZ500 p/month for full intensity internet
campaign OR full management package options for Auckland based bands.
Online distro + players with storefronts for musicians
I can't set it up for you - that's too complicated when we want all the money going straight to the artists, but I can pretty much walk you through the whole process and make recommendations based on my experience. In areas where income is derived from the sale of music our aim is to keep clients up to date with the latest opportunities -such as www.we7.com.
Search manipulation + Google advertising
Google search is obviously the main way New Zealanders find things, it's the most frequently used site here. It is also the internal search engine powered within myspace.
By generating backlinks from automated distribution of content, I've learned to manipulate Google pretty successfully for Kurb, but results come about slowly over the weeks and will vary depending on the nature and volume of the content available (e.g. acts with a distinct name or spelling have a distinct advantage on google!)
In addition, an ad campaign on Google on top of "organic search" is inexpensive and easy to manage - giving the act a higher profile through googles immense network while helping to underpin traffic generated from key relevant phrases - for example:
"New Zeland Hip Hop" (back 2 basics was the first nz site a #4)
"Auckland Hardcore" etc. (the myspace of a band "Cell" from west Auckland came up #1)
The result is obviously we want the name of the act to come up as close as possible to first when its typed into google. We want the myspace coming up and we want results from youtube coming up.
Automated social campaigns (Myspace/Bebo/Facebook etc.)
Digital promotion on myspace you know about - regularly maintain searching and requesting of targeted audiences of between 50-100 per day, then following up with specific campaigns consisting of targeted messages and comments related to content (new single, new video, tour announcement, etc.) and offering direct links to downloads, videos, blogs, backlinks to relevant sites and all relevant content.
The same applies to other social sites to varying extents, I am still experimenting with this but we already know that Bebo is tremendously popular with New Zealand teenagers while Facebook has started to siphon off older and more sophisticated myspace users in there 20's.
A global campaign would involve applying this across many different accounts with specific geographic or demographic targets assigned to each account. A New Zealand focused campaign doesn't really require more than one account.
In regards to security, I feel I need to create separate social account that is managed separately from the original account established by the act mainly because if I'm going to get the best results I don't want to be worried about the consequences of taking responsibility for a bands account being compromised - though this has never happened - but just as important I need to know exactly whats going on with that account, back up data, make specific content available etc. - especially where key differences in the nature of specific social sites in relation to artists (myspace/bebo/facebook) may call for a different approach - without the artists getting tetchy that im messing around with their personal profiles. This way of course the artists also keep their privacy.
There needs to be some delineation between the bands own accounts where the band can be contacted directly and the nature of the "satellite" account as a promotional entity. obviously the term "street team" is undesirable but there'll be something related to the content that will be appropriate.
Again content is key. I can request, I can comment, but the audience have got to engage with the content beyond another spam campaign albeit a local one. Obviously providing access to the tools that allow users to initiate the viral process (specifically promoting access to the relevant codes that allow users to promote/share/embed content) should be promoted, but the next step is encouraging/prompting users to interact with the content - for example: users creating their own videos applying audio content, making content freely available for myspace bedroom producers to remix etc.
And once promotion has taken on a life of it's own separate from the actions of you or me that's when it's "gone viral".
Also a thorough campaign will make use of all other aspects of social sites available - forums, groups, bulletins etc. - to present content and make it available for viral proliferation by again making relevant codes easily accessible.
Youtube . . . + content sites for Video/Blogs/Free Mp3's
Again this applies the concept of taking artist generated content (video/mp3/copy) and where possible automating distribution through as many user channels and sites as is reasonable to create blanket accessibility - Youtube obviously that dominates video content as well as key social sites that offer content (Myspace, Bebo, Facebook), key blog sites (Blogger, Wordpress, Livejournal), key mp3 sites (mp3.com, soundclick, download.com) , reinforcing the presence of such content online with appropriate and intelligent tagging (tags enable searches within content providing sites), furnishing with other content and backlinks to all relevant sites where possible.
Digital promotion allows for this kind of blanket distribution, while the digital promotion techniques used on social sites (requesting adds, messaging, commenting etc.) can also be applied on Youtube. The time consuming part of this job is really in establishing the sites and managing all the account information.
But the effect is that you're building up a massive self reinforcing network. Some blogs, some videos may never even be seen, but they still reinforce the acts presence by the benefit of the links, tags, and key content phrases.
Viral tie ins
Video/Blog/Mp3 sites present content, social sites are a point of first contact where promotion can be conducted in order to encourage users to adopt, interact with and redistribute content and the acts website is ultimately where we want users to end up - signing up for mailing lists, seeking in depth information, interacting with primary content and sharing secondary content with other users in a community (48may nailed this one).
Players: players allow music to be provided to be presented for listening (and digital downloads of content in multiple formats retailed where the player is a storefront) in a full range of key online environments so are a key viral tool. Right now many free services exist its just a matter of utilizing the most useful amongst a range of competitors. Similarly many free widgets or "apps" designed to integrate with Myspace/Bebo/Facebook are presenting new solutions for quick and easy content delivery.
Spam fatigue: it's fundamental when automating promotion to conduct this in a way that has some authenticity above your garden variety spam campaign - creating relevance through whatever targeting is available and creating interest by offering something of value - not just another excuse to get in peoples faces.
Obviously the big push in in presence - awareness and accessibility, not the hard sell to move units. But the key is creating as much ease of access for those who just want to see the video or hear the song and share it with their friends online to those who do want to purchase downloads, merchandise, etc. or order cds.
Campaigns + Licensing
Licensing works in much the same way - we are provided with job sheets each month for a number of paid licensing opportunities - predominantly US based - usually for advertising or soundtracks. We send demos of our acts work where it is appropriate. Licensing is heavily tipped to be a major growth area for revenue in the future as music becomes more like a service in its commercial nature, so again we keep up very much up to date with developments while anticipating major opportunities here in the long term.
P2P (Limewire, Bittorrent, Soulseek etc.) promotion is a forward looking technique engaging viral users in their own environment, as P2P is obviously the way most mp3 and increasingly video content is distributed, albeit illegally. By making mp3 and video content available 24 hours through all the most appropriate P2P networks, you're releasing that content "into the wild" so to speak.
Much like creating searchability through the tagging of content, this content can be duplicated and labelled in different ways to bring in a broader range of search hits.
Aggregation services such as Last.fm are getting more popular as a means to discover new music by recommending users music based on the choices of other users who listen to the same music. As they expand on the nature of the different music services they provide they're crossing into providing content also, but creating access through aggregration is the key.
Whereas RSS technology
is still slowly catching on, when it reaches critical mass, there will
be an opportunity to respond by creating access there.
Obviously in terms of audio, video and written copy I work with whatever I get, but images will be required as buttons and banners for digital promotion and given the broad scale of promoting video and audio content and the way that once it "goes viral" theres vey little control over where it goes I think theres a need to include basic information within the content - who the act is, their website, etc. It is my advice that you make SOME audio content available for free download and preferably not clips, while delivering video content must be a vital part of your strategy long term.
Don't be afraid
to drop me a line!
me Matt on: +64 (0)27 6848250