I will start with an admission…

I know nothing of marketing a band. The closest i have come in the past is getting drunk and putting my own music on at house parties. I do have some experience in brand development from working with businesses during web development and the continuation and consistency of brand guidelines blah blah blah…

SO. I came up with the following checklist:

  • Define a message which we would consistently promote through our various media
  • Translate that into images/tangible media to promote the band
  • Create an online presence
  • Generate some HYPE.

Part 1 – What a load of waffle

I hate this bit. Talking about what you want to say, what you represent etc. I would rather just get a moderately drunk, smash the crap out of my drums with my friends, get more drunk, go home with a paycheque. Alas, this doesn’t work. Although people will buy into that for some short term gratification, I don’t believe that it sells. People buy into a brand, a persona they want to align with, a group they want to be a part of, a style they want to wear with pride. I don’t want to create some contrived act of a persona where we have to get into ‘character’ whilst in the public eye. This may work for some, but I do not want to be an act. It was important to me that we came across as transparently as possible; honest, hard-working(ish), easy-going(ish) guys, that have a passion for the music they play.

We presented this to Martin Hobby, a fantastic photographer that has had some big names at the other end of a lens, and he had some positive things to say. We met up on a rather sunny saturday, with a sofa, behind a pub on the river, and took some pictures. We wanted to keep them light hearted (no moody uplit shots in the woods for us), but more importantly, natural.

That saturday was a good day.

A week later we got the images back, and they were bloody fantastic! Check out Martin’s work at http://www.willshootforrum.co.uk/.

Part 2 – Awful design-y things

I suck at photoshop. This is what the morning taught me. Ok, i’m not THAT  bad, but it didn’t go well, what with software issues and licenses etc. I got there in the end. A graphic designer friend of mine who is an absolute wizard with Typography selected some nice fonts that fitted the bill. I wanted something clean and simple, block, no-frills. Something that would convey a more grown up  persona, something which you do not seem to see much around these parts. It needed to stand out amongst a slew of unreadable scratches of the metal bands, and certainly not look like we took a random dip into the Microsoft Word font library. We went with Vinyl OT Oblique. It’s nice. I  approve.

We selected a few images from the shoot, and placed out text in several configurations in order to give a bit of variety of placement, useful for use on sites where the thumbnail cropping is restrictive. Once we had a nice library of images, we moved on to the Social Media.

Part 3 – Teh Interwebz

I do the internet. I am familiar with the enormous number of social media sites it has to offer. It is absurd to think that you can a) get on all of them and b) maintain good, meaningful content on all of them. So we cherry picked a few that we thought would be beneficial. The lucky few were:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • SoundCloud
  • ReverbNation
  • Bandcamp
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

So I set up the relevant accounts. One thing that I felt was important was consistency. I wanted (ideally) to get the same username/short url on each of them so that it would be a more unifying message. As alot of these were either taken or not appropriate, I aimed for /theastoria but where this was not possible, I fell back to /astoriatheband which I felt had a nice ring to it anyways (hence the domain name I bought). As I began to populate content, I realised 2 things.

  1. It is not appropriate to put the same content on every site
  2. There needs to be a consistent message on every site

This proved challenging. For the time being, I have kept our bio/description short and sweet. It says everything it needs to, without going into detail. After speaking to Ashley Halliday, a vibrant marketing guru who manages some fantastic clients (lots of pubs and breweries), he raised some very good points about targeting. One thing he taught me was…

Targeting you content for your sites is important. Take Justin Bieber… His Facebook fans will buy the album, but his Twitter followers will know what pants he is wearing

This, I understood. I feel as though Twitter appeals to a more die-hard audience, where you can more effectively engage you followers and build a more reciprocal relationship, but Facebook, is slightly more of a soapbox, with feedback. Yeah, Facebook is great for getting you off the ground and gaining support from your nearest and dearest, but in the bigger picture, I feel there are more personal things for Facebook than *checking out this band that you liked once cos Steve told you they had a cool video*.

 Part 4 – Milk it

Now you have your pictures, your description, your music, your websites…. now you need to get some followers…

Yeah… so I haven’t got that far yet… but I will write a part 2 once I have tested a few techniques on the account and let you know how it goes!

Thanks for reading.

Ben

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