There’s no denying that social media is an integral part of any musician’s success. Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, and more are efficient ways to share music with fans and receive feedback. Not to mention, boost an artist’s online presence.
The weakness in many musicians’ marketing strategies is that it often starts and ends here.
A well-optimized website brings unique value to musicians in several ways. First, it serves as an an ‘artist headquarters’ where fans, press, and booking agents can learn more about the artist and connect. A website also offers unmatched customization in presenting his or her image, stability (that passing-trend social media platforms cannot provide), and better quality SERP rankings than musicians without a website.
What I mean by website optimization is, a website’s ability to be found in search engines and deliver on key performance indicators, or KPIs.
For musicians, KPIs can be time on-site, song plays, merchandise/album purchases, e-newsletter sign-ups, and more. There are many facets in optimizing a website, ranging from technical implementations to content strategy. In this blog post, I will focus on the latter.
Whether you are a musician or marketing manager, check out these five, awesome content strategies for musicians’ websites. Yes, I will be illustrating my points using my favorite Chicago rappers’ websites.
CONTENT STRATEGY 1: MUSICIAN BIO
Artists’ bio pages are where fans can get to know them on a more personal level, rather than a second-hand account from another publication. It’s a place to share the most important elements of ‘their story’ from personal life, education, artistic philosophy, album and song inspiration, awards, and more.
Chicago rapper R Kelly uses his bio page to pay homage to older artists and music styles that influenced his work – such as Ray Charles, Teddy Pendergrass, and Barry White.
CONTENT STRATEGY 2: SHOWS AND EVENTS
As straightforward as it sounds, a ‘shows and events page’ is where artists can showcase their upcoming performances and direct fans to where they can buy tickets. From a business standpoint, the more fans that know about an upcoming concert, the more that can come. From an SEO standpoint, this page serves as a linkable asset. Meaning, it’s information likely to be shared on social media platforms and music publication sites – which also helps further promote the event.
Chicago rapper Kanye West promotes his shows directly on his homepage – breaking event information down clearly by event date, city, venue, and ticket-sale site. If you’re a Chicago native as well, you just missed him (or maybe you didn’t!). He performed last week, October 7, as a part of his 2016 Saint Pablo Tour.
CONTENT STRATEGY 3: MERCHANDISE
Artists’ merchandise pages are where fans can find and buy ‘official’ artist swag, such as hats, hoodies, posters, albums and more. For artists, this means having your own store right on your website, as well as analytics to what type of products are most popular. For fans, it is a way to feel more directly connected an artist they enjoy.
In May 2016, Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper offered 10-packs of posters on his merchandise page. Done to promote his new album, Coloring Book, he encouraged his fans to buy and hang the posters across their city. Not only did these posters sell out, the promotion drove tons more traffic and backlinks to the site.
CONTENT STRATEGY 4: LINKS TO OTHER ONLINE PRESENCES
Music fans have limitless channels for following news on their favorite artists and listening to their favorite songs. To appeal to all media consumption and music listening preferences, artists should share their off-site media presences on their official site. Another benefit? It helps drive traffic to and from these outlets, earn ‘likes’, ‘follows’, and backlinks, and perhaps even increase a site’s domain authority. All this goes to improve an artist’s SEO footprint.
Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco promotes his Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and Apple music presences right at the top of his homepage.
CONTENT STRATEGY 5: MEDIA GALLERY
Media galleries are invaluable elements to artists’ websites. They give artists the ability to flaunt their unique stage presence and personality, build up linkable assets, and begin ranking in SERPs for video and photo content that presents them well.
Chicago Rapper Vic Mensa has a page on his site dedicated to his official music videos which help garner an impressive quantity of traffic and backlinks to his site. He also includes images from his latest concerts in the blog section of his site, with an option for fans to “leave a note” or “like” the post. By continually adding fresh content in these places, Mensa is able to build further rapport with fans, as well as amplify his SEO footprint. His most recent post received over 100 notes.
BONUS: PHILANTHROPY SECTION
Musical artists are powerful vehicles of change in society. When artists choose to endorse a charitable foundation on their site, it is not only is helpful to those who need it, but is also a great image booster and rapport builder between artists and their fans. From an SEO standpoint, it is also a unique opportunity to get recognition from sites outside of the music industry to reference ‘the good’ artists are doing. We call this ‘cause marketing.’
Chicago rapper Common links to his self-created Common Foundation on his website and urges fans to get involved or donate. Founded in 2014, the foundation’s mission is to “to use creative arts to expose youth to new opportunities.”
Page content can be ‘marked up’ using structured data, which makes it easier for search engines to identify and showcase the most important elements on a website. Structured data also enables rich snippets to appear in SERP pages themselves – ranging from music playlists, images, contact pages and more (see a full list here).
What’s your opinion on maintaining an official musician website? Let us know in the comments!