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Publicity and the Internet

13InternetPublicity_0Since its rise to a status of household necessity, the internet has been an amazingly effective way to promote your band. And though it was once considered to be vaguely amateurish, internet publicity is now known as one of the most viable means to spread the word, even by publicists who once favored working with print publications. Internet promotion gives you an accessible face to the world while at the same time allowing you to interact with people in a way previously unavailable.

But the internet is a big, big place. There are tons of websites, and many of them are of little use when it comes to promoting your band. Follow these guidelines to get the most out of your internet publicity campaign.

Personal Websites

Every band needs a website; internet promotion would be nearly pointless without one. Buy a domain name (preferably your band name), sign up with a hosting service and start planning your content. What information do you want to share with the world? Most band websites have sections for news, member information, tour dates or local shows, and media (pictures, music and videos), and you might want to set up a merchandise section if you plan to sell CDs or t-shirts. Also, some bands have taken to creating online versions of their press kits for easy access by venues, record labels and radio stations. This is a fantastic way to promote your band online; if you make that sort of information available to the general public, you might find that music writers and radio stations approach you before you get the chance to approach them.

The design of your website is just as vital to your internet publicity campaign as the content; after all, the last thing you want is to appear amateurish or unprofessional. If you know some HTML or Flash, you're all set. But if you haven't the faintest how to program even the simplest content, you might want to consider hiring a professional. Many small design companies will create your website for reasonable fees, and you might even be able to find a graphic design student willing to do it simply to beef up his or her portfolio.

Mailing Lists

Another way to get the most out of internet promotion is by way of mailing list -- quite literally a list of email addresses. Since many people don't have the time, or interest, to constantly check individual band websites for upcoming shows, delivering the information -- be it tour dates, album releases or whatever else your band deems newsworthy -- directly to their email inboxes is a perfect convenience.

But where do you get these addresses? While some bands and publicity houses have taken to buying mailing lists from direct mail companies, it's generally best to solicit contact information from people who've shown at least a little interest. Set out a sign-up sheet at every show you play, and ask people to jot down their email addresses if they're interested in having information delivered to them. You might also consider adding a subscription feature to your personal website; that way, anyone checking out your website can easily sign up for updates.

Myspace, Friendster, Facebook, et al

Community websites such as Myspace and Friendster have recently become fantastic developments in internet publicity. These sites provide a space -- in addition to your personal website, of course -- at which you can host music, videos and audio for absolutely no cost. What's more, they give you access to bulletin boards, message boards, blogs and internet groups, all of which allow you to interact further with other users.

The thing to remember about promoting your band on sites such as these, however, is that tons of other people are doing it, and most of them are doing it the wrong way. Respect is the name of the game with this sort of internet publicity; never randomly add people to your friend list without first messaging them, and always respect a user's request to not be contacted by bands.

Also make sure to always keep your information current and interesting. Post any show dates as soon as you book them, and create bulletin posts and blogs to promote your band's event. Perform regular maintenance on your mp3s and videos -- such highly visited websites often have technical issues -- and try to keep the features from interrupting the load time of your page. Users will sometimes shun your honest attempts at internet promotion if it takes 10 minutes for your page to load. Keep it simple, snappy, informative and professional; aside from your personal website, a page on a community website is your face to the world. Make it reflect your band's tastes and attitude, but do it in the most non-intrusive manner possible. Internet publicity only works if you strive to use it differently than those who randomly abuse the access. If you are a business owner get listed at Best Education Site, part of Localwin Network.
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