Every business today knows the value of having a strong web presence and more commonly a strong social media presence. Whether you use it as a way of keeping in touch with your customers, or obtaining feedback, or promotion, social media is becoming increasingly important. The time taken need not be intrusive on your everyday business activity, a quick tweet or Facebook update may be all that's required.

But what if you want to engage further, or build a deeper relationship with your customers, potential customers and readers? A blog may be the answer, with opportunity for you to show off your knowledge and skills in a particular area and also to show off your business personality. This requires a little more effort and time though and can be especially costly for small businesses. KD writing is now offering a new business blogging service. Get rid of that nagging thought that you should really be writing more often, that your blog is neglected and that you just don't have enough hours in the day. After an initial consultation, I will get on with the research and writing so you can get on with what you do best.

Why blog?
Here's just a couple of reasons, from Spinweb's paper on 'Why nobody reads your corporate blog'
If you think you could benefit from KD writing's new business blogging service get in touch and we can discuss how it can work for you.

I have recently spread my wings a little and started a new study course. It's a PDA in ITALL (Intro to tutoring in adult literacies learning). It involves some volunteer work with the Adult Basic Education department with the local council. It may seem a departure from my usual focus on digital marketing or whiling away the hours in my college library, however, I actually don't see it as very different to the core of my work. At the centre of everything I have worked on or been interested in is an enthusiasm for communication.

This has (hopefully) shone through in my work in contributing to local music magazines, websites and blogging. It has been the reason why I developed an interest in self-publishing, proofreading, copywriting and copy editing.  It was where I found the desire to help other creatives bring their writing to the market through Vine Arts Publications (a small publishing venture, now with 4 books successfully published and one new poetry chapbook released this very week! Follow @vineartspub for more information on this project.) It has fuelled my interest in marketing in general, working in educational settings, the food industry, and eventually my freelance work for KD Marketing. 

A passion for words is at the heart of all I have worked on, in its many different forms. Even with digital marketing, I have discovered that strong writing skills are essential, even in the skills required to consider web copy or keywords for Search Engine Optimisation. My time spent working in an educational library has given me another insight into how literacy and digital literacy can open doors and give people opportunities.

And so now I am starting on a journey of encouraging others in their reading, writing and basic IT skills. Not because I feel led to suddenly become a teacher, but because the world of words and communication has been so central to all I have worked on and been involved in that I cannot imagine my life without it. I have been fortunate to have great teachers, mentors and opportunities to learn and I'm excited to pass on any little knowledge or enthusiasm I can. The reality of the course is the volunteering starts now so I will post back (hopefully with my enthusiasm in tact!) when I've completed some more of the course. Thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me through years of many and varied random, or perhaps not-so-random projects. 
Following on from last post, this one is for those musicians with an extra level of thick skinned perseverance, precisely what it takes to get anywhere in this industry.

So let's begin with a few websites you need to make use of. If you've followed the earlier advice about spreading your music far and wide on facebook, soundcloud etc., you may be struggling to fit all those web addresses into your email signatures or the bottom of your business cards (?). And that's where an aggregator such as Onesheet comes in. A simple and quick way to bring all your web presence together into one handy place - could also be good while you're waiting on that elusive 'official band website' getting completed.

Once your onesheet is ready to go, why not use it like a press pack? Get it tidied up and ready for approaching all the influencers in your musical genre. Get the correct and most appropriate email address for every promoter, radio DJ, blogger you think might be interested. Do not spam, do not ask your fans to spam on your behalf. Email someone new every day (or delegate this task).

Take a look at websites and radio stations willing to accept dropbox submissions of new music, for example check out freshonthenet (in association with the legendary Tom Robinson.) Lots of additional music marketing tips on there too.

Networking isn't a bad word, it's not so much about who you know, but about who can hear you. For my Scottish readers, events such as Born to be Wide and goNORTH could be valuable places to meet people who can help you get heard and get gigs.

Finally, I address the issue of being put in a box. Any true, talented musician full of integrity will naturally crave to stand out, be different, be new and unique. And you should be, no matter what influences you have or bands you've been inspired by, no-one likes to labelled, or treated like a copycat. But remember the Search Engine Optimisation lessons of before, if you want to be FOUND then you might just have to climb into a box or two. At the very least you should aim to be genre specific (even if it means making up a new genre name of your own in the hope it will catch on.. eg. I once created the genre ApocolypticPop but alas it just never seemed to go far...) You should also consider your local fanbase, and make your location clear, not to limit your reach but to give a clear starter for those music fans out there just dying to find the next 'jazz punk' hero from Fife...

Good luck my friends, onwards and upwards.
Today, the average major music label foists an unhealthy number of samey, middle of the road pop acts upon us whose work has become so commercialised-beyond-recognition as to not actually resemble any real form of music as such. Thankfully though independent DIY musicians and retailers are demonstrating the power of the niche, and the long tail of ‘alternative’ music choices is still frequently coming up with ways to punch above its weight.

See for example the thriving Irish music scene, with bands so against the grain no major would touch them with a barge pole, yet able to tour the world and sell their music in whatever format they wish to a dedicated tribe of followers.

And see the success of Record Store Day to see how independent shops support local and unsigned bands whilst still making money.

With this in mind, many musicians may shun the need for a strategic marketing approach and understandably wince at the thought of parading themselves around in a product demo style fashion. However one of KD marketing’s key aims is to help you be HEARD. And if you’re a musician who prefers obscurity then perhaps this isn’t for you. If however you prefer to make a noise here are some ways to do it that will still allow you to sleep at night..

Once you have crafted your musical genius into a downloadable product, get it online as soon as possible in the following locations. If you don’t want to try all of them, choose the ones you are willing to update regularly and where you think your fans will most likely be found.
  • Last FM
  • MySpace (yip, it still exists)
  • Facebook (use a free App like Bandpage or link to your Spotify account)
  • Soundcloud – ability to create remixes makes it a great place to find collaborators
  • Bandcamp
  • Itunes/ Amazon/ CD Baby
  • BBC Introducing Uploader & AmazingRadio
  • Your own website promoted via Twitter
If you think you don’t have the time or inclination to do this, ask a trusted fan/friend to do it.
  • SEO for musicians: Cynical? Too contrived? Well people still need to find you to hear you. If you are just forming a new band it really is in your interest to give your band a name that will be found when people hear about you and want to Google you. Avoid generic names and names which already exist within another industry. More examples here
  • Branding – Maybe you think style, look and feel and tone of voice are not important, but they are essential in establishing a connection with fans. Read this from Grimes and consider how embracing it might actually be part of your creativity, as long as you are authentic. 
Enough – now go rehearse, record and create the ultimate content.