Hey everyone! Welcome to the latest emission of Teen Jazz Radio, a part of TeenJazz.com, an online community of up and coming musicians. I’m Shannon Kennedy, your host and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to our show and to the fantastic young artists we feature as part of each episode.

Today on Teen Jazz Radio I’m going to talk about how you can increase your online presence, sharing a few different methods I myself have implemented. I’ll talk about what has worked for me and what hasn’t and give you a few ideas as to how to try them out yourself.

Also in this episode, I’m also going to feature the music of the Braxton Brothers, Chieli Minucci, David Sparkman, Jonathan Butler, and U-Nam.

As I mention at the beginning of each show, I know that many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons – some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I’m going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there’s a little something for everyone.

So, before we dive into today’s tips on how to increase your online presence, let’s check out our first music set. Guitarist U-Nam is going to release his new album C’est le Funk next month and as a bit of an early celebration, I’d like to feature a song from his last album, Weekend In L.A ( A Tribute To George Benson ). This is “I Just Wanna Hang Around You” featuring Tim TiO Owens.

Once again, that was “I Just Wanna Hang Around You” from guitarist U-Nam. You can find more information about him at unammusic.com or in our interview with him on Teen Jazz.

As you know from listening to this podcast, I run Teen Jazz, a community for up and coming musicians as well as the fact that I am a musician in my own right. What you might not know is that I also love learning languages, so I run a blog with language learning tips and travel advice as well. Through these three sites and channels, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to play around with strategies and methods to boost my online presence and I’d like to share some of what has worked for me and some of what hasn’t.

That being said, a little disclaimer… Just because some things may not have worked for me does not mean they will not work for you. Everyone is different and so different strategies may work, well, differently for you than they did for me. Even if something didn’t work for me, it may work for you, so don’t be afraid to try it on your own if you think it may be good for you.

Before you delve into any of the strategies that I’m going to suggest, I would advise trying several of them out on a smaller scale and employing a combination of the below. Experimenting and implementing a variety of strategies, while still focusing on those that seem to work best, is a great way to keep your online presence “fresh” and give your visitors a reason to keep coming back.

So let’s get into a few ideas to boost your online presence.

Giving stuff away

Free stuff! Most people love free stuff!

I’ve tried this in more than one way.

The first is that I give away a free song or ebook to those who sign up for my mailing list. This works and it doesn’t work. I’ve had people sign up with fake emails to get the free material (yup, I see those because I get a “bounce” email in my inbox each time this happens). At the same time, however, I have also seen increased “real” signups since I added this feature to my mailing list.

I’ve also done giveaways. This helps boost traffic, but only if you’re marketing the giveaway right. If you host a giveaway on your site but don’t do anything to promote it, no one is going to know you’re doing it.

The bad:

The hope is that by giving something away for free, you’ll increase your website visitors, your Facebook likes, Twitter followers or email subscribers. That the people who come for the free stuff will decide they like what they see and will stick around. The reality is that most of them don’t. Some people just want the free stuff and that’s it. But that’s okay.

The good:

That’s okay because some of them will stick around. If they find value in whatever it is you give away, they may decide that they want more and that they’re willing to pay for it. Giving away a free song can be seen as a “trial.” They get a taste of your music and what you have to offer and if they enjoy it, there’s a good chance that they’ll look for more from you.

This is why I suggest giving away one of your better songs if you decide to use this method. If you give away a song that you think is just so-so, then your efforts will be wasted. You want to put your best foot forward, so make sure you choose to giveaway something that’s a good representation of your music.

A few good examples:

  • Authors of book series give away the first book of a series because once the reader is attached to the story and characters, they’ll likely purchase the later book in the series
  • Authors give away free copies of their book in exchange for reviews
  • Musicians give away free copies of their album in exchange for reviews
  • Musicians give away a copy of one of their songs in exchange for an email to add to their mailing list
  • Authors give away the first or best chapter of their book in exchange for an email to add to their mailing list
  • A website gives away a collection of “tips” as an ebook with a section at the end of the book that invites the reader to take action either by purchasing another book, subscribing to a blog, etc.
  • At the end of a book that is part of a series the author includes a chapter or two from the next series to entice the reader to finish reading the rest of the series
  • Musicians host of giveaway on their site to coincide with the release of their upcoming album, giving fans the opportunity to win things like t-shirts, other memorabilia, backstage passes, etc.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a technique that employs the consistent creation of relevant content to attract and acquire an audience. For musicians, this content can be the music itself or other information that is curated and posted to your websites or social media accounts.

For example, on Teen Jazz and Eurolinguiste the “content” is the articles that we write on a weekly basis. For me as an artist, is is my music as well as any important news about tour dates or collaborations I’m a part of. I regularly update all of my sites with new content and features to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. If you aren’t implementing some sort of content strategy, you aren’t giving your fans any reason to keep up with what you’re doing.

New content doesn’t necessarily have to be a blog (although I do recommend keeping a tour diary or behind the scenes log). It can be new music, news and press clips that you add as they come up, side projects (I did a Project 365 last year am hoping to write 50 songs this year – I keep track of my progress on my site), or it can even be announcements and images promoting your upcoming shows. Whatever it is, try to find a reason to update your site every few days at least with something new! By doing this, you should slowly begin to see growth in your audience. If you haven’t actually set up a website yet then getting advice from videos created by people like Create WP Site (here), to try and build the best website for visitors to see, would be a good idea. Then as people start returning to your website, you’ll need to make sure that it is running properly. Some websites are unable to cope with the pressure of having multiple users online at once, meaning that they will become slow. This has been known to put people off websites before, losing you valuable viewers. To make sure your website doesn’t have any issues, it’s always good to monitor the website with solutions from companies like Apica Systems. This should prevent any issues from affecting your viewers and followers on your website.

The bad:

Content marketing can be a lot of work because you’re responsible for releasing new, high quality content on a regular basis. It’s sometimes hard to come up with new ideas.

The good:

It’s a pretty natural way to do marketing, and unless you’re posting random things (like photos of what you had for breakfast), it can be pretty effective.

A few good examples:

  • Madalyn Sklar of GoGirl rocks using Twitter to curate great content
  • Almost every Youtube musician ever…
  • Get started with these 33 content marketing ideas

Our second set of music for today’s show is going to feature vocalist and pianist David Sparkman and guitarist and vocalist Jonathan Butler. The first song you’ll hear is Livin for Love by David Sparkman from Livin’ For Love and second I’m going to feature Jonathan Butler with Living my Dream from Living My Dream.

Once again, that was Jonathan Butler with Living My Dream and before that was David Sparkman with Livin for Love. You can find more information about David Sparkman at davidsparkman.com and Jonathan Butler at jonathanbutler.com.

Connect with Your Audience in Several Places

While it’s certainly a good idea to connect with others through different channels and to be available to people who make their homes in different places online, you still need to be creative with the way you recycle content. You need to be wherever your audience is, but you also can’t spread yourself too thin.

Personally, I focus on Facebook, Twitter, and my websites. Facebook is a good one to start with as it already has a huge accessible audience for any niche, but you can also use sites to buy Facebook likes, giving you a head start on getting your name out there. I have accounts other places, but I don’t dedicate the same amount of energy into making use of them.

I also advise against using the same exact post for each channel. Don’t connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that they post the exact same thing. Give your audience a reason to connect with you on both by modifying the posts to be specific to the channel itself.

At the same time, your profiles need to be somewhat consistent so that your audience knows that they are you. Use the same profile picture on each of your accounts and make sure that your brand identity (overall look) and tone are unique and consistent with you as an artist!

The bad:

It’s easy to spread yourself to thin over various social media channels and not give each individual account the attention it deserves. This leaves your profiles “wanting” and I’d advise against it.

The good:

Having strong and frequently updated social media profiles or websites gives your audience a great reason to keep coming back and want to be a part of the conversation. Especially if you go beyond just talking about yourself and what you are doing. Be sure to share the accomplishments of your peers, it will go a long way.

A few good examples:

  • Again, Madalyn Sklar is a pro at managing her various social media profiles
  • Ari Herstrand is also really great at managing his (he also has a great blog)

Grow over time

Rather than rushing to get out a mass of content simultaneously, slowly adding it little by little may be a better strategy. Rushing to update a ton of things at the same time can also be overwhelming for your audience, so take it slow!

The bad:

If you have a lot of exciting things to share, it can be difficult to keep from posting frequently. Try scheduling posts (Buffer and Hootsuite are two great tools for this) so that you don’t overwhelm your followers.

The good:

By releasing news and content at regular intervals rather than all at once is a great way to get started with content marketing and it is a natural way to grow your site and social media accounts.

An example:

Teen Jazz. I write articles in batches because it’s easier and more efficient for me. Once I’m in the writing mindset, I find it more effective to write three or four articles at once rather than writing one, editing, and then moving on to a different task only to return to write more and have to switch modes again. Teen Jazz started as a small site with a few artists and reviews. It now has close to 300 articles and 100 artists. It took several years to get to that point!

Alright, I have a couple more tips for you real quick before we close out the show.

Create Conversation About Things Beyond Your Music

Do you have any hobbies? Do you support any charities or causes? Have you listened to a great record from another artist that you think is worth sharing? Then do just that.

Get Inspired by Your Peers

You’re not the first to employ methods to build your online presence, struggling to find an audience. Everyone goes through this as they work to establish themselves on the web as well as while they work towards maintaining that presence. You are not alone.

Check out what some of your peers are doing and use that to inspire you in what you do. Collaborating with your peers is also a great way to build your presence. In essence you “share” your audiences in a collaboration, so it’s a great way to not only boost your own online presence but that of your friends too.

In Conclusion

Overall, the goal is to keep people who visit your website or profiles online engaged. You want to evoke a response. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s just a matter of figuring out what is going to work for you.

So now, I’ll turn it over to you. What are some of the things that you’ve done that have helped you grow your online presence? We’d love to hear about them in the comments of today’s emissions transcription on Teen Jazz, so we invite you to teenjazz.com to be a part of the conversation!

This week, to close out our show, I’d like to re-introduce you to the saxophone and bass player brothers that make up the Braxton Brothers and guitarist Chieli Minucci. The first song you’ll hear is On and On by the Braxton Brothers from True Love and second I’m going to feature Wonderboy by Chieli Minucci (which features his son on bass) from Without You.

Once again, the first track was On and On by the Braxton Brothers. You can learn more about Wayne and Nelson Braxton at braxtonbrothers.com. And Chieli can be found at chielimusic.com.

Before I close out the show, I’d like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you’re interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. As I just mentioned it’s TeenJazz.com.

We’re currently celebrating our 10 year anniversary and as a part of that celebration, we’re giving away a ton of great prizes from our sponsors including BG France, Rico, or D’Addario Woodwinds, Rheuben Allen Education Foundation, Kenkase Reed Cases and more. You can find out how to earn entries at teenjazz.com/anniversary. You can also earn entries by participating in our scavenger hunt. The clues are posted on our Facebook page – that’s facebook.com/teenjazz. I hope you’ll join in on the fun! The giveaway closes September 9, 2014 so make sure you head over and check it out before then!

All the links that I’ve mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz and Teen Jazz Radio, so if you’re interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by – I know they’ll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Teen Jazz or our radio show, we have several affordable options available. Please visit teenjazz.com/advertise to learn more.

A very special thanks to Jazz and Bossa Radio for featuring Teen Jazz Radio on their web radio station. We recently partnered with them back in May to share our artists with a wider audience and we are excited to have joined the Jazz and Bossa Radio family. You can visit them at jazzandbossaradio.com. All of our Teen Jazz Radio podcasts are featured over at Jazz and Bossa Radio on Sundays at 3 pm EST and on Wednesdays at 5 pm EST.

And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you’ve found our podcast valuable or if you’ve enjoyed some of the music we’ve featured as part of the show. We’re so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.

Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.

In this week’s episode, you heard the music of:

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.