Here are half a dozen things to do to drive traffic to your blog or web-site. I have shared some of the best ideas from Jayson DeMers 2014 post on the Forbes web-site:
Make your site a magnet: Do this by first by using long-tail keywords or LSIs. Find semantically similar keywords that are relevant and attractive for your site. You can make your site more attractive by working on your headlines, getting more people to visit in the first instance. Share these posts via social media too and you’ll get much more attention. Linking to social media in your posts is a must too. YouTube is the best site to do this from with an average of 2.99 pages per visit. Linking to your site in Facebook descriptions and photos is also an effective strategy. Also, optimize existing blog posts by adding appropriate title tags, URLs and meta-descriptions.
Make connections: This can include adding a forum to your web-site. This will begin ranking for LSIs and decrease your site’s bounce rate, with people spending more time on your site and building a community. You can also contact influential bloggers, notifying them when you make a newsworthy post. They are more likely than you might think to link back to your post on their blog. Share your posts with other bloggers in your niche as well, meet people writing similar content and you can share each other’s posts. Also comment on industry blogs and drive referral traffic and build relationships with other bloggers.
Submit your blogs to aggregate sites and blog communities: Three mentioned in DeMers’s blog are StumbleUpon, Alltop and Triberr.
Be relevant: Link to relevant posts in your niche, this is helpful for SEO (search engine optimisation). You can also guest post on other similar blogs but make sure they are relevant and of high quality. You can also find relevant and popular questions regarding your topic on sites like Yahoo Answersor Quora and keep people informed.
Post regularly: A study by Neil Patel of QuickSprout found that posting high-quality posts six times a week rather than five, increased blog traffic by 18.6%. Find what is comfortable for you and traffic will increase in relation to the increase.
Use analytics: this way you can find out what is attractive on your page and let this guide your direction.
This is my last post before my university deadline. So thanks a lot for those who have kept up with my research and I hope you can return as I develop and mould my blog for other purposes.
Amanda Palmer has gained a lot of attention throughout her career. From gaining the most successful results from a music kick-starter campaign to date, to flirting with controversy with her poetic response to the Boston bombing, she has been scrutinised more than most artists in the music industry. I decided to read up more on this controversial personality and relate my views back to my own craft.
My main port of call was her hugely successful TED talk on “The Art of Asking”, a speech explaining her highly successful, yet controversial ways of working. This included her kick-starter campaign that made $1.2m to fund her album.
Watched by the likes of Bill Gates and Al Gore, Amanda’s talk takes you on a journey into her life, philosophy and success. She starts by talking to us about the five years she spent as a living statue called the “eight-foot bride”. She tells us of how she painted herself white, stood on a box and left a hat or a can for donations. If someone were to put money into the pot, she would offer a white flower to them and also an intense, loving stare. If they accepted the flower and the gaze, there was a mutual feeling of appreciation. If they did not accept, Palmer would stare sadly, with a look of longing as they departed.
She describes this as the perfect training for her career in music. She has never been afraid to ask for help. Indeed, her closing statement for her TED talk, explains that her philosophy as being that she does not think about “making” people pay for music but “letting” them pay for music. Her model now allows for her music to be given to fans for free but she uses her kick-starters and social media accounts to ask for help, whether that be monetary or something more tangible, like a bed to sleep on or a piano to practice on.
This is hard for some people to grasp, seeing this as a form of begging. However, Palmer has less problems with this, and she explains why. She values the connection between herself (the flower giver) and the fan (the donator). While some may not see this exchange as being a worthy means of getting money, it is the emotional exchange of love and gratitude that Palmer sees as just as worthy as any other exchange. She has been yelled at to “get a job” on the streets and she has been accused of being mean, for instance making $1.2m on her kick-starter and then asking musicians to play on her tour for free. But it is the genuine connection she has with people that eradicates that worry of unfairness in these exchanges. In her TED talk, she describes of a night spent at a fan’s house in a poor area of Miami. The fan, an eighteen year old girl, and her family, who were all undocumented immigrants from Honduras, allowed Palmer to sleep in their beds while they slept downstairs on couches. Palmer asked herself in bed that night “these people have nothing, is this fair?” but realised the next morning that it was fair. The mother of the family let Palmer know just what a positive influence her music had on her daughter. She offered her thanks for staying and even a bible. This connection is what justifies what Palmer does.
Palmer is certainly outspoken and this hasn’t always worked to her immediate advantage. There is honesty about her though, and that is hard not to like. Her poem about the Boston bombing, an exploration of how it must have felt for the bomber hiding at the bottom of that boat, pushed a lot of people’s buttons. Like with most aspects of Palmer however, she did this without the fear of shame that would haunt most people.
Palmer has built a career out of the antithesis of the previous model of guarantees and sales, creating a highly successful alternative for herself. She now accepts all the help she is given but not in a conventional over-the-counter sense. It seems that she has broken down the impersonal, even greedy model of the music industry and replaced it with a smaller community that is attuned to her and her music, and will do anything to support her.
It is Palmer’s strong sense of trust in others, from surfing couches to surfing crowds, that is extremely admirable. She is a great example for a musician such as me, to realise that there is help out there. You just have to get over the fear of asking for it. I will now consider the power of connecting with my community, whether on social media or in the outside world, and just how much I can gain just by asking. This sense of an attuned community was echoed in Emma Jayne Park’s comments in the seminar I had previously attended (see my earlier post on PR in the social media age).
Another good article to check out is by Jon Ronson of The Guardian. Find it here
Over the next week or so, I will be looking at driving traffic to your web-site and some of the other processes I have been going through as part of my uni project.
My new logo was designed by Stephen Mckie and includes a number of elements that represent me and what I do. The ‘S’ and the ‘O’ of my name act also as visual metaphors for the sound-holes on a cello and on an acoustic guitar. The colour-scheme, which uses different shades of blue also reflects a dreamy nature that I wanted to get across to show my dreamy/creative nature. I also feel this nice wash of blue reflects the current acoustic feel of my solo music.
I also feel the logo is simple enough and contains all the right information to be memorable and be useful for a long time. I thanks Stephen a bunch for doing this for me.
Stephen has also proposed that he designs a business card for me using the logo and I can’t wait to see the results!
I have created what I believe to be a visually appealing and content rich web-site. Each page on the site is accessible from the top bar, which is visible at all times, so navigation is easy as pie. I tried to include as much stuff as possible without clutter or too much information. My web-pages now include a welcome page, links to my music, concert dates, information on all of the projects in which I am involved, a gallery/video gallery (the video content is pending release) and contact info, including a mailing-list sign-up sheet and e-mail link.
For my header, I used a photograph that I consistently use for my social media pages and that I feel represents a bit of me as it was taken down at Kirkcaldy sea-front and has me playing guitar.
I have also included my new logo, designed by Stephen Mckie, on my header, which looks something like this:
The background of the remaining content on the site is of clouds, reflecting the photo content and giving an air of dreaminess, which I feel reflects my creativity.
My music is available from my welcome page and my words and music page and there is further media content on my projects page and video will soon be available on my video & gallery page. I feel that having media available on a number of different pages will encourage visitors to explore my music.
The site header also has all the important social links I have. These are for Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and Google Plus. I did not choose to have my focus, like the web-sites I researched on news as I believe my social media links are the best way for fans to keep up with my goings-on.
Taylor Swift is a pop artist who knows exactly how to flaunt herself in the public eye. She is a very PR savvy individual and, for a number of different reasons, generates a lot of positive PR and very little negative PR.
MHP puts this down to three key ingredients. Audience-engagement, ubiquity and consistency.
Firstly, she realises that engagement with her fans is more useful than simply broadcasting to her audience. She directly responds to fans on social media and in 2014 surprised a number of ‘Swifties’ (her fans) with Christmas gifts. Also notable was that through her monitoring their social media feeds, she actually bought them what they wanted and wrote a personal letter to each fan.
Another PR savvy gesture she made was to pay off one fan’s student loan, passing on an amount of $1,989, reflecting the title of her most recent album, ‘1989’.
She also realises that she has a large audience and needs to be in a number of different places to continue engaging with them. She makes sure she appears in as many magazines, newspapers, online columns, TV and radio.
Taylor doesn’t switch off at any time regarding her public image. She shows her personality in a very consistent manner. As MHP says, she appears authentic and approachable and this leads to a belief that she is just a normal person, despite any celebrity friendships or relationships she has had.
As Joshua Speers says for Cuban Eight, unlike reality TV stars, who crave any sort of PR to gain press attention, Swift excels at what PR is essentially for, communication.
Coming up, I will be looking at Amanda Palmer and her “Art of Asking”.
PR according to Brian Salter, author of ‘Great PR – The Answers You Need to Know Now’ states in the introduction to his book that “Public relations is primarily human relations – the psychology of interrelating with different audiences”. As I stated in my post about image, this comes down to everything you say and do. You are constantly broadcasting yourself, especially in an age of internet social media and Salter knows this too. “Everything you say and do is part of your PR campaign. It’s the image you project to everyone you meet”.
Salter breaks down PR into three attributes. He says, “What is PR but the intention to communicate, build relationships and influence people?” He also recognises the “Mass audience” we now have within the context of the web.
An interesting quote is included in the first chapter of Salter’s book. Mark Twain is noted as saying that “The Public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all”. We all, according to Salter, must develop the “social skill” to relate to our audience.
Good communication is key to a successful business. As a commercial artist, you need to be able to show yourself in a “good light” to maximise engagement with your audience. This does not mean you have to boast or, indeed, “mislead” your audience. These may even be detrimental to your reputation in the long run. What you need to ask yourself is “What do I need to communicate?” and “How will I communicate this?” (Salter, 2011)
Communication is a two-way process and as I found when researching social media interaction and promotion of releases, it needs to be this way for fans to remain engaged with you and supporting your work through attending shows and buying physical or digital records.
When I attended the Creative Industries ‘Employability Day’ on campus at Edinburgh College, I went to the ‘How to Sell Yourself’ seminar and took a couple of really notes whilst listening to Emma Jayne Park of ‘Cultured Mongrel Dance’. One thing she said that “You are only as good as your content”, and that you should never make yourself out to be something you are not. Evidently the lesson to be learnt here is not to “fake it till you make it” but to be honest about what it is you do and stand for. RM Hubbert also put a strong value on being honest when I interviewed him, saying about his public image “[I] can’t say I think about my image as an artist or otherwise too much. I try to be honest with what I do. That’s what’s important to me”.
It is perhaps this honesty that will allow fans to appreciate you for who you are and as one of my survey respondents noted about Taylor Swift (who I’ll discuss in my next post) “Having that one to one interaction with your fans is incredibly special I think. You are more likely to have long term super fans this way … I think also a compassionate, kind and friendly personality goes a long way … People obviously have more respect for Taylor Swift because of her honest compassion and friendliness to fans.”
Emma went on to state that there is no need to rush your career when you don’t have anything to show. She believes that you do not need to have all the answers and also that you should not be afraid to just be yourself. She listed the important things that you should keep in mind when branding yourself through public interaction:
Identify your values
Learn to communicate
Make a plan
Know your boundaries
Accept that things evolve and
She also made it clear that you do not have to follow or be followed by a huge amount of people on social media but have meaningful relationships with less people. Her final statement was that you should “Not sell yourself. BE and let that sell”.
When I interviewed RM Hubbert, he said that social media is his “primary method of communication with fans” and it is definitely the case that social media is playing a larger role in most of our daily lives. And indeed “user-generated content and PR” is proliferating at a great rate according to Brian Salter. There are similarities in the way this works to traditional PR. You need to know your audience, make appropriate connections and get in touch with the influencers in the field. Additionally now, you need to make your content available through your web-page and social links.
Blogs are also important, or so I keep telling myself! They are important as they encourage communication with your followers through discussion threads, “distinguishing them from other static web-sites” (Salter, 2011)
Twitter is like a micro-blog and encourages this same spirit of interactivity through conversations and sharing content.
Salter advises that getting online PR coverage involves a number of steps, he suggests that you:
Make sure all press releases are visible online, including a range of media
Identify keywords to be attractive to search engines
Link to relevant related sites are available
Target online editors and specialist web-sites and
Identify the top bloggers who talk about subjects relevant to you
These are all things that I am going to consider when putting the finishing touches to my web-site and E.P.K. this week.
I hope this post has been useful to you, in terms of gaining a bit more knowledge on how you can take advantage of modern advances in the web and its growing social content.
In my next posts I will be looking more specifically at a couple of female artists who have the art of social interaction down to a T. Thanks for reading and I hope you can continue to benefit from what I write.