The vital content missing from your website

Thursday 12 July, 2018

Owen Ralph

Arts marketer and musician

It’s not exactly news that anyone in the arts (in fact anyone in any industry who is self-employed) needs a website. You’re all totally on top of that, right? You’ve got a website, and in fact probably quite a good website. It looks great on mobile and desktop, it has all your social media links, you’re sorted.

Well, actually, no you’re not. It’s not an exaggeration to say the majority of musicians’ websites that I look at on a daily basis (mostly within the folk scene, but the same seems to apply in other genres too) are missing key resources and pieces of information which promoters, venues and marketers need in order to sell tickets to your show to the best of their ability.

Since the revolution of social media, a key thing which a lot of people seem to miss is that your website is not primarily for the benefit of your fans any more. They get all the news, all the tour dates, all your new content primarily through your social channels. Your website is still a key resource for industry professionals however, and they are the primary people to whom you need to tailor your site content.

So without further ado, here is a checklist of key things you need. Run through it and see just how well (or not) your website is doing:

  1. High res photos
  2. This should go without saying, but there are many artists who still don’t do this. Provide three or four downloadable, print resolution (that’s 300dpi) photos that can be used across web listings and in print. If you’re not sure what you’ve got, these files should be several megabytes in size, and will be what any professional photographer will provide you with. Photos at this resolution are normally too large to be used on a website and should not be used for embedding in standard web pages. However, they must be available for promoters and venues to download.

    If you don’t provide a high enough resolution, all you’re achieving is making sure you get a smaller space in any printed brochures and flyers. Next week we’ll cover photos in more detail.

  3. Past tour dates
  4. This may seem counter-intuitive. Why waste space listing a load of gigs that have been and gone? While it may not be useful for your fans, people in programming and marketing will thank you for it. It gives programmers a good idea of the sort of space you are likely to fill, and gives marketers a way in for potential reciprocal marketing opportunities, and more generally a sense of where to target their efforts.

  5. Bio
  6. I won’t go into too much detail, as this was discussed at length in my last post. If I were to add a postscript to that though, I would make two points. Firstly, just uploading your album press release is not good enough. It is vital that you are the subject of the piece not your latest release, or it will make no sense when attached to an event. Trust me on this.

    As a second less important tip, it may be wise to provide a couple of versions of your bio at different word counts. While venues and promoters can usually afford you a few paragraphs on their website, in print you may be landed with barely a couple of sentences. If you don’t give them a version of the bio that length, they will make something up without consulting you first. Provide two or three versions, say 100 words, 50 words and 25 words, and you maintain control over the wording used to describe you.

  7. Contacts
  8. This may seem totally obvious, but I still occasionally come across musicians who don’t have any contact information on their website! Give us someone to contact in order to book you, for press/media enquiries, and if you don’t mind getting emails from fans, a third contact for general info.

  9. Performance videos
  10. While any video showcasing your music is worth having, it’s really important to have a live video showing what we can expect from you on stage. It doesn’t even need to be the best quality, just something to demonstrate what you are offering. Flashy promo videos are great too, but they can’t sell your live performance honestly.

Some people choose to group many of the above into a ‘press pack’, which they upload as a downloadable zip file to a relevant page on their website. This can be a really helpful way of doing it, but as long as all of the above is there, it really doesn’t matter how it is presented.

To reiterate: your website needs to work first and foremost for the industry. Absolutely make it accessible to your audience, but if it only satisfies their needs, it’s not advocating for you in the way it so easily could.