I should have written this post ages ago. I kind of take it for granted, but forget that not everyone is fully conversant with things that I just make assumptions about. I often talk about a musician’s or music business’s web presence when public speaking or consulting. By that, I don’t mean your website, although in my opinion, that should be central to the ‘presence’.
I mean the range of services, platforms and conversation going on around the internet about you and what you do. What’s online, and how it connects together. Your web.
It’s an ecology, not a destination
If you have a MySpace page, a Bandcamp page, a Facebook page or any profile on any of the kind of sites we talk about on New Music Ideas, these make up part of your web presence. So too does the conversation that takes place (with or without your involvement) on forums and discussion groups.
This is an interconnected network of related and symbiotic activities.
And while quality is obviously important (especially at those sites where you control both the content and style), sheer weight and size is also of value. Without going too heavily into search-engine optimisation, just having a depth and quality of ongoing conversation around what you do offers opportunities for discovery, connection and engagement with what you do.
There are some great sites out there that I would recommend to most people involved in music. I’ve mentioned some in the past. There are some services that help you manage the sheer volume of work involved in keeping those current. I’ve talked about them too.
But don’t forget the conversation. If there’s a forum about your area or subgenre of music, or a related message board to your area (say, the local live scene, for instance) – don’t forget to feed and nurture that. Whether it’s simple involvement as a discussant, or whether it’s identifying the key players and engaging with them at some level, this all goes toward what I collectively describe as your web-presence.
Ultimately, the days of sticking the online equivalent of a brochure up on the internet and calling it your web strategy are over. It’s about presence – and presence requires ongoing activity. Just like going to work, being at a party, or any other kind of social milieu – just physically being there is not enough.
You have to be doing something.
So – perhaps it might be time for a stocktake. Where is your web-presence? Are you spending the right amount of time on the right bits of it? Could you get away with less in some areas? Could you do to put a bit more effort into others? What parts of your online presence do you manage and which bits are mostly outside of your control?