I Hear Ya!
"I don't tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and have no idea what Pinterest is for!" I hear this from more than a few songwriters I coach in the beginning. I also hear, "What does the Internet have to do with being creative?", along with, "I just don't have anything interesting to put out there", and "I don't want some whack job stealing my music!!
Songwriters can sometimes be a pretty introverted with this process and not see the benefit at first. But I have to say, the good outweighs the bad and I'm a huge fan. Starting with a website. Have a landing page for your songs; a modern day business card. No one wants to collect CDs, cards, phone numbers, and notes when a simple link will connect them to everything you want them to know.
I'm not talking about the type of sites you would see a few years back with bells and whistles, and (my personal pet peeve) the song that plays when the page opens. These used to be cumbersome and expensive and usually had way more content than anyone had time or inclination to check out.
Keep It Simple
Your landing page (homepage) should be as straightforward as: a few songs that play directly from the page, a short first-person bio, photo, video, and contact info. Most of these are easy enough to learn and to navigate that you can change the content as often as you have something new to talk about.
If you haven't already, take a look at the number of sites that use plenty of white space making it easy on the eyes and brain. Rather than having a page packed with info, you're better off with a really clean template. Check out sites like SquareSpace for their elegant design and inexpensive hosting fee. My current favorite is the single page site they offer. It can be perfect for a songwriter to feature their work, or for an artist to direct you to a new album or even a single event.
As far as social media, the best advice I've heard is to learn to use one platform...really well. For most musicians it's still Facebook, with a page devoted to your music. You can easily join songwriting groups worldwide and share your music and even find co-writers. If you become a member, remember to share the love and not just self-promote. Sometimes just introducing yourself by posting a link to your site lets people meet you and your music.
You don't have to master each medium and you will probably find some to be useless for your interests. Knowing how to put a new song up on YouTube is probably going to be a better use of your time than using Instagram or something like Pinterest, even though those sites do what they do well.
Know Your Audience
This is huge when it comes to social media and the more you explore, the more valuable it will be for you as a songwriter and artist. Learning the best times to post, best groups to join for your type of music, and the most interesting content to put up can help you work smarter.
Still Not On Board?
I've heard more and more publishers( including my old publisher Steve Markland in a recent NPR interview) say they are quick to check out a writer's social media presence as a way of gauging their ability to network.
It's there, it's free, and it can be a great tool for a songwriter. To quote an old Eric Clapton lyric, It's in the way that you use it.
Heres an example of a simple, white space friendly site. This is Mick Evans an award winning UK based Lyricist I've been coaching for the past year. Being strictly a lyricist, a website is a vital tool to connect him to other writers.
Oct 21st, 2015
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About Mark Cawley
Mark Cawley is a hit U.S. songwriter and musician who coaches other writers and artists to reach their creative and professional goals. During his decades in the music business he has procured a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing, Tom Scott, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners and The Spice Girls. To date his songs have been on more than 15 million records. Mark’s resume includes hits on the Pop, Country, R&B, Jazz, and Rock charts and several publishing deals with the likes of Virgin, Windswept Pacific, and Steelworks/Universal. Mark calls on his decades of experience in the publishing world, as an artist on major labels, co-writer with everyone from Eliot Kennedy and Burt Bacharach to Simon Climie and Kye Fleming, composing, and recording to mentor clients around the globe with iDoCoach. He is also a judge for this years UK Songwriting Contest, New England Songwriter Search , a contributing author to the USA Songwriting Competition a popular blogger and, from time to time, conducts his own workshops.
Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark has also lived in Boston, L.A., Indianapolis, London, and the last 20 years in Nashville, TN.