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Bob Gray

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Pitt Meadows

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I Have A Secret Place

I have a secret place, and no one ever goes there. It‘s my Music Website. I open with this line, not because I want sympathy, but because this fact has only recently been made real for me. I’ve had my website for a number of years. I’ve redesigned it a number of times, and regularly go in and tweak Keywords, Meta Tags, and post new songwriting offerings. In the past few months, I’ve started up the Blog you’re reading now. I recently read some info on Google Analytics, and so, installed them. In the two weeks since I’ve started getting information, my Blog traffic varies… from daily high of 37 visitors and a low of 3. At the same time, I installed the tracking software on my Music website, but with a vastly different result… Flatline. Zip. Zero. Zilch. The soundtrack of my website’s stats is crickets chirping. While it was disappointing, I was pleased to find this out sooner, rather than later. This was a game-changer for me. I have a number of friends who are songwriters , musicians, and performers… and many, like me, want to market themselves. Many have websites, or pay to have their profiles put on websites… but I think a lot of them are having the same results that I am. Now, I am on a quest to find a more productive way to market my songs. I hope to encounter someone who would like to publish or perform my music, so that my songs get heard. I also hope to help my friends and readers find success, or at least maximize their chances, and maybe, at worst, save them some money on marketing ! Stay tuned !

Performer vs Musician vs Songwriter

I have never cared for the spotlight. I’m not one who seeks out opportunities to jump on stage and Perform, whenever I can. I have a few friends and family that are like that… and I admire them for it. One guy I know carries a guitar in the trunk of his car, “… because you never know when a jam is going to break out !” I am all for supporting spontaneous acts, but I won’t be the one in the centre of it. My friends and family all say, “You’re just nervous.” No… Nerves have nothing to do with it. I see the thrill that my friends get from performing, and the rush of pleasure that an audience reaction gives them, and while I am delighted for them… I don’t understand it. I’ve gone up on stage a number of times, after each time being convinced that THIS time would be different ! And each time I come off afterwards, knowing that nothing had changed for me, and hoping that the audience got more out of that, than I did !!! Those same friends encourage me to play guitar… but again, there are many much more talented folks, and I have no desire to impose my mediocre playing skills on their fun. The Musicians are easy to spot… In the midst of a song, they will be absolutely LOST in the music… eyes closed… playing as if their lives depended on it, and absolutely loving it. They could be playing for themselves, or they could be playing Madison Square Gardens… it would be the same for them, in that moment. I don’t get that either. The thing I love, is the crafting of a phrase. The moulding of words and music into a single being. Like driving a car fast around a corner, and straightening out from the curve at the perfect moment… that is the rush I get from making the words match seamlessly with the music. The shadings of light and dark, fast and slow, staccato and legato. Playing with words to express the maximum feeling and emotion, constrained only by the metre of the melody. That is where I find my rush… my drug of choice is the written word. We’ve established that I am not destined to rock a stadium full of crazed music fans. We’ve also confronted the reality that as a musician, I am passable, but pedestrian in skill. So, we are left with the Songwriting… and daunted by the marketing. If I cannot bring my product to the masses, how shall the masses have my product revealed to them ? The purpose of today’s article is to frame the question. The journey towards an answer shall be the subject of what I imagine will be an on-going series of posts, which I shall submit to this Blog as I get to noteworthy points along the path, either for their discovery, or for their revelation of a confounding dead end. Stay tuned !!!

Ripples, Puddles and Gioogle Analytics

I’ve just been awoken by Statistical Analysis… Yes, I’ve graduated to a WHOLE new level of web geek. It’s Monday morning, and a little after 2 am. I’ve been awake for an hour, and, having been unable to get back to sleep, have been trying to look at, review and understand the various statistical breakdowns that are supposed to be critical to a Blog’s success. I believe that much of the traffic that is drawn to my site, comes from Twitter. So, I turned to the Twitter Analyzer with the thought that perhaps my Tweets are driving the traffic. I have recently been talking with people about the use of Hashtags (#) as a search device, and so I find it not surprising that 51.9%of my Hashtag comments are #Canucks related, with a further 16.5% being attributed to mentions of #Canada, after the #WJHC(World Junior Hockey Championship) in December, which contributed 4.7%. With the Winter Olympics imminent, and the inherent NHL Break, I expect #Canada to do some serious catching up ! While the Hashtag stats are interesting, I saw nothing there that would give me any aid or guidance, in being a better Blogger… So, moving on. Google Analytics - Starting from Zero... Google Analytics tells me that 54% of my traffic comes direct to my site, while 27% gets referred, and 19% from Search Engines. I guess this is a baseline, and I can see what the relative numbers do, going up or down. On an unrelated note, I think it’s interesting that the 5th highest source of visits is Facebook, although I haven’t pushed my Blog there. Hmmm ! Owen Greaves on his Blog, has written a number of thoughtful and insightful articles, and says that he has found that the best time of day to Post a blog is between 5 pm and 10 pm. I’m not able to grasp that level of detail, but there are some revealing stats, and being a bit of a numbers geek, I am looking forward to reviewing this again, sometime soon. But what has awoken me just recently, is mind-numbing in its simplicity… elegant in its mathematics… and daunting in its implementation. I think more than anything else, I view my Blog… like one of the science experiments we did in Elementary School. I’ve got a bunch of seeds, (my postings) some get sunshine, (viewers) some don’t… some get more water, more fertilizer (multiple mentions) others not. And at the end, we get to see on a very organic level, what works… and what doesn’t. I was getting bogged down in minutiae. Stuff that doesn’t matter. So what if I overuse the word “Awesome” in my Tweets, and use the salutation “Cheers” too many times ? (Other than perhaps being minorly annoying… It doesn’t matter !!!) What DOES matter, is the resonance of your message, and the distance it carries. Thus, the ripple and the puddle analogy. On Twitter, my account @BobSongs has 750 followers. Owen Greaves has 15,200. Jaff Jarvis has 34,000, and Gary Vaynerchuk has 846,000. Even if EVERY single one of my followers reads one of my Blogs, I will still get less hits than @GaryVee gets in an hour. Scale of economy. This should NOT have been mind blowing to me… except for some reason, I believed something different. I have a music website, that I don’t tweak or overtly promote… and it smacked me in the face to know I got NO TRAFFIC !!! In the drop of water that is that puddle, my Music website has no ability to create a ripple. And similarly, with Google Analytics… I can’t get bogged down in the very fine print… yet. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a bucket, and find a tap… because my puddle needs to be bigger !!! Cheers !!!

Musicians, Songwriting & Twitter...

I think it happens almost every day. As BobSongs, I’m a Blogger, Writer, and Songwriter. I’m on Twitter most days, and Facebook a few times a week. I have a LinkedIn Profile, that I’m working on, but not 100% familiar with, yet. I’m also involved in the BC Songwriters’ Showcase Association, and sometimes help out with their Twitter and Facebook presence. I am often surprised by the frequency with which we will encounter someone who expresses a desire and drive to become a songwriter or performer… but have no Photo, Biography or Contact Information on their Twitter Profile. I understand that a LOT of new users don’t understand the ebb, flow or even the concept of Twitter and Social Media. But, if you want to attract and grow an audience, then it is important to greet them properly. Sad as it is, we are a society of people who judge books, by their covers. As we gather a sense of people from our first impression… so we gather a sense of you, as an Artist, from your Social Media. Many times a week, I send friendly Tweets to folks, reminding them to fill out their Bio and Location information. If you are on Twitter to have fun, and talk about school… sure, lock your profile down. If you are on Twitter to promote your Product, or especially if your Product is Yourself… you really need to put your Best Foot Forward ! If your Band is following 200 Tweeps, but you only have a following of 18… it probably means that you are probably only reaching the hardcore audience (family and friends) that already know about you. You are “preaching to the choir” and the rest of the people you follow are not interested in your message, or your “Product.” How To Make It Better: At the top of your Twitter Page, are a series of words… Everthing that people will base their first impression on, (other than your Tweets,) is contained under the Settings “tab”: 1) Post a picture ! If “you” are your product, then the picture should be of you. If that doesn’t work for you, take a picture of a guitar, microphone, or your cat… My picture is currently one of my Cats, who snuck into my guitar case… but I change it regularly ! (Points get deducted for using a photo of ANOTHER person, as your photo.) 2) Say where you are ! Maple Ridge, BC, Canada. If you are not comfortable with saying the exact city you are from, pick the closest big City. Vancouver, Canada If that causes you concern, go regional… Canada’s West Coast Give us SOMETHING, because, who knows… we may want to work or write with you !!! 3) Give us a sense of “you” ! If you are a guitar-playing country music loving songwriter… say so. If you’ve got a bunch of things going on, say that too ! My profile says: Blogger, Songwriter, Writer, married to @loriegray, right-handed, wacky sense of humour, cat lover, Hockey fan, Uncle… and Canadian ! There’s a lot of info in there, but I wear a lot of different hats, when I use Twitter. 4) Websites ! If you have your own website… fill it in ! If you have a MySpace profile, and one song… fill it in ! If you have a grainy video on YouTube… fill it in ! Whatever the ONE best website you have, that represents your product best ? Use it. I’m not writing this to be mean. I’m not writing this to underscore that Artists sometimes have different gifts, and can be technically challenged. I’m writing this with the hope that it may help someone look at the deficiencies in their Twitter profile, and be able to effect changes because of it. If these instructions help you… I’m glad ! If you need help understanding how to implement them, please send me an e-mail or a Tweet. Please don’t go on, without filling in the blanks… because in many cases, it means we will probably Not Follow You or Follow You BACK… and only YOU know what we’ll be missing out on !!! Hope to see you on Twitter !!!


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Thanks for all of your insight in the blogs. Enjoyin' your songs as well. Best wishes for wherever life and the music may lead you . . .
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