Online presence is a frequent topic at the Office of Entrepreneurship & Career Development at the Jacobs School of Music. Like everything in the world of technology and music today, it’s an ever-evolving project, but there are some constants to keep in mind. Your website can be the most important public-facing ‘front door’ to your target audience(s), so it’s good to prioritize your content there based on what you want them to know.
- Here’s where we start, as we advise our students and alumni:
- Who is your target audience?
- What do you want your website to do for you, as a professional musician?
- Are you hoping for more gigs and performances?
- Do you hope to sell recordings or services [lessons, workshops, products]?
- Are you hoping to raise awareness for current projects?
- All of the above and more?
Top Ten Tips for Musician’s Websites
- Your website doesn’t have to be an expensive or laborious proposition. Website-building tools like Weebly, Wix, Woodpress, or Squarespace offer options for a sleek professional look with drop-and-drag functionality, and ease of updating. Later, if you need more complex tools or functionality, you can hire a designer to customize a new site.
- Consistency in page design, use, colors, and images is key to helping your audience get to where they want to go.
- An electronic press kit (EPK) strengthens your hand. Things to include: downloadable bio(s) [with word counts noted], CV/resume, headshots and other images. If you’re a performer, be sure to include one or two high-res action shots. You want to control these important elements, but make them easily accessible to the publicity team at your next performance venue.
- A few high quality media examples, both audio and video, are a must-have. Visitors to your site want to see and hear representative samples of your best or most notable works! Be sure to include only those that present you at your best.
- An Events section highlighting upcoming performances shows you’re active and in demand. Include a link to an archive of past performances—you’ve been in demand for a while!
- Visible links to your social media channels help your audience follow your career.
- The Contact form on your website should forward inquiries automatically to an email account you check daily.
- If you have Personal Projects that effectively represent your unique professional strengths and qualities, be sure to include them on a separate page or section of the site.
- Throughout your website, use high quality images that support the professional identity you’re cultivating.
- Periodically, Google your own name and see what’s out there about you. Is it consistent with the professional identity you’re cultivating?
In summary, we encourage emerging professionals at the Jacobs School to be personally authentic and disciplined as they create a promotional ecosystem – and to keep their content updated! This applies to the use of all platforms, including a personal or professional website, printed material, social media, networking platforms such as LinkedIn, photos, audio, and video.
There’s a great world out there, with amazing opportunities to benefit from. A coordinated promotional package will help get you there!
Authors: Meryl Krieger, Joanie Spain, and Alain Barker, OECD, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University