Category Archives: Marketing

Rappers and Singers Need Blogs Too


Image by kuribo via Flickr

In the past, I’ve written blogs on how brands, in general, need blogs, but a lot of music artists—rappers, singers, producers and more—don’t realize that this rule applies to them as well.

Starting a blog may seem intimidating for some creatives, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. Using a platform like WordPress or Blogger, a blog can be set up in five minutes or less. And even better, establishing a blog costs little to no money at all.

“But what if I can’t right write?” A lot of people have this question, but the truth is, when it comes to blogging, professional writing skills are far from a must. Blogs are typically written in informal, conversation-style format. As an artist, conversation-style is key because it entices your fans by giving them a glimpse of your personal life. Let them know what life is like on the road, tell them about your latest single or live stream your latest studio session. Fans appreciate this type of thing.

Finally, blogs are a great way to spread the word about your music–what better place than your own blog for your fans to learn about your latest releases? A lot of times, new artists struggle with getting media coverage. There are tons of artists out right now and it’s difficult to stand out. Developing a blog that generates traffic is a great way to also generate buzz, which ultimately results in media coverage and then sales.

If starting a blog seems impossible, it’s not. Go to WordPress or Blogger to get started today. Need help with figuring out what to write about? Give us a call and we can help you come up with topics (773.980.6404).


Inside the Industry…with DJ Geno

The Chicago music business is a complex industry, in which very few can actually claim success. DJ Geno,  protégé and former manager of one of the city’s best rappers, GLC, is one of the few to actually have penetrated this tough market. His credentials include being an internationally known DJ and the owner of a music consulting company. During a recent sit down with him, DJ Geno explained how he made it and what other Chicago musicians can do to boost their careers.

 WGeno, GLCith more than 12 years of industry experience under his belt, what better source than DJ Geno to gain invaluable industry insight?

 DJ Geno credits Nappy Boy recording artist Shawnna for giving him his first break in the industry years ago. After interning at Def Jam and Interscope, not only did he serve as her road DJ, but her manager as well. As a result of this experience, DJ Geno notes that branding is key for musicians hoping to establish a long-term career in the industry: “By branding myself as a go-getter, ready to do what it took to get the job done, Shawnna and others were ready to give me the opportunities to advance my career. All you have is your image and with so many people trying to ‘get on,’ it’s important that you stand out—in a good way,” he noted.

 He also says that networking is another critical piece to breaking into the industry. According to DJ Geno, “it’s all about who you know” applies to the arts and entertainment industries just like any other.  

 When asked why Chicago remains a second class city, compared to the likes of New York and Los Angeles, ever-faithful to his city, DJ Geno says “Chicago is a first class city, but our mentality has to portray that.  Meaning, we have to do first class business with each other. … We need to embrace each other and our resources.”

 DJ Geno gives Hollywood Holt his props for being ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing and branding in the industry. “He is smart because he keeps himself relevant even if he just DJing a party. So when you think of party you think of him.” Using the web is a great way to develop a full-fledged campaign for a fraction of the price of traditional campaigns, but with similar results. DJ Geno recommends that artists to take advantage.

 It’s hard to break into the industry, but not impossible. With role models like DJ Geno paving the way for up-and-coming musicians and industry professionals in Chicago, it’s now easier than ever.

How to Monitor Your Brand Online Without Breaking the Bank

Image representing Google Alerts as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Nowadays, what’s being said about you online is just as important as what’s being said offline. But because cyberspace is a vast, endless black hole, managing your online reputation may seem like an impossibly daunting task.

Thankfully, there are a number of tools—free tools—that can help you monitor your brand.

Google Alerts is one key free tool. By setting up these alerts, you can elect to be notified each time a particular keyword, such as your name or brand name, or phrase are mentioned online. These notifications can be as often as you like, including weekly, daily or “as it happens.”

Twitter search, which is being heralded as one of the best real-time search apps ever, is also another great tool. So what you’re not on Twitter; that doesn’t mean that folks on Twitter aren’t talking about you anyway.  Make sure you know what’s being said about you. In 2010, Twitter reached 50 million tweets per day. In 2009, that number was half, at 27 million. Judging by its history, Twitter’s “tweets per day” is doubling each year. This year, there’s likely to be more than 75 million tweets per day—If your brand isn’t mentioned once in 75 million tweets each day, you’ve got bigger problems than this article will solve.

Social Mention is a relatively new tool and, according to its homepage, it’s like Google Alerts, except it focuses specifically on social media, such as blogs, microblogs and bookmarking tools. But what makes this tool particularly useful is the fact that it even searches the comments’ section and images for your key phrases and brand names. And you can even select the language. It can’t get any better than that. 

Use these free tools to stay on top of your online reputation—respond to negative comments when necessary and rectify bad situations. If nothing else, consider it free market research. Now what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Using Customer Reviews to Market Your Brand

Ulta, one of our favorite retailers, is doing an exceptional job at harnessing the power of customer reviews.

How so?

After each store purchase with an Ulta rewards card, customers receive an email asking them to review purchased items. More importantly, the process is so easy that it makes customers want to help. Including a picture of the product(s) purchased and room for comments, the Ulta customer review process has been a hit thus far.

Ulta Customer Review

It’s a practice than many brands fail to capitalize on. And if you’re still asking why you should use customer reviews, here are three reasons why:

You want to move your products, right?

Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, ultimately resulting in increased sales. According to eMarketer, consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trustworthy than descriptions that come from manufacturers. And from Econsultancy, 70% of consumers trust opinions of unknown users. If the ultimate goal of your marketing and pr efforts is to increase sales, then what are you waiting for?

Because they’re positive…

Approximately 80% of customer reviews are positive, receiving 4 or 5 stars out of 5. If the majority of your reviews are likely to be positive, then what do you have to lose? You only stand to gain from implementing a customer review process.

Need a little free market research?

Market research can cost an arm and a leg, so why not use the customer review process to learn more about the pros and cons of your products? After all, it’s free and your customers, who your products are designed to please, can tell you what they need better than anyone else. Reviews can provide valuable feedback/

If you’re still not convinced, maybe selling products isn’t your ultimate goal.

Digital Music Revenues on the Rise

DAB Digital Audio Broadcasting

Musicians: If you haven’t jumped on the digital music bandwagon, it’s about time you do. Otherwise, you might find yourself left behind in a few years, according to this recent Forbes Magazine article.

By 2015, the digital music industry is expected to reach $20 billion in revenue, with a 20% compounded growth each year between now and then. The article also addresses how, most musicians, are not capitalizing on the benefits of the digital music phenomenon.

Are you? If not, considering doing so soon, or else your music will become as obsolete as cassette tapes.

Why YOU Should be Using an Email Marketing Program

Image representing Constant Contact as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Chicago’s Office of the City Treasurer (Stephanie Neely), along with Constant Contact, a leading email marketing service provider, sponsored the workshop: “Social Media and E-Mail Marketing Secrets for Small Business Workshop” today. The event, held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Randolph, offered a primer on the benefits and best practices of social media and email marketing.

Small business owners, in hopes of keeping overhead low, often skim on costs. One way that many businesses do this is by sending email marketing messages via regular email servers (i.e. Outlook and other webmail). I’m convinced, after attending today’s seminar, that a program like Constant Contact can actually maximize exposure for a minimal cost.

The case studies presented at the seminar were impressive. For instance, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra increased their website traffic by 150% after implementing an email marketing campaign with Constant Contact.

Steve Robinson, regional director for Illinois and Wisconsin of Constant Contact, also made a great case for why companies should use these programs:

  •  Recipients are more likely to open up HTML messages, as opposed to basic text emails.
  •  Companies are able to brand their email newsletters through the use of logos and color schemes (see last point for another reason why this matters).
  • These programs give users the option to manage lists by notifying them of bouncebacks, adding new subscribers and automatically removing unsubscribers.
  •  Tracking success is an underutilized step in marketing because the budgets of small businesses often don’t have room to pay for additional tracking services. Constant Contact automatically tracks email marketing efforts, providing users with a host of useful data, including who opened the message, what they clicked on and whether they forwarded the message to anyone.

If you want to learn more about Constant Contact, check them out online. They offer a 60-day trial, which is perfect to gauge how easy the service is to manage. You can also see how their program works here.

Unfortunately, they don’t provide content for your email marketing newsletters, but don’t worry, we can always help you with that (insert smiley face here). Shoot us an email for more information to

What are your thoughts? Have you used Constant Contact before? What about any other email marketing management programs out there?

Pepsi’s marketing blunder

The Internet has been abuzz about the Pepsi Max commercial that aired during Sunday’s SuperBowl. Unfortunately, for Pepsi the conversation about the product hasn’t been so favorable. The commercial, in which a black woman is depicted slamming her husband’s head into the counter, smashing soap into his mouth and a host of other unflattering portrayals, has generated a ton of backlash for the company.

PepsiCo clearly did not enlist the help of a reputable multicultural advertising agency when creating this commercial. Had they done so, they might not have made the mistake of portraying such an “angry black woman” who victimized the innocent blonde. This is a perfect example of the mistake that some brands make, assuming that by simple adding people of color to a commercial, that the message will automatically resonate and appeal to other races. There are cultural contexts to be considered and this is obviously something that Pepsi did not do.

Who knows what the long-term effects of this commercial will be on Pepsi’s brand, but for now in the short-term, things aren’t looking so good.

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