Creating Content for your Website
An artist web site is one part press kit, one part electronic store front, and one part social networking site. One of the most challenging aspects of creating a new web site is building up the assets that will be used on the site. The earlier section on basic design rules discussed how to take the content and design a site using storyboarding. The previous section included a list of potential items that may be incorporated into the web site, but how are these assets developed? The publicist is the best person to create these assets. He or she knows how to craft stories and select photographs that depict the artist in the image that best suits the artist’s career. Do not leave it to the webmaster to create and select these assets—this is not the webmaster’s area of expertise.
If the artist has a press kit, that is a good place to start—using electronic versions of text files and graphics. These items should be developed in advance of designing the web site and should be developed for both online and offline use. An artist biography is usually written by a trained journalist or publicist, who interviews the artist, reads up on the artist’s background, understands the market, and then creates a compelling story via the bio. A professional photographer should be hired to take publicity photos. Publicity shots are not the same as a publicity photo. A publicity shot is one taken backstage with other celebrities or at events. The publicity photo is the official photographic representation of the artist. Publicity photos should be periodically updated to keep current with styles and image. But once a photo is released to the public, it is fair game for making a reappearance at any time in the artist’s career, even for artists who have moved on and revamped their image.
The press release is another asset that should be incorporated into the web site. Press releases are a standard tool in public relations, one that works better than letters or phone calls (Spellman, 2000). The press release is used to publicize news and events and is a pared-down news story. Here are some examples of when a press release should be used:
- To announce the release of an album
- To announce a concert or tour
- To publicize an event involving the artist or label
- To announce the nomination or winning of an award or contest
- To publicize other newsworthy items that would be appealing to the media
The press release should be written with the important information at the beginning. Today’s busy journalists don’t have time to dig through a press release to determine what it is about. They want to scan the document quickly to determine whether the information it contains is something that will appeal to their target audience. The press release needs to have a slug line (headline) that is short, attention grabbing, and precise. The purpose or topic should be presented in the slug line. The release should be dated with contact information including phone and fax numbers, address, and email. The body of text should be double spaced. The lead paragraph should answer the five Ws and the H (who, what, where, when, why, and how). Begin with the most important information; no unnecessary information should be included in the lead paragraph (Knab, 2003). In the body, information should be written in the inverse pyramid form—in descending order of importance.
Excerpt from Web Marketing for the Music Business, 2nd edition by Tom Hutchinson © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.