Imagine you are gifted with a chic gallery space in a heavy traffic area. White, blank walls. Filled with artwork, of all types, that you have made. People walking by at all hours peering into the big windows at the front of the space. Conversation flowing at the corner bar or coffee shop, “have you seen that new space? I heard the owner is sensational. We should check it out sometime.” Gift granted. That gallery space is yours. However, I bet you are not using it quite the way you would if you actually had foot traffic in and out of that physical space each day. As a singer, the art that you do needs to live not only in the opera house but online. Let’s curate that gallery to reflect the kind of work that you do.
Your Day 6 Challenge of 29 Days to Diva is to Update Your YouTube and SoundCloud Pages.
Video has become what a website was 10 years ago. For quite a while, people were skeptical about whether singers even needed websites. Hopefully that question has been answered with a resounding “yes” for you. Strong video is a cost-effective way for nimble, lean businesses like you, little divalein, to get an edge over the rest of the field. For this nuts and bolts #29DaystoDiva post, we are going to refrain from the larger discussion about the various pros and cons of having to “look good” on video. For our purposes, we are going to assume you want to be found; so, we better curate the gallery.
The other side of curating the gallery is sound. We opera singers are all about the sound! SoundCloud is one of the best tools for curating your sound clips at the moment. One of the best things is that SoundCloud operates as a social platform built around music that easily integrates into your other sites and platforms.
Let’s break it down…
Video marketing is big business right now. Divas, we can use this information and synthesize it with what we already know to be true about music marketing in our specific field. We want to begin to position ourselves as a go-to singer of the repertoire that best fits us. We do this by going to audition after audition and our online gallery of clips can be an extension of that process. Our audition repertoire does not have to be relegated to just those 8.5 minutes (or less) in the room with the three person panel and never seen again — unless that is what you’re hoping for… We can build a portfolio of our work online in both our YouTube and SoundCloud galleries.
Shorter videos are gold. So, there are a couple of ways that we can spin this for ourselves or our ensembles. According to a Wista.com study, the shorter of two identical videos, one with an additional 10 second tag added at the end, was watched 72% of the way through. The longer version was only watched 50% of the way through. When you upload your arias, make a second “teaser” version that is less than a minute long that gets your highlights out there fast and furious. If they like the short version, chances are they’ll also watch the longer version.
Remember, any time you do a video it is potentially someone’s first exposure to you or to your ensemble. Take 15 seconds at the beginning to introduce yourself. Are you catching the audition connection here? Give them that “wow, I’d love to have coffee with her feeling” and then cut to a branded intro for bonus diva points. In the first 15 seconds or intro, show your name and social media details on the screen. To really bring it home, add your call to action at the end of the video. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A tasteful call to action can simply be, “please comment and subscribe.”
To really up the ante, I highly suggest working with some of the incredible arts documentation professionals in our field. Check out SALT arts documentation, Andrew Nordstrum, and Arpeggia Media as a couple of my favorites (I think I got a little West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast in there. Please, please, please add your shout-outs in the comments below – shameless plugs always welcome!!)
I haven’t mentioned this yet in the post, but it is an important reminder that creating a robust profile is the best first step. Use your headshots or other publicity photos as your profile pictures. Pick a system for titling your tracks so they give the most information in a clean and efficient way. Use SoundCloud’s genre tagging function to your advantage. Don’t leave it blank. There may not be as many people as we would like exploring “classical”, “contemporary classical”, “opera”, or “oratorio” on SoundCloud but maybe we can change that together. Make sure that your bio is up to date on each site. Pro tip: set a recurring calendar appointment in your phone to remind you to update your bios across all platforms. The more often you have to update your bio, the more diva points you’re amassing afterall.
People go to your SoundCloud to listen to you sing. They will either choose to listen to the first track or to the track with the most plays. Lead them to choose the sounds you want them to hear first. You do not have to put them in any order, chronological or alphabetical, other than the order that most makes them want to work with you.
Finally, a word about community.
Both of these platforms are social platforms. Remember your gallery from the first paragraph of this post? How much more foot traffic will your gallery see if you personally open the door and invite those passing by with a wave and a smile? How much more traffic will you see if you go to that corner bar or coffee shop and tip your servers? See where I’m going with this metaphor? Good.
We are so incredibly lucky to have all of these resources at our fingertips that we can use for free. It can be overwhelming, though, to use it in a chic and efficient way. Just keep thinking of these online spaces as physical spaces. Into what kind of gallery would you like to invite your fans? What would be the most welcoming space that would help them interact with your art? That should help you get to your online aesthetic right quick.
Thanks for joining me today on the first weekend of 29 Days to Diva. I hope you’re already getting some useful info from this series — even if they are tidbits you’ve already heard. I hope it is in a way that inspires you to try them today. I would love to know about your process with the series. Please leave me a comment below, comment on the facebook page, or tweet me @mezzoihnen. Plus, you know I’ll be checking the hashtags #29DaystoDiva and #29DTD. I can’t tell you how much it brightens my day to hear from you. Want to talk more about today’s topic? Hit me up social media to get even more nitty gritty details specific to your curated gallery.
Let’s Take Over the World Together, My Dear…
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