Google Alerts allow you to perform a regular automatic search of the web for a specific word or phrase. If something comes up in the search Google will then email you to let you know what it is. You can set them up via the Google Alerts home page here, just fill in the options and enter your email and you are done. They are really easy to set up and will ensure you never miss a potential chance to interact with fans online about subjects that relate to your band. These conversations are a great way to start that vital word of mouth following.
Some Google Alerts we would recommend setting up would be:
- Your band name.
- Your band name and release (EP/Album) name.
- Similar artists.
- Artists you play live with often.
- Topics you often blog about.
You can set the alerts as daily/as it happens or weekly. Daily is recommended as it allows you to get in early on a topic and engage with your fans. You may also want to set some alerts that only search Blogs (you can set this in the options). You will quickly work out which option works best for you.
Once you get the alert email you can go online and engage with your audience or potential audience. Comment on blogs about your band and say thank you for helping to spread the word. Engage with people posting about similar artists and topics you blog about. Start conversations and provide useful links and information, don’t just spam them with links to your music. Treat potential fans with respect, there are a lot of people trying to build an audience, to stand out you need to provide comments of real value. This is not an opportunity to spam!
Once you have set the basic alerts above you can set up some more advanced ones. Perhaps you could search for people writing about a venue you are playing at later in the year and develop a friendship with bloggers in that area. Just go through your upcoming gigs list on Live Unsigned and create alerts for each venue. There are many other potential search opportunities that relate to directly to your band, only you will know what these are.
One interesting thing you will notice that comes up on the alerts is how many sites are torrenting your music, this will increase as your audience grows. If this is the case it at least shows your music is worth sharing and you’re doing something right (try Googling a well know band’s name and the word torrent to put this into perspective).
Alerts don’t find everything (they miss a lot of forum posts) but they are a great chance for you to see how much impact your actions online are having in developing a grass roots following and find potential opportunities to engage with new fans.