GDPR – Useful Plugins To Help You Get Compliant

GDPR – Useful Plugins To Help You Get Compliant

A huge part of getting GDPR compliant involves getting your website in order and making sure that you receive consent for absolutely everything. For starters you’ll need visitors to agree to your terms and for every area where they can input data you’re going to need an extra level of verification in the form on an unchecked tickbox that they have to click, so that there is absolutely no doubt left that approval is being given. You’ll also need to ensure that all data is protected and that should your visitors request it, you can provide details of all data relating to them that has been stored on your site.

We’ve put together a selection of great, free plugins for your WordPress site that will help you to achieve compliancy. They’re going to be intrusive but sadly that’s the price we have to pay for being website owners in 2018 and beyond. I’ve added links so you can visit the information pages on the WordPress.org website (all open in a new tab) but don’t forget that it’s much easier to download and install them directly in your WordPress admin panel via the plugins tab.

WP Security Audit Log

This extremely useful plugin logs everything that occurs on your site, including installations, deletions, updates, posts and user activity across the site. It also rather terrifyingly shows you how many people or bots are trying to gain access to your site in the forms of 404 errors. Should someone request details of what information you store on them, you can export reports using the paid version which starts at US$89.

View WP Audit Security Log Here

Wordfence Security

This is a great free service that scans, monitors and blocks visitors with malicious intent. On your dashboard you’ll be able to see all attempts to log in to your site and which IP addresses have been barred. You’ll be continually prompted to add an email address to complete installation. I did this and receive emails every time any of my plugins needs updating.

View Wordfence Security Here

Cookie Notice

This has been our favourite Cookie plugin due to it’s ease of use and the options that you’re given – offering yes, no and read more buttons. You can have this up and running in less than five minutes with a link to your privacy policy page.

View Cookie Notice Here

GDPR

This is a very useful plugin that’s been specifically designed to gather consent. Every time you make changes to your Privacy Policy, you can request approval from all website visitors. Anyone clicking on your stie will be required to agree to these fresh terms before being able to view anything (you’ll have seen it pop up here).

View GDPR Here

WooCommerce

Good news if you’re using WooCommerce on your site – their new update adds some GDPR functionality, another step towards being compliant. A link to your terms and a checkbox will now appear whenever visitors are prompted to input information so that they can be in no doubt about how their information will be stored and used. Go into WooCommerce Settings and in the Accounts and Privacy tab you’ll see that there’s a couple of checkbox options for removing personal data from orders. You can also use the dropdown box below this to link to your Privacy Policy page.

Disclaimer: the above is not legal advice and does not make you fully GDPR compliant, you are responsible for meeting GDPR compliancy on your own website.

GDPR – The WordPress Privacy Policy

GDPR – The WordPress Privacy Policy

If you’re worried about the new EU GDPR laws coming into effect on Friday 25th May then don’t panic, help is out there. There has been lots of talk of potential big fines being issued, but as we understand it there are three stages before this that include a warning, a reprimand and data blocking, giving you plenty of opportunity to get fully compliant first.

One of the key issues with the new legislation is operating in a transparent manner and letting your website visitors know exactly what data is being collected and for what purpose. This includes obvious data that can be used to identify a person, such as name and email address on mailing lists but also less obvious data, such as Google Analytics. You also have to have consent from a person before they can add a comment to any of your posts.

The best first step you can take is to create a Privacy Policy. The good news is that WordPress introduced a new update this week that automatically generates one for you. In your WordPress admin panel, go to Settings > Privacy and you’ll see a way to either add an existing page or generate a new one with some sample text. You’ll need to tweak the text as prompted so that the document is tailored specifically to your website. If you already have a privacy policy, go ahead and generate a new one anyway and save it under a different page name. You may be able to draw upon some of the data and add it to your own page.

You’ll then need to add a menu link to your finished page, normally in the footer (depending on what theme you’re using).

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and it does not make you fully GDPR compliant.

How To Find Your 1000 True Fans

How To Find Your 1000 True Fans

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade then you’ll have undoubtedly heard of the 1000 True Fans business model as first written about by Kevin Kelly on his blog The Technium. The premise is that dedicated fans will buy everything that you release and therefore you only need 1000 dedicated fans to operate a sustainable music career.

It’s a formula that’s been tried and tested many times in the decade since, in all online businesses not just music. There are some great success stories too. But where do you start when it comes to finding your own 1000 True Fans?

One thing that many Independent artists are still not doing is thinking internationally. These days it’s easy to reach fans across the globe – the majors no longer have the monopoly on this with their huge marketing budgets and massive release campaigns. You can now do the same with highly targeted campaigns and a much smaller budget.

Google Keyword Tool

If you don’t have a Google Adwords account then it’s easy to set one up for free. First create your account then in your admin area look to the top right of the screen and you’ll see a spanner icon. Click this to open a dropdown menu and select ‘Keyword Planner’ top left. Type in a search term that people may use to look for your style of music, then hit the Get Started button. Here’s where the fun begins – you’ll be able to see which terms people are actually searching for. Try a few ideas and save the best keywords. The higher the search volume and the lower the competition, the better for you. Now you can really start to drill down and find out where your audience are. Try searching the same keywords across different countries by selecting different locations in the top menu. You’ll soon start to get an idea of where to run your next marketing campaigns.

Once you have a good list of keywords, you can use some of them across your website pages to improve your chances of being found in Google searches (called onsite SEO). You could also choose to run an Adwords campaign to put your music in front of the correct audience. This is a whole topic on it’s own that will be covered in another post.

Build Playlists

This is one of the key strategies used by record labels in 2018. Think about all of the places and situations that need background music and where your music would be suitable, e.g. shops, gym’s, spa’s, etc.

Using Spotify, build playlists for each scenario that features your own tracks alongside those of well known bands and artists. Give the playlists great names that can be found in searches and promote these playlists across your website and social channels. Have multiple lists and make sure to refresh them from time to time to keep people interested – if you’re in a work environment you don’t want to be listening to the same songs daily.

Make sure you’ve been distributed to Shazam so that anyone who hears your songs and likes them will be able to find out more about you.

Facebook Ads

This is a great way to reach new fans online and campaigns here can be heavily targeted. Create a fantastic post that’s showcasing your best track, a playlist, some great merch, an offer or anything else that might appeal to a new potential fan. When setting up the target audience for your ad, choose locations, age, gender but more importantly, people that like the pages of similar artists to you. Try targeting a location where you’re planning to gig in the near future and start building an interested audience there.

Have a landing page on your website so that when anyone interested clicks on your ad, they are encouraged to part with their email address in exchange for whatever you’re offering. Try different ads and offers to see what really generates interest and gets fan interaction for you.

Experiment with live Facebook feeds too, perhaps an acoustic performance of your new songs. This not only generates interest but gives you more content for your feed.

YouTube

Back in the day artists used to release a cover song as their first single to get them noticed and then followed up with their own material. This was a great way to generate initial interest when breaking a new act as people would already know the song and be able to sing along with it.

These days people are using YouTube in exactly the same way. Record a couple of cover songs by your favourite artists and make sure to add some great keywords to ensure that you’re showing up in YouTube searches. This will help you to start attracting the right kind of audience to your channel. They may initially visit out of curiosity but if they like what you’re doing they’ll start to listen to your own music and then you can start directing people to your website and mailing list by displaying offers, tour information, etc on your videos.

Use Your Digital Sales Reports

Another great place to look is your own sales reports. You may browse each month out of curiosity but then just close the documents without giving them much though. Your digital download reports can really help you to find out where your fans are to help structure your next release campaign.

See which countries and stores in particular are popping up frequently and add these to your marketing plan. You could look at targeting these countries in your Adwords and Facebook campaigns.

Download Store Insights

It’s a sightly older document now but this report from Spotify gives a fascinating insight into which genres are favoured by which countries. If you’re interacting online with your fan base then global borders become unimportant so use data like this as part of your campaign to further narrow down which countries your fans could be residing in.

There’s a lot more you can do that we’ll cover in future articles but this is a great way to start identifying where fans of your style of music reside.

Build Your Fanbase At Gigs

We talk a lot about digital marketing but the original and still one of the best ways to build a fan base is to find them via your gigs, after all it’s all about the music. Take pens and A4 email signup forms to leave out on tables at gigs, or tell them that if they sign up on your website on their phones during the gig, they can get a free download or other offer.

Make sure that each time you book a series of gigs, you travel further afield by adding a new town to the tour route, so that you can maintain the relationship you have with existing fans and also find new ones.

Rinse And Repeat

So there you go, use all of the above tactics to start growing your fan base and getting people onto your mailing list so that you can inform them of new releases, merch, limited edition offers and tour dates. Aim to offer around £120 worth of goods per year – the average Superfan will spend £100 anually on each of their favourite bands.

What To Include On Your Onesheet

What To Include On Your Onesheet

What Is A Onesheet

A Onesheet is an A4 document that basically lets any promoters, venues and press guys see all of your important information at a glance. Usually it’s created / updated to promote your new release and accompanying tour. The document is usually saved as a PDF since these files are small enough to email out and can be easily printed if necessary. Don’t worry about how to create it, check out our previous post on creating free graphics and use the A4 or Letterhead templates at canva.com to get started.

What You Need Before Starting Your Onesheet

If you have an album release ready to go then you should have already thought about the look and feel of the visuals and have created them ready for launch. If not then you need to do that first in order to keep everything consistent across your release campaign. You’ll need your up to date band photos, your release artwork and your current logo design. All of these will need to be added to the top of your Onesheet. You’ll also need your updated biog, tracklisting, finalised tour dates and team contact details.

Onesheet Information

Decide how you would like your Onesheet to be laid out and add your image, logo and release artwork. The headline is usually the album name and release date.

One the left add a brief Biog – don’t add sensationalist things here, just keep it to the point. Journalists need facts, not hype. Next add half a dozen press or industry quotes (which you should be gathering constantly). Next add the key markets that you’ll be targeting during your promotional campaign, i.e. the countries where you’ll be running paid marketing campaigns or visiting on your tour. Do your research beforehand to find out where your main fan bases are. Below this, add ‘For Fans Of’ and list two or three major artists that you are similar in style to.

Next list your key achievements to date as bullet points – this can be sold out gigs, radio interviews, tv appearances – something to show that you are a band that ‘s active and growing. At the bottom add your team contact details and your website address.

On the right hand side of the page you can add the tracklisting details of your album, the release metadata (title, release date, genre, label name, etc.). Highlight your top three tracks here so that journalists can jump straight to the album highlights, they have limited time available.  Finally, add your tour dates. Sometimes it’s necessary to go onto a second sheet but try to keep to one sheet of A4 if you can.

If you’re doing a general media Onesheet for your website press page then as your headline, add in details of the genre you play in and skip adding the release info, i.e. artwork, metadata and tour dates.

If you use canva.com then you’ll be glad to know that your documents are all saved so that you can go back and edit them at any time. If you’re really not keen on making your own Onesheet then check out the Promotion section of our marketplace

Create High Quality Graphics For Free

Create High Quality Graphics For Free

As musicians we have to wear a lot of hats and quite often there is very little financial return for what we do. To assist with your music career, I’m going to be presenting you with a number of free or cheap options for getting your graphic design done.

One of the best free resources to become available in the past few years is canva.com I strongly recommend creating an account here. Canva have a range of pre-made templates available including release artwork, social media headers, newsletter templates and more. Many of their images are available for free although it is very easy to import your own graphics and images so that you can create something completely original.

All of your designs are saved in your Canva account which makes it easy for you to do edits and to regularly renew and update the graphics on your website and social media accounts. The files can easily be exported as .png or .jpg options. As an added bonus you can download the Canva app onto your phone and develop your artwork while you’re sitting on the sofa or travelling to work on the bus.

Another free and useful tool is the Pixlr Editor at Pixlr.com. This is an online editor is similar in style to Photoshop. Here, you can create original graphics in layers which gives you a lot of scope if you’re more experienced in graphic design. Pixlr o-matic allows you to add filters to images which can give a more professional edge. You can always develop your images in Pixlr and then import them to Canva in order to add high-quality text. Pixlr and o-matic also have app options.

Your phone is the perfect tool for snapping your own photography to use on artwork. Use the default camera or for more control over settings, download ProCam4, Hydra, Camera+ or ProCamera. Choose outdoor shots for natural lighting or get creative indoors with stage lighting, lamps and whatever else you have to hand.

If you really don’t have time for developing your own graphics or feel that you are not making progress and coming up with good results, you can also try the MusoZone marketplace. The marketplace features a growing number of professional graphic designers who can create artwork for you cheaply. Here you can find logos, release artwork, headers, press packs and more.

Whatever you’re looking for there will be something to suit your budget and personal taste.