Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The best clubbing books - Part One

The literature world may never be set on fire by this genre, but there are still several books on clubbing and club culture that are worth getting your nose into.

I’ll be introducing you to my favourites in this series. Here is part one:

Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House

It’s no secret that drugs and clubbing have gone hand in hand for many years. Never has this combination been more powerful than when acid house and Ecstasy joined forces in the 1980s.
Matthew Collin writes in glowing, nostalgic terms about this time. He has been criticised for rose tinting the culture and this book does have a feel-good factor about it. Reading ‘Altered State’ will, depending how old you are, make you want to get back to the warehouse parties or wish you lived through it.

If you are involved in the scene, the lessons from those early days are important to note.

Since the late nineties (when it was written) times have moved on again and dance music doesn’t occupy the national obsession quite as much. Nevertheless, it’s not to be missed as a smile-along account of some of the most important historical events in club culture.

If you have not read it, why not buy it from Amazon?

If you have read it, what do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2006

The power of the thank you note

Have you ever had a thank you note?

I bet that if you have you remember it vividly. Short or long it’s one of the most personal and powerful methods of communication on the earth.

It makes a connection. It’s polite. It makes you stand out. It shows you took some time and it’s the right thing to do.

You need thank you notes Whether you are a club promoter, a clubber, a DJ, a record label executive or a record shop owner. Chances are you have someone to thank.

Chances are they will remember you with a warm glow if you thank them sincerely. Which will make your life so much easier. It doesn’t have to be an essay (two sentences is plenty). It doesn’t have to be for anything particularly wonderful (a job well done is more than enough reason).

It does have to be hand written.

So remember what your Mum taught you and start making a thank you note part of your daily routine.

Want to know how to write a good one? Email me or get me on MSN (both are david [at] gurn dot net) for a 100% free guide.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What would you like to see in a clubbing book?

If you were given a book about the clubbing industry what would you like to see in it?

Some ideas (feel free to add your own)
  • Promoter tips
  • Stories
  • Practical ideas
  • Pictures of nude fitties
  • Something else
  • Nothing at all
A little later this week I’ll show you my favourite clubbing books, but I still want your opinions. What is missing from the clubbing shelf on Amazon?

Add a comment, get me on MSN/Skype or email me.

Related Posts

Picture from Murn

Friday, February 24, 2006

How to write better clubbing reviews

I want you to send me your club reviews. Writing about music may be the same as dancing about architecture but we love it anyway.

Reviews get us on guest lists and get clubs exposure to the right audience. They also contribute to the overall reputation of a club in the eyes of clubbers. They are influential.

They are also few in number. We want more, so here is our guide to writing club reviews as orginally sent to me by the world infamous Random Bird off of Mixmag.

How to write better club reviews

Reviews need to be made a bit more punchy and original. It’s worth bearing in mind a headline you would put on the review while you are there, something like ‘What’s so good about [insert club name]’ or ‘What’s the secret of [the club’s] success’ or ‘500 munters in hard house convention

We are going to be putting headlines on all the reviews, so it will help if you can bear in mind what these could possibly be.

Things we need to see in reviews:

Quotes from the promoter

It’s his/her job to big up his own club, and a good way to include the club’s history and maybe even get some juicy gossip – ie: local club wars – which would be good for news stories.

Quotes from Ravers

Overheard conversations are also a good way of telling the story of the night without droning on too much yourself. Sometimes they can sum up the sort of people at an event without you having to say too much. Always try and describe the people you are quoting if they don’t have names.

Quotes from DJs

Always good to have a word with the resident about the night from his perspective. Don’t include too much playlist stuff unless the DJ was amazing. In general, as well as a brief description of the club’s music policy, the atmosphere you describe should give the feel of what sort of music it is ie:

“The rumbling bass vibrates the soles of 300 trainers in the back room.”

Quotes from Big Name DJs

If you can’t get to speak to them then it’s always worth looking on their websites in case they have a ‘tour diary’ you can pinch quotes from.

Try and write some reviews in the present tense, as it gives a sense of ‘reporting live from the scene’ and makes the review fresher for longer.

Tips for writing with structure

A feature (or interview) should tell you five things you didn’t know before. If you can’t get five, go for three.

When writing a feature, the intro is the most important part. There are 3 ways to traditionally start an article:

Ask A Question: What do you do when your nearest club is 50 miles away?

State A Fact: If you live in Bangor, your nearest night out is 50 miles away.

Use A Quote: "Bangor was full of blue-rinses before we came along".

A good intro should pose the question or debate, the middle of the article should be the actual debate or information and the end should tie it off nicely. A good tip is to link something in your intro to the end paragraph, ie: “…and we never did find the other shoe.”

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Club marketing – Futurhood leads the way

DJ Silverback from Sheffield (pictured) is using new web services to bring together all his online activities in one place.

His lens contains information about Futurhood - his promotional service, pictures of his events, links to the clubs he works with, blogs and clubbing news. Powerful stuff.

Imagine if every club and record label did the same thing. It’s highly targeted, easy to find and simple to update.

You are selling yourself by sharing your knowledge. More powerful stuff.

The only criticism I have is that he doesn’t use Gurn for his news feed!

What innovate ideas do you have to develop "word of mouse" marketing?

HiFi Festival South

The official announcement for Hifi South has been made. As I smugly noted a while back it will be at the old Homelands festival site – Matterly Bowl.

At this point it’s all about the hype which is great. I love hype. Anticipation is the best part of big dance music events like this. Especially as it’s the first major festival on the clubbing calendar.

We are involved with the festival, but I’m promoting it in my own time. I want to see what kind of buzz I can generate. I’m doing this through an unofficial hifi festival blog page. I also have a landing page for all your Hifi clubbing needs.

As usual I want to know your feedback on the whole thing. Are these pages any use to you? Are you interested in getting unoffical, informal information from the inside about the ?

Related Posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What do dance music labels want in an advertising package?

I’m looking for feedback from people who work at dance music labels. What sort of advertising floats your boat?

I have a hunch none of it involves utilising new web technologies, but feel free to correct me.

I want to develop a package that meets the needs of dance music labels so they feel confident using Gurn.net as an advertising tool.

With a view to that, I’d also love to know what dance music record label owners and managers think about advertising and marketing through blogging in particular.
  • Do you do it?
  • Do you like the idea but don’t trust it enough to invest your time and money?
  • Do you think the whole idea is daft?
  • Would you use a blogging service provider if the price was right?

Add your comments, or get in touch with me directly. My contact information is on the sidebar.

Related Posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The best way to make sure your advertising goes far

Talk to advertising sales people who dance (not literally, keep reading).

There are a million ways to advertise. Email, flyering, posters, clubbing websites, word of mouth, standing on a park bench with a megaphone.

All of them have some kind of cost. Most of them require you to buy something. You might not believe it, but the people selling sometimes don’t really care why you are buying. They are wrestling against you, not dancing with you.

That is a fact, but one you shouldn’t put up with.

Jim Logan offers some sound advice on the matter:

I was… approached not that long ago by a newspaper and a radio station to advertise on their respective media. Both approached me the same way - rate sheets and audience demographics. Neither asked me a thing about my business, neither suggested a process to develop my message, and neither asked about my business needs or desired call to action. Both said their media would be great for reaching new customers.

How do you know if someone wants to dance?

They don’t just send rate sheets. They ask what you are trying to do, they listen to what you have to say and they recommend the best advertising for your needs.

Good selling is a dance, not a wrestling match.

And to stretch another metaphor to it’s limit: Square pegs don’t fit in round holes, but bad marketing and bad selling try to make them fit.

Good advertising sales either find you a square hole, or show you a competitor who have a square hole.

Good selling does exist and you can spot it yourself. Are you dancing or wrestling when you ring up for a quote?

Related Posts

Monday, February 20, 2006

How to compete with someone better than you

Also know as: What to do when your arse is getting kicked.

The Church of the Customer blog has piece on a restaurant that learned to compete with someone better. It’s a lesson promoters (and label owners) can learn too.

So using their template here are my ideas:

Match your competitor's exceptional quality.

This can be hard. If you have a crummy venue there is not much you can do. It’s out of your control to a certain extent. However, you could turn a clean up into an event in itself.
You could rustle up some regulars, offer them free entry and access to your exclusive pre-party. Get them to clean, ply them with drinks. Watch them tell everyone who will listen that they help make the place a little better.

Allow your customers to customise.

How do you customise a club night? How about having the door person write down the favourite tracks of clubbers as they walk in. You could have in pre-arranged with your resident DJ to play a couple of the most popular ones.

Do something buzzworthy in the first few minutes.

The aim is to make people say ‘wow’. If you are lucky enough to have a queue forming, why not loan out coats to ladies with little on? Or just give out hot drinks?

Do something buzzworthy again within minutes.

Take their picture as they walk in. you could give them a massive picture frame to hold. Give them a card (maybe even a Gurn.net card) and tell them you will text or email them when the pictures are online.

Work harder to nurture customer relationships.

People go clubbing for all kinds of reasons. One of which is to feel a sense of belonging, of being part of a tribe. You can enhance this tribal feeling. Bouncers, promoters even moody DJ types have no excuse. Make it feel like a house party by making people feel welcome.

What about your own ideas? Are you a promoter who does something special? Maybe you are a clubber who has seen something special when they are out and about. Add your experiences to the comments box.

Related Posts

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Clubbing features vs. interviews - an editorial dillemma

I recently got some feedback on our change of editorial tack away from interviews and towards features:
Features are all good with the diverse stuff but I think you a need a mixture of feature style interviews and Q&A sessions. Q&A's are the best way to find out about a producer/DJ/promoter and I don't think you should ingore them totally. 'Top tips' are good but be careful not to overdo the idea.
I kind of agreed. Here is my reply.

I agree that an interview is a great way to get to know the interviewee and there will always be a place for a good interview, like we had with Zabiela. Good interviews regularly get good hit figures. Even years later.

Our MC Storm interview has been in the top 2 or 3 interviews since in came online in 2003!

There are 2 aspects I don't like about interviews and it's those 2 aspects I try to avoid where possible (not ban, just avoid).
  1. Straight Q&A - Every clubbing website does it that way and we are trying to be different. Plus, it increases the chances of lazy questions like "How are you?" It makes me want to scream when I read that.
  2. Using interviews as an advert. People don't want to read interviews with industry types they have hardly heard of and have no empathy with. It's bad for our credibility to wheel out relative unknowns with nothing but an agenda to get people to go to their latest gig.
So, we either need to interview big names or we need to find a hook to drag in people who are asking "what's in it for me to read this interview?"

That's where features come in.

Doing interviews as a feature provides the hook people need to read it. Take this one with Vince Robertson called the "The Hardest Working Man in Dance Music". A straight up interview with Vince would have died. By creating a hook and making a slightly controversial statement it is the most popular feature or interview we have done so far this year (and it's only been up since Feb 11th).

I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't care what the format is as long as it's good, Q&A sessions included. If it breaks a few rules and is original on the way that's even better.

What do you think? Do you read Q&A interviews?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hifi festival announced with a tasty line up

We are working closely with Angel Music Group at the moment. So it's been painful watching other websites unoffically talk about the HiFi festival when we were not allowed to say anything.

Now the Hifi Festival has officially launched we can make an announcement. Phew.

The line up is pretty sexy too.

We are hoping that as it's the "festival for the ipod generation" that they will want to take some cool extra online services from us. The ipod generation love the web after all.

We have offered then all kinds of neat interactive stuff. If they decide to go for it I'll announce it here first.

Speaking of ipods, Carl Cox has started podcasting. Subscribe to it in iTunes or via the Feedburner link on the Carl Cox website.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ministry of Sound give clubbers cash

My hat is off to clubbing brand Ministry of Sound. They have announced that they will be launching a service that lets clubbers upload and share videos.

The clever bit is that they are sharing the revenue with the people who do the uploading.

It's a great way to ultilise technology anyway, but the bribery is just genius. Plus they even do the phones.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

How to promote dance music online

You might think you already know about how to promote clubbing and dance music online. You don’t. No one in the industry is.

The industry knows the benefits of online promoting, but the methods are out of date.

The old techniques are not working the way they used to, but clubland has not caught up. If you can harness the power of online promotion you will have a clear advantage.

And make lots of money. And have a great time doing it.

Find the right people.

Targeted marketing is an old standby. What targeting misses is this: within a group there are some people with more power. If you can influence those people then they will do the work effectively influencing everyone else.

Hint #1: there are very few of these "salesmen". You can get to know them very well.

Once you have found them, what do you do?

Start a conversation by telling a story

People want to know what is in it for them. It’s human nature. Does your online promotion appeal to people by telling them an appealing story?

Hint #2: A superstar DJ on the line up doesn’t tell a compelling story.

But it doesn’t end there. Once people have the story can they react to it? Can they talk back to you? Can they pass it onto their friends?

Your aim is to turn a story into a genuine conversation.

That’s when it gets exciting, because people start selling for you.

Wow people

Conversations and stories don’t just start. They have to have something different in them. I have talked about wowing clubbers before. Have you got a blog yet? Have you got a lens yet?

Hint #3: the cost of your lighting system doesn’t wow anyone (except lighting guys).

Make a call to action

Currently the call to buy comes first. That’s the wrong way around. Most people seeing "New release on foo records, click here to buy" won’t bother. There is nothing in it for them.

The story should come first, the details later.

Once you have someone hooked on your story they need to know how much it costs, how to buy it and what guarantees you have. There should be a clear call to take the next step and it should be something they can do easily.

This is a whole new world to everyone, including successful clubbing brands. If they are to remain successful they need to embrace it. Or others will overtake them.

So if you are one of the brands or one of the others why not drop me a line. I can help you navigate the maze.

This is part two of the "Promoting Online" series. To go back to part one click here.

Related Posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Promoting dance music online. Does it work?

I recently asked a few of our customers what their biggest question is about promoting online. The main response:
Does it work?
My answer is: depends how you do it.

Let me clarify. There is no way to ignore the scope of the web to promote anything to anyone. Whether you have a club night in Aberdeen, a record shop in Brixton or a massive global clubbing brand.

There are people online now searching for information about what you do. If you do what they want they will give you their money. There is no better medium to reach more of the right people for less marketing outlay.

  • Cheap. It allows small companies to compete with big ones.
  • Informative. Everyone is looking for something, they might be looking for what you have.
  • Respectful. People can take their time over their decisions. There are no moody shop assistants making you feel inadequate.
  • Interactive. The web is a two way thing. Instant feedback is a click or two away.

But you have to do it right.

If you don’t your voice will get lost in the billions of others that make up the web.

So yes, promoting online does work. Stay tuned this week and I’ll show you how.

This is part one of the "Promoting Online" series

Related Posts

Monday, February 13, 2006

The twice as good rule

James Kew understands how important it is to wow people.

He might be talking about MSN Virtual Earth, but his point is just as relevant to any aspect of the clubbing landscape.
If you want to be adopted enthusiastically, you’ve got to be twice as good as what’s gone before. Put more bluntly: you’ve got to wow people.

What is your equivalent of the ipod?

7 reasons you need a clubbing blog today

I have been asked to explain the benefits of blogging to the clubbing industry. My boss: Meza has heard of blogging but doesn't know the benefits. If I can sell blogging to him, I can sell it to everyone else in the same position in the industry. Here is my pitch.

Blogging will revolutionise the way the clubbing industry reaches its customers and potential customers. Before long everyone will have a blog just as everyone has a website now.

At the moment the field is wide open. Nobody in clubland blogs.

The clubbing organisations that get into blogging first will take the lead. They will have a distinct competitive advantage. Now is the time.

Why is blogging so important to the clubbing industry?

Blogging used to be the domain of supergeeks and teenage girls. All that has changed. Chairman of multinationals, marketers, small business owners and, heck, REAL PEOPLE are starting to realise the benefits. What are they?

  1. Recognised Expertise. Everyone is an expert in something. Blogging allows you to share your or your companies expertise. Customers will find your knowledge online and be attracted to you. Attraction is easier (and cheaper) than hunting.
  2. Word of Mouth Marketing. Imagine how fast an honest, informative blog post through clubbers desperate for knowledge and gossip would spread. It may be from the MD of big clubbing brand about a mistake they made and how they plan to correct it. You can harness this never-ending thirst for knowledge to spread your brand. You can flip the funnel.
  3. Speed. The ease of posting to blogs mean you can instantly react to, say, negative PR and get your customers reactions almost instantly back. You can post an idea for a new night or a spin off label and your customers will be right there to react to it.
  4. Forum Ass Kicking. They are easier to use, read and comment on. They have more compelling content. They are open to all but don’t require the same level of moderation. People can’t subscribe to forum updates very easily.
  5. Search Engines. A blog filled with relevant, honest and informative information will get links. Links improve search engine results. People can find you easier than the competition.
  6. Cost and Time. Blogs are cheap to set up. They are easy to maintain even for the most technophobic. They give control to the people who most need it rather than those who are most technical (It’s rarely the same people). Anyone can blog.
  7. A Human Face. Blogging shows your customers you care. It shows your customers you are a human being not a faceless company. You customers can see their feedback making a difference because you blog about it. It might not change your company, but it makes it seem more human. Because it is.

It’s only a matter of time before the features of blogging ensure it becomes a communication standard on the web. It already is in some industries. You can follow or you can lead. Which do you want to do?

If you would like more information on clubbing blogs then drop me a line. I can help you setup and maintain a high quality blog.

Related Posts

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wow Factor Summary

This week I have been talking about adding sizzle to clubbing. This is a summary of posts and some suggested further reading.

Part 1 - Why does clubbing need a Wow Factor?
Part 2 - 8 ways to be memorable
Part 3 - 4 pitfalls of the Wow Factor

Further Reading (affiliate link)

Friday, February 10, 2006

4 pitfalls of the Wow Factor

There is a fine line between “wow” and “what the?”

We already know how important the Wow Factor is when it comes to clubbing. Dance music history is littered with the legacy of people who got the Wow Factor wrong. What are the pitfalls?

  1. Being out of touch. Think your dad on the dancefloor. He might make you say wow, but not in a good way. If you get it wrong you lose the essential sizzle. You need to be on the pulse. How? Stay tuned by subscribing and I’ll tell you.
  2. Sticking to a formula. People love the familiar. People love to be surprised by the familiar even more. Pete Tong is about as familiar as you get in clubbing. His show has been on Radio 1 at 6pm forever. Even he is cutting edges by getting ahead in podcasting. Once you have wowed them tear up the plan.
  3. ArroganceThere is a lot of ego in clubland. Compare Gatecrasher and Godskitchen in the early noughties. Gods worked hard to give the kids what they wanted; Crasher couldn’t even do what they promised. Remember that nobody owes you a living.
  4. Getting sucked in by price. Doing a good job wowing people is expensive. You could say that you can’t afford it. Price is not important. Nobody buys on price; they buy because the benefit outweighs the cost. Make sure your benefits outweigh your costs by far. Remember, wowing people doesn’t have to cost the earth and it will reap results.
Just trying to wow people isn’t enough. To avoid failing you need to know the pitfalls and strive to avoid them as hard as you try to add the Wow Factor.

This is the last in the "Wow Factor" series of posts. To go back to the beginning click here

Related Posts

Dance music isn't proper music

That viewpoint still rings true for much of the music industry. The traditional press give dance music little regard.

A lot of genres (hardcore for example) are almost totally ignored despite enormous popularity. It’s an emotive topic. Talking about music always is because everyone has an opinion, yet no one can be right.

Value is assigned to something that has no intrinsic value of its own. You can assign value to music in another way though – the size of the industry around it. Dance music has a huge, fragmented industry; Clubbing websites, magazines, events, public relations, design, nightclubs and studios. Many of which would not exist without the kids putting a few quid aside for a night out clubbing at the weekend.

How can you define music in a tangible way otherwise?

Whether you are impressed by the tunes themselves or not, it’s for this reason that dance music is proper music.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

8 ways to be memorable

How do you make repetitive beats memorable? You don’t settle for anything less than exceptional. Drugs alone are not going to do it. Sorry.

I have talked about why we need to wow clubbers in an environment that naturally wows people anyway. Now you need to know how to do it.

Here are a few ideas.

  1. I bet you have a load of phone numbers that you send clubbing information texts to, or a mailing list that you fire out ads to. When was the last time you phoned one of the numbers or personally emailed someone to ask how their night was?
  2. If the girls are clubbing, the boys are clubbing.
  3. Write a better press release. It’s not that hard and it makes the difference between standing out and being part of the crowd.
  4. Has anyone every slagged you or what you do off on a clubbing message board? What did you do about it? Did you threaten a "team of lawyers" on them? If you didn’t grill them for more information you are missing a chance.
  5. Do you know who your "salesmen" are? Not the guys selling tickets/records/whatever directly for you. The kids on the street who are setting trends and making it cool to go clubbing and be involved with you. If you have had any success in clubbing you are totally reliant on this small number of people. You should be appealing to them so the others follow. Hint: My MSN/Skpe is on the sidebar over there, should you need a hand.
  6. Do you know the difference between making something happen and hoping something will happen? The clue is in how passionate you are about it. Why does no-one else care enough to have a clubbing blog?
  7. "A man without a smiling face must not open a shop" – Chinese proverb via Tom Peters (pdf).
  8. What are you doing that nobody else is? And don’t give me any crap about having the best customer service in the business. Your service sucks, our service sucks. Everyone’s service sucks.

These ideas are not a coherent plan or theory on how to bring the wow factor into clubbing. They do have a theme though.

Don’t settle for average. Be excellent and make clubbers say "wow".

This is the second in the "Wow Factor" series of posts. To go back to part one click here.

To move on up to part three click here.

Picture shamelessly stolen from the excellent headrush

Related Posts

Digital DJ licences exist for profit, not fairness

All DJs are rich superstars right? There are no spinners that do it part time for a few quid on the side. Nobody does it because they love music and want to spread it to a captive audience do they?

That’s why the MCPS have had to stamp down on the super rich DJs who are breaking the law by copying the music they have already paid for onto CD or MP3. That’s why digital DJs now must pay for an additional licence.

Not "instead of" but "additional".

All because the MCPS want to make some money out of the right to copy works that have already been paid for.

They try and justify it in this document (pdf).

But wait a second. That can’t be right. I have played out with MP3s that I have legally downloaded and encoded from CD. I’m not super rich. I’m not ripping off any artists, I’m advertising the music for the artists and labels for nothing.

I’m going out of my way to make sure I pay for music that I could, just as simply, download for nothing.

Cheers MCPS your service sucks, and your customers think you service sucks.

Why should DJs cough up when they making the effort to be legal and not charging anyone for advertising the music? Why should DJs be penalised for choosing one format over another?

I’m sure the MCPS would disagree, but it smacks of profiteering at the people who can least afford it.

Email MCPS with your license complaints: djlicence@mcps.co.uk

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Why does clubbing need a Wow Factor?

Clubbing is a good time. People have a good time when they are impressed, so clubbing is all about impressing people. That’s why we, as an industry, needs to exceed clubbers expectations and make them say "wow".

It should be easy. Clubbers want to get excited. Does it happen at the moment?

A lot of the wow factor in clubland is built in. the excitement of going out, the choice of chemical enhancement and the love of the music make it memorable.

But every night and event has that. Promoters need to do more to stand out from the crowd. To paraphrase Ferry Corsten, people are getting bored of going to festivals, seeing the same DJs, dancing to the same music and going on the fairground rides.

It’s not just promoters. Record labels, DJs, flyer designers and everyone else in the industry need to remember that being involved in the clubbing industry is about making people say "wow".

Godskitchen lead the way in this. They are always looking to put on a spectacular show at Global Gathering. Now they have the Hifi festival, which is set to follow the trend for clubbers getting into live music.

We at Gurn are looking to add more sizzle to our festival appearances this year too. I’ll be posting more about how we add the wow factor.

Clubbing may have a built in coolness and impressiveness, but to really stand out we need to keep pushing things forward. We need to make things sizzle.

This is the first in the "Wow Factor" series of posts. To go to part two click here.

Related posts

Monday, February 06, 2006

5 tips on how to start a clubbing blog

Everyone is always saying how easy it is to setup a blog. It isn’t, it very hard work indeed.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. It is easy to set one up using a free service like blogger or wordpress. The hard bit comes after that. How do you keep it going and make it something that people want to read and look at?

Most blogs never make it past the first seven days.

It seems a lot of people are motivated to write a blog for a lot of reasons, but when it’s not an instant success a large chunk of those people just give up. As I want to see more clubbing blogs from people inside and outside the industry I thought that you would be interested in my cheat sheet to setting up and maintaining a blog.

1. Know your audience.

A lot of blogs talk about themselves. Most people are not interested in hearing that, they want something for themselves. So ask yourself, who am I writing for?

This blog is aimed at anyone interested in clubbing like clubbers and promoters, especially (although not exclusively) those who use Gurn.net. You, on the other hand, might want to write for the customers of your record label, or to stay in touch with your clubbing mates or to the clubbers who go to your night.

Whatever your audience, try and work out what those people want to read and write for them, not for you.

2. Write some posts first.

Think you have plenty to say? Want to look like you have been blogging for a while and not a fresh faced newbie?

I suggest that before you start you write at least 10 posts. If you can’t come up with 10 posts over the period of a couple of weeks how are you going to keep posting? Don’t hit the ‘register’ button at blogger until you have something in writing.

3. Keep posting.

If you don’t keep things up-to-date people have no reason to come back to you. A good blog is updated regularly. It’s easy to procrastinate, miss a few days posts and give up.


Instead, commit to posting new stuff, ideally every day. Some people benefit from planning a specific time to blog and writing a few posts at once. Whatever works best for you make sure blogging fits into your routine. A blog is for life, not just for Christmas.

4. Be patient.

Unless you are very lucky or are catering to a very small audience it takes time to build up some readers. Don’t worry if your blog takes a while to get noticed. If you are writing decent quality stuff regularly people will start to find you.

Install some monitoring software to find out how many people are visiting but don’t check it every 5 minutes. Instead of hoping you will get 100,000 hits in you first week, set yourself targets to grow by a certain percentage every month. Blogging is a long-term thing.

5. Participate.

Blogging is two-way communication. It takes time for people to find you but you can speed things up. Find other blogs and websites in your area (hey look, here is one on clubbing). Comment on them and their forums and link back to them. Reply to any comments on your own blog.

If you are in the clubbing business you can use your main website and mailing list present yourself to the people you want to read your blog. If those people love what you do they might be inspired to setup their own blogs and suddenly you have a little network of interconnected people all talking about the stuff you are interested in.

Pretty cool, huh?

If you are a clubber, a club promoter, a record label boss or just someone who like dance music and clubbing then why not join me in setting up a blog? With this guide you can do it right, and I can feel a little less alone out here.

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How to promote for free

Everyone is looking for something on the internet. There are lots of people looking for event information, insider tips, gossip and a million other things to do with what you promote.

If you are involved in the clubbing industry you might promote a club night, sell records, run a clubbing website or design flyers. You have expertise on the information that those people are looking for. But how do link to those people?

The answer is Squidoo

Squidoo webpages are called ‘lenses’ and they are designed to fill the gap between people who know stuff and people who want to find out stuff.

So instead of having to poke around the internet for information on, say, “clubbing and dance music” someone can go to Squidoo, search for it and find the lens that I set all about, you guessed it, clubbing and dance music

It’s a single reference point that’s easy to update and improves your reputation as an expert on the topic that you are an expert on.

Let’s take some examples. You are a club promoter and DJ who knows everything there is to know about the techno music scene in Glasgow. Setup a lens and share your knowledge with other as to where your night is and how good it is, which DJ kills it every time and which DJ empties the the dancefloor. What websites are good to find other techno fans and what CDs are the best to grab.

Or perhaps you do a small record label’s marketing. A lens can tell people things your traditional marketing can’t. What DJs are playing your stuff, what forums are best to talk about your releases, a list of where to buy your music and a tirade on the growth of illegal downloads.

Your customers, fans and supporters can subscribe to you lens to be sent updates as soon as you post them using RSS, they can share your links with others automatically using del.icio.us and they can even setup their own lenses to tell the world how great you are.

Talk about creating a word of mouth buzz!

Squidoo allows you to share you expertise and create a word of mouth buzz online. If you set up a lens send it to me. I want to see how good you can make them.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Podcasts for clubbers

Podcasting is catching on in the clubbing world. Pete Tong has one, as does the big Aussie clubbing site: Inthemix. Is podcasting the future for dance music? How can the clubbing industry use it as a marketing tool?

Podcasts and their predecessors have been around since broadband made uploading big files possible. Bedroom DJs made their mixes and posted them on clubbing message boards. When podcasting came along the same DJs started using it.

The problem was that it was illegal.

While nobody bothered to sue bedroom spinners, the big player couldn’t get involved. That is until Pete Tong used the clout of a major label and some clever legal trick to create a loophole.

He tells us more about it our interview with him on podcasting dance music.

So now big clubbing names can get involved it has the potential to be used as a marketing tool. According to the Long Tail theory, podcasting (among other things) will create thousands of tiny niches of like minded people. ‘Clubber’ will become a dead term as people define themselves more specifically through their likes and interests.

That means that club promoters and record labels can use podcasting to promote to clubbers in a highly targeted and highly effective way.

For example, imagine if Godskitchen ran a HiFi festival podcast. They would know anyone who subscribed would at least want to go to the festival. They could broadcast adverts for travel deals, merchandise and practical stuff (like tents). Heck, they could even advertise other festivals. The Hifi festival wins because it improves its brand and makes some extra money from targeted adverts. The clubbers win because they get good deals and a good podcast to listen to.

Take it smaller. A local club night produces a podcast. Everyone who subscribes is a potential customer through the door and will want to hear specific targeted messages like discounted entry or adverts for the local record shop.

It’s good when everyone wins like that, don’t you think?

Podcasting has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream, but if it does then it has the potential to transform the way clubbing is marketed.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

F*ck off!

Who says working for a clubbing website is all Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect? This week I got an email telling me to stick my glow sticks where the sun don’t shine.

What’s the reason for this? The email wasn’t clear, but it seems someone is royally upset by something we have done. As always, I see it as a chance to shine. I have said it before:

The best people to ask what you are doing wrong are the people who care enough to complain.

So I have emailed back asking for forgiveness and offering something for nothing. It might seem like a bad move to suck up to the haters but think about it. He has probably already told as many people as possible that Gurn is a rubbish website run by rubbish people. Imagine how high up we can get if we turn him around.

He might even start telling people we are bending over backwards for forgivness.

If you heard someone slagging off a company then heard the company was doing everything in its power to make up for its sins what would you think?

I’d think: Hey, everyone is human but not everyone makes that kind of effort.

I might even think: Those guys might not be so bad after all. Maybe I will check out their website.

Who knows? But one thing is for sure. If I didn’t at least try to make amends I would be failing the company and the brand.

So, if you hate Gurn.net email me and tell me why. No, really!

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

5 reasons why clubbing websites are rubbish

There is a distinct lack of high quality content on clubbing websites. That’s not to dis the competition. Gurn.net is included the general malaise.

If I see another interview with an ‘up and coming’ hard house DJ from London I think I will scream. I’m sure all these guys are excellent DJs and really deserve the exposure but nobody will read it except them and their mums. We know. We have plenty of them in our archive.

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes we make:

  1. Using press releases as news. Even the best press release does not make good news articles.
  2. Using content as free adverts. For example interviewing a DJ and asking him: "You are playing at Club Great next week, are you looking forward to it?" Who wants to read an advert?
  3. Not writing for readers. If people don’t find it interesting they won’t read it.
  4. Writing like a magazine article. There is a difference between the way people read web pages and the way they read magazines.
  5. Relying on forum posts. Forums are great, but generally they don’t make for good content. By all means have and use forums (we have one of the busier ones) but know their limitations.

Let the campaign for binning rubbish clubbing content start here. The importance of good content has been lost in the rush for members, traffic and forum posts. Let’s correct our mistakes.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Please complain, we love it!

We love comments, feedback and complaints. People who complain are people who care so I am always casting around for as much feedback as possible. To paraphrase Seth Godin; the more people are shouting about you the more people hear about you.

He calls it Flipping the Funnel and if you care about club or label promoting you should read his e-book.

Most people won't read it.

Even less people will act on it, but before long everyone will need to do it to remain relevant. Traditional marketing techniques are become less and less effective (ipods replacing radio for example) and tools like Del.icio.us, Squidoo, Flickr and even Gurn are becoming the main sources of information and word of mouth advertising.

How do you tap this?

Over a few posts, I'll be taking the time to show you a few ways you can use these (and other) new methods to get your customers shouting about what you do. In return I will ask you to feedback to me in as many different methods you can think of.

Just to get you started here are a few ideas:
Comments and complaints are the best way to improve and show that people care. Using these techniques you can start to improve your exposure for nothing but time.

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How to make mistakes

We managed to mess up a customer’s order the other day. This is not great but it did give us a chance to make up for it.

Making up for your mistake is one way to show how much better you are than your competitors. Here is what to do:

  • Correct the error. In our case we didn’t put up a banner advert on the site then swanned off to a meeting where there was no net access. In the end it went up almost a day late, but we didn’t dally. The moment we got to a PC we uploaded the banner. That was the easy part.
  • Balance the books. Although it wasn’t a full day, we made sure the banner ran for an extra day to make sure the customer got what he paid for. That's easy too (although a lot of companies don't even get this far).
  • Go the extra mile. We may have sorted it, but that still wasn’t enough; we need to do more than he expects. So to apologise for being crap, we sent him some Craptrumps. Hopefully he will laugh and have a couple of games.
Does it work? At the very least he will remember us for being a bit silly, which can’t be bad. Business isn’t always about invoices and VAT returns after all. At best he will tell all his friends that Gurn.net sent him some Craptrumps, we get a slightly better name than we did before and he comes back to buy some more banners.

So if you mess up see it as a chance to shine. You might get a loyal customer out of it.

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