Some of the best music festivals in North America have been around for decades. These festivals have been such powerhouses in the music industry that it may seem impossible for them to lose audience. However, the reality is that many of these established music festivals have left space for competition to come in and take over.
This hole is called SEO.
It’s astonishing how many established music festivals have neglected many aspects of digital marketing, and more specifically search engine optimization. By omitting SEO from their digital strategy, they are essentially allowing new competition to come in and steal their audience.
Here’s why SEO is so important for established music festivals.
Your Music Festival is Only Ranking for Branded Keywords
Being an established music festival certainly has its benefits. One of the biggest benefits is that so many people already know your name and will either go directly to your website, or Google your festival name directly.
While this is great, the biggest issue is that people who are searching for your name directly are already fans, and know who you are. They are probably even already planning to go to your festival.
By only ranking for branded keywords, you are missing out on the opportunity to grow your festival, and reach new people. When you start ranking for non-branded keywords, you will begin to overtake your competition in the search engine results, and making sure you get the new fans, not the younger music festival the next city over.
To Reach People who are Looking for New Festivals
You may think that everyone who needs to know about your festival, already knows about it. So why is there a need to reach out to new fans?
The idea of not having to put effort into seeking out new fans is actually a common one amongst established music festivals (and radio stations, for that matter). While there may be some legitimacy to this, it’s an incredibly arrogant statement, and is normally the reason why a festival fails to grow.
People searching for non-branded keywords (aka – people who don’t know you exist yet) are your source for growth. Fans who search for you using branded keywords are already just that – fans. By focusing on ranking for your non-branded keywords, you are essentially encouraging your festival to grow.
There are always people seeking out new music festivals. For example, in Canada, there are thousands of searches a month on Google for “music festival”. These people could be new fans of a music genre who haven’t yet discovered your amazing festival, or people who have recently moved to your geographic location. Or what about people looking to go to a festival outside of their city? Or even those people who can’t remember your name!
If you aren’t looking to reach new people, you are going to have a hard time growing, as these new people are your source for growth.
People Looking for Festivals in a Local Area (Local SEO)
Since festivals are largely local businesses, or attract people in a localized geographic location, it’s a perfect opportunity for local SEO. Optimizing local music festivals is a very effective way to reach people in the geographic location of the festival.
As search trends are leading more to local queries like “Music Festival in [city name]”, you want to be appearing as close to the first position as you can in your local city’s search engine. The last thing you need is for a new music festival in a nearby city to outrank you in your own city.
New Music Festivals are Spending Money to Outrank You
As mentioned above, established music festivals tend to rest on their names and coast on previous success; therefore, they don’t put much emphasis or effort into SEO. New festivals that are entering the market recognize this, and are putting money towards SEO so that they can begin to outrank established festivals and essentially steal their fans.
Many festivals are experiencing this, and are blaming poor lineups, the economy, and market saturation, as opposed to investing in reaching new fans, and retaining their current ones through SEO.
Fans aren’t totally loyal to you, they’re loyal to the lineup. If they find another festival online before yours and they like the lineup, they’re going to go to that festival instead. You can have the best atmosphere and the best lineup, but if someone can’t find you quickly and easily, they’ll go elsewhere.
Ranking for Artists
Artist tour dates are among the most common searched phrases in our industry. This presents music festivals with an enormous opportunity! Artist websites are notoriously horrid for SEO, so with a proper SEO strategy, your festival could even outrank your headliner’s website. Think of the opportunity this presents!
Ranking for local tour dates is fairly simple, and can drive new traffic to your site. Perhaps someone who searched for “Luke Bryan Tour Dates” was someone who didn’t want to come to your festival, but they love Luke Bryan, so they decide to at least purchase a day pass to see your headliner.
So, Do I Need to Invest in an SEO Strategy?
YES! YES! YES! Established music festivals really shouldn’t be resting on their past success to keep them moving forward. This will stop them from growing. SEO will allow for your music festival to be found online much easier, and open the door to endless opportunities for growth.
Song of the Day
I’m all about sharing new music that inspires me, or helps me get through the workday. That’s why each blog post includes a song that I’m really into right now, in the hopes that it may do the same for you.
Luke Bryan – Home Alone Tonight (ft. Karen Fairchild)