February 10, 2011

Week 21 - D-I-Y Poster Child: One-Eyed Doll

Do It Yourself Poster Child

Gather around children… it’s story time.

Singing "New Orleans" at Stubb's 1/09

I was in Houston this past weekend visiting some friends, Hoot and Mandella, for my birthday. We were sitting around and Mandella was on her computer. She turns to me and asks. “Have you ever heard of One-Eyed Doll?”

Now, I’ve been singing the praises of One-Eyed Doll for the last 4 years. The band played my Birthday Bash at the Red Eyed Fly in 2008. Lead vocalist Kimberly Freeman’s jewelry was part of INsite’s Gift Guide in 2009. I picked their Break as one of my Top 10 Austin albums of 2010. I’ve seen them play many times, always talk highly of the band… and have even been a part of the show. But Mandella, whom I’ve known for over 20 years, never looked One-Eyed Doll up on my recommendation.

2/08 at Red Eyed Fly
No, no no... she heard about One-Eyed Doll from a Facebook friend of hers who is in Taiwan and fell in love with the song “You’re A Vampire.”

Seems this friend of hers had recorded a video of herself singing “You’re A Vampire” and that led Mandella to find the actual song and then to iTunes where she purchased several songs. (Note: I've posted the video at the end of this column).

So, it took someone living on the other side of the world to introduce my Houston friend to One-Eyed Doll, an Austin band.

That, my friends, is the power of promotion. When someone you don’t know is talking about you in a good way...that's skill. It something takes careful planning, a lot of work, some outside of the box thinking and a lot of luck for a DIY band to successfully promote themselves.

And One-Eyed Doll has done a lot of all of the above.
From AdventureQuest in 2010

Top 3 outside the box things Kimberly Freeman has done to promote One-Eyed Doll.
  1. Has hand made most of her own merchandise.
  2. Was the subject of a full-length rockumentary that was distributed for free via YouTube by David Jr which has over 17k views.
  3. Was featured in the online game AdventureQuest with an in-game concert complete with a cartoon-version of herself.

Now, she’s done a metric-ton of other things for promotion, like record videos for fans on their birthday, sent personal thank you cards to people who have reviewed her music, used photos fans have taken in her promotional materials, made instructional videos, goofy videos, tug-at-heart-string videos, and just about any other kind of videos. She's got fans posting links to her music on photos of her on Flickr.  Most recently, she ended up in Revolver Magazine as one of the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock. Yes, she's come a long way since I first saw her.

But, this whole article isn’t me just saying a whole bunch of good things about One-Eyed Doll. It’s a study on promotion. Learn from it.
If you’re trying to promote yourself, think about these things:
  • What can you do that someone else has done in the past that’s worked?
  • What can you do that nobody else has done?
  • Are you taking advantage of ALL the free promotional places online?
  • How else can you connect to fans? Have you thought about non-musical ways?
  • Have you found ways for fans to be involved in your music?
 Until next week. Take care and stay warm.

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - http://www.tinyurl.com/Claes52DIY. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/.

Just in case you didn't click the DavidJr. link, here's the Rockumentary.

Here's the video of Mandella's friend, Shannon Milligan, singing "You're A Vampire."

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