Let other people do your bragging FOR you
“Testimonials” makes it sound like you’re hawking some ridiculous new “As Seen on TV” product and you need some paid actors to feign like they love it. And, actually, that would be a pretty funny idea for your website if you could pull it off, so don’t count that one out.
But, right now we’re here to talk about a more straightforward approach to a page you may or may not have on your own site, but I guarantee you’ve at least seen on other sites: the Press/Testimonials page. This is where you collect all the nice things other people have said about you in one handy place, so someone who doesn’t know you can learn more about you while getting a good impression of you, and you can boast about yourself without actually boasting. It’s a neat little trick.
But, like anything else, there are some easy ways to screw it up. So here are some things to keep in mind when curating your press page:
Consider your sources
If you get a positive review in the local paper, that’s a no-brainer. Post it. Good review from a blog that has a decent readership? I’d say post it. An encouraging email from your uncle? I’d skip that one. The idea here is that someone who’s job it is to know about music thought your music was good. Or at least that’s how I see it. I’ve come across instances where people post positive messages from random Facebook fans, and if I’m being honest, that doesn’t hold much weight with me.
But, in the end, that’s your call. At its most base level, this is nothing more than “This person liked my music. You are also a person. Maybe you will like it, too.” And if you’re all fired up about the positive reaction you’re getting, then by all means: share those comments with the world. Just keep in mind that when those names are followed by “Denver Tribune” or whatever, they’re going to resonate as more legit to those in the “industry.
Too few? Might look sad. Too many? Stop patting yourself on the back.
I’ve seen press pages that seem like they scroll on forever, and while that’s a great problem to have, you don’t want to overwhelm people with a huge wall of text on any page within your site. Take the ones that carry the most weight – or the most recent or relevant ones – and feature those.
Conversely, if you have only one quote, you may not want to dedicate a whole page to it. Find a different way to feature it on your site – maybe on your music page or in your header image – and then give it its own home when it has a few buddies.
Testimonials from really famous people, even if technically true, can come off as reaching.
Let’s see if I can explain this one: I’ve seen testimonials artists have on their websites containing a generic-ish quote from a musician who seems way out of their league. I’m not going to pull up a real example, but it’d be something like “‘This guy can play!’ – Carlos Santana.” That may have happened. Maybe you met Carlos, knocked out a few licks for him, and he said something nice to you. But if it’s not something you can attribute to an actual source, it might come off like you’re padding your resume a bit.
Again: not to say you shouldn’t do that, but just consider how a Carlos Santana endorsement looks next to two pull-quotes from a small-time blog. Fishy. And if someone went up to Carlos and asked him about you, would he immediately know who you are and repeat those words of praise? Yeah? Then run with it. If not, you may want to just keep that awesome story (and it is awesome, make no mistake) to yourself.
If you’re going to post your bad reviews, make sure you know what you’re doing.
There’s a way to take a bad review and spin it to your advantage, but there’s also a way to take a bad review, attempt to spin it to your advantage, and only manage to direct a bunch of people to a bad review that they might not have seen had you not so conveniently pointed it out to them.
If some goon posts a ridiculous dressing-down of your entire operation and it’s so far out of left-field that you just know your fans will think it’s funny, that’s one thing. But if someone writes a coherent piece about why your show was terrible, citing various examples that you can’t really refute, you might want to just leave it alone.
Have any tips of your own? What’s worked for you on your press page? Let us know in the comments.
[Name-tag image from Shutterstock.]