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We Made This!!
Bloomin ‘eck, 82 days on the road already!! That is pretty mad. I would love to say we are used to it now but surprisingly we’re still getting to grips with things! Not actually doing the practical stuff so much (you learn quite quickly the best ways to empty certain things and how long you can go between empties/refills, etc) but more when to do the practical stuff. It’s surprisingly time consuming when you have to empty tanks, refill tanks, do the laundry, etc. And all of those activities eat into the time that we have to work on music. And as you can see from our schedules in the post 'What do you do with all the time in the world', we have pretty strict schedules to keep to!
All promotion and no play makes Heather a dull girl
Although we have decided to cut down on the really time consuming promotional activities (emailing EVERYONE at Radio 1 for example, see the post 'So what's all this music marketing malarkey then?'), there are still dull promotional activities that are essential to do. Promoting this blog is one of them. Setting up adverts to promote ourselves is another. Then there’s all the social activity, networking, mailing list emails, etc, etc. To limit the psychological impact of all of these dull activities (it doesn’t take much to make Heather bored!!) I have decided to complete these types of tasks on one day a week, re-named ‘Dull Day’! This means that instead of 1.5 hour slots of these activities spread out throughout the week - which at first glance may appear like a less painful way of getting these tasks done - there is only 1 day of boring stuff to get through, and therefore more time on other days for fun music stuff. Yay! [note to self (and anyone else who ever ‘fasts’) - it is not a good idea to have a ‘Dull Day’ co-incide with a ‘fasting’ day. I attempted it this week and was sooo bored!! For me, eating normally on these days is a must so that I have something interesting to break up the monotony!!]
But how to get all of that done for the whole week in one day you might ask? Don’t you need to be posting on social more regularly than that? Well, yes you do. And that is why we are leveraging the power of the almighty internet!! Dah-da-DAH!!! Enter the world of automation! Enter the world of IFTTT!!! Wooooh!!!
If This - Then That!
IFTTT I hear you say?! What the frick is that?!? Well, IFTTT is a beautiful little online service, which is completely free to use, that exists to make everyone’s lives (online at least) a little bit easier IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That’ - basically you can tell it to do stuff for you when another thing happens. For example, you can get it to automatically post Facebook posts to Twitter, or you can set it up to save Reddit posts to a Google Sheet for you, or to email you when the Space Station passes over your house (seriously!). There are so many things you can do with it and we are barely scratching the surface really. This is one technique we are using to leverage the power of the internet and reduce the actual amount of time we have to spend on promotional activities, so we can spend as much time as possible making awesome music for the world to hear 🙂 (Speaking of which there are two remixes of 'Wake Up'coming out soon, we are so excited for you all to hear them!)
Social Media Scheduling
The other tools we are using are the built in scheduling functions within various different social media platforms. You can schedule posts on pretty much all of the platforms in advance, which is fantastic. Then the only thing you have to monitor and respond to is whatever activity comes about from the post. This is proving to be really useful. Again, we are only just scratching the surface with this, and still testing exactly what works the best, but it’s a fantastic tool for freeing up time.
Automate with Python
The other pretty cool thing we are getting into (I say we, it’s just Bryn at the moment!) is learning coding, specifically python script. This is a coding language that has many applications, but the one we are mainly interested in using it for is to automate emails. Once this is set up fully, we’ll still be able to send a bunch of promo emails to important people but we can do it quickly, and with little input. We considered using Mail Chimp for this (the tool we use for our mailing list) but this makes it really obvious that you are emailng from that software, and it is not simple to edit the message for individual people, etc (which is really important because music people like to feel special - oh we humans are an insecure bunch aren’t we?!). With python script, if the framework is set up well you can send emails to multiple people, change the messages slightly and they all look like they’ve come straight out of your inbox, and been touched by your fair hand - bada bing, bada boom, it’s done in about 10 minutes instead of 2 weeks!! Result!
If anyone has any experience of using any of this stuff we would love to hear from you! We are very much at the beginning of our journey with setting up all of these systems and we can’t claim to be experts in the slightest, so if anyone else has any knowledge or tips to pass on they are much appreciated. The ideal scenario is that we eventually find other people who are happy to do this stuff for us, then we can focus solely on the fun stuff!! If that is you, get in touch!
Have you got any tips on automation? Or ways to get more done in less time? Let us know in the comments below 🙂
Read on for an update on where we have been this week 🙂
Day 77, Thursday 24th May - left Malaga
Left in the morning (pretty early) as we had a bunch of stuff to sort out (empty, refill, etc). Drove for 40 minutes to get to the nearest place where it was free only to find that they didn’t have services anymore - noooo!! There was a campsite just up the road so we drove there to see if we could give them a few euros to use their services, only to find they wanted €10 for the privelege!! Hmmm, we think not! On to the next place…
We decided to just head to the next stop, a town in the mountains, west of Malaga, called Ronda. Our camper site app told us that there was a garage with services about 20 minutes south of the town. Went for an amazing drive through the mountains to get there… only to find that they had no services either - noooo again!! In the end we just bit the bullet and went straight to Ronda where there was a paying Aire for €10 a night. Sometimes you just have to pay!
Day 77 to 80, Thursday 24th May to Sunday 27th May - Ronda
Spent a few days here working on our new tune, ‘Heart Strings’ - it’s sounding really cool! Can’t wait for you all to hear it 🙂 Found a really great spot for some vocal recording with an incredible mountain view… it’s such a wonderful experience having a mobile studio that allows you to record in these amazing surroundings! We didn’t fully appreciate how much fun this side of the experience would be before we left. How to re-create that when we have a studio in one place again?… Hmmmm…
We went out exploring in Ronda one night. Oh my goodness what a fantastic little town! During the day there was some sort of local festival going on. Loads of men were dressed up as pirates (seriously!) and loads of women were dressed up kind-of like gypsy ladies, long skirts, ruffled white shirts, and cumberbund type sashes around their middle. It was mad! Like wandering through a pirate fancy dress party! I kinda wanted to join in! I love fancy dress
The town itself is surrounded by mountains, which in itself is pretty spectacular. But then you realise that one side of town is basically on the edge of a cliff - literally the ground just drops away from the edge! And there is a bridge in the centre that goes straight over this really deep gorge/ravine, with a stream at the bottom. It is so dramatic! I just couldn’t stop taking pictures… Totally magical little place, it’s a little off the beaten track but if you are ever in this area it’s well worth the journey. Gorgeous 🙂
Day 80-83, Sunday 27th May to Wednesday 30th May, Rota
We’re back at the sea!! We can’t keep away from it, it pulls us in every time 🙂 Rota is a little town north of Cadiz, on the other side of the water from it. Last week felt a bit disjointed music-wise, so we have come here for a few days to get our heads down and get ‘Heart Strings’ finished, so there won’t be too much exploring here. We are right by the sea though! Which means we can go and get our fill of sand between the toes and a little paddle whenever we fancy 🙂 I’m determined to spend one hour on the beach soon just lying in the sand but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself just yet - it’s bound to soon!
Ha! Just saw some racing pigeons!! A Spanish guy just pulled up on his motorbike and let out a load of multi-coloured pigeons out of wooden boxes on the back of his bike. They were literally all painted different colours, pink, green, yellow - mad! What a crazy sight!
As always, any comments on anything here, please do let us know on social. And if there’s anything we’re not telling you that you want to know, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you 🙂