Phew! I’ve finally made it to the last week of the “Music Success in Nine Weeks” blogging challenge. It’s been a long and arduous journey, but I definitely learned and reinforced a lot of great advice that I can take with me and use to help the artists I work with on a daily basis.
As I was, you might be excited and satisfied with the early results of your hard work (new fans, a couple extra sales, nice comments on Facebook, etc). However, if you want to sustain your music career, you can’t stop after the first few months and just assume new people will magically find your website and purchase your old music. You have to keep up the hustle!
Continuously create cool content
Many artists slave over their the songwriting and recording processes, and take really long “breaks” between releasing albums. This is totally fine if that’s how you prefer to create music, but during those time periods when you are on a break, don’t forget about your fans! While a little mystery can be good, you shouldn’t completely alienate your fan base because when it comes time to release more music, it will be like starting from scratch all over again. The fans that you worked so hard to cultivate and connect with will have forgotten about you, or moved on to similar artists, or changed their musical tastes. While your on a break, or working on your next smash hit album, make sure there is always content (both giveaway and sellable) being offerred and funneled to your fans. It doesn’t even have to be music, but just something to keep your fans interested, and keep some extra cash flowing in.
Position your content into a marketing funnel
Ariel goes into some nice detail about this concept in her book. All musicians and bands have fans with different levels of commitment and willingness to hand over money for the products you sell. It is a good idea to have different offerings to cater to each of these fans, based on their commitment. At the very top of the funnel, you can start with free/99-cent MP3 downloads, and work your way down from there with more enticing, unique, and expensive offers. The more committed a fan becomes, the more that fan will be willing to purchase from you, and will move down your funnel and purchase your more profitable offerings (like box sets, bundled packages, VIP tickets, etc).
Don’t stop the hustle!
Most importantly, whatever you do, don’t stop! Making it on your own in the music industry requires really hard work and persistence. It’s so important to not get discouraged early on, and to persevere even when times get tough (and they will). Everyday you should be thinking about ways to obtain e-mail addresses, reach out to your fans, and stand out from the crowd. Be a rule-breaker, but not a jackass. Be real to your fans and offer them something you believe is truly valuable, and worth their time, money, and energy.
For those of you who stuck it out for the past nine weeks – thanks for reading my blogging challenge! I had a ton of fun writing it. I’d like to extend a brief thanks to Ariel for writing such an excellent book, and inspiring musicians to take control of their careers. Good luck to everyone in the competition.