“I’m just a music super fan who likes to dress up in silly clothes and dance.”
That’s not only a great line from my good buddy, fellow musician coach, platform leader and hero, it’s who he is. It’s who Carlos Castillo is that makes him a dynamic leader in the music space.
There are a LOT of “experts” in our communities of musicians. Many people who come in with big claims and big promises all trying to get your attention and your dollars.
Sadly a lot of these folks are all talk. Not only do many not really know the stuff they talk about, they also don’t always have your best interests at heart. Fortunately for us, there are uncommon people like Carlos.
If this is your first introduction to Captain Schwilly (as several musicians and creative entrepreneurs know him as), then I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and follow his leadership not just in growing your community of fans but also in giving back to the community with your service.
Giving is the hallmark of success. Read any book by a credible source of success like Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Amanda Palmer, Oprah Winfrey, and the like and you’ll see a pattern of giving among those who have reached the levels of notoriety and prominence that we all dream of.
That’s the heart of Carlos Castillo too. I share that with him, as do all of the past guests on the DIY Artist Route Podcast. Double check what I just said. It’s the truth.
You know what makes a super fan? It’s someone who is genuine in what they say and do. Actually, people who become super fans fall in love with the person and the experience they have with them more than just the music or art or work itself. Anyone can make art. A good musician makes good music. But a great person? Those are harder to find.
It’s this line of thinking and operating that Carlos specializes in from experience. It’s also what he advocates for in his courses and his online communities like the Schwilly Family Musicians. I’m a member. Are you? If not, join up here.
By participating in the lives of the people you want to connect with, you become the leader that inspires and transforms. You gain not just an audience member. You gain someone whose passions align with your own. Their support transforms your career because it hits on a level that’s beyond just art. It’s personal.
Every guest I have on the DIY Artist Route Podcast teaches me something in our conversation. They’ve taught me a lot leading up to the podcast chat. One big thing Carlos continues to teach is that online relationships are very real. Music is just a starting point. Keep that in mind as you cultivate the connections with your audience, your marketing endeavors to media, your network, and your communities of fellow musicians.
I encourage you to follow Carlos via his online FB group and his Schwilly Family Musicians on Twitter. They’re both great resources for you to grow on a regular basis. His email list is pretty badass too.
And if you haven’t signed up for my email list, jump in with me by signing up in the right hand column. I share things with my Growth Farming tribe that no one else is privy to. It’s all about building real, powerful and supportive relationships so all of us grow together.
Most of us in the music and creative business space are seeing more and more videos in our social news feeds. Why is that? One big reason is video’s ability to build engagement. We’re naturally drawn to the power of moving visual and audio media. This is especially true when people are present in the videos. That’s the power that Amy Schmittauer shows us how to excel at.
I was not aware of how excellent Amy’s work is as a video blog coach until my friend Chandler Coyle pointed me to a video she did that talked about the power of radio for musicians. Her reference points are more in the pop realm of radio airplay, but the points she makes are spot on. In this example alone, we can see how the power of effective communication through video can convert people into becoming not only fans, but tribesmen. I’m not in her tribe, because one video wasn’t enough. I wanted to see what else she was teaching.
This video is how I first saw her work. Is it a How-To for getting radio airplay? NO. She’s talking about how getting your music in front of radio should be the first thing you think of when you think of marketing because it’s a natural fit. That’s completely true.
Amy’s site is full of her numerous videos, all showcasing ways to grow your audience using the power of video. I wanted to connect with her to learn more about her story, get her insights into how to take this platform of video production and translate it into the DIY music space, and build a dialogue. Her helpful personality isn’t just something on screen. It’s who she is (authenticity is a key to building a solid core audience of super fans in any realm).
Does she talk about doing things in a digital space to build a big audience? Yes. Does that go against the grain for Audience Growth Farming? No. Here’s why: All of Amy’s content is about creating content for an audience you want to build a connection with. She talks about doing something from the perspective of the person you want to reach. That is EXACTLY the Growth Farming Method.
If you hear her talking about “mainstream” media or marketing in this piece, don’t ignore her words altogether because she’s still talking to you. She’s talking about all of us. We need to look at how we can present our
There are some really insightful and strong pieces of advice that Amy shares in this podcast episode (download and stream via iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker). Among them are how to focus on being consistent with your videos instead of trying to start out with the best equipment.
From my days back in the university world of media and journalism, I worked with a lot of young people starting their media experience. They would hold off starting to work on their dreams of making videos until they got the best gear. Then they’d spend a fortune on gear that sat in a closet unused. Amy’s wisdom and advice here to start with what you have is spot on.
One key (very BIG key) that she points out repeatedly is something that’s covered extensively in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Your focus with your marketing and engagement methods must be on the person you want to reach. Think about what matters to them. This is your tribe of super fans, your core audience we’re talking about. What do these people care the most about? How can you serve their interests? By making your end user your focus, you will not only stand out, but you will find that the right people are magnetized to you.
“No one’s thinking about what the end user really wants, they just put out what they want to put out, and that’s NOT how you get people to like you.”
Amy Schmittauer goes beyond just talking about how to make videos that people want to see. She’s a master at building engagement. It’s not enough to just make a video that has you playing your song, or acting out drama for a music video. The audio element is key too. As Amy puts it, “Audio will kill your video. If it’s not good audio or it’s windy, or it’s crackly, no one’s going to watch that video. But if the video of the video is not the best quality in the world, people still watch it, which is why Snap-chat is a thing and crappy video is fine. It’s relatable. People think, ‘That’s probably the best I can do with a camera too.’ ”
“The best thing you can do is use what you have and actually make a video. Find out what the mistakes are. Find out how important lighting is, how important audio is. Your phone is a powerful device. You don’t need a bunch of gear. You’ve got to test and you have to practice. People want the perfect set before they get started, but we never get the perfect set.”
Everything we do to growth farm our audience involves a process of building trust and relationships. Flash-in-the-pan methods of getting attention are short-lived. They don’t create the connection and growth that we need as creatives to have sustainable careers. For musicians, radio airplay is a big part of this journey, because it builds upon the trust that they listener has with the station they tune into for great music.
“We want to say things a certain way but our audience is not going to understand it until they know, like, and trust us and want to go down that path with us. I think musicians and radio speak to that because if you see somebody come out on the radio, a lot of times it’s because they’ve been working really hard and finally come out with an album or a single track that’s perfect for radio in a popular nature. That’s the thing that gets them the exposure and the eyeballs and the influence and then the second album comes out and it’s like ‘I want to know who this guy is.’”
Listen and stream the full podcast episode here:
This is a realm of engagement I’m working on too, concerning video. I’m doing more and more of it, particularly on Youtube and Facebook. It’s important for us to learn more about what actions we can take to get our messages out to the right people who are wanting and needing us. Amy’s insights here are a great resource for that. Follow her on Youtube to gain more insights into effective video production for growth and great tips on being successful in this creative space.
Take what Amy Schmittauer talks about in building a stronger audience with radio airplay to the next level. Sign up for the Indie Radio Course now to get your music in front of more music super fans on indie radio.
Networking seems like it’s becoming a bad word in the music and marketing world. I’m not sure how else to talk about relationship building through our existing friends and contacts. Networking just seems like the best word. That’s how I came to know Tom Giles (pronounced with a “J”), the serial musician, entrepreneur and music super fan whose business SoundBloc was recently acquired by Full Screen to further serve the needs of musicians and creative entrepreneurs in the direct-to-fan space.
Hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast has been a real joy and privilege. This episode marks the 20th of the series. Each new person we learn from teaches some incredible and profound new things. It was past Router and friend Chandler Coyle who put me in Tom’s sphere, helping to set up this chat. But real relationship building and networking, as I’m discovering and living out, is about more than just an interview for a media post. We’ve talked at length about our respective projects before doing the podcast session, and will continue to do so. This is the power of “knowing you back.”
I was very impressed from the start with Tom’s pedigree in music and business. He’s built record labels and promotions companies while also being a musician. His mantra for audience growth is mirrored by Benji Rogers and Derek Webb, who both built similar platforms to help musicians do the same thing: connect directly with their most ardent tribe of fans.
This was also one of the first times for someone to be a guest on the podcast but treat it like a real conversation, turning questions back in my direction to get this side of the story. I appreciate that. It’s uncommon, and made me more connected from the outset.
Plus, there’s a chance that Tom Giles and JJ Watt played backyard football together at some point. Being a Houston Texans fan and having a little bit of a man-crush on Watt, that’s just cool. Chalk up another point for Mr. Giles.
Big takeaways for you in this podcast episode (download and share via iTunes, Spreaker, & Stitcher via the right hand margin) include:
How your brand defines everything you’re doing, and why you having full control over how your brand is marketed is very important
Insights into artist management and indie labels
The power of networking and relationship building to create new collaborations with industry professionals and how you can have those connections too
Why you should focus on building relationships to truly grow because it’s the most important thing, even if you don’t think you’re naturally good at relationships or marketing
Tons of good stuff to dive into here and learn from. You should have questions when you’re finished listening. I did. Reach out to me and let’s figure out how to solve your questions together.
Brandon Gaille is an inspirational dude. I’m drawn to folks who overcome obstacles, and Brandon certainly has overcome much in his quest for success.
One big thing he’s faced and risen above is being bullied every single day as a kid. For someone who faced some bullying in my youth, I never dealt with the terror that Brandon did. Yet he overcame.
He also was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Then he found out that his pregnant wife had cancer. Talk about serious challenges and potential setbacks. When I start to feel overwhelmed at the challenges in front of me, I think of this guy and his perseverance.
Did he overcome the brain tumor? Yep. Did his wife successfully deliver their baby without complications? Yep. And deal with cancer? Yep, that’s right.
So what does any of this have to do with building our online audience? I reached out to Brandon to learn more about his story and discover how he has drawn over 1 million people to his blog every month. That’s right, a million people read his content each month. Those are pretty good numbers.
Did I Change Course By Talking To Brandon Gaille Away From Growth Farming?
Let me be clear: I’m not a “massive growth,” “big audience,” “look like a rock star with a zillion fans” kinda dude. You know me. I’m big on slow growth, farming for stronger connections. So why on earth would I double back and talk to a guy whose platform is all about building a massive following?
The answer is simple: Brandon Gaille is an uncommon person who overcame big challenges and rose above them to do big things. That by itself warrants a closer look at his work.
Plus, building relationships and connections with folks is one of my biggest passions. Getting to talk with him on his podcast was a real joy and honor. AND he talks about stuff I really don’t know a lot about.
Despite the fact that I do marketing online for a living, there’s a lot of what he talks about that I’m still learning. It’s also interesting to me that his growth methods take a little bit of time, a lot of focus on details, and dedication to the process. I’m big on that and talk about it a lot.
So…..even if you want to build a massive following of fans or audience members, the magic beans theory of overnight success is a crock. The Blog Millionaire’s philosophy and methods will get you many more online viewers to build your audience. It won’t happen overnight.
Overnight successes disappear just as fast as they arrive. Be different. Be uncommon. Be like Brandon Gaille.