Tag Archives: communication

Grow More Love By Letting Go

We all want to have happy, healthy relationships in our lives. But too often we try to make those relationships work through controlling the steps and actions of others. Because issues that create pain cause us to lose what we hold so close. Yet it’s interesting how letting go creates more of what we want than holding tightly does.

In every type of relationship there is the desire to be in control of the outcome. If you do X-Y-Z, someone will treat you better. Or at least they should. So we tell ourselves.

We all want to be in control most of the time. But with relationships, control is holding on to someone with closed hands, trying to determine their responses or behavior. But you can’t control anyone else and have them truly give you what you want.

Letting go is the way to healthy relationships

Control causes manipulation. Which breeds bitterness. Which creates loss and division. Which ends up in an ending you don’t want.

People who try to control others hold them tightly with their hearts and minds, using words to steer certain responses. It’s problematic.

There’s no freedom in a relationship like this, be it friendship, family, or romantic. Subsequently, it’s much harder to give and receive love when you’re being restricted, held on too tightly by someone else.

Love is what we all want more of

Love can be defined in many ways. For simplicity’s sake, we can define love as the joining of peace, joy, freedom, happiness, kindness, appreciation, acceptance, harmony, and affection.

Wayne Dyer defines it this way: “Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

Ultimately, love is the art of letting go and letting God (aka the Universe, Almighty Love, the Most High, the Higher Power or however you care to define Deity).

This past episode of The Appetizer Radio Show is built around this philosophy, describing the art of letting go for a full, healthy and whole life with others. I incorporated music that illustrated this point.

Also in the radio show was pieces of a doctrine that my good friend, mentor and pastor shared with us recently. He gathered this wisdom from one of his friends. I want to share it with you here to practice the art of letting go, one piece at a time:

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off.

It’s the realization that I don’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, because I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective.

It is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,

but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,

but to take each day as it comes and to cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,

but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,

but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and to love more.

To be fully alive and fully whole, you have to let go. It’s a process, a practice, and something you get better at with time and repetition. What are you holding too tightly to? Is there someone in your life that you wished treated you better or differently that you’re holding on to? Is there pain in your past that you haven’t released yet because of fear or anger?

Let go. It’s where healing comes from. It’s also the gateway to love and peace in every area of your life.

To have true success, you have to let go of what’s broken. If letting go is a challenge for you, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do about it: Set up a time for us to talk today on letting go of fears, negativity, and past hurts that are holding you back. Many of my coaching clients have been learning how to let go of the past and move powerfully into a successful future. You can too. Book your free strategy session with me here.

 


Success In Music & Business Is In The Knowing Relationship

The music industry is just like any business. It’s relationship driven. Go to Hollywood and the people who continue to grow and land new opportunities are the ones utilizing their relationship connections. The tech world is the same. So are most business industries. The knowing is where the secret sauce of success is.

Relationship

Why then is it so hard for musicians in the indie, unsigned, and DIY world having such a hard time understanding this simple truth? The mantra of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go out into the world” is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes, you have to do the work for yourself to make growth happen. You can outsource some of the pieces, but you have to build your career to a place where outsourcing is possible and efficient. However, your ability to build relationships with other professionals in the industry is the main ingredient to short term growth, and long term success. This truth and the method for making it happen for you is detailed in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s all who you know in this business” to become successful. That’s true. Yet it’s only partially true. There’s another side to this that determines whether the people you know who have clout and influence will be beneficial to you. And there’s a way to know if you have this other side solved or if you need to dive deeper into the relationship-building process.

Who knows you back?

Over the past 2 months while connecting with new professionals, musicians, industry insiders, and business experts, this subject has come up multiple times. We all agree that relationships are both the engine and the fuel that propel all of us forward. However, we get confused too often into believing that if we just get an industry pro to follow us on social media or like something we post, that now we’re connected. It’s partially true at best.

Networking, in the classic business sense, has to do with a collaboration. There’s a mutual benefit between two parties, who come to know of this reciprocal connection from having interactions and conversations. You don’t get that relationship interaction from clicking “Like” on a post, or even exchanging a few words in a comment thread.

You can start this kind of connection through dialogue. Asking questions, getting answers, and opening yourself up for communication that is back and forth is how any relationship is built. It’s how you go from the idea of “knowing someone” to them knowing you back. Until someone knows you back, and there’s a dialogue that leads to some kind of collaboration, you’ve only solved part of the problem.

handshake

When we reach out to new folks online, we’re extending our hand to create a digital handshake. This can be done through email, Facebook message, DM on Twitter, or comment on a site. The response is where the beginning of them reaching back out to you happens. When that outreach is reciprocated and conversation happens, a relationship connection can be built.

The knowing goes both ways

I’ve got to give credit to putting the phrasing of “knowing you back” to my friend Shaine Freeman of The Miews Podcast. Shaine and I see growth and success for musicians very similarly. It seems like the business world understands the need for relationship connection to grow and find success. Music and musicians seem to have missed the bus on this reality. If you want to really have a successful career, understand that it’s not just who you know, but who knows you back.

DGS_RadioHandbook_Cover-1AMake building reciprocal relationships your goal and you’ll win. Discover the proven step-by-step process for doing this in your music career through outreach to radio and media in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, now in Audiobook for a limited time on Noisetrade for free. Get it now.

Why Musicians Don’t Need A Label For Music Growth

“If I can just get signed to a label then I’ll be able to get my music out to more people and finally build my fan base.”

Unexpect out of Canada

Unexpect out of Canada

I’ve heard this phrase (in a few iterations) countless times in the past year alone. Here’s the thing: a label might save you a little bit of time but being on a label doesn’t guarantee your growth.

The reason for this is that a lot of labels AND PR firms AND marketing agencies AND music promoters don’t serve their artists as well as the artists could serve themselves if you only knew what and how to do it. This is where I come in to help you learn the what and the how. Read on if you want both of those things.

How you can do the work of a label and do it 300% better

There is this ongoing misnomer among DIY musicians that you need to get your music on a label so that they can really market and grow your music audience. This belief is mistaken, that labels are better at connecting with music industry influencers and platforms with big audiences.

Image by Johan Oomen

Image by Johan Oomen

The “label savior” belief stems from a historical period that the music industry was at around 60 or more years ago. Back then, every new artist was on a label because that was the only way that distribution worked. There weren’t indie presses for individuals to create their own records (on vinyl), CDs didn’t exist and tapes were the way that demos were recorded at home. Labels emerged as the main method for distribution for music for media companies to have something to broadcast. Remember though, that was in the 1950s and 1960s. Times have changed.

It’s no longer the case that you need a label to win in this music industry. We all know the power of the Indie Music Movement that has changed the rules for how music growth happens.

“Indie” means more than independent from an artistic standpoint. It can also mean individual.

Labels continue to exist and continue to spend GOBS of money marketing their artists. Major labels spend the most money and put their artists out every where they can as a method to gain leverage.

Let’s pause for a moment and dive into this term, because it’s really important for you.

Gain leverage without signing to a label

Leverage is the crux of what growth is built on. The more people know who you are, become connected with your name and brand, the more opportunities you have to sell your uniqueness to the world. This is leverage.

In a sense, leverage is a numbers game but only in the capacity of very big picture ideals. When labels strive to gain leverage by only playing a numbers game, they miss the mark. This missing creates negative results for artists.

Truthfully, the most powerful and successful leverage makers are those who get themselves out to the RIGHT people, and lots of them. This is one way that labels large and small can miss the mark, by not targeting their audience appropriately or communicating properly with them.

When you’re trying to reach everyone, often you’ll miss the mark. Everyone isn’t an audience or a target, it’s a black hole. Think about a bow and arrow. You can aim for a target on a tree or a post that’s 50 yards away. If you simply lift the bow into the air and shoot the arrow into the sky, did you hit anything?

Think about all the advertisements you see for artists you don’t care about, or music styles that don’t appeal to you. They’re all over the web, TV and other media. Those are attempts to gain leverage. Many of them are unsuccessful because they’re not aimed at the right audience, they’re aimed at everyone.

You don’t need a label to gain leverage in growing your music brand, gaining more fans or creating more opportunities to sell your music (both live and online). What you need is to recognize that the people who serve as gatekeepers for audience reach are just that, they’re people.

Wow, did that seem a little too simple? People are people. Radio people are regular people. People who write blog reviews and host music podcasts are regular people too. Yes they have platforms that reach hundreds or thousands (or maybe even millions) of other people that you also want to reach. At the end of the day, people are still people.

I say this “people are people” ideal because this is where labels often miss the mark. Their outreach to music curators, radio platforms, or even audience groups doesn’t communicate in a person-to-person way. The communication is far too formal and hard to embrace.

What works better for you, a friend of yours talking about a new band they just heard that sounds like Mumford & Sons but with only 3 band members and since you like Mumford you should check them out, OR a graduate level term paper detailing the exploits of a new Americana band and everywhere they’ve traveled and all the inspirations of their music and how incredible they are?

You want to listen to your friend because your friend communicates in a way that gels with you. People talking cordially with other people communicate in a way that gels. Companies trying to communicate with people don’t often do so very well.

This is one of the most common areas of difficulty I see both artists, PR companies, indie labels and management companies struggle with in terms of getting their music out to radio, media, and music fans as a whole. We’re all trying to get regular people who do specific jobs to give us their attention, their interest, their care, and ultimately their support. That’s the whole process of fan conversion.

How does that happen? How can you as an artist figure out what works to get your music in front of radio platform makers, blog reviewers, media outlets, and even individual fans both online and offline?

If only there was a book or something that showed you all of this

Actually there is. The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook reveals everything that individual artists, bands, and musicians need to do what a record label or PR firm is supposed to do, AND do it better. If you decide that you’d still rather delegate the responsibilities and time to a company or team to do your marketing and outreach, that works too. The book will show you exactly what to look for in bringing the right people into your team to get you successful results.

What kind of successful results? You’ll not only get airplay on radio but you’ll build your personal network of industry contacts for long-term relationships that benefit you over time so that your future record releases will have instant traction and you won’t have to start the “marketing” process all over again.

RadioCourseMainImage-CoverImageDo you want even more insight into how to build a stronger network of media contacts, connections with radio, and gain more support from your fan base using effective communication and messaging techniques? Click here to get all of this and much more in the Indie Radio Promotion Course and save 60% by joining now.

This is how businesses who network with other businesses work. They build connections and relationships that benefit both parties in the immediate and future time periods. That’s real connection. Gain the step-by-step process to not only getting your music heard on radio but also how to grow your connections with music industry influencers in this powerful new book, set to publish in February. Sign up for the Book below.

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Community Is The #1 Key To Ongoing Success

communityWhen you begin something new, you’re always on the lookout for keys to make “the new” work better and grow. That’s inherent to the process of creating and building. Once you’ve been doing something for a while, you amend your processes to be more efficient and operate better. And after building something for a long period of time (let’s say over a decade), you’re able to reflect back and see some of the key elements to what made your work successful.

I’ve been working with musicians for over ten  years (hence the time illustration), particularly through the medium of indie radio. In that time I’ve also built and grown The Appetizer Radio Show to international syndication, been a part of some great concerts, collaborated on music events, and worked closely with artists on establishing their unique brand.

Lindsay Katt and I before our concert at the Paramount Theater in Abilene in 2013

Lindsay Katt and I before our concert at the Paramount Theater in Abilene in 2013

I spent some time this week reflecting on what has made all of these endeavors successful over the years, not just for me as an individual, but also for the artists and bands I’ve been privileged to work with. What I found was what I believe to be the #1 key to ongoing success no matter who you are, where you live, how widespread your platform is, or the size of your following.

 

You know what that key is? It’s a cultivated and enriched community.

Public radio has been a great resource for me, as it has for many individuals both in the arts as well as other business. As a former station manager, I got to experience first hand the dynamic power of community members coming together in support of a platform that brought something powerful to our region every day. The impact that the station had on individuals was supported in immense ways through a group of very dedicated and loyal individuals.

Experiencing how community can come together when it’s responding to a need is what has fueled the rise of crowdfunding and social media. All it takes is having your best message presented clearly to the people who want and need to experience it. This is where the cultivation and enrichment part comes in.

Tools-for-Community-ManagersWe’re no strangers to the concept of community building. We do it everyday on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online portals. We build community daily with people we have never met in person, nor spoken with on the phone. Our community members share a common passion, interest, belief, or other similarity that binds us together. Cultivating community is a different ballgame than simply being a part of community. Cultivation requires a mixture of listening and sharing, remembering what it is that people confide in you and a commitment to helping out when called upon.

Our social communities can be a great way to engage people. But cultivation is best exhibited when you can meet in person. This is why artists starting out and in the first few years of their careers need to focus on their local community and region. You decide how wide of a spread for your region you want to reach. I encourage musicians to extend their area up to a 50 mile radius if they don’t live close to a high populated area. This gives you more opportunity to grow your network with the right people who will follow and support you.

Cultivating these connections leads to more diverse interaction online through social channels, and makes communication a little easier. Enrichment opportunities happen in live performances where your music is experienced first-hand. House shows are one of the best places to start (and continue in a broader aspect).

Community enrichment comes from both the community you live in geographically, and the sub-community you build with your art. Supporting and collaborating with other artists in your area is one of the best ways to build and nurture these communities. Relationships are what create new opportunities in everything we do. The better you can get at cultivating relationships, the more success and longevity you will find yourself with, and the stronger connection you’ll have to the communities that matter most to you.

Determine What Leadership Truly Is

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshot
What is leadership?

This notion of what it means to truly lead has been something I’ve dissected, discussed, studied and contemplated for many years. The older I get, and the more I experience good and bad leaders, the more I understand about how leadership works effectively, what kinds of leaders I learn and gain the most from, who to avoid, and how to be a better leader. These are my findings as of now.

Leadership is taking people from where they are currently to a goal or destination that betters their lives and brings them blessing.

Leadership requires focus because there are distractions on the path that can throw everyone off course without the keen eye of the leader and the awareness of the goal.

Leadership requires vision because the destination and goal has milestones and markers along the way. Leaders must be able to see and identify some of those markers before they’re reached to spur their followers on to keep taking steps forward.

Leadership requires sacrifice, cutting away at areas of the whole when necessary, even at a loss for the betterment of the group. Even laying down your own ambition for the betterment of someone else is what a leader does to ensure the destiny is reached.

Leadership requires strong and clear communication to avoid pitfalls of confusion and misunderstanding, which can lead to mistrust and rumors, detouring the group from the path.

Leadership requires patience and empathy because often followers operate more like stubborn cats than loyal sheep. Herding cats can feel like torture. Herding sheep becomes a calling.

Leadership requires persistence and strength, because failure is a part of every course and every life. Leaders find the strength to handle the naysayers and stay focused on the goal, and persistence to keep moving forward, leading your tribe to the destination you have vision for.

Who has exhibited these leadership qualities in your journey? Share them with me here:

How Strengthening Your Core Audience Creates Real Success

MichaelScott

One of my favorite lines from Michael Scott (played by Steve Carrel) of the NBC TV Show The Office is when he’s trying to explain to Oscar why he spent $1200 on a piece of fitness equipment. It’s a Core Blaster Extreme. Scott says:

“That is by far, the best way to strengthen your core. This machine… You sit on a stabilizer ball, you put your feet into the power stirrups, you reach up and you grab onto the super-rod, and you twist, and you twist, and you twist. It strengthens your entire core. Your back core, your arm core, your… The Marine Corps actually uses it. I think that’s how they got ‘core.'”

The extended comedy in this is that we often confuse what core actually means, and don’t apply ourselves to understanding one of the (pardon the pun) core principles of strengthening anything.

The Core is the center, the location where the most energy is and output comes from. Merriam-Webster says it’s:

a central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature <the core of the city>; the central part of a celestial body (as the earth or sun) usually having different physical properties from the surrounding parts ; a basic, essential, or enduring part (as of an individual, a class, or an entity) <the staff had a core of experts> <the core of her beliefs>; the essential meaning :  gist <the core of the argument>; the inmost or most intimate part <honest to the core>

All of these are properties that define the essence of who we should be wanting to reach with our creations, be that art, music, innovation, products or services. Our core audience is the central part of our following, the key individuals who are impacted the most by what we do.

In our media-crazed world where, if we’re really honest, our attention span is mere nanoseconds due to the tsumani of information, images, videos, and everything else that is blasted at us online (be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) we often lose our perspective of core in favor of everything else, or everyone else.

To promote our work and reach our goals, we convince ourselves that we have to make our content go Viral, so millions and millions of people will see it. Then we’ll be successful.

Viral is a pipe dream for most people, especially marketers. Many so-called marketing experts have tried to sell a platform that “makes your social media posts/videos go viral overnight.” I’ve seen 3 this morning alone. But at the end of the day, how many people who will see your “viral” video but not engage in your content or care about what you really have to offer?

That’s the problem with viral, there’s no loyalty or love in it. It’s a fad, a bandwagon, a tsunami and blows through but doesn’t stop and interact. It misleads you into thinking that all these people who viewed your content will come back and engage again. Some might, but often once the tsunami blows through those same people won’t be back. You’ll need a new piece of content to go viral to bring the masses back, but they will be a different set of masses, and the need to truly connect will still be there.

Your core audience is not the tsunami. Your core audience are the rescue workers, the giving and caring people who nurture, heal, bless and contribute to things that hit them in their heart in a way that nothing else does. Your core audience connects with people, ideas, products, and services that connect with the core of who they are. Your core audience are the people who naturally are attracted to you and what you do. You know some of them, and others you might not know well. Your core audience are the uncommon people you should make your focus.

Common people in the world of media and promotions are those who see and hear but do nothing to engage or interact. They’re too busy, too pre-occupied, too hungry for something else to see and entertain them for 8 seconds. They’re people who see a great headline to an article or blog and share it on their Facebook or Twitter page, but never actually read the article. They’ve essentially endorsed and promoted something that has no real value to them because they have had absolutely no engagement with it.

It’s all too common to Like and even Share something we don’t actually have any engagement with. Because Likes and Shares only require a click of a button, but no click of the heart.

Your core audience clicks with their heart. And they click with their keys and words when they leave a comment, send you a message or add a line on a Share about how you’ve made a difference in their lives. Your core audience promotes the WHY behind what you do because they know it and love it. They engage with your offering because it’s valuable to them. Your why hits them at their core.

But who is your core audience? Do you know where to find them and how to interact with them? In the pursuit for creating the viral content, it’s easy to lose sight of the people in the middle because everyone on the outside is where the target is aimed.

MeByAbbeyRoadSignI hope you’ll take the binoculars off and reset your focus towards the center, to the people in your proximity who you have the best opportunity to really engage with, the people are are already appreciative of who you are and what you do, the people who don’t need the marketing messages to reach. Here’s why:

I spent 13 years working in public media, i.e. public radio/public broadcasting (think NPR). The business model is a non-profit, fundraising based model where local contributors are the lifeblood of stability for the organization. The years when stability and contributions were highest were years where we had achieved at being very closely connected to our local community and the individuals who most strongly supported the core of the organization. Those loyal, dedicated, and passionate individuals, business leaders, and innovators continuously went above and beyond the call “to give” because they believed whole-heartedly in the mission of what we did for the community.

These experiences showed me time and again that the people who continuously support you are the crown jewels of your outreach. And they are at the center of your customer base. The old adage that it’s 300% more difficult and expensive to attract a new client than to get a past client to repeat business with you applies in the nonprofit realm, in music, in small business, and in any entrepreneurial endeavor. Satisfied people who support you, your product, your company, or your endeavor with their money will return again and again. Little to no marketing required.

What is required is continued connection and engagement. This is where we often lose track on what to do and how to do it because our focus is on growth by reaching outside people, the common folk roaming around out there.

What if the common folk could be attracted and brought in by your core audience? Isn’t this how recruiting for the military, many churches, and peer-to-peer selling works? You go out to 5-10 people you know and bring them into the fold. Some will like it, others won’t, some will stay, others will leave. Those who stay may become part of the core over time and connection, relationship and interaction. Then they can go out and do the same thing, only multiplied because the core has now grown.

If you don’t ask anything of your core other than buying your new release or new product, it’s difficult to experience the growth you want. So you allow yourself to be drawn to the so-called marketing experts who promise that they can take your work and get a million people interested in it who don’t know anything about you. Does that seem a little more far-fetched now, in light of seeing how interest from passionate people who know you and have experience with you works?

There are two main center-pieces to everything I do. One is to be an uncommon person who follows an uncommon path. Your path and my path have similarities but they’re not the exact same road. Common people blend into the background. They’re the myriad of people in all the Where’s Waldo pictures. You’re not scanning to find the common people. You’re looking for Waldo. Waldo is Uncommon.

I believe people who have something that makes other people’s lives better, brings them happiness, and solves problems are uncommon people. Common people want to blend in the background, or they want to be famous for doing nothing of any significance, but to be famous and popular. There’s no value in that. You are an uncommon person for reading this post, because I’m not telling you how to be more popular, or what to do to go viral. As a fellow Uncommoner, I welcome and appreciate you.

The other center-piece is focus on core audience for real growth and success. It’s uncommon to talk about this, but that’s why I’m not a marketing expert. I’m a relationship growth person. It’s how I took an offering in a small town and grew it to be heard and loved across the country. It’s how I’ve been able to not only meet and talk with artists, business leaders, innovators, and influential people around the world by also building relationships with them.

The essence of core audience building is relationship dynamics and communication.

I want to share with you my “secrets” to building a solid core audience and how to use social media in ways that the experts and gurus don’t know (or do know but aren’t promoting). Join me for a Free Webinar this week that will cover 2 very simple, yet very practical things you can do each day that will strengthen your core audience connection, and create new success for you.

 

Following This Twitter Trend Will Burn Bridges

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“Twitter Tip: Keep tagging the same person in a post that you make every single day with a link from 9 months ago to boost your site traffic.”

That’s not really a Twitter tip, but there are people who are following this course of action every day. It’s certainly a way to burn bridges quickly with the people who are tagged. Here’s why:

Someone a while back must have found some success doing this on Twitter, so they told someone else to do it. Eventually it became a trend or a “How-to-grow-your-Twitter-following” tip.

Or maybe no one has had success with this but continued doing any way, and because they did it to someone it was copied. We tend to do what we see others do, even if it doesn’t work.

But the reality is, this provides little benefit to the people who are tagged when there is no response from the individuals posting the tweet. There’s also no response from the followers of either entity, no clicks to the link, and no traction from the post.

If a social media trend annoys you, it probably annoys others too. If something annoys you, do you want to have people do it to you?

Here’s what happened: I did a feature article on an artist who was trying to grow their audience. It was a short piece several months ago (close to a year now), a few words, a video, a brief review and that’s it.

The week the tweet was posted, I promoted it a few times. That’s appropriate. The promoter of the artist promoted the link as well. Two weeks later, they were sending the exact same tweet nonstop every other hour. Then 6 months (yes months not weeks) later and at multiple times a day the exact same tweet was being posted by this promotion group for the artist. And I’m tagged in it.

“Why is this annoying?” you may be thinking. Isn’t getting tagged so much by artists and promoters a good thing for rankings and publicity?

It might be, but I honestly haven’t see a jump in site views or links clicked because of that. What I do get are countless notifications that someone tagged me. Like you, I want to see who is engaging with me and how I can respond. But you can’t respond to the same message again and again. It’s Spam, and trying to respond to spam doesn’t do much.

Plus, the Promotion Company won’t reply to the tweets I have sent regarding this issue. So what good does their Tweeting do for them?

When you get publicity, a review, or mentioned by the media you should promote that link or video or whatever it is. You should promote that for a week, and you should use that to forward your marketing. But don’t rely on that one piece of press exclusively. Certainly don’t use the exact same copy every time you post something on social media, especially if you’re tagging the media contact in it each time.  It doesn’t make you look very good.

Let me be clear. I’m not opposed to being tagged, actually it’s a great thing because it usually builds connections. But when tagging someone turns into spam, it’s going to be really hard to get them to talk about you organically to their following, and that is what you’re really after. Organic shares generate so much more activity than any other kind of post, including paid promotions (which are also effective).

All this to say, be careful how you treat your posts and marketing messages online. If you’re saying the same things over and again, and if you’re not really working to make connections and conversations with people, that can come across the wrong way and burn a bridge. Do you know what your marketing and communication strategy is online or do you have one? If not, you and I should talk.

Spam doesn’t serve anyone’s interest, the musician/artist, the media platform, or the audience. It doesn’t work on social media and it doesn’t work when contacting radio stations. Yet, this happens every day. Have you ever tried to get noticed by radio, media, or online fans by tagging people? Have you sent the same message out to countless contacts, hoping to get a reply so you can get featured?

You may still be waiting for a response that won’t come.

There is a way to make real connections, both with fans and with radio. It has to do with how you reach out, not necessarily what you say. If this has been your experience, let me know what you are wanting to do that isn’t working. Your difficulty or struggle is something artists face everyday. Let’s talk about how you can overcome them.

Communication Breakdowns Are The Same

social-networking_110003874-012814-intOur failure to communicate well with each other leads to relationship breakdowns in every circle we are in:

Roommate

Families

Spouse/Significant Other

Co-worker/Employer

Associates/Colleagues

Band Member/Producer

Musicians should key in on the last listed category. Maybe Robert Plant was right  in more ways that one.

RelationshipMost often our failure TO communicate is the problem, not necessarily that we say the wrong thing or that our phrasing is misunderstood.

For one reason or another, in communication we often  do not ask questions. We don’t ask for clarification or ask to make sure everyone is on the same page. Often we don’t ask or even initiate a desire for communal feedback and interaction.

When we do ask questions, how often is that exchange limited only to social media, which can be a 50/50 proposition in getting a reply.

Let’s be honest. Doesn’t it seem more likely that on Facebook you will get someone (one of our “friends”) to “Like” a question we ask instead of actually getting an answer or response?

Self-absorption may be one reason this occurs, but it is not the root cause. I’m not exactly sure what the root is, or if there is only one root and not several. Feel free to indulge me on what you feel to be the cause of our communication breakdown.

I do know that I’ve encountered more people who have problems with others in their social circles do to a communication breakdown. The problem usually starts small and then escalates to something big quickly, all because of a lack of communication.

It’s interesting how big problems can have small and simple answers when you get right down to it.

Just talk. Converse. Get things out on the table.

Talk it out in real time via phone or in person to alleviate the faintest possibility that words alone can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

Objective foresight can be a huge blessing in your world, especially when it comes to nurturing relationships. When you see and understand the power of clear communication, as well as practice it, you avoid all kinds of unnecessary problems down the road.

What kinds of problems are caused from a lack of communication? Here are a few observations I’ve had from colleagues, friends, and associates in just the past month:

the breakup of a band; fights between long time friends; arguments in the workplace and back-biting; loss of progress moving forward on projects; end of dating relationship

Talking is not always easy and relationships certainly aren’t either. Yet communication and personal/professional connections are extremely valuable. What is valuable comes at a high cost to replace. Therefore they should be invested in, worked at, and nurtured with care, compassion, and good communication.

Has a communication breakdown cost you something recently? Let’s talk about how it can be repaired. Connect with me here and we’ll straighten it out together.

Keep Your Music Submission Email From Looking Like Spam

 Many artists present their music messaging/submissions as a Spam-A-Lot special. Many PR firms for radio do the same thing. The result is your music doesn’t get heard by the people you are trying to reach. Here’s how to change that:

It's not healthy or tasty. You don't want to eat it. So don't try to give it out to people you don't know.

It’s not healthy or tasty. You don’t want to eat it. So don’t try to give it out to people you don’t know.

When you don’t know someone, the way you communicate with them matters.

How you put your music out there and initiate their interest determines whether they listen. It also determines if they give you some of their time/interest or whether they treat you like a spammer.

Don’t follow what you see others doing that turns your stomach when people do it to you. That’s not a strategy you want to emulate.

In other words, if you don’t like getting spammed by strangers in your email inbox, don’t do that to others.

Every music blogger or radio host gets more than their fair share of unsolicited messages from artists and bands every day. Many of these messages go unread and the music not listened to. Why is that? Is it because our email in-boxes or our social media PM boxes are too full of incoming messages? Nope!

Is it because we only read or respond to messages from people we know, remember or have an existing connection with? Not necessarily.

Sometimes I prefer to limit the amount of content I take in from people I don’t know personally. But that’s not necessarily a pre-requisite to getting a read from me. What makes a message seem like Spam and instantly get put in the Trash?

The answer to this has everything to do with the basics of relationship building. If there’s a generic, wide-net subject line that doesn’t pertain to me, and if the message is from an unknown person, my instincts tell me it’s SPAM. Yours probably do too when it comes to your email inbox.

If the first few lines of the message doesn’t contain any introduction or even a greeting, if the content is specifically only mentioning the artist, song or album, or if there isn’t any content other than the song and band name, that’s Spam. My friends and colleagues in radio, blogging, and other media treat email and social messaging this way too. Trust me, it’s something that comes up in conversations when we chat with each other.

There are plenty of sites and more than plenty of artists who are constantly promoting and pitching their music. Most of these promotions are really in-effective in building the curator connections needed to really be beneficial to you and your music.

Once a message gets trashed it’s out of the realm of recognition for the me as a recipient. Too many messages from the same sender that come across as spam, the sender can be blocked.

That’s a burned bridge or a connection not made. If your messages get flagged as spam, not only does your intention of getting your music heard by gatekeepers not happen, but your ability to send out messages through email systems can be lost.

social-networking_110003874-012814-intDo you use an email service like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber to send e-newsletters? If so, pay attention to  the content of your messaging and the way that your messages and emails are being received.

You won’t be able to keep everything you do from being flagged as spam, even by your closest contacts. Some people flag messages as Spam because they’re too lazy to unsubscribe. But if your emails are being flagged for spam before you get to a place where you have a connection or subscription with someone, that very negatively affects the reputation of your email address. It can hurt potential future endeavors for email marketing.

That’s a more technical consequence to not doing email the right way. The more direct and obvious consequence is a loss of connection and promotion that you were looking for in the first place.

How can you solve this? One key is to not try a broad-stroke approach to how you market yourself and your music. Even if you employ a message that is copied and pasted to different email addresses to send to, take just a little time to add something that is a unique greeting or introduction.

Keep your message simple but make sure you do these 3 things:

  1. Introduce yourself and your band/music

  2. State the reason why you’re reaching out

  3. Reference how you know of the person/entity you are contacting and indicate some experience or knowledge you have of their work and the impact of their platform.

Going this route does take more time than just putting your name, band name, album, single, and website/video link in an email addressed to 200 contacts and hitting send. However, do you know what the max return is for going this road? less than .01% (aka less than .0001) You might get lucky and have 1 person respond.

Take a little extra time, do a little research and make notes of the people you are reaching out to. Make sure that their platform and offering fits in line with your sound, your brand, and that you have similar fan bases. It does you absolutely no good to send your single or band video to a website that promotes and reviews progressive rock when you are in a country or folk duo. Just because a blog or web station may be included in a list of “indie publications,” make sure you make a good match with the platform before you contact them.

Doing this little bit of research and taking the time to make a genuine connection will pay off in spades when you start getting responses. You’ll get actual messages back from people who want to talk with you more. And doing so creates connections that open bigger doors down the road. Even if you don’t get a long note back, you may just receive a mention of when your song will be featured or played, which is fairly uncommon in many media platforms due to timing and lack of information presented.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookYou want to build your network and the connection database for people who are playing, talking about and promoting your music. You do this through not being spammy with your messages. Go down a slightly longer road to build much better connections and relationships through stronger conversational messaging. The benefit is for both you and the platform that showcases your music. And it gives you something you can build on instead of a dead end.

Take everything you’ve learned here and go further. Get the full how-to process for contacting music media, music influencers, and building your network in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.