Tag Archives: marketing

3 Simple Keys To Music Success With Rodney Holder

rodney holder music business facts drummer podcaster

Rodney Holder

Music Business Keys To Success with Rodney Holder

When it comes to business success, the entrepreneur path is essential. Most musicians are recognizing that more and more as time goes by. One of the premier places where musicians have experienced insights into how to take their careers to new levels was the Music Launch Summit, created by my good friend Steve Palfreyman last year. There, over 50 of the world’s biggest names in the business came together to help musicians grow. Rodney Holder was a standout in that series.

I was both an attendee and a masterclass speaker. Being in that summit with many of my good friends and colleagues including Carlos Castillo, Wendy Parr, Yann Ilunga, Benji Rogers, and Cari Cole, it was incredible to experience the insights of so many really incredible people.

After watching Rodney’s session, I knew I had to talk with him. Not only is he a fellow drummer and Australian (I love the Aussie’s!!!), but his methodology of relationship building, learning from experience (which includes embracing failure) and the power of mentorship are hallmarks of what make for uncommon people.

A Little Insights Into Rodney Holder

Rodney is certainly uncommon. You can sense that in every response to my questions in our conversation. He’s also someone who has taken the process of growth and used each experience to bring a new piece of insight to share. That’s really a remarkable element to the science of growth.

He’s the host of Music Business Facts Podcast, the top music podcast in Australia. He’s also a metal drummer in  Alchemist Tripsis (so he’s got serious skills behind the kit) and seasoned musician. He also teaches Music Business Studies at Taffe University in Australia.

What I Learned From Rodney In This Podcast

I’ll be honest, one of the best things about hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast is getting to learn first hand from some amazing people. I know a lot about how to build relationships and a good bit about radio. But I don’t know everything about either of those subjects. And there’s a TON of stuff in the industry I don’t know. That’s why having conversations and asking good questions are important (if you want help with asking the right questions, reach out to me and we can talk).

Sometimes we learn things by how they’re phrased. For us creative entrepreneurs, the business side of what we do involves positioning our creations as products. Did you know that every aspect of your creation is a product that you’re offering to your audience? It’s like Rodney tells us

“You are a product, your songs, your shows, your work are all products.”

Kinda different way to think about things, huh? You are a product, not just what you make. That’s a game changer, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

3 Keys To Music Success

One of the big questions, that was kind of a trick (oops, you caught me) was when I asked Rodney if there was just 1 thing you could do to become successful today. In my experience, there’s not magic button that if you master it, all your cards will always be winners.

No poker hand works like that. Life doesn’t either.

On the flip side, there are a few ingredients that typically produce great results the more you do them. Three of those are hard work, continually putting yourself out there (marketing, outreach, gaining experiences), and luck.

Wait, did I just say that luck is how you win?

Yep. But like Rodney put it,

“The harder you work the luckier you get. The more prepared you are and the more you’re trying to get attention, your lucky break will come around.”

You make your own luck, by working hard. The more you keep going the better you get. Honestly, if I hadn’t committed the past 8 years of my professional life to relationship building and connecting with people, I wouldn’t be here in this place right now. I wouldn’t have had the conversations with world-changing folks like marketing guru Seth Godin, fellow musician-entrepreneur Rachael Yamagata or other folks.

Put These Tips To Work For You Today

Planning is a big part of that too, which is where being visionary and focused on what it is that you want to achieve is such a big deal. It’s also where having someone to work one-on-one with you as a guide through this process is so important.

A big thanks to Rodney for joining me in this podcast. We talked about mentoring and having someone in your corner to help your music grow. That’s what I call Growth Farming. Want help with your music or entrepreneurial career? I want to be in your corner.  Contact Me and we’ll talk.

Steve Palfreyman Shares 3 Keys To Success For Musicians & Creative Businesses

Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman

I’ve known Steve Palfreyman for a long time. Honestly, he’s a good friend and mentor, which is why having him on the DIY Artist Route Podcast is such an honor. He and I share a lot of the same ethos, our philosophies and ideas on how to grow and build are similar and synced in many ways.

One of the coolest things about Steve, which he shares in this episode, is that what we do determines our legacy, which is the most important piece of our success as human beings. Never mind success in the world of art or music or business. Legacy is a big deal, and you can see (and hear) from everything he says that this is what drives the quest for growth.

This is the first episode of the podcast that I’m doing Show Notes (see below) to capture some of the specific parts talked about. It’s also one of the only times (with the exception of Derek Webb), where the conversation lasted close to an hour. Still, this is one of the best conversations I’ve had with a colleague and fellow growth farmer on the pursuit of success for all of us in the creative industries. Steve is known for the gold that is produced from his words (through quotes). That is certainly true here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 5.10.08 PMOne other big point to make is that the Music Launch Summit, which he is the creator and host of, is kicking off soon. I’m privileged to join friends and past guests of the podcast like Benji Rogers & Andrew Apanov, along with Yann Ilunga, Wendy Parr, Arial Hyatt, and a bunch more folks in the creative industries. It’s free to sign up now, so get in. Get in to the Music Launch Summit here.

Podcast Show Notes:

*There are a few spots in the recording where the audio gets a little crackled or poppy. Don’t worry it’s not your speakers or your web connection.

It has to do with the recording from Skype to Logic X. I’m a bit of an audiophile and these little spots irk me on a technical side. However, this conversation was so good, and the time difference being what it is, that I stuck with this session instead of rescheduling to run the gambit of audio-syncing again.

In this conversation we’ll cover a lot of ground including

-Why you need to know your values to truly build powerful connections with the right people

-What marketing actually is (and it’s not pitching your music or work)

-Emotional intelligence, what it is, why it matters, and why your growth in emotional intelligence can determine how successful you are at anything

-Why reflection and empathy are essential tools to build solid relationships

Steve1PURE GOLD-Great quotes from Steve Palfreyman in this podcast episode:

“Marketing is just delivering stuff that is awesome.”

“Our industry is unempathetic and that’s what needs to change.”

“Emotional intelligence comes from life experiences. We all reflect, but not as much as we could.The deeper I dive, the more gold I dig.”

“Without it (emotional intelligence), the art will stagnate.”

“Social media and managing your career is no different than learning an instrument.”

“If we’re more thankful we’re all going to have more oxygen to keep doing the things that we’re doing and not feel like we’re just running on fumes all the time because it takes so much grit to get anything creative off the ground and we need so much to help each other keep going until we can get the monetary benefit too.”

Grow Your Online Audience With Help From Brandon Gaille

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.07.44 PMBrandon 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.

Listen and download from Spreaker:

Have A Conversation And Make A Ruckus With Seth Godin

Get up close insights into the very big subjects Seth and I discussed in the podcast, along with next-steps for you to apply his wisdom to grow your music or creative project. Download it now here.

How do you get someone you don’t know but highly value to notice you?

That’s a great question. I don’t think there is a one-size fits all answer to it, but I do think that the power of intention can play a big role. You also have to be authentic, and have had some experience with the person you are seeking the attention from, or at least experience with their work (make note musicians, this is for you).

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Seth Godin’s work. His book All Marketers Are Liars/Tell Stories is on my book list from 2015. When I started the DIY Artist Route Podcast last year, he was on my bucket list to get as a guest. I honestly didn’t know if that would ever happen, but it has.

I talk a lot about being Uncommon. It’s a subject Seth covers in detail in his book Purple Cow. I urge you as a creator, builder and member of humanity to be a positively uncommon person for the betterment of yourself and all of us.

The insights from Seth through his blog, books and other media have been a wonderful guide for me in my development as a community builder. His participation in the DIY Artist Route Podcast adds to this development for all of us together.

Seth Godin is an uncommon person who shows us how we can be too

There’s a fun story I’ll tell at some point as to how Seth and I connected. A part of it is this idea that all of us in the creative realm are looking for the Promise Land (i.e. that place where our dreams will come into fruition). At the same time hoping to find a Moses in the wilderness to help take us there. That desert and Moses is a big part of our conversation in this podcast episode.

Do you feel like you’ve been wandering in an unknown land, trying to navigate the course towards success and growth as an artist or creative entrepreneur? I sure have. If you’ve left your job or what you were accustomed to doing, so you could build your own thing, you understand. All the choices, options, and things you’re “supposed to do” to win in this game can easily consume your time each day. That’s why Seth Godin has been like a Moses for a lot of people, including me.

Though he’s known for being a best selling author and business writer, and his blog is something where you find incredible insight, I learned from our chat that Seth used to have his own record label. His affinity for art, music, and expression is fairly obvious, but these little pieces of newness make for an even more enriched story line.

Stories are a big part of everything we do. I’m learning more and more about the power of them in how growth and enrichment works in the communities we build. The power of stories are talked about in our conversation, and honestly something I’m becoming more open to sharing. We should tell the stories that take place in our lives, both our own histories and our present work. It’s important for our communities to better connect with each other through storytelling.

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Make a ruckus. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s what matters.

Are there questions you’re still sorting through from this conversation? Did Seth Godin challenge your ideas of what you’ve been building or even how you see your own work? I am still working through questions from our conversation, and I imagine I will for some time.

Which is part of the joy of getting to engage with someone like Seth Godin. The conversation creates new, challenging questions that move us forward.

That final thing he said about the grass is green and our real job is being a farmer (not a hunter) has been in my head since we spoke a few weeks back. I hope it stays there for a very long time. I’ve spent far too much time hunting, and not enjoying the process as much. What about you?

The best conversations are ones that challenge us to think more and more deeply. I’m still thinking on these things. Let’s think on them together. Hit me up and we can talk about how these ideas fit into what you’re working on and building.

This conversation is further explored with specific insights, tips, and methods to put Growth Farming to work for you and your creative project in this Free Ebook. Download here.

Book List: The Top 13 Books I Read This Year

D Grant Smith-2015 Booklist
After an inspiration from one of the authors you’ll read about soon, I’ve made my first ever book list. I read a lot of books in 2015. These are the best ones of the pack, most of which are Business and Self-Help books with a few biographies and memoirs.

There are affiliate links presented here if you want to buy any of these titles from Amazon. Yes, you’ll be helping me if you buy through my affiliate links and I do appreciate that. If you choose to shop for them at a book store or Goodwill (where I have found a few of these titles) that works too.

The big thing for me is to have a book list given to you to help you grow. Feel free to comment or message me on suggestions you have. If you’re not a member of my subscription list, sign up now to get a bonus mentioned at the end of this list. Connect with me on Goodreads and let’s talk books. You can see my recents and favorites in the widget at the bottom.

The Top 13 Books Read in 2015 (in no particular order)

1. All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authen ticity Is the Best Marketing of All
by Seth Godin

A manifesto on the power of story-telling with anyone who has something to sell be it a product, service or (namely) themselves. Our inability to get people on board with what we do has more to do with our inability to convert powerful stories that incite action than it does our ability to deliver great work. It’s up to us to be better storytellers to grow the exposure and (ultimately) marketing strength that we seek to build and expand.

2. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help By Amanda Palmer

It is a year of reading manifestos, because Mrs. Palmer’s book was a revolutionary piece of writing that spoke to the inner depths of my heart and soul, addressing fears that have stayed with me for most of my life. I credit this book with being a prime source for overcoming these fears and challenging many debilitating thoughts that have hindered my personal and professional growth. It’s also why (and how) I was able to launch my first ever crowd funding campaign and exceed the goal, because learning the art of asking and admitting that you don’t have all the answers (or all the power or all the skills) to do what you dream of doing is a gift in and of itself. Aside from that, Amanda embodies the strengths of seeing individuals wholly, which garners people into her spheres and increases the audience connection she’s fostered for years. It’s very inspirational.

3. Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage By Richard Stengel

I read this book because I believe that we can learn the art of forgiveness and wholeness without fostering bitterness and resentment to others. I knew that from the history of what Mandela experienced post prison. I didn’t know how. Come to find out that Mandela’s peace with his captors was an internal decision to not sink to their level. Though he was technically in prison physically, he refused to think like a prisoner, nor be treated as one. His mental strength was superior to anyone he experienced in prison and he brought that strength (and matured experience) with him when he became South Africa’s President/Prime Minister. Forgiveness isn’t just a decision we make about the people who wrong us, it’s a decision we make about ourselves and how we see our individual worth. That’s the way of Mandela.

4. The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino

I’ve long felt that sales is the biggest weakness I have as a business person, and picking up this book at Goodwill was the direction of seeking a path to become a better salesman. This book is a work of fiction, ultimately, told as a parable about a servant to a great merchant in the Middle East who is tasked with trying to sell a garment that would end up doing so much more. There’s a biblical allegory in the tale but what I did learn from it is that giving to others and sacrificing (at times) what is in your own self-interest for the interest of someone else can result in greater reward that fulfilling that personal interest could ever give you.

5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I had heard that this was a ground-breaking book but I didn’t know exactly how. Amazon recommended it too. Fortunately, Goodwill had it for 50 cents and I got to own it on the cheap. Pausch was a lecturer at Carnegie Mellon who specialized in virtual reality and got terminal cancer. He was asked to give a last lecture on what was most important in life. The entire book I thought was leading up to his actual copy for the lecture, but it wasn’t. He pulled a head fake (you’ll have to read the book to get what that means). The end results of reading this book is looking at life and the pursuit of happiness differently, not because a man’s dying words were to do so but because of the powerful stories expressed here left an inspiration to do more, be more, and matter more to the people in my life than merely just being a big name could every achieve.

6. Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches by Steve Harvey

I’ve always liked Steve Harvey, from his days on the Kings Of Comedy Tour to his work hosting the Family Feud. Despite the recent “event/scandal” with Miss Universe and the teleprompter, Mr. Harvey is a class act and someone worth modeling after. I didn’t know how much of an inspiration he is as a person until reading this book, nor did I know the challenges and obstacles he faced to get to where he is. I didn’t realize that Steve had been homeless for a while, had worked in a few jobs that were not in the entertainment world until he knuckled down and focused his complete attention on what he wanted. Most of this book is about the act of thinking like successful people think, which ended up being a concurrent theme in the majority of the books I read this year. One of the most powerful elements of the book deal with understanding who you are and what vehicles you take on your path to reaching the goals you set. Often times we look at our vehicles as the identifier to who we are, instead of just seeing it as a part of the journey. This truth alone is worth diving into the book and discovering the rest of Mr. Harvey’s wisdom.

7. Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin

I’ll admit to being a Bruce Springsteen super fan. More than that, I’m a student of the art of building a super fan base. The Boss is certainly one of the rare artists who has garnered a strong, loyal, and passionate following that has stayed with him for 40 years. People sell their belongings and travel the country to see him perform. Only a handful of artists in history have garnered the loyal base of followers that Springsteen has. This book is more than a history of Bruce and how he became a star. It’s the only authorized biography written in the last few decades, recording even exclusive interviews with friends, family, and band members that other writers don’t have access to. How do you build an army of super fans? Read this book and learn the Springsteen method. It will change the way you go about trying to build your brand name.

8. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

This was an Amazon purchase and worth every penny. Reading this book would lead to more self-discovery than just about anything else, and make me a big fan of Ryan Holiday. This book list is also inspired by Mr. Holiday’s influence.

I’m inspired by the underdog story, hence my fascination and obsession with the Rocky movies (among other stories). The concept implied in the title of this book was reason enough to pick it up. It also turned me on to Ryan Holiday as a voice of direction in a confusing world of mass-marketing. Drawing on the wisdom of the Stoics (namely Marcus Arilious), Holiday illustrates through stories past and present the power of using our greatest challenges as the means of overcoming them, showing that we have the power to turn our giants into vehicles that propel us forward instead of being the things that hold us back.

9. The Martian by Andy Weir

I didn’t read a ton of fiction this year, but this book was certainly worth the experience. A remarkably quick read and a compelling story that keeps you tuned in the entire time (I stayed up late night after night to get further along in this), The Martian has recently been turned into a film and rightfully so. It tells the tale of Mark Watney, an astronaut who becomes stranded alone on the planet Mars and has to use his wit, engineering, and dogged determination to figure out how to survive long enough to make contact with earth and pray for a means to intercept a returning voyage of astronauts or die alone on the planet. It’s riveting and full of adventure, and will also make you thankful that you live on earth. And it will make you appreciate the brilliance of your average scientist a little more, as well as those who work for NASA. Seriously, rocket science isn’t for the faint of heart (or mind).

10. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

This is a Must-Read for anyone in management, leadership, or building an organization. Diving into what makes great companies just that, great, Simon illustrates that no one gets behind the What of our business, but will support the Why when it is conveyed with clarity. Leadership who follows the precepts outlined in this book are destined to increase not only their bottom line, but also the people who talk about the greatness of what you are leading. This book was recommended by my mentor Steve P and I highly recommend it to you.

11. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker

I picked this up in Audiobook from Half-Price books and listened to it at least 3 times beginning to end. In 3 short discs, Eker illustrates the powerful differences between three different mindsets that are prevalent in America: Poor, Middle-Class, and Wealthy (or Rich). I gained a lot of insights into how wealthy people as a whole think about opportunities, wealth building, relationships, growth, giving, and working starkly different than even middle-class people. One of the biggest lessons gained is that when given (what seems like) a choice between two things, poor and middle-class mindedness will choose one or the other. Wealthy mindedness will choose both. This is just one of several valuable nuggets of wisdom that changed the way I think to increase how I operate my business and family, all with great results.

12. Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig and Marc Kielburger

This year I really dove into the power of community-building, adopting the core principles of community-enrichment as the foundational mission for all I do. This was certainly one of the best books on the subject, highlighting how people around the world who have embraced a We mindset of helping others have transformed societies and helped communities of people thrive. There are great real-world examples that Craig and his brother Marc use including spending time with Mother Teresa to illustrate the power of giving, service, and individual sacrifice in the name of helping others to cut away from the selfish nature of Me-First that dominates the American way of life, and move into a We-First attitude that has made strong, vibrant communities around the world. It’s great examples of real people doing these acts that inspire the kind of change our politicians and leaders aspire to do.

13. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

I’ll admit, I became a fan of Mr. Holiday this year. Following The Obstacle Is The Way, I bookmarked on my Amazon account this book and bought it for myself for my birthday. The new revised version has even more great content in just 120 short pages. It’s a thorough guide to how to adopt a mindset change to dramatically increase your audience base and marketability with little to no budget, paired with some additional materials including a FAQ and other bonuses. I’m already putting this book into practice and it’s super-charging what both of my businesses are doing. Look for Ryan to be a guest on my podcast in the coming months where he’ll talk more with us on the power of growth hacking, and how you can implement it into your work, especially for DIY musicians and entrepreneurs.

In conclusion there’s more to come in 2016 including a book by me

This year also marked the completion of my first book, which will be published officially in a few months. It’s called The Radio Promotion Handbook: The DIY Musician’s Guide To Growth Hacking Your Audience Building And Networking Through Strategic Radio Airplay. I’m going to be talking about this a lot in the coming months, and some of the biggest lessons learned from this book list found its way into this upcoming book.

Members of my subscription list (up top in the left column) will get a special discount on this book, and those who buy my upcoming book will get an even bigger discount on The Indie Radio Promotion Course. Sign up now if you haven’t already.

Chandler Coyle, The DIY Artist Route And You

Chandler Coyle

Chandler Coyle

The DIY Artist Route has taken on a new life. This time, instead of talking with a musician I decided to get some perspective off the beaten path.

Chandler Coyle is a music industry expert. He has decades of experience in helping musicians in a variety of ways, from website building to marketing. He is a professor in music marketing at Berklee College Of Music Online, and works with his brother Jay at Music Geek Services. They have worked with, or are currently working with, bands such as Veruca Salt, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Said The Whale, Josh Rouse, The Odds, and Rhett Miller. And he has a weekly newsletter that consists of articles about the music industry, tips on how to grow your audience and a whole lot more, curated from across the web. It’s free to signup and I encourage you to do so here. I’m signed up and love getting great insights each week.

Our conversation dives into some waters that pertain to a variety of areas that you as a DIY, unsigned, or indie musician need to know. One is how you communicate effectively with your fan base. Do you have an email list set up? Chandler notes how that can make your music career, identifying an “unknown” artist with 200,000 emails on his list. There are very big name acts who don’t have that. Insights are in this podcast.

What about your connection to your Super-Fans? Did you know that Rush garners all of their work towards their Super-Fans? Seriously. Even though the band has been around forever and is known around the world, they still struggle with getting through the same volume of noise that you or I do. So instead of trying to compete with all the other bands, they just stick to their Super-Fans. Chandler shares insights into that as well.

How about online marketing, like Twitter? He and I shared some very similar perspectives and attitudes towards patterns we’re both seeing from musicians (and marketers) on Twitter that is a detriment to your growth. We’ll talk about that in the podcast.

Here are some great quotes to take away from this episode:

“Twitter should be treated like a conversation 75% of the time and not auto-pitch.”

“Artists can no longer assume anonymous masses of people consuming your music. We’re back to the patron model.”

“One fan at a time is how you do it.”

“An email list is an artist’s IRA. When given the choice, Derek Webb of Noisetrade will choose data over dollars. Dollars go away and you have to get more. But data on your fans is something you can invest in and grow and turn into a renewable resource overtime if you develop a relationship with your fans.”

“What artists do are fascinating to those who can’t. Even for musicians, when a band or musician shows you what they do it’s a peak into something you can’t see. Sell access behind the curtain to your Super-Fan.”

“Fans can be consumers but consumers aren’t always fans.”

Want more of the DIY Artist Route? Good, because it’s becoming a regular feature and could become a podcast series. If you want more of these audio pieces for you to take with you and learn how to take your music to the next level, let me know in the comments below.

Master One Simple Way To Grow Your Audience Base

Image of young businessman taking pleasure in his favourite music in office

What you imagine your fans to do when they listen to your songs. Air guitar.

As musicians, our primary focus is on making music and finding ways to grow our fan base.

As entrepreneurs, our primary focus is on expanding our business and grow our revenue streams.

Other things we need to do to grow get in the way like marketing and promotion. So we turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to make this easier. Yet when we go to social sites, we find other stuff that takes our focus away.

How to gain the focus we need to succeed

I know this and still I find myself distracted by the amount of other things to do that take my time, energy, focus, and attention. Do you find yourself distracted, especially online on places like Twitter and Facebook? You’re not alone. While trying to use these platforms to let your fans know about your next gig or product offering, you find yourself swamped with hundreds of videos, GIFs, and other posts that take your focus away.

What if you had just one little secret that allowed you to get the word out and grow your fan base that didn’t require a ton of time or money?

And what if I told you not just one, but a few different ways to do this, each producing their own degrees of success for you?

Sounds like a winner, so let’s cut to the chase and get you rolling.

I’m all about simplifying how you do things for growth and success. It’s easier to remember when the process is just one or two steps. And when we achieve results in a timely manner, it makes repeating those easy steps even easier to do because you know it works.

Grow your fan base with this one trick on Twitter

Here’s one way to grow your audience today: Go on Twitter and engage with just one of your followers. Pick someone you don’t know well and start a conversation with them. You can just ask a question or say hello.

How this serves you is it starts a dialogue. And it shows you how your audience engages with what you do. Make the start of your conversation about them, not about  you. Here’s why: People are more interested in themselves than anyone else. If you want to get someone’s attention, make the focus on them instead of on you.

Here’s an example from a conversation I started a few weeks ago:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.52.02 PM

A conversation on Twitter gets the fan more engaged with you as a human and not just this person or musician they happen to follow. Somewhere in the ongoing chat you can mention a song  you have that you want to share with them and send them a link, or you can ask them a question about the music they’re listening to. Once a conversation is taking place, you have a more receptive avenue to get your music in front of an engaged participant.

That’s one more engaged fan, and all it took was a focused approach instead of a blanket post sent out to no one in particular.

Grow your fan base with this one growth hacking trick with radio

Musicians, here’s one more simple way to grow your fan base and have the potential to impact a greater number of people: listen to an indie radio station online who plays music similar to yours. Spend a little time enjoying their programming and finding something about the station you really enjoy.

Then go to the station’s Contact or About Us page and find the email for the Music Director/Program Manager. Send them an email saying how much you enjoy their programming today, in particular the part you heard that really stood out. You can ask if they accept music submissions or requests and then sign off.

The purpose of this email is two fold. One, you are identifying a radio station that may be a good fit for airplay for you. Second, you’re making a direct contact with a station manager that is not built around just pitching your music. Station managers get unsolicited emails daily from artists they’ve never heard of, all wanting the same thing. The focus of the emails they receive are usually just on the artist and not on the station programming, or how the artist’s music might be a good fit for their programming.

Remember, a station has an interest in serving their audience great content, not just playing music from someone who sends in a few songs. By taking the approach of being interested in the station’s programming (and praising the people who make that happen), you’re appealing more to the interests of the station manager. It makes them more willing and interested in hearing what you have to say.

When you get a reply in your inbox, you know you’ve achieved something, potentially a response that tells you how to make a radio submission. You are now on a more first-name basis with the station manager and have a little more connection to them than just an outsider promoting their own stuff.

Do something taught in the 1930s that has tremendous impact in the modern age

Both of these tactics are organic ways of building connection. In the social media marketing of modern day, where everyone is their own evangelist, it’s uncommon for people to take a genuine interest in others. But when you do the uncommon thing, you stand out so much more than the herd that is all shouting about their latest thing. It’s a similar principle to what Napoleon Hill taught for decades in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

To master this simple method, all you have to do is repeat it. Try this every day for a week, then for a month. Look back and see how much you’ve gained and how connected your audience is.

Be uncommon. It’s simple to not follow the herd. This way, you avoid stepping in all the crap that gets dropped, and you make out with better connections.

Gain more insights into how to communicate with people to get them to take action in my upcoming book The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook. While it may seem like just something for musicians and radio, there is a pervasive theme and philosophy throughout the book that anyone can use to gain better attention with those you want to reach. Sign up here to get first dibs when it comes out tin 2016:

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How To Initiate Connections With Influencers

Oprah-Magazine-2013-10

Growth.
Benefit.
Increase ___(fill in the blank)__.

These are what we want with our lives, our projects, our work, and our connections. Often though, growth means reaching outside of our social circles and into uncharted (or unknown) territory. This new world is where people we don’t know reside.

We may know some powerful influencers’ names and faces (since the online world is so transparent; thank you Facebook) but we can’t call up folks like Oprah or Richard Branson and say “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while. Let’s go grab a beer on Thursday and catchup.” We don’t have that kind of connection.

So what do we do?

We jump on “connection outlets” like social media’s Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and the lot. We “Like” and “Follow” influencers and then send them private or direct messages hopeing to make a connection. Sometimes we get a reply or a “Like/Favorite” but mostly we get silence. And then we search for what to say that will build the connection we seek so that what this person has or does can benefit us with where we want to go.

Sound familiar?

Does this quest for connection seem a little selfish? It does because it is. That’s ok, it’s human nature in a way, but it’s also one reason that making good, strong relationships with people we don’t know (or have direct access to) is so difficult.

When someone you meet in a face to face setting smiles, shakes your hand, and says it’s good to meet you, you feel welcomed in their presence. Yet, if this same person then spends the next 20 minutes telling you all about them, sharing their life story with you, their work, their struggles, what makes them tick and on and on……..How do you feel?

Seriously, how do you feel?

Do you still feel welcomed by them or to them? Is it really nice to be met by this person, or is it nice that they’ve found someone to listen to them drone on and on?

The same is true with our communication to new people in the digital realm. Often, we get an email address or a Twitter profile and we reach out to make a connection. Once a reply or connection is made, we are tempted to unleash a LET ME TELL YOU ALL ABOUT ME message bombardment, which many of us have done (myself included).

Sometimes we get a response from this message.

Often we don’t.

The same social norms and relationship rules that exist with our face-to-face interactions apply in the online world too, perhaps even more so because the face-to-face is missing.

Here’s the thing: It takes time to build a friendship or any relationship, even work or project related networking. People are human, not machines, so an instantaneous click doesn’t create a solid ally who automatically has your back and will go to war for your to see you succeed. That kind of connection takes time.

Yet that’s what we’re searching for, right? We want powerful and influential people to celebrate our work so that others will too. That’s the end goal. While “beginning with the end in mind” is a proven piece of wisdom in having clear vision, it does require some foresight and objectivity. It’s not wise to ask for the end goal at the start of the engagement.

There are people and companies online who are marketing and selling programs that supposedly give you access to the Oprahs, Jeff Bezos, and Lebron James of any industry. I don’t know how real these services are but I do know this: Making a lasting and true connection will take time and will require you to give something of yourself, particularly sincere interest in the other person.

My growth strategy and how I took my 1-man radio platform to a nation-wide audience through syndication involved slow, relational nurturing steps. Quick, fast, Me-First tactics produced little. Community building, relational and reciprocal connections took time, yes, but also made the best promotion and growth results I could have wished for.

Which would you prefer: Me-First, quick & fast with little signs of true and lasting growth
Or
The Seeds that are planted, nurtured and cultivated to produce fruits to benefit you for years?

If you chose the latter, join me. I want to show you this process of building powerful connections.

It is a process and does take some time, but like learning how to bake or how to drive, once you know the steps you can adapt it to your own way of operation and grow even more.

How can you join me? Tell me here what influencers you want to connect with and what you are wanting from them to help you grow.

Want to Fast-Track your connection with Influencers by learning the process to take that makes it happen? All of the connection tips, insights, and how-to are mapped out and showcased within the Indie Radio Promotion Course, available for just a limited time.

Get signed up now to learn how to take your connections to a whole new level.

Keep Your Music Submission Email From Looking Like Spam

 Many artists present their music messaging/submissions as a Spam-A-Lot special. PR firms for radio are doing the same. The effect is your music doesn’t get heard by the people you are trying to reach.

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, how you put your content out there and try to initiate their interest in you will determine whether they listen and potentially 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.

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 or posts go unread and the music not listened to. What’s the main reason for this? Is it because our email in-boxes or our social media PM boxes are too full of incoming messages? No, even if we do get more incoming than we think is appropriate.

Is it because we only read or respond to messages from contacts we know, remember or have an existing connection with? Not necessarily. Sometimes I prefer to limit the amount of content I take in from unknown parties, but that’s not necessarily a prerequisite to getting a read from me. What are the main reasons I don’t read or respond to incoming messages? Better stated, 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 or connection building. If there’s a generic, wide-net subject line that doesn’t pertain to me, and if the message is from an unknown party, 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 messages don’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 colleagues and associates 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 are really in-effective in building the networking connections needed to really be beneficial to the artist and the long-term (or even short-term) success of the music created.

Once a message gets trashed it’s out of the realm of recognition for the 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 do e-newsletters or email marketing? If so, you need to pay attention to not only the content of your messaging but 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 and 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.

You 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.

Get more insights and how-to methods for contacting music media, music influencers, and building your network in the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

 

 

How To Promote Your Music With No Money

Hey indie musicians and emerging artists starting out: Read and Engage with Small Business Media.

6172115189_f0b6c08598_zWhy? Because that’s what you are, a small business. You have a custom product (you and your creative work) that you are trying to market and sell to people across your region, state and country. Guess what? You’re a Small Business Owner.

If money is tight and you’re having a hard time deciding how to move forward, you’re in the same boat as 90% of small business owners around the county. Most musicians don’t like to think about business or the details of their financial situations. But those who operate this way continue to struggle with making more money with their music.

Too often I see artists who say they don’t have the budget or money to put themselves out there because they’re “not on a label or anything like that.” Labels don’t pay for everything folks, even the indie ones. Unless you’re shooting for a special packaged deal, you might be gunning solo with your operation budget for your music career. This means you may have low money to work with for a while unless you approach your setup differently.  Have you set a budget for what you’re going to do this quarter or this month? That’s one thing you should definitely look at.

While everything you do in this business will cost you something (at the very least time, energy, and probably some moolah), there are ways to get your product out to the people you’re trying to reach without breaking the bank or even shelling out more than a few bucks.

 

Here’s some inspiration from a guy who used to rough it the hard way. He’s pretty straight-forward in his presentation and we can all take a page out of his book. His answer to the end question, about halfway through the video, regarding how to market in a world where messaging bombardment is taking place every second of every day. At the end of the day, the quality is the most important thing. “The event of the distribution is what’s important.”

Read his story here from Inc Magazine