Tag Archives: relationship building

Dance To The Tune Of Your Super Fans With Carlos Castillo

Carlos Castillo, aka Captain Schwilly

“I’m just a music super fan who likes to dress up in silly clothes and dance.”

That’s not only a great line from my good buddy, fellow musician coach, platform leader and hero, it’s who he is. It’s who Carlos Castillo is that makes him a dynamic leader in the music space.

There are a LOT of “experts” in our communities of musicians. Many people who come in with big claims and big promises all trying to get your attention and your dollars.

Sadly a lot of these folks are all talk. Not only do many not really know the stuff they talk about, they also don’t always have your best interests at heart. Fortunately for us, there are uncommon people like Carlos.

If this is your first introduction to Captain Schwilly (as several musicians and creative entrepreneurs know him as), then I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and follow his leadership not just in growing your community of fans but also in giving back to the community with your service.

Giving is the hallmark of success. Read any book by a credible source of success like Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Amanda Palmer, Oprah Winfrey, and the like and you’ll see a pattern of giving among those who have reached the levels of notoriety and prominence that we all dream of.

That’s the heart of Carlos Castillo too. I share that with him, as do all of the past guests on the DIY Artist Route Podcast. Double check what I just said. It’s the truth.

You know what makes a super fan? It’s someone who is genuine in what they say and do. Actually, people who become super fans fall in love with the person and the experience they have with them more than just the music or art or work itself. Anyone can make art. A good musician makes good music. But a great person? Those are harder to find.

It’s this line of thinking and operating that Carlos specializes in from experience. It’s also what he advocates for in his courses and his online communities like the Schwilly Family Musicians. I’m a member. Are you? If not, join up here.

By participating in the lives of the people you want to connect with, you become the leader that inspires and transforms. You gain not just an audience member. You gain someone whose passions align with your own. Their support transforms your career because it hits on a level that’s beyond just art. It’s personal.

Every guest I have on the DIY Artist Route Podcast teaches me something in our conversation. They’ve taught me a lot leading up to the podcast chat. One big thing Carlos continues to teach is that online relationships are very real. Music is just a starting point. Keep that in mind as you cultivate the connections with your audience, your marketing endeavors to media, your network, and your communities of fellow musicians.

I encourage you to follow Carlos via his online FB group and his Schwilly Family Musicians on Twitter. They’re both great resources for you to grow on a regular basis. His email list is pretty badass too.

And if you haven’t signed up for my email list, jump in with me by signing up in the right hand column. I share things with my Growth Farming tribe that no one else is privy to. It’s all about building real, powerful and supportive relationships so all of us grow together.

How To Build A Powerful Music Fan Base With Rick Barker

Rick Barker podcast DIY artist route audience growth musician

Rick Barker

If you want to talk to someone who has proven time and again how to build a strong audience base, you talk to Rick Barker. The man behind Music Industry Blueprint and the former manager of Taylor Swift is not stranger to building a passionate following. He’s also ready and willing to dish out tons of great advice to artists willing to do the work.

That’s the one kicker he shared with me in this podcast conversation that makes the biggest difference: having the work ethic to get stuff done.

Putting The Advice Of Rick Barker To Work

There is a lot (A LOT) of information being produced every nanosecond on “How To Do XYZ” for your music career. Creative entrepreneurs of every kind have more resources and guides to grow than any point in history. However, what makes the real difference between those who do and those who dream is simply the act of doing.

“The difference between a great artist and a super star is work ethic.”

Being someone who has committed my life to helping artists and business people grow personally through mindset training and build audience through Growth Farming coaching, Rick was a treasure to connect with. His insights and methods fit perfectly within the scope of what is shared here on the blog and other episodes of the DIY Artist Route Podcast.

Discussing The Benefits Of Radio With Music Promotion

It’s also interesting to follow our conversation as it gets into the realm of radio. Rick Barker spent years in the radio industry, but on a different side of the curtain than I have. His experience comes from the commercial side, which I’ve long been critical of.

As we discuss the benefits of radio, you’ll notice a slight disagreement in our individual feelings on the role radio plays, as well as the benefits of radio airplay alone to grow your music. Here’s the thing, it’s important for us to talk with people who have a differing viewpoint than we do. In doing so it sharpens our perspective while also discovering new things.

I won’t shy away from heralding the benefits of public and indie radio in the growth of your audience base. Where that piece of the chat may seem like a dissenting viewpoint, it brought us closer together in discussing the real meat and potatoes of radio airplay: relationship building.

However, as Rick states, radio alone isn’t going to skyrocket your music career. You need more than that, which includes audience engagement and great customer service. You are a business as a musician. His tips on specific actions to take to make that happen are spot on.

“You get radio airplay and exposure anywhere you possibly can. It’s what you do with that (airplay & exposure) afterwards that’s important.”

We also agree that far too many artists try to promote their music to radio before they’re actually ready. You need to have 3 key things before radio is going to work for your career. I highlight those 3 specifics in the Get Radio Ready ebook (free). Grab it.

Get more on Rick Barker and his incredible work on Music Industry Blueprint.

If you gained anything from this podcast episode, let me know in the comments below, share this post and leave a tip. Thanks!

3 Ways To Growth Hack Music Success With Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor

Every now and then the “recommended” notification on Twitter will suggest someone to you who is actually a good fit. A few months back, the recommendation was for Jon Nastor. After looking at his profile and seeing that he’s a drummer, and entrepreneur, and an author, I had to see what this guy was about.

That led to an exploration of his site, diving into his podcast and realizing that he and I share a lot in common. We both love punk rock, both play drums (him far more successfully than I). We both have working in the music and entrepreneurial space for a while. We have also had excellent conversations with some of the same people on our podcasts like Tom Giles, Kevin Kelly (episode coming soon), and Seth Godin. I knew I had to talk to this dude.

Jon is a great conversationalist, and a truly comfortable person to engage with. He was gracious in extending the conversational love to me in letting me join him on Hack The Entrepreneur Podcast shortly after we talked. Listen to our chat on his podcast here.

His insights into what success actually means, how to combine our passion and our freedom to do what we want, and what growth actually is are spot on.

I highly recommend his book Hack The Entrepreneur, the book and the podcast. It’s insights into what real growth professionals like the individuals mentioned earlier and several others give to show the way forward.

Episode 26 with Jon Nastor Show Notes

Jon gives a Cliff Notes definition of “Growth Hacking” for musicians in first 10 minutes of conversation.

You don’t have to have a ton of experience before starting out. If you want to do something do it. It’s how Jon created his podcast and wrote his book. The backstory and his insights are perfect for helping you get started.

We talk about how annoying auto-DM messages and auto-responders are when first making new contacts with people on social media. This is particularly insightful for musicians who do this on Twitter. What Jon says about this is how most professionals in media and with an influential audience feels if you auto-DM them right out of the gate.

We cheer for the underdog in the story but we tell other people we’re the giant. Why that is and how that hurts us about 3/4 into the podcast.

Jon Nastor Podcast Quotes

“Do work that matters. What matters to me might not matter to you. But it’s worth talking about.”

“I like my businesses like I like my music: fast and independent.”

“If you have an idea and you put it onto paper, and then in a digital format, and put it out to the world, that is entrepreneurship.”

“We all go against Goliath in real time, and cheer for David, but then we try to pretend to be Goliath in what we do. Then we lose that personal connection. Everything I write and everything I say is for 1 person. If I treat them well enough there will be that connection personally.”

Listen, download and share via this player:

Sponsor For This Podcast Piece:

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Shaine Freeman On Why Connections Must Know You Back

Listen/Download the Podcast conversation here:

Shaine Freeman

Shaine Freeman

Shaine Freeman is a really good example of people who value connections. As a musician, you’ve heard a whole lot of people talk about why you need to build your contact list, grow your connections with people in the music industry as well as your fan base, and why “who you know” is so important.

Guess what? Who you know, though it’s a big part of the growth process, is not nearly as essential as who knows you back. This art (and science) is one of the key things that created the connection between my friend Shaine Freeman and myself. His career in music, entertainment and professional sports is vast. So are his connections. But that’s only a small part of what makes Shaine dynamic.

This dude gets it. He gets relationships and how to build them over time. He gets marketing and growth for musicians and entrepreneurs. He gets the process of vetting the people you listen to for advice. He gets the power of reciprocity. AND he gets growth farming.

This podcast episode is full of wisdom, advice, and great perspectives on what folks who do what he and I do (as podcast hosts and music industry professionals) as well as what goes through our minds when people ask certain questions. There are some things that you should be careful what you ask for with certain people. Gaining instant access to someone’s contact list, particularly someone you just met, is a tale of caution.

I highly recommend subscribing to Shaine’s podcast The Miews. Each episode has great conversations and insights into how to build, grow, and be more successful with your music project. There are a few podcasts I’m a proponent for, and The Miews is one of them. It’s connecting with podcast hosts that’s one of the big secrets to getting the attention of music industry influencers. If you want insight into how to do that, contact me and we’ll talk.

Podcast Notes & Quotes:

[Why we need to experience loss and failure]: “At the end of the day you wouldn’t be who you are if you didn’t have those (negative) experiences.”

[Why growing connections and building relationships takes time & you can’t shortcut  it]: “This is an important step in your process to grow the relationship. You don’t get to pull the Game Genie out and advance to Level 30 in the relationship process when you’re barely on Level 1.”

[Why you need to check out the people you want to connect with before you do it]: “If you don’t have the decency to go and at least see what someone’s done before you ask a question, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

“How many musicians would give up their only guitar to someone they don’t know who said they needed a guitar? You probably wouldn’t. That’s how it is if you ask me ‘hey Mister, can you give me the contacts that you spent 9 or 10 years building, can I get that today, and I don’t really know you?”

[On how much you need to know versus how much you actually know]: “When I was 18,19,20 years old I thought I knew everything. My father told me to get out now while I knew everything. There was a strong message behind what he was saying. You’ll go through some realizations that you don’t know everything.”

There are SO many more great quotes in this podcast (essentially every time Shaine talks or answers a question) to list here.

One key thing we talk about over and over again is the process of networking and building relationships with your fan base AND with music industry & media folks. We talked about some of the big things artists get wrong. If you want to change your game and get them right, pick up the manual for making that happen with the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.
Listen/Download the Podcast conversation here:

Music Entrepreneur & Super Fan Tom Giles Joins The DIY Artist Route

Tom Giles

Tom Giles

Networking seems like it’s becoming a bad word in the music and marketing world. I’m not sure how else to talk about relationship building through our existing friends and contacts. Networking just seems like the best word. That’s how I came to know Tom Giles (pronounced with a “J”), the serial musician, entrepreneur and music super fan whose business SoundBloc was recently acquired by Full Screen to further serve the needs of musicians and creative entrepreneurs in the direct-to-fan space.

Hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast has been a real joy and privilege. This episode marks the 20th of the series. Each new person we learn from teaches some incredible and profound new things. It was past Router and friend Chandler Coyle who put me in Tom’s sphere, helping to set up this chat. But real relationship building and networking, as I’m discovering and living out, is about more than just an interview for a media post. We’ve talked at length about our respective projects before doing the podcast session, and will continue to do so. This is the power of “knowing you back.”

I was very impressed from the start with Tom’s pedigree in music and business. He’s built record labels and promotions companies while also being a musician. His mantra for audience growth is mirrored by Benji Rogers and Derek Webb, who both built similar platforms to help musicians do the same thing: connect directly with their most ardent tribe of fans.

This was also one of the first times for someone to be a guest on the podcast but treat it like a real conversation, turning questions back in my direction to get this side of the story. I appreciate that. It’s uncommon, and made me more connected from the outset.

Plus, there’s a chance that Tom Giles and JJ Watt played backyard football together at some point. Being a Houston Texans fan and having a little bit of a man-crush on Watt, that’s just cool. Chalk up another point for Mr. Giles.

Big takeaways for you in this podcast episode (download and share via iTunes, Spreaker, & Stitcher via the right hand margin) include:

  • How your brand defines everything you’re doing, and why you having full control over how your brand is marketed is very important
  • Insights into artist management and indie labels
  • The power of networking and relationship building to create new collaborations with industry professionals and how you can have those connections too
  • Why you should focus on building relationships to truly grow because it’s the most important thing, even if you don’t think you’re naturally good at relationships or marketing

Tons of good stuff to dive into here and learn from. You should have questions when you’re finished listening. I did. Reach out to me and let’s figure out how to solve your questions together.

How To Get Solid Radio Airplay The Right Way

This blog article is also published on Dotted Music. Musicians submit music to radio on a daily basis. Many of these music submissions to radio go ignored. Here’s how to submit music to radio that really works.

Secrets To Music Submissions To Radio Stations

Radio Mic Old FashionedGetting radio airplay isn’t a dice roll and it’s not a matter of doing multi-million dollar promotion campaigns. Especially not in public or indie radio (where your attention should be if you’re a DIY artist).

As I’ve said in past posts like How To Build A Radio Promotion Strategy & How To Make Effective Music Submissions To Radio, the basics to submitting music to radio is fairly easy.

The science to getting radio airplay has more to do with only a few specific things, AND they must be made a high priority. Community building and communication is top of that list.

Each radio station decision-maker (station manager, program director, program host, etc)  has their own individual perspectives and motives.

These preferences determine what they play and what they don’t. They also determine how often some songs get rotation versus others. However, how radio stations decide which songs get played actually has to do with a few factors that you might not realize.

online radio station jowanna lewis radiokscr music submission indie music airplay

Jowanna Lewis, owner of RadioKSCR in Los Angeles, CA

Station managers with commercial radio will give a few spins here and there to “unknown” or DIY musicians if it fits with the format and if they earn the respect of either the DJ or the station management.

Once songs begin to chart more (meaning that the music ranking organizations like Billboard and CMJ are recording more plays nationwide) those songs will get more rotation.

Much of this is based on requests and promotion dollars from the labels.

As a DIY artist, your plan is to get your music on stations who are be looking to add indie and unsigned artists to their station playlists.

These are the radio stations and managers who you should be trying to figure out how to gain the interest of. Indie radio is your ticket here. What does that look like?

What determines an indie radio station playlist and spin count

There are essentially three factors that determine whether a radio station manager or music director will add a new song to their rotation. See if your music fits into these factors to be Radio Ready with this free ebook.

The songs that get airplay first off have to meet these three qualification. Sound quality and production value are paramount.

Most professional radio outlets qualify potential music submissions on the quality of the recording first. It’s instinctive, we aren’t going to play a poorly mixed song.

Great songwriting involves lyricism as well as composition and arrangement. Some great songs have very clever, witty, or thought-provoking lyrics. Yet others simply have a good arrangement with a nice melody but nothing very complicated about how it is written.

The last qualification plays the largest role in not only whether as song will get added to the rotation of a radio station but also how often it will be played.

Simply put, if a radio station manager, music director, or approved station personality likes a song, it will probably get some radio airplay. If that song also catches on with other station staff and especially with listeners, that song is going to get a lot more spins.

radio submission music submission to radio How To Submit Music For Radio Airplay

Radio station managers are people too. We like what we play. We have a personal interest in the content that we put on our platforms. It’s just simple human nature.

To be in this industry an din this creative space, you have to be a fan. Radio station managers are fans of music too, and often we’re fans of artists who not only make music that we enjoy but also who have engaged with us in some manner.

Next Steps To Get Music Submissions Accepted On Radio

How someone feels about you as a musician can play almost a bigger role than whether they only like your music. When you try to just separate yourself out and away from your art you limit the reach and connection-building power you have.

Instead, focus your energies on building connections and communities with the radio stations that you want airplay on. It’s not a matter of getting your music out to every single station in existence, or even every station that plays music in the same genre as you.

Learn The Proven Process To Getting Radio Airplay

Many musicians don’t think about the pieces that need to be in place before starting this process.

If you want key elements , a proven process to implement with actionable steps, you’re going to get radio airplay and much more.

All of these tools and more are available for you in the Indie Radio Course.

You can build real relationships with the people behind the microphone. Get your spot on the course here.

 

How Radio Promotion Is Done Right With Jesse Barnett

RelationshipBeing a radio host, I’m plugged into different parts of this industry. I’m connected to radio stations, artists, managers, radio promoters, and listeners alike. I see things from the perspective of a radio station manager, music director, program host, and curator when it comes to music submissions. I do also see things from the perspective of the artists. It might seem like these are two opposing viewpoints, but they’re not.

Not if you look at it the right way.

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett (Right Arm Resource) is one who sees the harmony between the musicians and the media platforms who showcase their work. It’s a team effort, where both sides win when they work together. Look folks, there’s no I in team. We know that. It’s cliched. But how often do you, musicians, look at your music promotions to radio as something that offers a benefit to the station you reach out to other than them “getting to play” your music?

Radio and musicians win when there’s a relationship connection in place. That’s why public, community, indie and college radio continue to be powerhouses in the modern media-rich world. Relationships matter. Make that a focus and you’ll see bigger and better wins in your music promotion.

This podcast episode is about just that: relationships. Jesse is the best in the business of radio promotion because he puts relationships first. He has worked with and represented some big names in indie music including Damien Rice, They Might Be Giants, Cage The Elephant, and others. And he works with smaller indie labels and artists too, quite successfully I might add.

We talk about the power of networking and relationship building a lot in this episode because it’s the real key to achieving anything that lasts. Trust me. Or better yet trust Jesse. We’re both proof of this. Radio is a conduit between people who share interest, love, and stories driven by music. When radio works best is when it builds communities together of people who share these areas. That’s not the same thing as it being a platform that just plays music and has listeners. That’s boring commercial radio, which you’re not listening to.

One other thing that is mentioned a few times in this podcast episode is The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, which illustrates the exact things we talk about in a How-To format. Jesse has read it and shares his thoughts on it. It’s easy for me to tell you that you need this book. However, you decide how much you want to succeed. If you want to win, and you want long term wins, go grab the book here.

After you listen to this, if you get just 1 thing out of it (which I know is an understatement because you’ll get way more than that), do your part in the growth farming process and plant a seed with 3 of your music friends (i.e. share the episode). Cultivate it with me here, and let me know what 1 thing you got the most from in this conversation. We’ll talk soon!

Learn How To Get Radio Airplay The Right Way


In the video there’s a bit of role-playing through examples to illustrate the method explained here in this blog.

MusicansPlayInBar

Many artists reach out to me on how to get radio airplay. It’s a big subject that confuses DIY musicians because music submission to radio is so common, but getting accepted isn’t. I’ve set out to remedy this for musicians who are serious about growing their audience using one of the best methods: radio airplay on specific media platforms.

 

Over the past few months I’ve talked about Super-Fans, Audience Growth, and the particulars of what works for Successful Indie Artists.

Radio airplay is one of the methods of exploding your fan base, as well as your music income.

Start with how to NOT get radio airplay

Radio airplay and promotion continues to be a beneficial means of growing your music as an indie or unsigned artist. However, there is a way to get airplay that is more beneficial to you than how 99% of artists do it.

  • Submitting your songs to every station who accepts and plays indie music is not the way.
  • Sending DM messages to radio shows or stations on Twitter is not the way.
  • Emailing stations your mp3 song is not the way.

How to get radio airplay that actually works

One of the best ways to learn how to get radio airplay is by seeing examples that work.  Just like everyone else, I’ve made some big mistakes in reaching out to radio stations to get my platform picked up. The key though is recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and making a pivot on the stuff that isn’t producing the results you want.

Most of us are used to seeing blanket emails that were obviously sent to a ton of people, with no specific individual in mind to receive it. Think about group messages on Facebook or group texts. Even if the person reaching out is a good friend, those are kind of annoying, aren’t they? Treat the person you want to contact the way you want to be treated. Send them an individual note. Before that, have an experience with their station that you can talk about when you email or contact them. By doing this, you show that you’re a genuine person who wants to build community and add value to the station or radio program with your music.

This is the method that I used to get my indie radio show heard around the country and across the world. I first did all the wrong things to grow my radio show. I sent the blanket emails, to both people that I know and those I didn’t. I got the same response from both endeavors: silence. Those tactics didn’t work for me and rarely work for others. There’s a reason why so many artists feel scammed when they pay for radio promoters to pitch their music to stations that get zero airplay from the endeavor.

The real secret to getting radio airplay is a mindset change. Shift from music marketing to community building.”Or as Ghandi said, “Be the difference you want to see in the world.” It’s the Golden Rule. It’s what makes the connections that we all have to build (the real ones, not the mouse clicks that pretend to be connections). Treat those you want to feature you like you want to be treated. It’s the pivot we have to make to see real growth happen.

When I made the pivot, and changed my approach, I found that it actually works. The details and step-by-step process of what to do, how to do it, and why is chronicled in my book book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The Handbook can also be used in your endeavors to grow your audience online via social media and with gigging, as well as reaching out to other music and media mavens for networking.

Get a preview of the first 4 chapters of the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook HERE.

James Moore Joins The DIY Artist Route With PR Tips

“A lot of artists, if they don’t know how to do something, they find some sort of ideological reason not to do it, and that holds them up. You do need to take that leap. Learn about it instead of complain about it.” -James Moore, Independent Music Promotions

Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

James Moore; Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

PR is a buzzword in some business circles. In some music circles it’s a curse word. Author and PR pro James Moore is working diligently to correct the misinformation about not only the the business of PR for musicians, but also the pieces that make it up.

One of the ways he’s done this is from his fantastic book, Your Band Is A Virus. Websites, branding, social media and guerilla marketing are all subjects covered in the book. I’ve read it, and encourage musicians to pick it up to educate yourself on the pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle that is the music business for DIY artists.

I wanted James to join me on the podcast because we have similar mantras about growth, fan building and the essential need that every artist, startup and creative entrepreneur in this space has for using basic business principles to win. His quote above is something we discuss in the podcast, and address solutions for.

“Getting rid of the mental obstructions that are holding you back is the same for businesses as it is for musicians or any endeavor really.”

It’s easy to complain about all the pieces of the puzzle that is entrepreneurial business. There is a LOT to be confused about. There are even more pathways available to learn something new, and grow your ability to connect the dots. James’ work with musicians with his company, Independent Music Promotions, does a blend of education with hands-on networking.

One key piece of this puzzle is the reality of how networking and relationship building actually works in the digital space. I’m thankful that social platforms like Facebook and Linked In have given us the ability to connect with fellow community members across the country and around the globe. However, there is a misnomer that clicking a Follow button is the same as networking. It’s not. Networking is relationship building. This requires time, conversation and shared interests. We build our networks and our relationships over chats, talks, and reciprocal connections.

I’m thankful to James Moore for sharing his insights into how growth works from a PR standpoint, educating both musicians and entrepreneurs on the role of media coverage in the development process, and the myriad of great quotes provided in this conversation.

What stands out the most to you from what James shared? Is there one thing in particular you’ve been trying to figure out about PR and still don’t understand? Reach out and we’ll figure it out together.

In this chat we also talked about my upcoming book, The DIY Musicians’ Radio Handbook: How To Growth Hack Your Fan Base Using Radio Airplay. The book will be out in early May. Make sure you’re on my book list to get first dibs and special bonuses.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Sign Up For The Book Release Here:

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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.