After being in digital marketing for over a decade, there are certain behaviors that I realize are common among not only musicians and entertainers, but most any type of business. The one I want to speak on today is what I call, random acts of marketing.
Whether you are a musician, entertainer, public speaker, ministry or whatever, you decided to get into what you do because of your desire and passion. (Hopefully anyway) You love what you do and believe you can make a difference or impact in a certain category or niche. People respond to what you do, and that is the motivation that pushes you to continue even when the times are tough.
At first that is all it takes to drive you and your business to progress and move the needle forward, but inevitably you get to a point that you realize you need to look at doing some marketing to get more exposure and ultimately, more income.
Where to turn?
Instead of turning to a digital marketing expert, (no, your label does not count. They will only tell you how to make them more money) many will start looking to their friends and colleagues and asking what they are doing, not realizing that they are just as lost as they are when it comes to the marketing side. This is akin to going to your local car dealer and asking them what the best motorcycle to buy is.
What this leads to is random acts of marketing. So and so says that Instagram stories is the place to be and they think it is working for them (show me real numbers please) so you just start throwing up Instagram stories about everything from what you are doing that day, to new music releases. No real plan or rhyme or reason whatsoever.
You bump into another friend in the business, and they tell you that sponsorships are the way to go. So you start talking to all the businesses you know and your friends know, and try to persuade them to sponsor you. But what are they sponsoring? That’s another article though.
This is very typical for the majority of musicians, entertainers and public figures and who can blame them, after all they did not get into their career because they love marketing. They would much rather be doing what they love. Nevertheless this spotty, no direction marketing practice leads to lackluster results with the business owner declaring that (fill in the blank) marketing does not work, or like with social media, they just continue throwing posts up, not really having any idea what their return really is. At this point they are posting more for themselves and not for their fans and the most important thing is now how many Likes they are getting on each post.
Making a plan
Whether we realize it or acknowledge it, if we are in the public eye, each one of us is a brand. I think if we all would understand this, we would take much more care and be very intentional in building our brand and not be so haphazard. Just like anything else you might build, you would want to have an entire step by step plan from beginning to end on how to build whatever it is you are working on. Building your personal brand is no different.
Without a plan in place you will be subject to every marketing whim that comes along and claims to be the answer to your success. Thinking that there is any one marketing idea or channel that is going to push you to success is ridiculous, and anyone that is telling you about this one thing that will be the answer to your marketing needs should be ignored, no matter how good it sounds.
Having a solid plan in place will make all your decisions so much easier and will be the filter that everything has to pass through in order to be approved or disapproved. When someone presents an opportunity, you will be able to make a decision quickly and not strive over if it is worth doing or not.
So what marketing channels are worth using?
There is nothing inherently wrong with any one marketing channel. It is just the way so many go about using them. Once you understand how people think and act along with the brand you are trying to portray, then you can go into using channels that make sense for your business, and use each one very intentionally with a plan, while realizing what each particular platforms role is in your business.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Email, Google ads, Bing ads…they all can work fantastic when you know exactly what each ones part is in your business and marketing. Each one has their own hacks that an expert can help you with, but all of them are capable platforms when used correctly.
Before any musician can move forward with any of this there are three things that have to happen first. Trying to do any of this without these three things happening first will be a waste of time to the client and to the agency.
3 Things that must happen before creating a plan for success
- Realize you have a need for this
- Be ready to act and solve this problem
- Commitment to the answer
If someone has talked you into, or had to convince you that you need a branding plan, you will most likely fail in the end as there will be no drive, no intention, and no follow through on the plan. So ask yourself where you are at, and if you are ready to start marketing yourself like its 2020.