Content Marketing For Musicians

In this new series of the T.I.M. Talks podcast, we'll be talking about content marketing for musicians. This post will grow and change as new episodes in the series will be added to it.

Listen or download to the episode above!

Content Marketing For Musicians

Content marketing is all the rage these days. Seems like everyone and there mother's uncle is a content marketing guru, trying to sell you their over priced SEO services.

For better or for worse, content marketing isn't just a buzz phrase, but a real thing that is here to stay.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is simply the use of free content - whether it's a blog post, or a video, or a podcast episode, or an info graphic - to serve an audience looking for a specific solution to a real problem.

Quality content marketing is the combination of keyword research, search engine optimization, and some kind of conversion on a call to action. You have them on your site, you have done well, but it doesn't end there. Converting them into a subscriber or a lead is that hard to get next step.

Listen back to this series each week to get my thoughts on how musicians and artists should be leveraging content marketing in their music career to build an audience online.

#10 - Five Reasons You'll Fall In Love With Marketing

[alert type="success"]Win $100 To Sweetwater Music (MUST ENTER BY 3/26/2015 FOR THIS DRAWING)[/alert] Today I give you permission to stop being scared of marketing, and I give you 5 reasons you will fall in love with it.

TIM Talks Episode 10!

We’ve been focusing on a lot of mindset stuff here lately.

In episode 6, we defined "platform".

In episode 7 we looked at "direct-to-fan" through the lens of an email marketer.

In episode 8 we compared awareness marketing with direct response marketing.

And then in episode 9, the last episode, I may have gotten in there and meddled a little. I shared with you why I believe artists have a hard time with selling, and as a result don't make any money.

But with this episode let's just obliterate the starving artist myth.

Five Reasons You'll Fall In Love With Marketing

This episode is basically part 2 of that last one.

Remember I told you not to worry? Remember I said there was a happy ending?

Well here it is....

The word marketing (much like the word business) has bad connotations for many people. I’d like to demysitify it a little bit and give you a new picture of what marketing could mean for you moving forward.

5 REASONS

Here are five reasons you'll fall in love with marketing....

Doing marketing the right way makes you braver

BRAVE-BIKE

I remember when my first born started learning to ride a bike.

At first it was a little scary for him, but as he got out there and discovered his ability, he also discovered his courage.

Putting yourself out there in the marketplace is one of the bravest things you can do as a creative person.

Marketing is simply bringing something you think has value (whether a product or a service) to the nondiscriminatory marketplace, where the market decides it’s value.

If there’s demand, there’s value.

To quote Austin Kleon:

"When people are asked to get out there wallets, you find out how much they really value what you do."

That’s a little scary right? We talked a little about fear in the last episode, but when you put yourself out there, asking people to buy what you make, it bolsters up your confidence account. It makes you braver.

But you don't become a jerk.

No one likes jerks and jerks ALWAYS lose in business.

Which brings me to my next point....

Marketing makes you a better people person

PEOPLE-PERSON

This is common sense right?

When you get out there and do marketing the right way, you have to work with people. In the online space, you’d actually be surprised by how many phone conversations you'll have with real people.

So it just gives you practice with communication.... and manners....

And when you become a better people person, you attract more people to you!

Win/win

Great Marketing Builds Your Audience For You

CONVERSATIONAL-SPREADING

Great marketing includes a great product, and it spills over into word-of-mouth, viral exposure.

David Oglivey, an advertising guru famously once said....

“Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster"

Do you know what happens when you begin sharing great work with people?

They share it with others.

We’re going to assume you have a great product here at T.I.M. Having something great is a given these days.

But if you have something great, and you simply get out there and hustle a little bit, it will get noticed and it will spread.

Great marketing exponentially builds your audience for you. The key here, to quote Austin again, is to "be findable".

He says....

“you don’t really find an audience for your work; they find you. But it’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable”.

It’s true. And to be findable you need to get out there in the marketplace where people are.

When you do that, your marketing builds your audience.

Marketing makes you more money

MO-MONEY

Great marketing brings you more sales, and more sales makes you more money. Remember you don’t just need to buy paint brushes as an artist, you need to feed yourself too.

Great marketing is the only way revenue is made.

Marketers are the rain makers. They’re the ones who go out and get the business.

I once heard Ray Edwards describing how when he first started in radio he was a radio DJ. He had the voice. He was the “talent”. But he began to notice that it was the radio marketing and sales guys who were making the money. The guys behind the microphone weren’t making the same amount.

Why?

The marketers and sales reps were the ones out there getting the business. That's why.

"It’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable”.

As artists, we need to understand that the art has to be shared, it has to be promoted, it has to be sold in order for it to make money.

To me that’s exciting, because it tells you that by getting something of value out into the marketplace, you get value back in the form of....

Paychecks.

But it's not just about the money. It better not be. If it is you're missing out on the best part....

Marketing gives you an opportunity to make an impact on the world

LASTING-IMPACT

This is probably where I get the most excited.

Good economics tells us about the symbiotic relationship between free-markets, growth, and impact.

If you were to really grow in the first four areas and see success, not only will your music and your art - or whatever you make - be able to provide for you, but you'll make an impact on other people's lives.

Hey, you might even be able to hire people and create jobs. Free-markets help create wealth and are good for the world.

Great marketing gives you the opportunity to - as Steve Jobs said....

“make your dent in the universe”.

Action Items

Read to take some action?

In my opinion, leaders and entrepreneurs need to be readers. Go check out these books and give yourself to continual growth in learning about marketing.

New Series On Email!

In episode 11, we'll be kicking off a new series in email marketing and list building with 4 specific parts:

  • #11 The 5 Things To Look For In Email Marketing Software
  • #12 Different Broadcast Types And How Often To Send To Your List
  • #13 What To Actually Send People
  • #14 How To Finally Get Email Subscribers

See you there then!

Bill Gaither Is The Future Of The Music Business

Bill GaitherComplete panic. People are downloading and not buying music. Record labels are closing and even radio is seeing their listeners wander away from their favorite FM stations for YouTube or Pandora.

The music world is ending as we know it.

You may be thinking, "OK Mr. Smarty Pants. What's the answer to the music world's problems?"

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” ~Pearl Buck

Two words: Bill Gaither.

Bill Gaither is a songwriter, performer, label owner and entrepreneur. His Homecoming tours, which started in 1991, brought together major stars of the southern gospel and CCM industry, sparking a revival of the genres.

The tours have sold more than 1.1 million tickets across the world and have included such notable venues as the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Pollstar listed the tour as selling more tickets in 2004 than Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, or Rod Stewart.

Here's just a quick rundown on his major achievements:

  • Among the top 75 American entrepreneurs: Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Grammy Awards in 1973, 1975, 1991, 1999, 2009; additional nominations in 1969, 1974, 1984 (x2), 1987, 1993, 1997, 1998
  • Dove Awards in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974 (x2), 1975, 1976 (x2), 1977 (x2), 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 (x3), 1995, 1999 (x2), 2000
  • Multi-platinum albums: 2. Platinum albums: 22. Gold albums: 21.

Say What!?

Here’s my point....

The future of the music industry is all about niche marketing, and Bill is the perfect example.

He knew that his fans were older Christian folks. He went to where they already were (look around the Cracker Barrel restaurant store sometime).

He connected with them on a emotional level and he never ever strays from his Gaither brand. But most importantly, he gave a select group of people that nobody cared about exactly what they wanted...constantly and continually.

Since 1991 Bill has released One hundred and eleven different “Homecoming” DVD’s! Understand that’s not including any of his bazillion (yes I know that’s not a real number!) CD’s. So why are they so successful? Simple. Bill makes the emotional connection and his fans feel like he’s a good friend from just down the street.

Do yourself a favor and don’t be too cool....

Isn’t it amazing that one of the “oldest” and most “dated” genres would be the prime example to show us the future?

Go check out Bill’s empire and I promise you, musicians, if you aren’t too cool to learn from him, Bill might just be the one to take you down memory lane and show you the way to the future.

 

Blake Easter is a songwriter and music producer based out of Nashville, TN. You can find him on his website and blog here.

 

Top Blogs For Christian Musicians

top blogs for christian musiciansThe internet today is filled with junk. God willing, us CMB-ites can make the internet a better place.

In this post, I want to encourage you to check out some blogs that I've come to know and love. They're fantastic sources of encouragement, and practical tips for my music making.

It's definitely a variety.

Not all of them are musical. Not all of them are overtly "Christian" either. Some are all about your musicianship, some are about business and marketing, and others are purely sources to challenge you in your faith.

Either way, each of these will have a direct impact on you, and as a result, impact your creativity as well.

It reflects some of my top destinations on the web. I've gleaned much from each of these sites. All provide value of a different kind, but I'll explain how each blog can benefit you and your music making along the way.

So here we go...

Top blogs for Christian musicians

15) http://musicclout.com

Music Clout is filled with helpful articles in a variety of subjects that are relevant to music makers. If you're wanting to pursue a career as an artist, you'll definitely get a lot out of this site. [read it here]

14) http://www.theblazingcenter.com/

I love these guys. It's not every day you find a father and son blogging together. Mark and Stephen Altrogge provide wonderful insights for believers. Musical or not, you'll grow in your faith, and be challenged in your creativity too! [read it here]

13) http://www.worshiplinks.us/

This is a newer site that I recently came across. The creator Brad is doing an outstanding job at collecting resources for worship leaders all across the web and sharing them with you. [read it here]

12) http://socialtriggers.com

If you're terrible at sales and don't have a clue about marketing, let Derek Halpern challenge you. Sometimes he gets a little out there, but I believe musicians have a lot to learn from this guy. His insights on blogging and building an online presence are extremely valuable. [read it here]

11) http://thegoodchristianmusicblog.com

My man Stephen Bradley from episode 10 (and future episodes in our podcast for the "New Music Segment"), is a great resource for discovering new Christian music that is fresh and inspiring. Already he's exposed me to artists that I probably wouldn't have found without him. Check out his site! [read it here]

10) http://www.musicianwages.com/about/

If you're looking to figure out how to earn some income with your musical abilities, check out this site. It's filled with all sorts of ideas on how to turn your musical skill into a marketable one. [read it here]

09) http://challies.com

Author and blogger, Tim Challies, is a strong voice within the evangelical church for understanding the issues we face in our time as Christians. We had him on the podcast for a great conversation about technology in CMB 034. His blog is a wealth of wisdom for believers of all kinds. [read it here]

08) http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/

CD Baby is a leading resource for independent musicians and artists. Their blog is always cranking out current insights into the world of do-it-yourself, musicpreneurs. [read it here]

07) http://mysonginthenight.com/

This is a great blog on songwriting by Bobby and Kristen Gilles. It is gospel-centered, practical, and chock-full of great ideas to equip you in your songwriting. [read it here]

06) http://www.doxologyandtheology.com/blog-pages/

We had Matt Boswell on session 9 of the podcast, and not only is his book fantastic for worship leaders and pastors, but his blog is also a wonderful source of encouragement for people who find themselves in music ministries at their local churches. GREAT. [read it here]

05) http://davidsantistevan.com

To keep things going in the church music vein, David Santistevan, author, worship pastor, and podcaster, has a ton of value each and every week at his blog. We also had David on the podcast in CMB 028. I've personally gleaned a lot from his insights on leading our own worship team at my church. Definitely check him out. [read it here]

04) http://michaelhyatt.com/

Artists and songwriters: If you're looking to improve your blog, writing, and learn the very important skills needed to have an impact online, you should definitely learn all you can from Michael Hyatt. His book Platform is also a practical help to anyone who has a message that needs to be heard in this noisy world. [go check it]

03) http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/

If you're wanting to glorify God more in your music (and I hope you do), you need to give yourself to the study of God's word and how to apply it in today's world. TGC has a vast arsenal of content to help serve you in this regard. There are several blogs here to check out, but generally speaking, this movement is an extremely important one to be aware of. [go check it]

02) http://blog.masonjarmusic.com/

Again, I can't stress this enough: Learn from other musicians and artists who are great. What these guys are doing to bring fresh music and video together is incredibly inspiring. It almost makes me a little sick seeing how innovative they are... :-)

[go check it]

01) http://theresurgence.com/

As long as I'm repeating myself, I might as well repeat this: Knowing Jesus is the most important thing in your life.

With or without your musical skills, you are always a Christian first. Your identity isn't in your music making, but in Christ.

What makes this so freeing is that you can now leverage your abilities for God's fame and glory. If you know me well, then you know that I'm somewhat of an Acts29 and Mars Hill junkie. These guys not only inspire me, but they remind me why I'm doing the things I'm doing: for the fame of Jesus... [go check it]

What about you?

These are only my picks for the top sites this year that every believing musician should be aware of. Perhaps you have a few you'd like to share?

Let us know in the comments below!!!

FREE BOOK

Social Media QuickStart for Artists

buffer vs hootsuite In the video below, I go through a quick overview of how I approach social media, along with a tool for staying on top of your content publishing schedule.

As I began thinking it through, I ended up also doing a simple Buffer vs Hootsuite comparison. But before I get into that, let me give a birds eye view of what makes social media work, and how I think creatives should approach it.

When it comes to having a more deliberate social media marketing strategy, you need to separate the two things that make up a thriving social media platform:

Content creation and ongoing conversation.

These two things are the two building blocks of social media. The content (through various forms of media) and the conversation (the social element).

Social media = Conversational content.

When I would sit down and do "social media marketing campaigns" (whatever those are), there was never a plan. I would basically just tweet or post things based on the inspiration of the moment, which is hardly a reliable strategy. In fact, it's no strategy at all!

Buffer Vs. Hootsuite

But even when there was a sliver of a plan, I would still get overwhelmed between balancing the two sides of social media. Being under the pressure to consistently create quality content, while having conversational connections with people got daunting.

Hootsuite

I started using TweetDeck in the early Twitter days, but eventually moved to Hootsuite (for reasons I won't go into here). But I would still struggle with the same issues: Fall behind on content creation, as well as not engage with folks I followed or the people who followed me.

As a result, it would always come and go in spurts, and eventually fizzle out.

Though Hootsuite is a sophisticated application with some very useful features, (and they also have a great educational approach to helping people understand social media), I eventually came to the conclusion that it was just too noisy for developing a content strategy.

Hootsuite's dashboard approach is flexible and has a lot of possibilities, so I wouldn't throw it out completely. It may be, for some, a better way to consume content and use it to be a source for ideas.

But it's still like a big room of noise. For me, It's not a good place to think about my own content creation plan.

Enter Buffer.

Buffer

I'm still fairly new to Buffer, but it was such a good fit right away, that I felt like I had been using it for years.

As you'll see in the video, Buffer does exactly what the name says. It helps you build up a "buffer" of posts in an automated cue, to be published at times in the future of your choosing.

And it doesn't do much else. Unlike Hootsuite, it doesn't aggregate all the other activity of your accounts. It simply focuses on the value that you're going to add in your own content feed.

It separates content creation from the buzz of ongoing conversation, allowing you to be clear headed and at peace with the otherwise crazy world of social technology.

A Social Media Quick-Start

Perhaps these are some reasons you get overwhelmed with all the different social media platforms. If so, the wrong thing to do would be to throw out social media all together. That would be a mistake that your creative career would pay a big price for.

But it doesn't mean that social media should rule the roost, leaving you feeling like you have no control over it.

You're in charge.

Having a simple plan and using the right tools that are easy to work with will help you. So watch this video, and go take action today with this simple social media quick-start tutorial of how I use Buffer.

Enjoy!

   

Any thoughts or questions?

Leave a comment below!