Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Artist Branding 101....So You Want to be a Star?

Engage...engage...and did I mention...engage your fans!   They need to know you're real and you value them and their feedback on your music and performances.  The fans are the critics that matter most. You can't take the "ivory tower" approach to growing your career.  No artist succeeds without a good, growing and stable fan base and networking.

So just how do you  become a "star"?

Too many people record music and want to be a “star” with out realizing it is about entertaining people!  It's not just about the music.  Listen to producers who can help you improve your end product but make sure you are ready to stand behind what you record also.  

There are far too many bad artists on mainstream radio today than good ones. Many more talented artists have recorded tracks that are not selling, as they should be.  Getting on the main stream radio is just as difficult today as it ever has been. You can grow a career as an Indie artist and perform frequently.

When performing live, the name of the game is  “Can I fill the seats in the venue?”  That is what the venue wants and so do you! How many seats you fill will tell the venue to rebook you again or not.  This is marketing 101.

How do you become financially successful and accomplish filling the house?

1-Develop Fan loyalty to your brand

You are a “brand” just like a bar of soap.   You need to sell yourself. Without a doubt you need to network and connect with your fans.   You need fans to want to spend their hard earned cash for your tickets.   If fans do not care, they will not spend.

Today it is up to the artist to interact with their fans regularly on social media such Twitter, Facebook, Google + and others.   Do entertaining tweets and posts.  Share about yourself enough to be interesting to the fans. Occasionally you may need to do a free song give away too. Keep their attention on you.  It is NOT just about a fan loving your comedy act or song.   They have to like you as a person too not just as a performer.   That building of the love will keep fans longer term than if they do not care about you the person.   Appreciate your fans!  This is all part of building your brand and brand loyalty.   You are after all a commodity in the entertainment world.

2- How about a new angle for your next show

Just like in songs you need a hook, you need a hook as a performer also.
Try a song or album release to get them out.   Or, maybe you are going on tour…so kick off the tour at home for your home base of fans. If you have a cause or charity you care about.   Develop that caring in your fans through your media interactions with them. Don’t be afraid to give a portion of what you earn to the cause and encourage them to do the same by them filling the house.   This can help with brand loyalty.  It is good for fans to know that you are a real human being who cares about what is happening in the community and world.

3- Play Less Often!

That may sound strange but if you play constantly and always do the exact it show in the same area, fans will become bored.  Your seat numbers will decline over time if you do play too often in the same city.

4- Mix it up!

Keep your show interesting! Have other artists perform with you to change up the show.   Try out new material!  The best way to try out a new tune or comedy piece is to perform it in front of your loyal fans.  If they do not like it, you know you are heading in the wrong direction.  Do not make the whole show new, just parts of it.  Make the fans feel special knowing they are the first to hear the material.  Ask the fans once in a while what they want to hear.  Be creative!   Have t-shirts?  Think about giving out a couple once in a while. 

5- Promote!!!

This may see obvious but if fans don’t know about you performing, they will not be showing up.  Ask the venue to list you on their websites and in their promotional materials.   Post a poster on their premises.  As your fame grows, maybe a local radio station can do a give away of some tickets.   Have you connected with the college radio stations?  Online radio stations?   Be creative here, no perfect right or wrong way to promote yourself.    This is where word of mouth from your fans online comes in handy too.   Do event pages on sites like Facebook.   Have friends and fans invite their friends too.

6- Be creative

Remember:  You are selling “you the brand”.   Do not be afraid to sell yourself.   Volunteer to perform at fundraisers.   Have confidence in your abilities in self-promotion as much as your confidence in your art.  Most importantly, show the fans how much you enjoy their company at every show you do.