When it comes to defining your brand as a musician or artist it’s easy to be all-encompassing in your approach — just like the other millions of musicians out there — being broad and generalised in what they think their target market is.
As a musician it’s important to have a personal brand, and understanding what a personal brand is. Communicating your beliefs, passions and personality is just the start to promoting your music. In this article you’ll begin to question yourself, how you can communicate your message, engage with your audience and why audiences will relate to you.
Start With “Why?”
When you’re communicating to the world and you’ve got something to show it, us humans have a tendency to just communicate what we do.
The easy tip for you is this, communicate the reason you’re doing it as an extension of what it is you’re doing. For example, many artists would say “I’m a music producer” — we need to take this general statement and give it an understandable reason for audiences to connect with.
You could say this. “I believe that electronica music is the remedy for finding solace in a world of chaos [why]. I produce music from inspirational moments that need a soundtrack [how] and my new EP has captured very special elements to wind down the soul [what].”
Complete this fun exercise of your why’s, how’s and what’s:
- What is it that drives you to make music and share it with the world? [why]
- How does the music you make reflect that drive? [how]
- What type of music do you make? [what]
Once you’ve had a proper think through your true intentions, find ways of communicating these across your different platforms, content pieces, music, shows- everything! This is your identity and brand; it’s what your fans are relating to — and buying into.
The Divine Trinity of Personal Branding
Let’s begin with what parts of being an artist you connect with the most; this could be the writing process, the performing aspect, or even just getting your teeth into learning new stuff. Then, take a deep breath, cut yourself a piece of humble pie and ask yourself what you think you can be the best in the world at.
Now, you need to think outside of the box on this one because most of the top spots in the world are already taken. This is why finding your niche is so important! If you thought you could be the best advocate of LGBTQ+ and marginalised communities while making pop music and being super relatable, think again, Lady Gaga has that one covered.
Then, the final step is to explore which parts of your music will most likely push your growth. The more specific, the better, don’t just fall on ‘music’ as your answer. Could you use national tours? Selling sample packs? Teaching others how to make music? Think of it this way, you can make “profit per x”, where x represents anything, such as profit per sample pack or profit per album, etc.
Now, you need to take your answers to the above questions and find places where all three overlap. For example, if you find that you’re passionate about making people feel good, you think you can be best in the world at playing a one person show with 12 different instruments and your best money maker is content on YouTube, then you might want to consider building your brand around YouTube videos showcasing your talents and offering a subscription service for more, exclusive content (think Patreon and the like).
People with good intent tend to do much better in everything. Think hard about your intentions, and what you want to achieve. How will you be able to do what you love but with good intent behind your actions?
For instance, you could be a philanthropist alongside making music. If you can promote the welfare of others at the same time as producing tunes, you’re more likely to have a greater appeal with more people. Finding a crossover where your music surrounds a greater cause is a great way to show your intentions are good.
Operate As A Media Company
Back in the day, brands used to rely on billboards and printed ads in the media; which were and still are very expensive. Because of this, brands would traditionally go straight in for a hard sale of their product. Today’s digital age allows us to promote almost anything with endless content across multiple platforms that have the potential to get ridiculously high viewing figures. So with the modern changes and the influx of so many brands birthed daily, the approach to selling has changed dramatically.
Pulling in your audience by providing entertaining, helpful or educational content should be a high priority if you are thinking of your brand as a long term investment. Posting lots of content with no requirement of commercial generation for the user is of paramount importance. You need to lure in the crowds and keep them sweet with your content. Then use this content as almost a ‘gateway drug’ to then drip feed your sales based content… where you want them to spend money (shows, albums, etc.)
Ads, Boosts & Ads
I cannot stress enough how important advertising is. Social media platforms are businesses out to make money, right? Your content reach is restricted to a small pool of users, and the only way you can expand that reach, is to pay for it. More money on ads = higher visibility and engagement. If you don’t have the money to pay for ads, you’ll need to get creative, sell something on eBay or raise funds in some other way. It’s so vital to your growth that you might want to cut back on menial comforts and invest the money into advertisements.
Using an influencer to spread awareness of your work is still a valid business model. You could try smaller influencers and strike a deal whereby you offer something in return for them using your music in their posts. Think tickets to a show or a free download of your album.
There are many factors to growing your brand and pushing your music out. This is due to the saturated market of online entrepreneurs and chancers trying to make a quick buck. The secret is the same strategy that has always been true in business and life… You need to sow seeds, care for them, have patience and reap the rewards of hard work. You can’t expect a quick fix to success and you need to invest your time and money where it matters — think long-term goals. Understanding yourself and communicating this over time, and in a regular fashion, is how to build your core structure and expand it. Give it time and dedication to build your personal brand, it really is a lifetime investment — then you’re on to a winner.