I’ve known this character since high school – he’s been one of my best friends of all time. We’ve been through a lot; we’ve spent entire weeks in beach cottages, occasionally leaving the brightly painted, two-room shack to go mini-golfing dressed as formally as our resources would allow. At one point in high school, we spent an entire day excused from classes with school administration defending our actions in fear of impending suspension and a noticeable blemish on our otherwise faultless school behavioral records. Patrick – like all the best artists – kept me on my toes, entertained me, and made every ounce of my participation in the friendship worth each successive moment of time spent.
(thanks buddy. this one goes out to you)
AHEM! There’s a big lesson to take in here! As an artist, you need to be like my good friend Patrick.
I’ve said it before. Seth Godin has said it before. We know it by now – you’ve got to be something special! You’ve got to have that charm and that little something that can’t be found anywhere else. Patrick has that. He’s incontrovertibly been and will always be that guy. In addition to his unmistakably characteristic personality, he has yet another integral factor of success. He’s got the right kind of actual, physical, not-even-figurative presence.
Keep in mind; I’m not necessarily saying he was always around. That’s actually a mistake many artists make – overdoing it (Yes, there’s a possibility that posting a link to your latest “Work In Progress” on Soundcloud and urging me to forward it to my entire network more than once in an hour could be considered too much.) In fact, Patrick was usually late to arrive and would consistently get himself lost during group outings – requiring that my friends and I take the time to find him whenever he got distracted and wandered off. Instead, he had presence in that I always knew where to find him, he was always there when I needed him, and he was always wholeheartedly down for whatever adventure happened to be on the agenda for the day.
You see; Patrick remains (to this day) rather conveniently unlicensed and thus legally precluded from operating a motor vehicle. This means that whenever a friend or I wanted to see him, we knew where we could find him – his house.
Here’s where some of the teachings lie. As an artist, you should be just like him; be consistently available, always be energetic and excited for even the most mundane trips to CVS for allergy medication, and bring that characteristic personality only when I come to you – when you know it’s what I know I’m getting myself into.
In marketing terms, this is called your inbound strategy. It’s to be coordinated with your outbound efforts (which include your overt, publicly promotional actions – more on this some day) to contribute to something called Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. Successfully integrated one’s inbound and outbound communications is like giving a body to a voice. It’s means that behind the shouts of publicity, there’s a stable foundation to back it up. It (most concretely) means that when people are looking for your music, your bio, your pictures, for you, they can do so easily. Seeing as we’re all living and breathing the Internet – yup – this pretty much means social media.
You’ll hear from some people these days how important it is to be “on social media.” Some of these will stress how you should be ubiquitous (everywhere) online so people can find you; I don’t really consider that true. You just need to be where you’re expected to be. This depends a lot on your particular situation, but your portfolio of online personas could include anything from an instagram account to a reddit account. I don’t doubt that you have the clarity to know your fans well enough to know where they hang out online!
While you’re racking your brain – here’s a few tips.
Even if it’s just for posting songs with a nice Ken Burns slideshow of pictures, YouTube is great to be available on.
Do you have a nice e-mail address?
Do your fans use Pinterest? Be on Pinterest.
What you say about yourself isn’t nearly as important as what people say about you. Sometimes it’s a good idea to keep quiet and let the dialogue flow. Although content is king, your posts are mini forums for conversation – not a dumping ground or an obligation.
One last thing. Respond to people.