Look how far…
Here I am at the end of this particular leg of my journey: the Blog Challenge. I have come a long way when I consider where I started. Even though I have spent the past eight weeks working through Music Success in Nine Weeks, I consider the starting point to be several months before that. Allow me to backtrack a little.
Almost a year ago I met with a friend who works in movie and video production. He started explaning to me all the different aspects of social media and what I needed to have in place in order be truly visible in the modern marketplace. I took notes, which upon later review, looked like a crazed rodent had run amok with a pen. I was thankful that I had consumed enough coffee to at least smile and nod. Later, I paid a life coach to help me start my new music career. His plan for my life made me absolutely miserable (have you ever heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals?) and I started to doubt if I had what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Instead of mortally wounding myself with sharp objects, I fired him and ventured out on my own, occasionally redrawing the diagrams of my master plan,(with the rodents safely locked away). But due to total lack of traction I realized I was still spinning my wheels.
So that’s where I started and that’s where I stayed for months: overwhelmed, confused, and slightly discouraged. I barely had enough confidence (or perhaps faith?) to sign up for the annual ASCAP Music Expo, but I screwed up the courage to go.
The rest as they say is history. (If you want more, you can go back to my first blog post.) I could best depict the progress of the past year with the following graph:
The curve can represent many things: the growth in fan base, CD/download sales, gigs, the activity on Twitter or blogs, etc. It’s not scientific; it’s just an illustration. I am very, very encouraged with my progress. Now I’m heading into fall. “What does the question mark represent?”, one may ask. And now we get to the gist of this blog post.
Rhythm of the Road
It’s one thing to go to boot camp, which is one way to think about these past two months, but where do I go from here and how do I get there? The “where” part has been established by this crash course. I want to develop a significant fan base and continue to grow my business. The “how” part is now up to me. I no longer have the “fire under me arse” that I had while participating in this blog challenge. And, although I’ve come a long way, growth is not going to happen by itself, so I have to put in place a “continuum” program.
Part of the continuum program is keeping a discipline around daily/weekly activities that will slowly but consistently turn the “flywheel” (a term from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great). Here is a list of those things:
- Daily social media engagement (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
- Twitter posts at least 3x a day, make one about my business, one about my day, and one retweeting or quoting something inspirational. (I’m into positive and inspirational sayings.)
- Blog reading, writing and commenting, at least 3x a week
- Mailing list development, once a week. This includes consolidating emails into my FanBridge account as well as sending out invites, inviting people to “like” my FB fan page, etc.
- Weekly artistic content development. By “content”, I mean bits of music I can use for freebies, video blogs, and songwriting.
- Monthly newsletter
- Monthly review of my analytics including visits to FB fan page, my website, my blog sites, etc.
- Live networking events, at least monthly. There is a monthly “wine walk” at the local winery district, so this is an excellent opportunity to continue to get to know winemakers, gallery owners, and other local businesspeople.
- Monthly goal-setting and resynchronization
Wow! That seems like a lot. It is, especially for someone with ADD like me. How do I keep myself accountable? I will add one more thing to the list that should be part of my daily discipline:
- List my 5 successes of the day
The Continuum Funnel
With a regular work rhythm established, it is time to consider what sort of continuum funnel I should develop. Part of that process is coming up with ideas about what sort of premium content to provide. One idea I am toying with is creating a small book that would accompany the CD to form a “special edition”. My music is meant to soothe and I am quite fond of quotes and affirmations which inspire. What if I put out a small booklet with cool art, pictures, and inspirational sayings? There is a wealth of inspirational language from self-help programs and books (like for instance, Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way). Someone could turn on the music and reflect on a saying or two from the book with their morning coffee or tea. It is getting easier these days to publish books, so this could be a cool project.
Here is what a possible continuum funnel could look like:
- Free exclusive download in exchange for email address
- $2 a month club including two exclusive free songs a month as well as discounts on CDs and other merchandise
- Short-run EP’s ($8) and full-blown CD’s ($14) released frequently
- T-shirts, sweatshirts, or hats with the logo “Songs for the Silence” (the name of my CD series) $18 and up
- Premium edition of CD including accompanying book ($35)
- Private house concerts ($200)
I am very encouraged and hopeful! It is fun to dream in a way that isn’t just fantasy. I have the engine in place and the bus is in motion. We’ll see who wants to come for a ride…