It’s very common for artists to get hung up on deciding - often from day one – whether they should focus their efforts solely on writing and recording, or if they should spend time developing a strong digital/social media presence.
In a band setting specifically, it’s challenging to deal with varying opinions and personalities. It’s common for leadership to drown in collective conversation, as people wait for someone else to step up and provide direction to the project’s aim. Having conversations like this within your band is absolutely great, but problems arise when it becomes a “let’s do this or that” discussion. The answer isn’t to pick between the two, it’s to do both. Not just both, but both with a focused strategy that ensures each half fuels the other half. There are two things to learn from here:
First, your online and offline strategy must be intertwined. Once you book a gig, focus obsessively on your daily social media actions to ensure that they’re embedding the voice, look and feel of your group into a network of potential fans. Just as you develop songwriting skills by consistent writing, you develop your identity through repetition and consistency. This process is so gradual that most get discouraged and give up. But if not, you will have a higher level of awareness, which will serve as your platform when you promote your upcoming show.
Second, instead of trying to decide your focus upfront, work backwards by asking yourself big-picture questions about your vision for the project:
- What do we want to highlight? Which social media channel(s) will highlight this?
- Who and where are the people who generally like our genre of music?
- What’s our budget? Are we willing to invest money into the band?
- Who is going to be in charge of running our social media?
- Who is going to be in charge of booking our shows?
- What is the voice, look and feel we want to represent?
- How can we direct the people at our live shows back online?
- How can we direct the loyalty and trust developed online back to our live shows?
After answering those questions, you should have a much better picture of what you need to do, both online and offline, to reach your goals.
Finally, as you move forward with this new plan, be sure to consistently track and measure your progress. Pure data serves as the guide that can define your strategy - not an initial conversation based on intuition.
Having your on- and offline actions constantly fuel each other, all within a focused, big-picture setting, will ultimately best position you for success.
Ethan Schiff is an artist manager, music industry blogger, and consultant for independent artists. He can be found online via Twitter @ethanschiff or through his blog.