The reading materials for my marketing class today addressed a topic our impatient minds are all familiar with – that traditional methods of advertising are waning in effectiveness, and the near future of “advertising” will be characterized by “inbound marketing,” which starts with the generation of helpful content (like this post, hopefully.) This content aims to gain the attention and trust of potential customers (or followers https://soundcloud.com/freedope-downloads teehee) by attracting people TO pages rather than making them pop up and impossible to click around. This marks bright and dark days ahead. On one hand I expect we’ll see a surge of helpful content and less concentration on the tactics we already hate, but it will come with more cleverly hidden motives and more information to sift through in general. The latter is a problem because it’s not information that’s valuable anymore, it’s the selection and organization of it. So as manual sifting becomes more unwieldy, the more we rely on services like Google and the less control we have. (And in the spirit of organizing information, I’ll condense the hours I spent consuming it into a tortured (but single) sentence that you, precious potentially potential professional producer, might care about. The high-level implications for you would be to 1, generate helpful content by blogging for vlogging about production, for example, 2, promote this material the traditional way, like paying Facebook to advertise it, and 3, paying a service like Hubspot or Marketo to manage the conversation among your *defined audience and the sharing of your content.
The authors of the articles we read had ulterior motives in that their companies provide services for the management and sharing of this helpful content, but they brought many good insights and advice to the table, exemplifying their tactic. But they did have the advantage of a truly helpful offering, because even someone with as small of a web-presence as myself knows that managing all your social media manually is… unrealistic at best… and a waste of time at the worst.
Now with the high-level stuff out of the way, I’d like to take a second to get further into the whole “defining your audience” bit. It can be scary to exclude potential listeners by pigeonholing yourself, but without clearly defining yourself, you won’t have any listeners to exclude. Take me, Free Dope Downloads for example. People know that the music I post is free, but free isn’t a genre; I might as well say “music”… and since my main page is a soundcloud, I might as well not say shit. This is a sign I need a stronger indicator of my offering by giving people a reason to click the link. For example, since my potential followers will tend to be younger bass lovers, I could say something like “deep sounds that make clothes come off (for free this time)”. Who are your customers? How old are they, what can they not help but click, and where do they meander when they’re bored online (Instagram, SoundCloud, RapGenius)? The idea is that once you really target your audience you can appeal to a few people a lot instead of appealing to a lot of people a little. (Besides, 5% of the billion people online is quite a few people.)
Now as someone that spends several hours per day evaluating music and its trends, I’ll give my $0.02 as to how YOU might be able to leverage this tactic personally, as a little reward for getting this far…
As the barrier of entry into the professions of producing and dj-ing fall via cheaper and better production programs and more accesible audiences, we’re seeing a shift in the listener base of new music. Sure, many people still listen to radio in their cars, sing to Katy Perry, and don’t know what a synth is, but these are the people who don’t go to festivals and won’t drive the industry’s revenue for long. The only people finding your music are kids with too much free time who haven’t discovered LoL and other people like you with a passion for music. And guess what? They make it too. Everyone does. So blog about how you do it. Give away every little secret you find that no one else wants to divulge and distinguish yourself that way. It seems counterintuitive, but when people take your advice they’re going to gain respect for you and will share your content with other people they want to help. And I don’t know about you, but the only artists whose music I actually pay for are those whom I respect.