Once Upon a Time

Most of us know of the fairytale story of Hansel & Gretel: two kids leave a trail of breadcrumbs so as not to get lost. Birds eat the breadcrumbs and the kids do get lost in the woods. However, there is a happy ending.

So, what has this got to do with you?

Well, from the moment you first started to post on your website/social network up until today, you must have shared hundreds of photos, news, release announcements, gigs, events, official videos, behind the scenes, etc. At shows, you’ll have talked with fans, and shared your merch/mailing list sign up form. Be it your physical or virtual interaction, you’ve tried to raise awareness of your artistry, find followers and ultimately convert them to faithful listeners of your music. Quite some journey with the dream of a happy ending for all your hard work.

In terms of your social media journey, think of that journey as a ‘trail’ along which anyone can discover your music at any given time. You want them not only to like what they read, hear or see the day they discover you but you want them to explore, and really get a sense of who you are and of your music.

And breadcrumbs?

Each ‘breadcrumb’ along the trail is something you would have posted; it’s like a marker that lets people find out about you. If you put all of these breadcrumbs on a table, they should give a strong picture of your artistry.
So, every time you post, think about what you’re posting and why.

Here is an example for you. My strapline is Art | Nature | Creativity. These are my founding pillars, they’re what I’m all about.

Following the breadcrumb trail at any moment in time

For Art, I post about artists, recent collaborations, events I’ve been to, pics of jam sessions with visual artist friends or their tools of the trade.

For Nature, I love the outdoors, so I share photos taken in CT, USA or Scotland; where I help out occasionally at my local park; I share Mahogany Sessions or Sofar music videos because many are so brilliantly natural thanks to the outdoor settings.

For Creativity, I write about the songwriting process, publish audio or video ‘Rough Diamond’ songs (i.e. songs first cut before being polished in the studio). I like photography and use my Instagram account as a gallery of work I post on my photography website and photography Facebook Page.

I’m all about community, so I’ll post things relating to non-profit work re: the arts, the environment, and kids.

You get the idea.

The Three C’s

The above example should give you a good idea of what you want to communicate to new followers so as to increase engagement. At the outset decide what you want to give of yourself but also to what extent i.e. how deep you want to go. Some musicians are really comfortable with publishing lots about themselves and of everything they’re up to, while others are more private and tend to focus only on musical aspects. Both are ok but you can’t be vague or wishy-washy.

In short, you have to be clear, consistent and constant in your messaging. This is often known as the Three C’s. Hopefully the diagram below will be a visual aid when you’re thinking about what you post.

You are your own brand. Take care of it, put out quality content and be real.

And don’t forget the breadcrumbs: do NOT sweep them under the table!

This post was published for musicians. As a songwriter who has had to navigate the music industry and learn the ways of music marketing, I wanted to share my knowledge. However, the source of the content comes from a working background in advertising and branding in the market research industry, and branding and communications in the finance industry.

Branding: it’s all relative.

And if you think this is only about music, then you’ve missed the point.

Penny for your thoughts?