While most artists may not feel like the term is relevant to them, they can actually learn quite a bit from the concepts and ideas behind content marketing.
I’m in the midst of an ongoing musical project. And at some point, I realized, this project is essentially content marketing!
Why? Well, I want to share my perspective on this idea — and what musicians can learn from content marketing in general — because while this seems like a very strange concept, it may help you reimagine the work you do from a helpful angle.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is when you create valuable and relevant content consistently. This builds trust with your audience and shows that you’re an authority in your niche.
Tons of businesses use content marketing to grow and scale over time, and it can be very effective. If people see that you can create really amazing content on a regular basis, they’re more likely to stick around. If that doesn’t sound relevant to musicians trying to build a longstanding fan base, I don’t know what does!
But the key is to create valuable content. It can’t just be anything. It has to be helpful, useful, entertaining, or in some way add value to the consumer. The end goal with content marketing is to get people to buy what you’re selling. And to me, it’s the most authentic way to do marketing. You show people that you can create something they value. Then, eventually, you tell them about your product or service, which they’ll also value.
Here’s the basic cycle involved in content marketing:
- Awareness: Customers may have a need, but they’re not aware of a solution; they’re not aware of you.
- Research: After a customer becomes aware there’s a solution to their problem, they’ll start doing research. Usually, this involves Google. This is where the “valuable, relevant content” in content marketing comes in.
- Consideration: Now that the customer has some options for their solution, they’ll start considering which is best.
- Purchase: Eventually, the customer chooses what they think is the best solution and buys it. If you’ve done your job, this will be you.
The content in question can come in many forms. Usually, it’s a blog post, YouTube video, or podcast. But artists have tons of unique types of content they can share.
How to Use Content Marketing as a n Artist
So, now let’s apply the principals of content marketing to your music career. The main elements of content marketing, as we’ve seen, are consistency, relevancy, and value. Let’s talk about how to apply these elements to your music endeavors.
Right now, I’m releasing one song at a time as part of an ongoing project. I’m doing it to focus on the quality of each song. That way, I’m not distracted by any other songs or any other projects.
Of course, you don’t have to apply consistency by releasing one song every 4-6 weeks like I am, but this is my example of “regular output.” It could be a new EP release every year, a monthly livestreamed concert, a weekly video uploaded to YouTube, or even a daily 1-minute Instagram video, etc.
Even if you’re in the middle of a big musical project that’s taking a long time to complete, you can at least share something more frequently.
Why? Because you want to stay in front of people’s eyes and in their ears. There is a balance between consistency and just completely overwhelming your fans, but you want to stay somewhat present in your fans’ lives by staying consistent. One could say you’d do this to stay relevant…
Any experienced content marketer knows their content must be relevant to their audience. It needs to solve a problem they have, address one of their pain points, or give them useful, practical methods to improve at something.
So, as a musician, I see two ways you can make your creative output more relevant: with your productions and with your cultural presence. When it comes to producing music, it’s a good idea to balance your creative freedom with what people want to hear.
I’m not saying sell out. Selling out is when you make music that doesn’t resonate with you just so you can gain popularity for financial success. I’m saying stay in touch with what’s hot in music. Even if you despise pop music, be aware of the instrumentation artists are using; listen to the beats; learn from melodic trends. You can use those elements in your own way, in your chosen genre.
And if you want to stay culturally relevant, it’s a smart idea to be where your fans are. What social media platforms are they using? What type of content do they consume the most? How do they talk online?
Learn these things and start using them to be relevant. By doing so, you and your music will be valuable to your fans…
Just because someone creates relevant content on a regular basis doesn’t mean people will like it. It has to have value. It has to do something for the intended audience. And as a musician, the value lies in your music.
You may craft the most relevant social media posts consistently. But if your music sucks, your “fans” won’t stick around for long. Focus on making the best music you know how to. Then every other part of your music career will flow more smoothly.
The true value is in your music — and the music is what resonates with people.