After trying to crack Obama’s communications code, I’ve broken my philosophy down to the following five principles.
Truly believe in your cause: Nothing is more important than making and sharing great art, song. This year I need to make a great album, site, and share it with Austin (DC, New York, San Diego…) and the world.
Spread the word: I am a songwriter who cares about lyrics and poetry. Non-disposable words and a palette of folk, funk, soul, jazz, latin, rock and reggae. Everyday J making poetry pop.
Make it urgent: Countdown to the next album: 6 months. It’s been 4 years since my last album and I’ve got scads of unrecorded songs. I’ve been in Austin for 13 years and am almost completely unknown beyond my friends. The time is NOW! Make a great album, show, site. Get on the map in Austin, at the very least.
Give the power to the people: Solicit feedback and collaboration on everything I do. Create ways for fans to easily share with their friends. Be accessible to fans, creatively reward. Always offer clear opportunities for engagement.
Report from the front-line: Keep doing cool stuff, trying new things. Don’t sit around. Keep pioneering innovative approaches to writing and playing; bring your sketchbook, recorder, camera, and guitar and get some good footage for the folks that can’t be there live.
I’ve been reading Tribes by Seth Godin, so I thought I’d try to state what our tribes are, plain and simple.
My wife Maile is leading the tribe of people who know that the right thing to do is to teach immigrants English at work.
I hope to help lead the tribe of artists and non-profits who want to use the Web to accomplish their missions, dreams. I’m a digital ambassador teaching anyone how to create a killer Web presence and connect effectively with their supporters.
They both seem to be perfecting the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mentality, tirelessly investing in their own smarts and values to play and win the game of creating and marketing content. They also both seem to really understand and utilize media, new and old, blog and book. So when I found Mixergy the other day, I saw an interview with Ramit on blog marketing, checked it out, took a bunch of notes and got a bunch of good ideas.
started for friends, found no one would show up for money talks, so started a blog
blogged for years before getting recognized by WSJ
had routinely, tirelessly emailed the WSJ finance reporters about his blog, mentions, until they covered him
says, “tell the right people” — like if you post on saving money for a wedding, tell the wedding bloggers
methodical about writing (10-15 hrs a wk) and marketing (10 hrs a wk)
says read, “Never Eat Alone,” “Permission Marketing,” mentions, “The Paradox of Choice”
make friends with reporters, find out what they need, be a resource, add value to the relationship
says remind yourself until you don’t forget “Nobody cares about me” (you have to appeal to people)
on your blog -> engage, engage, engage
get people on your email list (it’s a different crowd that visits your blog)
on email list: split test your emails to determine what works, what people want
provide your email list with fresh content
identify hero visionaries (even outside of your field), work for them for free, and knock it out of the park
don’t monetize too quickly, value your long-term relationship with your people more and it’ll pay off more, longer
the real payoff from blogging is the doors it opens like speaking gigs, opportunities, etc.
everyone is a consumer, be a producer of great stuff
I am, by the way, only a few chapters into Ramit’s book, because I’m still automating my bills and savings, which are his first prescriptions at the end of ch. 1. It’s got lost of tactical advise on making money management easier.
What this all made me think and how I can apply it…
keep writing songs, posting, figuring out the new-media game and committing to being a producer of cool stuff
start getting to know (perhaps persistently, but politely bugging) music reporters, local (Chronicle, Austininst, etc) and bloggers. in addition to reminding them of what i’m doing, provide them with what they need whether it’s a pre-written story with a good angle as part of my press-kit, or to connect them with the news or content that i know-of and they might appreciate
when i post a song called “Bananas” look beyond music people to food people, kid people, etc. for cross posting
keep as disciplined as possible about both producing and posting stuff but also about doing the marketing stuff
don’t assume people care about what i’m doing…give them a reason and appeal to what i know they like
i’ve started by taking Amy Mitchell, Sarah Sharp, Austin Kleon out to lunch…don’t stop there. ask all kinds of local heros out for a drink, meal
make more videos, lo-fi is easy, and one of the easiest ways to draw people in
get my mailing list going with monthly updates and special info, put a sign-up form on my homepage
get the podcast going again too
i’m now collaborating with Sara Hickman…knock it out of the park…this is the best opportunity i’ve ever had. but keep thinking beyond to other visionaries i’d gladly help.
don’t worry about making money with the blog (though i do want to sell t-shirts and music directly), think about who i’d like it to connect me to and connect
and again…make cool stuff. don’t just be a consumer, produce value
I love Music Business Radio because it brings together everything I love, and particularly this episode with Seth Godin in which this new-world marketer applies his perspective to the music industry and how artists like myself should be be thinking.
As I biked home this evening I listened back to the podcast stopping to take a few notes to remember.
if you have the wherewhithall to put yourself out there, now is the time
every tribe needs a leader and there are plenty still looking
focus your output on the free and ubiquitous market or the scarce and precious market, but it’s death in the middle
concentrate on the ones that love you
don’t find listeners for your music, make music for your listeners
once you make that mental shift it changes everything about how you work
as an indie musician measure how many people would be delighted to hear from you