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Is your client Milli Vanilli or Tupac?
For context, Milli Vanilli, the German-French duo, is known for their runaway hit, Girl You Know It’s True and despite their global audience, the group was nearly blacklisted for their lip-synching.
Tupac is considered the most influential and successful rapper of all time. He not only impacted the music industry with 75,000,000 records sold, but he also impacted the black community as a whole.
Milli Vanilli had attention, but Tupac had influence.
In today’s newsletter, I’m not necessarily going to compare the two, but rather what they represent. I’ll talk about the steps that you need to take in order to create influence while simultaneously showing you why most artists don’t have any.
Attention, in its purest definition, is “the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.
Influence, in its purest definition, “is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
As you can see, there is a genuine difference between attention and influence. With social media, the line between the two is very much blurred.
However, knowing the difference between the two gives artists and creatives an edge on how to use one to generate and grow the other.
Those that don’t know the difference will continue to look at their audience as their fans when in actuality, they’re not.
Artists and creatives struggle with gaining influence.
They believe having the attention of a large number of people is the same as having fans.
It is not.
The attention relationship between artists and their audience looks like the graphic below:
Your fans are people with whom you have influence. The influence relationship between artists and their fans looks like the graphic below:
There are 3 steps to creating influence:
1. Practice Authenticity
2. Build Relatability
3. Build Trust
With social media serving as a dominant platform for showcasing talent, gaining attention is easy.
However, influence takes time and effort to digest and become actionable.
Here are the keys on how to do it, step by step:
Most people don’t realize that living an authentic life is a process.
Being an artist gives you the opportunity to practice authenticity in front of your audience.
However, you have to be clear on what being authentic means to you.
Several of those aspects include not taking things personally, playing your position, and giving your best.
I’m reminded of a New York rapper I was representing at the time – “Chill B”. He was called to open up for a chart-topping group from Los Angeles in New York.
He felt slighted he wasn’t asked to co-headline since he was from NY and he had 55,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. He believed it would be viewed negatively by his audience.
I encouraged him not to take it personally. Even though he was offered a little less than his fee, the exposure would have been great for his artist brand.
He accepted the offer. However, I could tell he still had some reservations.
People pleasing is one of the biggest challenges to practicing authenticity and creating influence.
Every artist wants to be accepted and embraced by their audience.
However, empathy plays a major role and without it, an audience can feel disconnected from the artist.
Content – empathetic and memorable – is what connects you to audiences and cultivates influence.
Chill B always insisted developing content took away from his music. He used his numerous playlist and paid press placements to justify not needing to create content.
Our numerous conversations and heated debates always ended in his reluctance to use social media for nothing more than to promote an upcoming release.
So the night of the show, he opened up to a half-filled venue.
He was upset.
“There is NO WAY that this concert was promoted!”
Just then, the headlining group came on and the venue filled up.
It was VISIBLY sold out.
He was livid.
Building relatability through content is essential to building influence with your audience.
Building trust is often a term loosely thrown around to motivate people.
It is definitely much more than that with regard to the steps to creating influence.
In order to build trust, an artist is in a unique position to be empathetic.
While empathy is also part of building relatability, it also plays a role in building trust. It requires you to invest time in personally knowing your audience – genuinely showing that you care.
This breeds trust.
This brings us back to Chill B.
After he saw the headline group perform and was livid about the attendance, he asked, “Yo! How is this possible?! I have 55,000 monthly listeners on Spotify!”
“You may have the attention of 55,000 monthly listeners on Spotify,
But these guys have the influence of everyone who bought a ticket to this show.”
Attention helps initiate, but influence is the result of a connection being perceived as meaningful and significant.
3 keys to creating influence:
1. Practice being authentic in front of your audience
2. Being relatable to your audience via content
3. Build trust by being empathetic.
Hope that helps.
See you next week.