TPS #025: The Building Blocks for Building Fans

Author: Andre Mullen - 4 min Read

Read Time: 4 minutes

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In today’s newsletter, I want to give you 4 building blocks to building a solid fanbase.

You have probably heard and read from so many people and sources (including me! ✋) about the need to build an audience and cultivate them into fans.

It still holds true.

However, as the influx of artists continues to increase in the music marketplace, your messaging and delivery will need to be more focused.

This is more than just making content for followers or likes.

This is about creating content for the growth and sustainability of your artist brand.

Creatives are failing at this because they’re short-sighted.

If you read this far, I know this isn’t you.

So let’s dive in.

"Building an audience and building fans are not the same thing.”

The terms “audience” and “fans” are oftentimes intermingled, when in fact, they mean two separate things altogether.

Audience refers to the person(s) who is watching or following. Fans refer to the person(s) who have a much stronger attachment to a brand.

Most artists and creatives think their audience is their fans. They use their social media number of followers and/or monthly listeners on Spotify to determine this. These numbers – vanity metrics – have their place, but they aren’t true indicators of their audience.

Converting your audience into fans requires these 4 building blocks:

1. Preparing to be transparent
2. Creating a content creation system
3. Delivering content and engaging consistently
4. Giving fans an experience online and offline

Once your audience is converted into fans, you can experience sustainability for your brand. This sustainability can manifest in many different forms and revenue models.

It may be a lot of work, but the work is in the plan.

Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: Prepare to be Transparent

Transparency requires courage.

You will only be transparent to the degree of your vulnerability.

Your transparency equals access. Your fans crave access to your brand because they want to be connected.

To be successful at transparency, you have to know the difference between transparency and over-sharing. You will need to calculate the risk versus the reward for every sharing opportunity.

One condition here is that the calculation depends on the context.

For example, the idea of talking about the mental health struggles among artists and artist managers in 2015 may not have been considered transparency. But today, when artists like Billie Eilish, Big Sean, or Doja Cat talk about their mental health challenges, it might.

Transparency is a way to leverage access and answer the question, “Why should I trust you?”

Step 2: Create a Content Creation System

James Clear, New York Times best-selling author, said this: “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

It’s more than just having a system in place. It’s implementing a system that empowers you to consistently deliver information to your audience to build trust and cultivate them into fans.

Creating content and controlling distribution channels are important to building fans.

Content enables you to cultivate your fanbase organically. It allows you to build a loyal following that is genuinely invested in your artist journey.

You control your artist brand narrative by controlling where and how your content is distributed.

Your system of creating and distributing content consistent with your brand will build relationships with your audience. Without a system in place, this step becomes very difficult – if not impossible – to achieve.

Step 3:Deliver & Engage Consistently

The level of consistent delivery and engagement is just as important as creating the content itself.

Delivering consistently is more important than just the number of times you release content. It also deals with the intent and motive behind the delivery.

Whatever content you are delivering must be on-brand with your artist brand. Your audience is looking for consistency with your overall brand message.

Delivering content for the sake of delivering content doesn’t build an audience and definitely doesn’t build fans.

Engaging consistently occurs by responding to comments and questions, and providing answers to your audience. Rapport is needed for you to cultivate fans.

Engaging consistently builds genuine, lasting relationships.

Delivering content and engaging consistently = providing value and building trust

Step 4: Give Fans an Experience Offline and Online

Fan experiences are the result of fan engagement.

One of the major – and traditional – ways for you to give your fans an experience is via a live show. The traditional live show has always set the stage (pun intended) for artists to engage with current and new fans alike.

However, there are some ways to engage with fans and offer them an experience online.

Platforms, like EVEN for example, offer artist fans an opportunity to get access to albums, merch, tour tickets, and more before they are released on DSPs or ticket-selling platforms.

Intentional fan experiences add value to the artist’s brand and increase both visibility and credibility with fans.

Using offline and online methods to give fans an experience is essential to continuing to cultivate a fanbase. Focusing on one more than the other can affect your brand (and money) long term. However, utilizing both provides a powerful dynamic.

The 4 building blocks to building a solid fanbase:
1. Prepare yourself to be transparent with your audience
2. Create a content creation system
3. Deliver content and engage consistently
4. Give your fans an experience offline and online

Hope this helps.

See you next week.

✋🏾When you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Schedule a 1:1 Growth Strategy Call with me on growth, strategy, content, and monetization.

2. Promote your business to 500+ artists, artist managers, and founders by sponsoring this newsletter.

3. My website offers resources that can help. Check out The Playbook for more information.

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