First is an essential read for anyone looking to grow their platform. It’s called ‘Platform‘ and it’s by Michael Hyatt. Hyatt was the CEO of Thomas-Nelson publishing for years, and now he is a world-wide speaker on leadership and influence. Again, this is an essential book for your library.
The next book I’d recommend is ‘Get More Fans: The DIY Guide to the New Music Business’ by Jesse Cannon & Todd Thomas. I wouldn’t focus on the first part of the title, but the second. This book is a complete DIY guide for independent musicians. It’s full of knowledge, wisdom, and resources. It’s super long, and fun/easy to read. A must for the independent musician.
For those in the Christian music industry, I’d suggest you learn how it operates. It may surprise you. ‘What Becky Didn’t Want’ by Seth Hurd is an eye opener to how the Christian radio industry operates. Very interesting read. I’d also recommend ‘The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse’ by Michael Gungor. He too shares alot about creativity in the Christian culture.
There is only one blog I’d highly recommend, and that’s Music Think Tank. Every week they collect great articles for the independent musician. The guides and articles are excellent and very applicable. They’ll teach you alot, as well as arm you with all the information you can consume.
A great app I use is Pocket. It let’s me save articles from Music Think Tank (and other sites) instantly to my iPhone or iPad to read when I get around to it. It lays it out like a magazine, and makes it very easy to click through and read through. Great app…and it’s free!
For writing, I live in Evernote. You should see my Evernote app. It’s is amazingly beautiful. Everything I’ve ever written is in there now. I migrated all my songs, speaking messages, classes I teach, and everything else that gets a keystroke into Evernote. There are several notebooks containing hundreds of notes. I use Evernote for everything, and the best part…it’s completely cloud synced from my Mac to my iPhone to my iPad and even the web as I need access to it. It’s free as well, but I pay the $5/month for the premium account with more storage. Get it. It has even replaced Microsoft Office for me… and I’m even writing all of these blogs in it!
Analytics are important to measure if you’re actually growing. While it may not be the best analytics service, Google Analytics gets the job done for me. I don’t need all the information it gives me. I want to know who is coming to my site, what are they doing on it, and where are the coming from. I get all of that (and more) from Google Analytics. I even know where people are when they access my site. I see who visits and from where they’re visiting within a few miles of the exact computer they’re on. It’s pretty creepy. Check it out.
For tracking stats on Twitter, check out Fruji. It gives you great insights and analytics to how your influence is really doing on Twitter. Also take a peek at Klout. It measures the impact you have on the community of people that follow you across all of your social media and gives you a score up to 100. It will even show you why it scores you as it does, and show you how you rank amongst your friends. Very cool.
There are three I use, and I’ll list them in order of how they impact my life.
Noisetrade is the most important, because it is the best and easiest way for us to grow our following. We give music away, and people join our mailing list. We add around 50-100/month. That may not be too impressive, but it’s how we have built our current mailing list and fanbase.
My store of preference is Bandcamp. Why? Because I keep 85% of my sales. That means that for every $10 album, I keep $8.50. It’s a great site because it tracks what people do on your store, from the songs they play to where they came from.
Tunecore is how I get my music in iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. It’s important to be in the megastores, but those stores take a pretty big chunk at about 1/3. To put an album on the stores it costs you upfront through Tunecore, and then the stores take their cut. Spotify is great for letting new fans check you out, but they pay you a fraction of a fraction of a penny per play. In my best month, I made $3 on Spotify.
By far, the most valuable service is Mailchimp. It’s totally free, too! Mailchimp is for your mailing list. Through it you send mass emails, and track analytics. It’s intuitive, and very easy to use. They provide you with all and any tools you need to manage a mailing list, from signup links and embed codes to great templates. The analytics of Mailchimp rock, too. They’re so deep…I can see who opened my email, how many times they opened it, and what they did in it (clicks, etc). It’s pretty amazing.
There is also Facebook and Twitter, but I didn’t feel the need to explain these. In addition, I also regularly use Instagram and Youtube. I have found that each social media platform is like a different place, and while some of the same people hang out in every place, there are several people that only hang out in one place. Put yourself where people are hanging out, and make an impact.
I hope this blog series helped you.