You know when you’re mindlessly browsing your inbox and you come across something that really jumps out at you? For me, one of those things is the newsletter from Music Launch Hub and Music Launch Summit founder Steve Palfreyman, a musicprenuer (read: musician/entrepreneur) who’s always doling out real life scenarios and advice from the perspective of both a musician and an industry entrepreneur. He offers lots of free tools, workshops, and support and here’s the key — doesn’t try to sell me anything. Because of all of this, I tend to feel a bond with his message and his mission, and naturally gravitate towards keeping up with him via his Facebook group and emails. This is an example of email marketing done right.
Then there’s those other mailing lists that I initially subscribed to because they promised me free goods or a discount, or because I was genuinely interested in what they had to say, but I now find myself rapidly deleting and unsubscribing from because they’re either a) boring b) they’re trying to sell me something or c) both. This is an example of poor email marketing.
Here’s the thing though. As an emerging musician, I’m willing to bet that you already know having a mailing list is key when it comes to connecting with fans and fostering that sense of community. With social media algorithms being what they are, your mailing list is the one place that you can be sure your fans are seeing your updates every time. The tough part is continually putting out content that makes your fans want to stay around. So how do you do that?
1. Create a story
By now you’re probably familiar with the idea that nearly everything you do in this industry has to come back to one core theme: telling a story. From your show to your live performance to your newsletter, there isn’t a single space where telling a story isn’t imperative. The reason why is simple: weaving your message into a story makes people connect and it makes them care. It’s the same reason we find television shows and movies so intriguing. It’s because they’ve taken normally mundane, every day facets of life and created a story out of them that makes you care about the characters and the situations they face. Your band is no different, and when it comes to creating newsletter content, you want each and every blast to pull in your audience with another compelling tale.
How you do this is completely up to you, and will vary with the type of content you’re putting out. But trust me, there is always a story in whatever you are or aren’t doing. Having trouble writing and feeling like you’re not getting anywhere? Write about that! Fans will connect with your honesty and vulnerability when it comes to the ups and downs of being a musician. Tell your story, no matter what it is. Remember — the goal of a newsletter is to connect with your audience so don’t worry if your content isn’t all about your music and instead focuses on you as a person. That’s kind of the point.
2. Provide value
If someone has signed up for your newsletter, odds are they’re already into your music and interested in what you have to say. So while it’s important to always have a call to action (“like us on Facebook” “Tweet us your favorite lyric” etc) and links to your website/socials, you want to make sure you’re not using this space to sell them. Instead, you should be rewarding them for adding yet another email to their inbox by giving them something of value long after they subscribe.
Tim Ferris does this well with his ‘5 Bullet Friday’, in which he sends out an exclusive email to his subscribers each Friday chronicling the five coolest things he’s found or explored that week. It could be articles he’s reading, new practices for his business, inspiring quotes, or just a really cool new product he’s tried. It’s a great mix of items that represent his brand and what he’s all about, while adding value to his readers’ lives.
3. Content is key
The number one thing I hear from artists when I start talking about mailing lists is “I have no idea what kind of content to put in my newsletter!” There’s this idea out there that unless you have new music, you have nothing to talk about. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
As we talked about above, even though promoting your music and having all your links/call to actions are an important part of a newsletter, the mailing list, like social media, is really more about connecting with fans in a personal way. Unlike social media, it’s a much larger/more intimate platform for you to connect on. There’s something about that one-on-one interaction that’s really powerful.
So how about some content ideas to get you started?
First ask yourself what your goal is with this newsletter, and from there begin to brainstorm content ideas that reflect that. For instance, is your goal it to build deeper connection? Then perhaps you want to share the meaning behind a recent song (and I mean really share it. Get raw, vulnerable, and be real) or maybe you share some personal photos like handwritten lyrics, or a shot of the band in the studio.
Is your objective to hook new fans? Record a cover video of a popular song or cover another local or emerging band if you really want to up the visibility and share potential of that video. (Not to mention it’s great networking with the other band!) You could do these on a repeat basis, giving fans something to look forward to each week or month.
Another option is to create a weekly or monthly playlist based off different moods (road trips, rainy day, summertime, a certain festival, city, etc) and throw one of your songs into the mix, then share around with any other bands you included on the playlist, and in your newsletter for fans to enjoy and possibly even share.
You can also take the Tim Ferriss route and share interesting articles, mindsets, quotes, and observations that reflect your brand and offer value.
When all else fails, I highly suggest just taking pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it may be) and writing about what you’re feeling—the things you’re curious about, the things you struggle with, the moments that inspire you. That vulnerability and honestly will almost certainly be something that fans connect with, and they’ll appreciate the candidness and feel closer to you for it.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is a pop-punk enthusiast and the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and Infectious Magazine. You can find hanging out with her dog, eating sweets, and curled up with a good book. Read more at http://angelamastrogiacomo.com/