What’s the #1 thing you can do to move the needle in your career?
If you said anything other than networking, you’re wrong.
More important than the music you make, the tours you go on, the social media posts you make, networking is the #1 thing that will take you from hobby musician to living your dream.
Without well-built relationships, none of the other stuff matters—people won’t hear your music, they won’t come to your shows, and they won’t engage with your social media posts. None of it matters if you don’t have a strong network in place.
And If you thought relationship building was important before, then you’ve gotta admit—this pandemic world we’re living in has really taken it over the top. After all, online relationships are kind of all we’ve got right now.
But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, when you know how to leverage it, this is a really powerful way to build relationships and fast-track your career.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of networking online for years. It’s how I built my own career and replaced my 9-5 income with a business in the music industry. So when I say this works, it really does work. It’s not complicated, it’s not difficult, it just takes time, strategy, and discipline—all of which you’re going to learn about today. If you can simply make those things a priority and make this a daily part of your routine, then I have good news—you’re going to be worlds ahead of the rest.
And the good news? It’s not nearly as complicated or scary as you think. Here’s how you can get started in under an hour a day.
For even more useful information, check out 5 Relationship-Building Strategies You Haven’t Tried.
Know who you want to connect with
This is really the first rule of relationship building—you need to know who you actually want to connect with. Try to get as specific as possible here. I know you probably want to build relationships with anyone and everyone who you think can help build your career but, having a clearer idea of this is going to help us in the next step. So ask yourself—who are the three people or types of people I want to get in front of? Really focus on what your goals are over the next 6-12 months, and that’s your answer.
For instance, if you want to put out your album in the next six months, your priority is going to likely be fans, writers, and playlisters. If in a year you hope to tour, it might be fans, booking agents, promoters, or venue owners, and other bands you can open for.
So, going with those examples you might find you land on “fans” as those you want to connect with. Great! Get more specific. Fans that like what kind of music? What bands are they absolutely obsessed with?
Maybe it’s one of the industry professions we listed above. What groups would they hang out in? There will be different groups depending on the profession, which is why it’s important to know this ahead of time.
Once you’re clear on that, you can move to the next step.
Target Three Key Groups
Now that you know who you want to get in front of, you can start to figure out where they hang out online. Groups are one of my favorite places to find people, because they’re such a good atmosphere for shared interests and continually showing up.
So, if you know one of the main sets of people you want to target are fans of a certain band, go ahead and find a group all about that band, and start to get involved. A lot of times I’ll see similar bands posting their own covers of that band’s song, and it’s a great way to introduce people who are bound to like your music, to your music, through something they already know and love. (It helps if you actually like that band. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to be genuine in your approach)
Next, target industry groups that are likely to house the people you’re trying to connect with. There are a TON of groups out there depending on what you’re looking for—search keywords and ask around. The best way to get into a great group is going to be word of mouth.
Keep showing up
This is the main difference between those who succeed in building a vast and valuable network vs those who don’t. You need to keep on showing up. When I say every day, I mean every day. Carve out the same 30-60 minutes every day to go into those three groups and show up for the community. Chime in on existing threads with your thoughts, insights, or answers to questions. When you come across something helpful or discover a tip or tool that’s worked for you, share it with the group. Continue to show up and be a valuable resource and people will take notice.
There is so much you can be doing to build your relationships, including some more tips that we get into in our article, 5 Relationship Building Strategies You Haven’t Tried, but I want you to start with these three. They’re tried and true, and the ones I’ve used to build my own career. You’re going to make so many incredible connections this way and before you know it, it’ll be second nature
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.