When it comes down to it, we all just want to feel seen. We long to be a part of something that feels like we belong. For so many of us, music is that escape. It serves as a safe haven, a creative nook where we can express ourselves freely. Best of all, when we find a community of others who like the same music, band, or genre as we do, we feel seen. We belong. And we thrive.
We’ve all experienced this, but when you’re an indie musician trying to grow a fan base for the first time, it can feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall. So how do we create an ecosystem that supports and lifts our careers?
Understand the community you want to create
It’s understandable that we would like to attract as many fans as possible – but the key here is to build a community of like-minded individuals who have a common ground and interests.
With this in mind, the first step is to get really clear about the community you want to build. Hone in and imagine the profile of your followers. To illustrate this, paint a picture of a volleyball league that’s trying to attract members. They would be looking for people who liked the sport, or were interested in health and fitness. Take that idea and translate it into the realm of music.
You could be part of a classic rock band that believes in equality, dreaming big, and leaving the world better than we found it. Stand by your ethos and seek opportunities to share your values. This could be online, in concerts or in your merchandise. Authenticity is key, as you’ll naturally attract like-minded audiences to your cause. Your fans will be drawn in when you allow your authentic self to shine.
Take concrete steps towards building your community
Knowing what kind of community you want to create is the hardest part. Once you have that secured, you can start building concrete steps towards it. Think about how you want your community to gather.
Is there a certain social media platform? Are you really keen on getting into the local scene? Is there a popular pub you know they’d like that you could perform at? You could even start a podcast sharing ideals and beliefs you know your community would appreciate.
The medium can be anything you want—think about the places you already hang out and gravitate towards both online and off. That’s where your community is too.
Once you have your community, take the time to nurture it! A community is just like any other relationship. Take steps to ensure you are showing up for your community. It could be batching, setting aside an hour each day, or setting an alarm. Show up consistently and be intentional in creating a space they genuinely enjoy. Not only will they keep coming back, they’ll be bringing all their friends.
Don’t force it
Do you ever wonder why some things just feel so natural, while others feel like putting a round peg in a square hole? Sometimes, in our effort to grow or do the “right” thing we end up trying too hard. We do things that feel totally unnatural and as a result, we don’t see the results. We sit there wondering why, knowing we followed all the steps perfectly and unclear on what went wrong.
But let me pose you a thought: what if we just kept things in a way that felt natural from the start? Even if it feels small, try going with what naturally aligns and trust that it would bring you the fans that feel the same way.
It can feel overwhelming to make it all happen and try to fit it all into a certain timeline. Sometimes when you let things happen naturally and lean into your natural gifts – that’s where the magic happens.
What comes naturally to you? What are you interested in? And how can you get more involved in that both in person and virtually? It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) just about your music. Instead, focus on the things you’re feeling, going through and wanting to find your own community around. What if simply putting your most authentic self out there and sharing the things you hope to create a community around, did, in fact, open those doors?
What would that community look like?
Angela Tyler is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR securing placements on Forbes, Business Insider, Alternative Press, American Songwriter, PopWrapped, & more. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.