I’d like to share with you, a little experience I had earlier this week. It highlights an important part of your creative work. Parts of it may surprise you.
I was in a Facebook trance. My thumb was flicking through my algorithmic news feed. Swiftly my eyes widened. I was smiling with excitement. A close friend of mine was finally performing online!! I knew that no matter what, I was going to watch his recital.
This is only the third time I have got excited about a streamed event. How many times have you got excited about a streamed event? To the point that you are willing to plan around it.
To have that reaction with someone takes some feat.
Did he make a fancy video? Clever copy? Exquisite images?
How did he achieve such a powerful reaction?
It wasn’t the post. It’s the relationship I have with Tim that created that powerful response. It’s the friendship that has developed over many years. I will support Tim and his music-making in whatever way I can. Now that is something.
Imagine having 10 people that are willing to support your creativity every step of the way. What would you be free to do? What projects would you create? What recitals would you perform?
When you have that level of support, you start to have a degree of artistic freedom. You are no longer reliant on other people booking you. Or filling out funding applications for projects. You can have some self-control over your performance career.
Let’s explore how you can start to do this today!
A Journey To Build Relationships
This kind of relationship takes time to build. No quick instant fixes. You’re in it for the long haul. That’s why it’s important, to be honest, and genuine. Your engagement will then boost your energy and confidence.
It’s a journey that someone chooses to take with you. There are different stages people take to being a committed supporter of yours. Examples of this journey are:
In Pat Flynn’s book ‘Superfans’ he maps out the journey like this:
Casual Audience – Active Fan – Connected – Super Fan
A high percentage of your audience will be casual. But you can offer opportunities for your audience to develop into “Super Fans”.
Another example of this journey is from Ari Herstand’s book How To Make It In The New Music Business. The flow of engagement starts with Likes, then onto Passive Followers, Active Followers, Passive Email Subscribers, Active Email Subscribers, Street Teamers and Mom.
‘Mom’ refers to your audience knowing you as your mum does!
They are both neatly constructed journeys. As with most things, it may be a bit messier in the real world. For example, I reacted with a ‘Like’ for Tim’s post. I feel like I’m on the upper end of the audience journey. But I haven’t experienced the bit in between. I do know there is a journey of some kind.
How Can You Start This Journey With Your Audience?
Give them the option to follow or subscribe. Whether that is a Facebook page, email subscription, blog subscription, youtube subscription or podcast follow. Now your follower will receive notifications of your new work. You have a direct line of communication with them. Now familiarity with your creative work can take place.
Help your audience without any expectation of return. If you know your content is going to help your audience, share it. Be careful, I’m not saying you have to make everything you do free. If you have insights about a piece your audience loves, then share about it in a blog, email, video or podcast. If you can help someone in a small way, they will feel more connected to you.
Give your audience the possibility to talk to you. Whether that is commenting on a post. Or Allowing comments on your blog or youtube video. Direct messaging. Or opening a room on Club House with you. Having a direct conversation helps build rapport. It strengthens the link from being a follower or a subscriber.
I like Brian Fanzo’s description of this in a podcast – “SHOW YOU CARE!”
- Follower – wants to learn more about you
- Fan – believes they can have a conversation with you
As some of you may know, I am also a huge fan of the cellist Gary Hoffman. I signed up for a Zoom Q&A with him last summer. I submitted my question in advance, and I was starstruck when he answered one of my questions. My connection with his work now feels even stronger.
Who are you a huge fan of? How did you become a fan of theirs?
Relationships trump fancy copy, video and graphics. If someone loves what you do and they know they are going to love it again, they will support you. Building relationships is key to being able to do this. It is a journey of giving, listening and talking. Because of this, it’s important to be genuine and honest at all times. Now the journey can enhance your energy rather than drain you. Give people the option to hear from you directly. Or at least have a notification of your next piece of work. Share how you can help your audience. Then help your audience to experience this.
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