It was 1994. I was sitting on an indestructible brown plastic chair. In a room, I’d never been in before. Eight of us. Eager. Excited. Nervous.
We each had one in case. I was warned how fragile it was. The slightest knock could shatter it.
The signal was given. Kneeling down I tentatively opened the case. I glimpsed a golden burnished red colour. This was where it started.
The first token banked and Invested.
In last week’s email. I talked about how your content can help you become known. I mention that you are playing the long game.
What’s significant about the long game? It can help you be the musician who can continue to perform when the next big storm comes along.
You can begin to achieve through using your secret weapon.
Your Secret Weapon
I’m still amazed at how many classical musicians who want to build an audience don’t show up consistently. Think about it from a fan’s point of view. It’s like tuning in to watch Line Of Duty finding that some weeks there’s an episode and other weeks there isn’t. They’d find it deeply frustrating. It will then lead them to move on to become a fan of a different program instead.
(What did you think of the final episode? I felt a bit underwhelmed by it.)
Time for example, when you subscribe to this weekly email you will always receive it on a Sunday at 8.30am. By now some of you will know that this happens. If you’re a new subscriber, welcome!
Through me showing up each week, trust starts to build up. You know I am here for you. I have your back. It’s a real privilege to be able to talk to.
For you, consistency is your best secret weapon. When you:
- Show up
You signal to your current audience that you are there for them. This makes you more desirable for your potential audience as well. You show you are committed to your creativity and to sharing it. The more you do it, the more you’ll have.
Let’s look at Trevor Young’s list for building an audience. You want to be:
- Front of mind
- Talked about in a positive way
Each time you show up to your audience you are banking another coin. Each coin helps you to achieve this list.
Do this over a long period and something awesome happens. But does this mean continuous big action?
Mountains Or Hills?
Most of what we see publicised are usually centred around a major event. From gigs, awards or new jobs. But behind all the big news is a series of small steps. It’s these that make the biggest difference over time.
Why? Because the impact each small action takes compounds to have a greater effect. Individually it may not look like much.
Take a small damp patch on a wall as an example. Tiny. Almost insignificant. 1 year later and it’s a big grey-brown patch. Each time it rained more water leaked into the wall. At first, it didn’t seem like anything drastic. But now the wall needs major work.
When you consistently show up to your audience. Once a day in some shape or form. You will then bank 365 days of trust.
The longer you do this, the trust compounds. You are seen as a safe pair of hands. You can do this through short-form posts on social media for example.
This is what I am currently doing on my Facebook Page and Linked In. I’m beginning to see the results. More conversations. More referrals.
If you choose to not take that action it either keeps where you are or reduces what you’ve already built up.
Prepared For The Next Storm
There will be more storms ahead. When you’ve invested consistently over a long period you will have people that:
- trust you
- like you
- will be willing to support you.
The Benedetti Foundation had built a lot of trust with their in-person educational events. When they moved everything online their audience trusted them and followed them. The foundation was known, liked, trusted, front of mind and talked about positively. This would have been a lot harder had they started from scratch last year.
Musicians that have done well from live streams had already banked those trust tokens over many years. They had people ready to support and listen to their recitals.
This is what you can create for yourself.
Small Positive Action x Consistency = Greater Impact
This greater impact wants to help your audience to:
- Know you.
- Like you.
- Trust you.
- Have you front of mind.
- Talk about you in a positive way.
It may seem small. Almost insignificant. But over time that impact increases.
At the beginning of this article, I told you about my very first cello lesson. That moment was a crucial action I invested in. It led me to join Brighton Youth Orchestra, gaining a scholarship to music college, studying with Sue Lowe, teaching at Junior Trinity, performing live streams and writing to you now.
You’ve done it as well. Now it’s time to do the same when building your audience.
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