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What is content marketing and how can you use it as a musician or creator?

Content marketing has gone a long way since Bill Gates coined the term “Content is King” back in 1996. This only re-affirms the fact that visionaries in all spaces have long since asserted the importance of content in the digital sphere. And, whether you like it or not, quality content is part and parcel of being a musician in the 2020s.

But how do you stand out from the millions of musicians out there who are using content and social media platforms in the hopes of building a following? Let’s find out.

What is Content Marketing, anyway?

Content marketing is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s the use of visual, written or audio content to engage a pre-existing audience and reach new audiences. 

The key thing is quality over quantity. Nowadays, online audiences are used to quality content. Low-quality content (such as grainy or low res photos) just won’t cut it anymore. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend tonnes of money on professional videographers and photographers; most of the time, creativity goes a long way in creating something that’s equal parts innovative and entertaining.

Content marketing means that instead of telling your fans, “Hey, please buy my album”, you post some cool visuals and tease your album. Instead of constantly begging for attention, you should think about how you can instil a sense of curiosity in your audience, which, in turn, directs them to your online store via our smart link. 

Traditional Marketing vs Content Marketing

Social media has rapidly changed the way artists and their teams market music. Sure – traditional media platforms still work if you’re signed with a label that’s ready to spend tonnes on TV slots and billboards in Times Square. It’s important to note that, while majors and established artists are still using these traditional outlets, they’re using them alongside digital and content marketing, re-asserting the importance of the latter.

For those of us who are still dipping our toes into the murky waters of the music industry, content marketing is even more effective than wasting money on PR agencies and newspaper ads. The extent of your content strategy’s success depends on you, your brand and your creativity. 

Content Marketing Cycle

Content marketing is a simple, 4-step cycle.

The first step is Brand Awareness. Music fans may be looking for their next favourite band, but they might not have heard of you yet. Creating a sense of heightened awareness around your brand is necessary for people to discover you. 

Next comes research. The consumer becomes aware of this need, and they scour the internet to discover the band that will satisfy their needs. This is where relevant and quality content comes in.

Now that the consumer has several options, they start to consider whose album or merch they’re going to invest in. Differentiating yourself and creating fan-artist moments are key when it comes to this stage – the aptly named consideration stage. 

Finally, the consumer picks their favourite artist out of the lot and starts purchasing their merch, tickets, albums etc. 

The plethora of online platforms in existence means that content can take various forms, including Youtube videos, podcasts, blog posts on the official artist website, TikTok videos, tweets, Insta Reels and so on. Therefore, you can pick and choose the ones that appeal most to you and your brand. 

Consistency, Relevance & Value

In a virtual world that’s already over-saturated with content, consistency is key to ensure that you stay in front of people’s eyes. You don’t need to slave away at writing and releasing a bunch of songs every single week. A daily tweet or Instagram Story can still go a long way when it comes to keeping your audience engaged. 

Relevancy relates to current trends in the music industry and the world at large. This does not necessarily mean “selling out” or “jumping on the bandwagon”. It simply means putting your spin on a trend. This can be something as simple as doing your cover of a song that’s going viral on TikTok. Relevance also relates to adding relevant calls to action. Make sure that most of the content you release has a purpose, whether that’s encouraging your fans to tag their friends, or creating an Instagram competition and directing people to your merch store.  

Many a time, quality trumps quantity. As we’ve already iterated a couple of times in this article, quality ensures that you keep your audience wanting more. Quality visual content does not necessarily mean that your social media followers will listen and like your music. If your music isn’t good, chances are you won’t move the needle much when it comes to gaining real fans. Keep in mind that long-term engagement is better than being a one-hit-wonder.

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

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