Want to build a fanbase? Here’s a basic framework

One of the main things independent musicians struggle with is where to start in building a fanbase.

When you’re signed to a label, that’s kind of their job.

But when you’re on your own…it’s all in your hands.

Do you gig? Use YouTube? Livestream on Facebook? Continuously add to stories on Snapchat?

It can be really overwhelming, with all the myriad things you could do.

But these are just tools.

Before you decide on which is best for the job, you need to step back and consider what job you are trying to do; what is your overall plan?

Here’s a very basic framework for independent musicians (applicable to artists, musicians and songwriters):

  1. Every time you do something that other people can consume, you are making content.
  2. Your content should work for you ongoing; this week, next month – even when you are asleep
    (e.g. if you play a live gig, that’s content, but if you don’t record it to leverage ongoing in the future, it’s a missed opportunity)
  3. All your freely available content should be focused on one thing; building your email list
    (e.g. sending people from your YouTube videos to sign up to your mailing list)
  4. You should use your mailing list as the core tool to build an ongoing and deepening relationship with your list members so that they become real fans of your work
  5. Once people are fans of your work…sell them stuff 🙂
  6. Optimise each step (i.e. improve quality of results, by tweaking and refining each stage)
  7. Scale (i.e. grow the quantity!)

And that’s it, in a nutshell.

Once you’ve really bedded that into your thinking, then it’s time to drill down to the specific tactics, and the ideal tools, to achieve each stage.

But if you just go rushing out, using random tools with no overall, focused plan, you’ll get very limited results.

And that will get pretty demoralising pretty fast!