How to get into Ghostwriting

How to get into Ghostwriting

In the last week, I’ve had a couple of people ask me how they can get into ghostwriting.

I’ve shared a great deal about this in the past, but strategy and best practices have changed a little, so I figured it was high-time I offered a refreshed perspective on the work that has been a mainstay for me in the last seven years or so.

Here’s how to get into ghostwriting.

Publish on Medium

In the past, my advice would have been to start a blog. And while this is still sound advice, you’re bound to get more attention for your work on Medium.

You can get 30 views per day on your content on Medium almost instantaneously. If you erected a blog and published daily starting today, it could be months before you start to see 30 views per day, and it could even take over a year. The advantages of Medium, therefore, should be obvious.

Think of Medium as your portfolio. Publish your best work two to three times per week. Write on the topics you ultimately wish to be writing about.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get connected to work and topics you don’t know much about, and it doesn’t mean you won’t take on such work either. A ghostwriter has to get paid.

But your love for the craft of writing, editing, and research should be obvious in your work. Because prospects need to be able to see that you can do something they cannot, or at the very least, that you love the practice of writing great content more than they do.

Remember that writing great content is the baseline requirement to be at the table. And if you’re just getting started, sorry to say, you’re not great. Which is why you need to cut your teeth on Medium. The readers are discerning, and the stats are harsh. It will take a long time to see any traction. Can you endure this? If not, you are not made for ghostwriting.

Writing great content is the baseline requirement to be at the table. Click To Tweet

One more pro tip: Be sure to back up all your work to your hard drive. If Medium closes its doors one day, or if another more attractive platform comes along, you don’t want to lose any of your content and not be able to take it with you.

But rest assured you’re picking the right platform with Medium. Many top shelf writers agree – it’s the best opportunity available to bloggers right now.

Many top shelf writers agree – Medium is the best opportunity available to bloggers right now. Click To Tweet

Get Connected with Ghost Blog Writers

In 2012, I began working as an online marketer with a music industry startup, and a couple of my key responsibilities were blogging and social media. Make sense, since they tend to go hand in hand.

I made a lot of great connections in the music industry during that time, because I was proactive about commenting on people’s content.

Amid that, I got connected to the owner of Ghost Blog Writers, Dayne Shuda, through a mutual friend, Corey Koehler.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. But I continued to see Dayne’s daily updates on LinkedIn.

In summer 2013, the startup I was working for put the brakes on our marketing efforts, as we were having some issues with software development. So, my role was effectively put on hold.

That’s when I reached out to Dayne. And I ended up working with Ghost Blog Writers for the next six years.

Now, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Now that you know about Ghost Blog Writers, recognize that you’re probably not going to be the only one applying to work with them. Competition is a given.
  2. Ghost Blog Writers may start you off on a couple of easy assignments that don’t pay much. If you give up too early, you won’t be trusted with more lucrative work.
  3. If you don’t exercise the same determination I talked about with publishing on Medium, you will not succeed with Ghost Blog Writers or any other companies you choose to work with.

If nothing else, Dayne is a great guy and he can point you in the right direction, even if it’s just to one of the hundreds or thousands of blog posts he’s written.

Keep an Eye on the Pro Blogger Job Board

Darren Rowse of Pro Blogger was an early innovator in the world of blogging. He had – and still has – a lot of great ideas, and the Pro Blogger Job Board is one of them.

On the Job Board, you will find people looking for writers to work on their projects.

When you’re just getting started, you’re probably not going to be bum rushed with requests, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on job postings.

You may or may not find work this way, and I’m not suggesting you count on the Job Board to bring the bacon home. Because it may not.

That said, it’s still a good idea to make it a part of your daily rounds.

Offer Your Services on Upwork

Create an Upwork profile today. It can take a while to supply all the information requested and test your aptitudes, but the effort you put into this will ultimately pay off.

There is a near endless stream of work on Upwork. Not all of it is great. Not all of it pays a whole lot of money. But as a stop gap, it can come in incredibly handy.

Don’t wait around for someone to send work your way. Look at the types of jobs employers are posting and gather as much information as you can. You may be able to track down some missed or unfulfilled opportunities this way. You may be able to create your own!

Once you’re set up, as with the Pro Blogger Job Board, you can simply make Upwork a part of your daily rounds and pick and choose which work you’d like to take on.

Reach Out to Businesses That Don’t Have a Blog

This, in effect, is how I started blogging with the music industry startup mentioned earlier. I have told this story elsewhere, and there’s a little more to it than that (I also invested a sizable amount of money into the business), but suffice it to say, the right pitch will get you hired every time.

If a business does not have a blog, it’s usually for one of three reasons:

  1. They don’t know what the benefits of blogging are. They don’t know that they can rank for keywords, drive more traffic to their website, generate more leads, and encourage more sales from the simple act of blogging.
  2. They don’t have the time or money to blog.
  3. They don’t care about blogging as other advertising and marketing channels are doing just fine for them.

All three types of businesses are potential customers. It mostly comes down to the pitch and how you frame the value of blogging to them.

If you’re dealing with customer #1, you simply elaborate on the benefits of keywords, SEO, content marketing (throw a few buzzwords around) and show them examples of companies that already have blogs and are publishing regularly.

With customer #2, you just need to show them why they can’t afford not to blog, and volunteer to take on the work for them. Do it on the cheap or pro bono (more on this in a moment).

And with customer #3, you need to show them how you can complement their existing marketing channels with blogging. Give them examples of how you can tie in content with their ads.

Now, as a complete beginner, see if you can negotiate a small fee or work pro bono for a company that doesn’t have a blog. You need to polish your skills anyway, and the added pressure of being “under the gun” can help you refine in a hurry.

Sure, some will tell you “no,” but rejection exists in every freelancing or entrepreneurial endeavor. It’s par for the course. If you don’t love writing, and don’t want to keep pursuing it, you will give up. It’s as simple as that.

Final Thoughts

Get established, work hard, keep your deadlines, read lots, and keep improving. Keep your working relationships private. If you do, making a couple grand a month at ghostwriting will prove relatively easy.

In due course, you may be able to earn five-figures per month. But it’s a rare writer who does.

As a ghostwriter, you will rarely get credit for any of your work, and that is a bit of a downside, but it’s not impossible to begin building your own following as you are serving your clients, just as I’ve done.

Are you a writer? What has your experience of ghostwriting been like?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

My Best Articles from 2020

My Best Articles from 2020

In late December 2019/early 2020, I started reviving DavidAndrewWiebe.com.

It was never entirely “dead” per se. I continued to update it with my latest music and shows through the years. But something inspired me to pick up the slack and start building out the site again.

That is another story for another time, but suffice it to say, 2020 was a big year for my personal website and blog. Especially since I started publishing daily towards the end of July.

Here, I’d like to share what I think are my best articles from 2020.

What is a Personal Assistant?

Read What is a Personal Assistant?

Early year, I started receiving a variety of questions relating to entrepreneurship and business. So, I started answering them on my blog. If people were asking for it, then there must be a demand for it, or so I thought.

And with this article, I felt I was able to answer the questions thoroughly and concisely.

How to Generate More and Better Ideas

Read How to Generate More and Better Ideas

It’s not about how good ideas are. It’s about how well you execute against them.

This is true, and there’s no value in just being an idea person. At the same time, ideas can foster inspiration. And that can lead to breakthroughs in your work. So, you can’t underestimate the value of ideas. Just remember to store them or use them. Otherwise, they’re of little use.

Why You’re Not Achieving Your Goals

Read Why You’re Not Achieving Your Goals

A simple, concrete, hard look at why people don’t achieve their goals. Hint: It’s not because they didn’t set SMART goals.

First, you must set your goals. Second, your goals must be written down. Third, you need to create a strategy to accomplish your goals. And finally, you must action your strategy.

Have a read through the article for more detail.

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

Read Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose Book Notes

I do quite a bit of reading, and one of the ideas I was beginning to explore early year was publishing my book notes. Based on how this piece turned out, it makes me think I should do it more.

Killing Marketing was an interesting read. Mainly because I didn’t find much value in it until I reached the middle chapters. Which makes me glad that I started speeding through the introductory chapters to get to the better ones.

First Step to Building Excitement for Your Music Release – Issuing the Release

Read First Step to Building Excitement for Your Music Release – Issuing the Release

This post was an outgrowth of my interest in project management. And even though I’m not sure all musicians understand just how useful and powerful issuing their release is, if they want to learn the ins and outs, there’s always this article.

How to Make Viral TikTok Videos to Build Your Music Career

Read How to Make Viral TikTok Videos to Build Your Music Career

You’ll often find me experimenting with social media. That said, I rarely deviate from my core focus, and this year, that’s Medium, Twitter, and to a lesser extent, YouTube.

Still, I felt it important to cover this timely topic for musicians, especially while I was still publishing my experimental newsletter, Music Career Tips Weekly last year.

How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

Read How to Get Your Live Streaming Concert Game Down Pat

This was another timely piece aimed at musicians. Since the live music industry was (and continues to be) affected by COVID-19, I felt it important to highlight tactics musicians could action to grow their music career, even in 2020.

Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Musicians

Read Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Musicians

As creators we’re often quick to say, “the money doesn’t matter.” But when push comes to shove, we quickly come to the realization that making a living from our passion is not a sin.

Making a living from your passion is not a sin. Click To Tweet

In this guide, I share a simple, integrated way musicians can start making more money from activities they’re already engaged in.

You Were Only Ever Meant to be You

Read You Were Only Ever Meant to be You

In this short piece, I share a simple message on being your fully expressed, authentic self.

How to Create Systems as a Creative

Read How to Create Systems as a Creative

SYSTEM stands for “Save Your Self Time Energy and Money.” It’s a reality artists often aren’t too quick to embrace, but if they do, they’ll find themselves with more time, energy, and money to work on the things they care most about.

Alternative to Bandcamp, Nimbit & Gumroad?

Read Alternative to Bandcamp, Nimbit & Gumroad?

An article in which I highlight the value of Sellfy of which I am an affiliate. But honest to god, it’s an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for all creatives and creators.

How to Get a Booking Agent

Read How to Get a Booking Agent

After my podcast interview with Jack Forman of BiCoastal Productions, I put together this piece to highlight his and my perspective on getting a booking agent. It’s mostly written with musicians in mind, but even if you’re a dancer, actor, public speaker or otherwise, you will find this valuable.

4 Insidious Music Entrepreneur Myths Debunked

Read 4 Insidious Music Entrepreneur Myths Debunked

Here’s a post with a lot of attitude. I wanted to address some of the naysayers who don’t properly understand music entrepreneurship, which is exactly what I did in this popular piece.

Productivity in Music – Does it Matter?

Read Productivity in Music – Does it Matter?

At the time of its publishing, I boldly declared that this was the best piece I’d ever published on productivity. And you know what? I still stand by it!

Setting Goals for Your Music Career

Read Setting Goals for Your Music Career

A piece about the importance of setting big goals and how to make them a reality.

The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

Read The Shiny Object is Often Just a Distraction in Music Entrepreneurship

In this article, I share some of the most critical things a musician should know about money. These lessons were hard earned.

Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

Read Why I Don’t Think 1 Cent Per Stream on Spotify is Going to Save the Music Business

The title kind of says it all. But I cover several things that appear to be coming down the pike that creatives may not even be aware of.

Should I Start with a Single, EP, or Album for My First Release?

Read Should I Start with a Single, EP, or Album for My First Release?

There are certainly more than a few voices covering this topic. And opinions are quite diverse.

Here I share what I think is the best way for musicians to get started, because it creates more opportunity.

4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

Read 4 Myths That Stop Musicians from Building Their Team

I’m sure I’m not the only one that is sometimes stopped by the prospect of building a team. I’m a Sigma male through and through, and that goes a long way towards explaining my lone wolf tendencies. But I know I’m not alone.

This piece got quite a bit of traffic throughout 2020, and I think it’s a great tool for discovering where you might be stopped in collaboration and working with others.

The 4 Pillars of Success

Read The 4 Pillars of Success

This article will probably live on as an underrated, “oh that’s so obvious” kind of resource. But I still believe 100% it was divinely inspired. Spirit showed me what I didn’t understand about success. And I continue to return to these pillars when I feel lost.

Do Musicians Still Need a WordPress Site?

Read Do Musicians Still Need a WordPress Site?

This article is basically about sales funnels and tools you can use to build them. But the key takeaway here is threefold:

  1. Having a centralized website (funnel hub) that leads to all your funnels is still wise.
  2. Funnels don’t serve every type of customer. Some are even turned off by multi-step sales funnels that keep throwing more and more bonuses at them.
  3. Don’t just create funnels. Create products too. And sell them in a genuine, authentic, value-adding way.

What’s the Best Way to Get My Music Videos on Vevo?

Read What’s the Best Way to Get My Music Videos on Vevo?

Music videos aren’t just a great promotional tool. They can also help musician make money – directly, and indirectly.

Vevo is a well-recognized entity in the music video space, so it’s no surprise musicians want to know how to get their videos on Vevo.

YouTube Marketing for Musicians: An Up-to-Date Guide

Read YouTube Marketing for Musicians: An Up-to-Date Guide

I am sometimes asked what my best tips for YouTube are. I have a few channels with small, engaged followings, though I certainly wouldn’t say I’m the king of the Tube.

Still, my best advice for today is summed up in this guide, and it was inspired by people who are doing far better on YouTube than I am.

Getting Your Music Featured on Spotify Playlists

Read Getting Your Music Featured on Spotify Playlists

The mere mention of Spotify lights up musicians everywhere. And the fascination has a lot to do with widely publicized success stories (rare) and algorithmic exploitation (Spotify will be putting an end to that soon, if they haven’t already).

But getting playlisted is still worthwhile, and in this guide, I share some unconventional, outside the box techniques.

Making it to the Next Level

Read Making it to the Next Level

It’s human to want more. But the question that follows is, “how do I make it to the next level?” That’s what I elaborate on in this piece, from a spiritual perspective.

Stop Reinventing the Past

Read Stop Reinventing the Past

As creatives and creators, we tend to make ourselves look as good as we possibly can. We sugarcoat the past and glorify the present. Which is almost always coming from how we listen to others and wanting to look good or avoid looking bad.

I still contend that you can be successful in your chosen industry or niche by being fully authentic and genuine. There’s no need to constantly remind yourself of a horrific past, and the future is whatever you want it to be.

How to 4X Your Medium Traffic in 80 Days or Less

Read How to 4X Your Medium Traffic in 80 Days or Less

As noted earlier, Medium is a core part of how I’m building engagement right now. And in late October/early November, I started to see huge growth in traffic to my Medium articles. While this sudden surge didn’t last, I have held steady at about double the traffic I had before it happened.

So, in this article, I talk about several things you can do to grow your Medium traffic faster.

I’m Worried About Posting Too Often

Read I’m Worried About Posting Too Often

When I talk about publishing daily, inevitably there are those creatives and creators who feel like they would be overwhelming their friends, followers, or audience by posting so often.

Now, right now I can tell you that I probably tweet 30 to 40 times per day on Twitter. Not daily, but even on lesser days I probably tweet at least 10 times. So, that should tell you something.

Anyway, if you need a little perspective on this, have a read through this piece.

How I Accidentally Weaned Myself off Social Media

Read How I Accidentally Weaned Myself off Social Media

Now, in some ways this is the opposite of what I just said about posting more often. But the truth of the matter is that this is more a lesson in curating your social media feeds (a topic I promised to elaborate on in the future) than anything.

What’s the Best Funnel Builder?

Read What’s the Best Funnel Builder?

The best funnel builder, in my opinion, is the one that allows you to build an all-in-one website, membership site, course platform, forum, and more. Have a read through this article to find out what that is.

How Dare You Call Me “Unlimited”

Read How Dare You Call Me “Unlimited”

“How could you possibly say that I’m unlimited when everything is going wrong for me?”

It’s an odd question, and I’m not even sure it was sincere. But in this post, I look at how this is true, at least from a spiritual perspective.

Do You Still Make Music?

Read Do You Still Make Music?

Apparently, some people thought I was becoming all about my books. So, in this article, I wanted to address that.

But people found this commentary especially interesting. Maybe because it’s not the type of article you often see out there. Either way, that’s why I included it on this list.

Meditation – What Works for Me

Read Meditation – What Works for Me

Meditation became a major focal point for me, especially in the last few months of the year. So, I thought it prudent to cover my discoveries and thoughts on meditation at length.

The Mirror Principle

Read The Mirror Principle

The mirror principle is always at work. It’s the idea that our outer world is always a reflection of our inner world. Understanding this at a deeper level allows you to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.

A Powerful Morning Routine I Stumbled on

Read A Powerful Morning Routing I Stumbled on

Although it’s fair to say I don’t follow this routine to a tee anymore, I still live some variation thereof. I have found exercise, meditation, and reading to be valuable in any routine I live out.

5 Simple Habits to Support Your Creativity

Read 5 Simple Habits to Support Your Creativity

This one ended up becoming a bit of a favorite too. Maybe because it’s a listicle?

But honestly, there are some good tips here. Have a look for yourself.

How to Get Your Side Hustle off the Ground

Read How to Get Your Side Hustle off the Ground

It’s not as complicated as you might think, and in this article, I cover exactly what’s involved in starting your own digital side hustle for some extra dough.

Priority vs. Productivity – Which is More Important?

Read Priority vs. Productivity – Which is More Important?

It’s possible to get many things done in a day. But what’s the point? If you can’t answer that question, then all you’re doing is getting things done.

But if you prioritize and put first things first in your day, you will achieve more of what’s important to you.

How to Boost Your Creativity with a Journal

Read How to Boost Your Creativity with a Journal

There is more than one way to use a journal, and it can be a powerful tool for boosting your creativity too. Find out how.

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

Read 3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

When you become frustrated, it’s easy to stay frustrated. So, how do you get out of that harmful, unproductive cycle? That’s what I look at in this piece.

Why Blog? Here Are My 31 Reasons

Read Why Blog? Here Are My 31 Reasons

Seeing as how I publish daily this question is sure to come up sooner or later. I thought I would address it early.

How to Create an Irresistible Offer

Read How to Create an Irresistible Offer

There are offers and then there are irresistible offers. In this post, I cover several ideas that will help you make your offer more attractive to your audience.

7 Recommended Books for Self-Improvement

Read 7 Recommended Books for Self-Improvement

Self-improvement is an area I’ve been focused on since 2009. Naturally, I’ve read my share of books. In this post, I cover what I think are some of the better ones.

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

Read How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

Something virtually every creative wants to know. Maybe some of my tips will help?

Final Thoughts

When I started rebuilding my website in 2020, I had no idea what it would grow into. But as I started gaining clarity and momentum, it became more obvious. And you can see from the about page as well as the projects page that I’ve been able to fill in the blanks along the way.

I’m excited for what 2021 holds, and the ways in which the site will continue to grow.

Which article was your favorite? What would you like to read more about?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

221 – Stay Encouraged, Stay Inspired

221 – Stay Encouraged, Stay Inspired

Things have been kind of interesting as of late. But that doesn’t mean you should feel down and like it’s all coming to an end.

If you’re feeling discouraged or unmotivated right now, have a listen to this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast to get pumped up!

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:17 – David’s purpose
  • 01:57 – Interrupting the current series
  • 02:50 – There has never been a better time to express yourself creatively
  • 03:59 – Don’t be a lone wolf
  • 04:56 – Concluding thoughts

Transcription:

Hey, what’s up. It’s David Andrew Wiebe. Thanks for joining me.

This episode is completely unscripted. I just want to be real with you today that I am feeling exhausted. I’m feeling tired. And as a result, this episode’s going to be going out late. I just haven’t quite gotten the sleep that I’ve needed lately.

Although last night, I had a great sleep and a nice little dream as well. So, let’s hope that continues. But today, I’m just not feeling it. And that’s okay. There are days like that.

When I have days like that, I just go back to my purpose and my mission. The number one thing for me, especially lately, it’s become clear, is to inspire creatives and creators. If I’m not doing that, then it’s kind of all for naught. That’s where everything stems from. That’s the umbrella under which I create. That’s why I do podcasts like this. That’s why I blog every day.

If you didn’t know I did, I’m blogging over at DavidAndrewWiebe.com. You’re welcome to check that out. That’s where some of the action is happening. I’ll probably talk more about where some of the action with the community is happening but I will say this, that there’s been so much support and so much engagement and so many more people that seem to care about what I’m up to, what I’m sharing.

It’s not about me. it is fundamentally about you. And again, that’s why I’m showing up today, because I want you to be encouraged. I want you to be inspired and maybe even empowered. That’s why we talk about tactics and strategies and tools and things like that.

I’m interrupting a series on what to do with your music in 2021. I’m sure we’ll get back to that soon enough. It’s a multi part series. There may even be a few interviews coming up that sort of interrupt the flow of that.

I actually need a little more time to think on part three, though, to be honest. I just wasn’t feeling like I could go ahead and script that entire thing today. After doing episode two or part two, rather, I realized that there were more tools to share about. And then, I promptly forgot them.

This is kind of rare for me. But based on how tired and exhausted I’ve been feeling, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that whatever is in my head and not written down, I forget. I always try to write down everything I can.

The main thing I wanted to share with you to encourage you and to inspire you today is there has never been a better time for you to fully express your thoughts, your feelings, and whatever it is that you want to do musically. I even talked about that in part one of what to do with your music in 2021.

But I’m telling you, no matter how weird things get out there, and I understand, trust me, I know how weird things are getting out there, there’s still has never been a better time for you to be fully expressed in your music and in your own personal expression in your relationships and your life. Because that’s what it means to be a leader. A leader is somebody who is fully self-expressed.

Whatever you’re afraid of is 10 times more afraid of you than you are of it. That’s just the way it is. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. You don’t have to give in to the false evidence.

We could all just sit here and shake in our boots, but I’m telling you, right now is the right time to connect. Stop isolating, trying to be a lone wolf. Instead, come and join the action.

Come and join the action on Twitter. If you haven’t found me yet, I’m twitter.com/DavidAWiebe or @DavidAWiebe, if you will.

And some of the other action’s happening on Medium. I’m also DavidAWiebe on Medium. I believe the address there is DavidAWiebe.medium.com. So, don’t be a lone wolf right now. Come and join the community. Come and join the action. Be a part of the conversation.

It’s okay if we don’t see eye to eye on everything. That’s not what humanity is about. It’s about appreciating the differences that we have and valuing each other regardless of how differently we see things.

Thanks for joining me today. I look forward to sharing more with you on what to do with your music in 2021. This was just a quick recording and a brief message for you, a message of encouragement and inspiration that you can be you authentically and fully. Thanks for joining me.

5 Books I Read in 2020 That Made a Difference

5 Books I Read in 2020 That Made a Difference

If there’s something you want to learn, there are few activities as valuable as reading books.

Authors often share their best ideas and tips in their books. And considering you can get most books for about $20; you’d be hard pressed to find a more valuable resource.

Here I share five books that made a difference for me in 2020.

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose

Killing Marketing book

Joe Pulizzi is the author of Content Inc., one of my favorite business books. And Robert Rose, of course, has a long history with Joe Pulizzi, especially at Content Marketing Institute and with the PNR with This Old Marketing podcast.

And then you have the two teaming up to write a book. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, as I shared in my book notes on Killing Marketing about a year ago, the first few chapters seem to waffle endlessly on what is bound to be a forgone conclusion for forward thinking marketers. Pulizzi and Rose were clearly writing to traditional marketers who have yet to understand or embrace digital best practices.

The middle chapters are where the book delivered a goldmine of proven strategies, tactics, and ideas one could apply to their enterprise, or even their small independent business. From revenue streams to qualities that make an e-newsletter successful, there were multiple gems worth mining for. I just wish the book focused primarily on these, but as they say, the best part of a book is usually about an hour into it.

Killing Marketing (affiliate link) alerted me to aspects of digital monetization and marketing best practices I wasn’t even aware of. And it reminded me of key takeaways I already knew. I experimented with an e-newsletter in 2020, and my discoveries in this book served as the guiding light.

No B.S. Business Success in the New Economy by Dan S. Kennedy

No B.S. Business Success in the New Economy by Dan S. Kennedy

It’s because of No B.S. Business Success in the New Economy that I no longer judge Dan Kennedy books by their title or cover. This book is a veritable goldmine for entrepreneurs and independent creators, even though Kennedy’s target audience is primarily professionals.

What does it take to succeed in business? What is the mindset required? How should you think about relationships and connections as applied to ambition? How do you structure your inner circle? This book will answer every question posed and more.

About the only downside I can think of is that I wish I wrote the book. Because it will leave you feeling empowered and better equipped to handle any challenges that come your way.

No B.S. Business Success in the New Economy (affiliate link) should be on the bookshelf of any ambitious creative or creator and it should be devoured from cover to cover more than once.

Speak to Sell by Dan S. Kennedy

Speak to Sell by Dan S. Kennedy

You should only open your mouth when you are ready to sell.

You should only open your mouth when you are ready to sell. Click To Tweet

If I were to sum up legendary marketer Dan Kennedy’s Speak to Sell in a sentence, the above would be it.

This is not a how-to book. Kennedy doesn’t tell you how you can turn every presentation, radio interview, podcast interview, webinar, or otherwise into a money-making opportunity. But he tells you why you should approach every engagement that way.

When you understand just how disciplined Kennedy is about his work, and the lengths he will go to protect his personal productivity, it shines light on why Kennedy has always approached the opportunity to speak in this manner. He is always looking to maximize results from every effort, and he puts lesser entrepreneurs to shame with his work ethic and vigilance.

From Speak to Sell (affiliate link), I understood that there must be a purpose behind every public message you share. If there isn’t, you’re just speaking. But when you are clear on your intention, you are speaking to sell.

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons

Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons

Kennedy’s Speak to Sell soon led me to Gene Simmons’ Sex Money Kiss. And it wasn’t long before I saw just how philosophically aligned the two are.

I don’t think any musician or creative can come away from Sex Money Kiss uninspired. When you understand that Gene Simmons considers himself lucky that he gets to make money at something he loves, and when he was first getting started, he was happy to be able to do it on evenings and weekends, you see that he’s far more pragmatic than he’s often given credit for.

Sex Money Kiss is not in the voice of a Rockstar who has conquered sexual and musical mountains. It’s in the voice of a caring father who wants to pass on his best advice about life. And there is far more content in the book than most readers would even suspect. Simmons puts some professional authors to complete shame (I read my share of awful books this year too, and one specifically was by a well-known marketer).

Simmons’ relationship and marital advice will be shirked by some readers. But Simmons is about the only figure who will help you understand that every decision you make is a monetary decision and that perspective is as valuable as it is rare.

Sex Money Kiss (affiliate link) reignited my passion. And it helped me see the world from a different perspective. It offered practical advice on how to structure my days and weeks. It helped me to see the financial implications of every decision I make, including relationship decisions.

Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson

Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson

Russell Brunson is infamous in the digital marketing world – for good reasons, and for not so good reasons.

But if you had read some of his earlier works, and thought to yourself, as I had, whether this man would ever find his stride as an authority, Traffic Secrets banishes any doubt from your mind.

Brunson makes a bold move here, as he now has in his catalog a book that will need to be updated at least every two to three years, as it specifically mentions platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Google, and so on.

If 2021 so far is any indication, there could be some massive upheaval in the social media space. Though I will withhold any specific comments as to what I see coming.

Regardless, Brunson is smart in clarifying that a) there are many sources of traffic available, b) traffic is platform driven, c) how we use these platforms is based on what’s working now (algorithm dependent), and d) you only need to focus on one channel to make seven-figures in your business. At the end of the book, he notes publishing daily and developing your Dream 100 connections is enough to cross that threshold.

After reading Traffic Secrets, you will get that if you’re engaged in digital marketing, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You can pick a suitable platform (based on your audience and the type of content you’re creating), learn its ins and outs, emulate people who are more successful than you are, and with persistence find traction on your chosen channel.

If you thought it was all upsides, I will say this – I kind of wish Brunson read my writing tips. There are some things about the way he writes that drives me insane. And that’s coming from someone who also doesn’t follow the rules 100% of the time.

With Traffic Secrets (affiliate link), I’ve been able to take my Medium, Twitter, and YouTube game to the next level. And those are the platforms I intend to focus on in 2021. If anything, I’m doing more with Medium and Twitter than YouTube.

Final Thoughts

My reading habit was on the uptick in 2020. But I’m looking forward to reading and discovering many more great books in 2021.

What will you be reading in 2021?

Do you have any recommended books?

Leave a comment and let me know.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

How Content Marketing Works for Creatives

How Content Marketing Works for Creatives

There are different ways to promote your works.

But I don’t know of one artist who doesn’t need to promote their works, even if it’s just starting a mass movement among fans.

Content marketing is largely considered the “modern” way in the business world and it can be incredibly effective. But why is that? And can it work for creatives too?

How You View Content Marketing Shapes Everything

It has been my observation that some creatives don’t even like the term “content” let alone “marketing.”

If that’s where you get stuck, then rest assured no progress will be made, and you will not effort to understand content marketing let alone recognize its benefits, utilize, and profit from it (“profit” being another term that could leave a creative feeling uncomfortable). Perhaps it would be best to pursue other channels.

To tackle this mindset issue, though, it’s important to understand a few things:

  • Important ideas, through the ages, have been shared in the written word. If it was written before the printing press, and it has survived, it was clearly an idea worth keeping and spreading. Although I do not take it for granted that your content marketing efforts will land in the domain of blog posts, articles, or more generally the written word, the point is that content marketing is the sharing of ideas and knowledge.
  • Content marketing isn’t new. If you’ve ever engaged with a piece of direct mail, a newsletter, a magazine, or otherwise, you were the willing participant in content marketing, which predates the internet.
  • Content marketing is honest. It begins with relating to your target audience. Sharing about yourself, building rapport and trust. Talking about things that matter to your customer. Sharing valuable information that benefits their lives. Then, and only then, do you ask for their contact information, and eventually, the sale.

There are more points I could offer to convince you, but both you and I know you will not be sold on anything you don’t have an open mind about.

You will not be sold on anything you don't have an open mind about. Click To Tweet

So, I leave the rest in your capable hands, to do your research and to come up with your own conclusions.

What can Content Marketing do for Me?

People sometimes ask how it is that I drive traffic to Music Entrepreneur HQ or sell my books. And though some find it hard to believe, most of it was built on the back of content marketing in the form of blog posts, infographics, podcast episodes, and videos.

I’ve experimented with advertising, sure, and have done my share of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work too. Although, let’s be honest – much of SEO is predicated on the publishing of fresh content.

If this is still a little abstract for you, then have a look at how Music Entrepreneur HQ has done traffic wise in the last 30 days or so:

Content marketing traffic

Sure, there was a rather obvious dip during the holiday season, but most days the traffic holds at 300+ visits per day, and even exceeds 400 some days. And this is largely based on work already done, not on the back of fresh content. Generally, I only publish once per week on Music Entrepreneur HQ these days.

If you don’t understand what 400 visits per day (or even just 200 visits per day) could do for you and your art, then I’m not sure I can help.

Why Content Marketing?

I saw others succeed with it. So, I thought to myself – “why not me?”

In 2007, I learned that Steve Pavlina had built an entire income on the back of blogging (no advertising). And in ensuing years, I learned about the likes of Darren Rowse, Pat Flynn, James Schramko, and many others who’d done amazing things with content.

I think what cemented it all for me was my reading of Content Inc. (affiliate link) by Joe Pulizzi, which still stands as one of my favorite business books. I was already knee deep into content marketing when I had read the book, but reading it made me present to the fact that the opportunity was even greater than I first thought it was.

Now, there are plenty of extraordinary claims about content marketing if you go looking for them. But I wouldn’t get too caught up in those, unless they offer actionable tips to help you improve your content. Generally, there are no shortcuts to success.

But if you stay consistent, continually improve, and publish on a set schedule, you will see results in six to 12 months.

This is exactly what many creatives don’t do, as they start and stop, and sometimes stop altogether after publishing once or twice.

It’s rare that anything works as rapidly as we wish it would, and if not done in a strategic way, content marketing will a) not work, b) attract the wrong audience, c) not build an audience whatsoever, d) disappoint people who started following you, e) not make you any money, or f) some or all the above.

Trust me, I know. I have made most mistakes you could name.

How to Make Content Marketing Work for You

You share your work, and people become interested in it. And that builds an audience. That’s the essence of content marketing.

If people don’t know who you are or what you do, it makes it much harder to gain them as subscribers or customers.

And that’s the “why” of content marketing, which is more important than the “how.”

But in this section, I offer some tips on how to execute.

Talk About What Your Audience is Interested in

If I’m starting to sound like a broken record, then remember that reinforcement comes through repetition.

Reinforcement comes through repetition. Click To Tweet

Learn as much as you can about your audience. Keep notes on them. And be sure to talk about them as well as their interests in your content.

And be sure to share about yourself. Each insignificant detail matters (e.g., “I’m married and have two kids,” or “I was in the Girl Scouts”) as there will always be someone in your audience who can relate to it.

If you have been reading my works for any length of time, then you will know that I am fluent in Japanese, as I grew up in Japan!

Pick a Channel & Stick with it

I plan to elaborate on this in a future blog post, but the key here is to choose from blogging, podcasting, or video and stick with one channel until you find success. Branching out is unnecessary, and marketer Russell Brunson even says you can make up to seven-figures by focusing on publishing to one channel. Which is probably more than most creatives even aspire to.

If you’re going to blog, Medium is the best place to be.

If you’re going to podcast, check out Anchor.

And if you’re going to run with video, you might assume YouTube is the best place to be, but you might try a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn instead, where video tends to stand out a little more. And you can always distribute or syndicate your content across multiple sites using a tool like Repurpose (affiliate link).

(By the way, any content you create should be backed up to your hard drive. You never know when these platforms could change or disappear completely, and I don’t advise building entirely on rented land.)

Based on my experience, I can only recommend blogging or video though. Podcasting tends to be an uphill climb to the tune of at least five years. I have been podcasting for over 11 years and haven’t even come close to my listenership goals (might be time to take my own advice and leave the “loser” behind).

Use Noah Kagan’s Law of 100 to determine whether you enjoy and get results from your chosen channel. Or, if you’re more daring, try publishing daily for a full year and see where it takes you.

Stay Consistent

I’m not asking you to be a robot or to do this perfectly. I’m just asking you to be consistent. Because content marketing, by definition, is the ongoing creation and publishing of valuable content.

Content marketing, by definition, is the ongoing creation and publishing of valuable content. Click To Tweet

I know ambitious people who started out with the best of intentions and still missed some days or weeks.

With my podcasting efforts, I usually end up publishing 48 episodes per year instead of the anticipated 52.

But when and where possible, be programmatic in your publishing. If you’ve chosen Sunday at 7:52 AM as the day and time your content goes live, then keep publishing weekly on Sunday at 7:52 AM.

If you don’t do it, it will not work. But if you keep showing up, you will reap the benefits.

If you don’t do it, it will not work. But if you keep showing up, you will reap the benefits. Click To Tweet

Iterate

The more and longer you do content marketing, the more useful data you will have ready at your fingertips.

You’ll write pieces that you think should do well, that end up bombing.

And you’ll write pieces that you think are obvious nonsense but end up exploding.

The trick is to keep improving. Practice Kaizen – gradual improvement.

Keep an eye on the stats and figure out what’s working. Do more of it. And try to do less of what isn’t working.

Sometimes you will create simply because you feel like creating. Trust me, with thousands of pieces published online, I’ve been there.

But as I said, strategy is par for the course. Content marketing doesn’t work without strategy. Find and use whatever feedback mechanisms necessary to keep iterating and adjusting course, as necessary.

Don’t Worry About Search Engine Traffic

Don’t buy too heavily into tails of ranking in search and winning the instant traffic lottery. Yes, this is still possible, but unless you’re paying $99 monthly for a tool like Ahrefs, doing your keyword research and have a backlinking strategy, I can almost assuredly say this is a race to the bottom. Because SEO is a skill like anything else, and it’s tough to learn while you’re still learning how to create great content, which should be your initial focus.

In time, you will get search engine traffic. There are a variety of reasons why this is true, including the fact that you will begin to rank higher for your name, your projects, your poems or lyrics, your photos, or otherwise. In short, this goes a long way towards exposing why coining your own terms is a good idea.

And you will also be able to tap into organic sources of traffic like social media. To me, social media is mostly pointless without a content strategy though. Because otherwise, what do you have to share?

As you grow your email list, you’ll also be able to share your content with your subscribers and continue to build a relationship with them.

So, again, traffic will build with a lot of patience and tenacity. And it will come from various sources. But don’t count on it. Don’t write for search engines. Just make things that are interesting to you and your audience.

Have Fun with it

Content marketing, as with anything else, can become a bit of a grind given time. So, if you’re not having fun with it, it probably isn’t worth doing.

As an artist, you know as well as I do that people sniff you out if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing. Why stick to anything you don’t have much enthusiasm for?

It seems to fly in the face of strategy, but this is mostly how I decide in what to engage in. Will I make a video about my blog posts? Only if I think it’s going to be fun!

Get used to thinking long-term because instant gratification with content marketing is rare. Focus on having fun, and the journey will prove more rewarding and you’ll stick with it for longer too. And it takes sticking with it to see any results.

Content Marketing, Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, content marketing doesn’t work all that differently for creatives than it does for anyone else.

What’s important to understand is its purpose. If you are unclear as to why you would do it to begin with, then there is no point in starting.

Content marketing adds value to your audience. And people who like what you’ve shared are more likely to become an email subscriber. An email subscriber is more likely to become a buyer. That’s what’s at the core of it.

Do you use content marketing to build awareness for your art? How have you utilized content marketing to benefit you?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.