Create a Following, Not Traffic

Create a Following, Not Traffic

At the risk of offending someone, let me say it like it is…

“Generating traffic” is a gigantic waste of time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that you need eyeballs on your articles, eBooks, courses, or whatever you might be shilling.

But if you approach the problem the wrong way, and build your business on shaky foundations, you will suffer the consequences sooner or later.

I’ve seen it, and it gets ugly fast. You don’t want to end up there.

So, here’s the problem and the solution.

The Problem with “Generating Traffic”

If your business revolves around driving traffic, then here are some of the problems you’re sure to encounter:

Tunnel Vision

It would be in any creator’s best interest to create traffic from one channel before worrying about adding more.

Most experts, even your online heroes, generally aren’t good at more than one or two channels.

Seth Godin? Blogging.

John Lee Dumas? Podcasting.

Ralph Smart? YouTube.

Take them out of their element, and they do not command the same authority.

Most businesses get their traffic from content / SEO first and social media second. So, it’s very easy to conclude that publishing like crazy is the answer.

But any chucklehead can now generate half-baked AI content and post it all day long…

And that’s what you’re competing with now.

Getting too focused on one channel to the detriment of all others is single-source dependency at its worst.

Getting too focused on one channel to the detriment of all others is single-source dependency at its worst. Share on X

You need at least one backup channel should one fail you. And remember – one or more channels will fail you eventually.

The same can be said for monetization. Many businesses rely heavily on advertising and affiliate marketing (how many times have these revenue streams been impacted by changes from high up?) and haven’t built other revenue streams.

Complete Lack of Relationship Building and Audience Nurturing

When you’re focused on “traffic,” you’re focused on numbers.

300 visits today. 100 visits tomorrow. 400 visits the next day. And so on.

And the thing we forget is that there are real people behind these numbers.

I’m preaching to myself as much as anyone else when I say this, but:

If you don’t take the time to build relationships, nurture your audience, and genuinely care about the people you’re serving…

Your precious “traffic” will start looking for alternatives. People have too many choices nowadays.

Author Dan Kennedy says the greatest sin in marketing is being boring.

So, in your audience nurturing efforts, you can’t afford to be sending nothing but “Hey, there’s a new post on Conceited Guru Self Aggrandizing Fest .com). You’ve got to mix things up and keep it interesting!

And if you don’t have a passion for the audience you’re serving, please, do us all a favor and find yourself another business.

I know it’s hard to start over but understand that there are plenty of people who are more than deserving of the spotlight and have a genuine passion for the niche waiting in line to be noticed.

No Intent

You can create content around every relevant keyword under the sun.

The question you’ve still got to ask yourself is…

Is there any business value in the keywords you’re targeting?

Is there any business value in the keywords you’re targeting? Share on X

Some business owners I know gave up on the idea that the audience they’re targeting would ever respond to aggressive call to actions, so they’re perfectly content driving people to their site that may or may not take any action.

And when I say, “perfectly content,” what I really mean is they are shaking in their little booties wondering whether their precious businesses are going to collapse.

This is an easy problem to solve if you focus on personality rather than content, but we’ll talk about solutions later.

For now, let’s talk about the problem with no personality…

Zero Focus on Establishing Your Personality

Look, you don’t need to be the face of your business…

But someone or something does.

At the very least, you need a mascot.

Many creators get a little too focused on riding the content hamster wheel…

While doing nothing to establish their unique personality, interests, talents, strengths, and weaknesses with their fans, followers, and subscribers.

In a world rife with AI-generated content, humanness is going to reign supreme.

In a world rife with AI-generated content, humanness is going to reign supreme. Share on X

In a world where people can read, listen to, or watch anything from home, real-life experience is going to reign supreme.

Does your plan include human connection? Pressing flesh? Loving on your audience? Hosting live events?

Are you the kind of person people even want to meet?

No matter how hard you try, you can’t fool anyone. You’re not a superhero. You’re human. That’s what makes you relatable.

People are tired of hearing smart people ramble and would prefer to hear you speak authentically from the heart.

If you have no personality to share with others, of course, you’re going to end up having to rely on generating more traffic.

Sabotage

Sabotage is not as rare as you might be inclined to think.

Sure, casually disguised phishing emails are easy to ignore (although the scammers are getting cleverer)…

But if someone wanted to, they could launch a botnet attack against you, and you would have no way of tracing it back to the instigator (this happened to me).

It’s crazy what a little money can do.

Plus, any chucklehead could launch a negative SEO campaign against you, linking to your site from low-quality Private Blog Networks (PBNs) that Google has already blackballed.

If all your eggs are in one basket (e.g., SEO), you’re at greater risk than you might think. Because sabotage usually has a significant long-term impact.

Why Building a Following Needs to be The Focus

Building a following solves most if not all the problems “traffic businesses” have. Here’s why:

You Don’t Have to Hit the “Content Ball” Out of the Park

Many newbies think better content is what’s going to get them noticed.

True, you’ve got to focus on the content (specifically on your unique approach to it), but I have seen far too many entrepreneurs disappointed with the long-term results of trying to one-up their competition’s content to believe this is the way.

(Especially if they are copycatting content without adding any of their SOUL to it – Stories, Opinions, Understanding, and Lessons.)

The great thing about growing a following is that you won’t need to hit the “content ball” out of the park anymore. In the eyes of your audience, you can do no wrong.

There will be those who want to hear what you have to say, on just about any topic, simply because it’s coming from you.

People can get a “top 10” listicle anywhere…

The one thing they can’t get anywhere else is YOU.

You’ll Know What to Create Next

If you have a following, they will tell you what they want from you next. At times, you won’t even need to ask!

Imagine not having to guess what your audience wants from you. Imagine not having to spend untold hours setting up a sales page or creating new offers only to be met with crickets…

And instead taking dozens or even hundreds of pre-orders on your next course because your fans, followers, and subscribers have told you what they want!

One of the reasons “traffic businesses” have trouble staying afloat is because their offers are based on what they think their audience wants, not on what audiences have specifically asked for.

How do some entrepreneurs make bank on small lists? This is how. They listen to their audience and act on the information available.

Reduced Risk

Virtually everything that’s a threat to a traffic business isn’t a threat to a “following business.”

Consider the following:

  • Tunnel vision? Not a problem, because people want to follow YOU, and they will follow you on their favorite channels. Even if one of your accounts gets deleted, you’ll have others to fall back on.
  • No intent? It’s all good. Not every piece of content you create needs to be focused on intent. If you prioritize relationship building and audience nurturing, your followers will buy from you, even if you don’t do content perfectly, sometimes without prompting. Trying to sell too aggressively might even hurt you.
  • Sabotage? It’s okay, you’ll get by. Even if your website goes down during a launch, your followers will be like, “Oh my god, her site got flooded with traffic and it shut down!” You’ll become a legend. Your followers will DM you via social media and check in to see if everything’s okay, which is another valuable touchpoint you can leverage.

Concluding Thoughts

Don’t think in terms of traffic. Shift your mindset. Think in terms of people, of human beings, of individuals just like you who have wants and needs.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So, orient your marketing message around the people who are taking time out of their days to check out your stuff.

Remember – everyone wants to feel important. Everyone wants to feel like they matter.

In a time when most people are struggling with health, finances, and relationships, if you can be a beacon of light, you will build a business that matters to others. And that will solve your traffic problem.

277 – Is Social Media Useless?

277 – Is Social Media Useless?

When you realize that publishing, building your website, growing your email list, and converting leads into customers are among the most important activities you could be engaging in online, it’s only natural that you begin to wonder about the massive herd that all seems to be moving in one direction… in the direction of social media.

With algorithms turning hostile and organic reach tanking well below sea level, does it still deserve the attention we used to give it in our marketing mix?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, David considers how useful social media really is.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:17 – Your social media backup plan
  • 01:37 – Why growing a social media following has become essential
  • 01:59 – A model for monetizing your social media following
  • 02:26 – Challenges associated with growing a following
  • 03:16 – Why great content isn’t enough
  • 03:43 – What’s your plan for people who engage with your posts?
  • 04:20 – The power of social media advertising
  • 05:26 – Retargeting fans and accounts who’ve engaged with your posts
  • 06:11 – Final thoughts

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The Power of Taking an Ownership Mindset in Music

The Power of Taking an Ownership Mindset in Music

In developing a music career, I’ve really found it helpful to adopt an ownership mindset.

Another way of talking about this is taking an entrepreneurial mindset to your music career.

The employee mindset, which is what most people have, is this – it’s all about working for money and other people.

Trying to get a record contract is really the key example. It’s all about trying to work your way up the music artist pyramid so you can ultimately be the employee of a label. So, the label dictates the terms and tells you how you should do your work.

It certainly appears to be the best job available to artists, but with 360 deals, which typically take a cut of everything you make as an artist, and other types of contracts that don’t put the artist first, it isn’t always the most attractive option.

Now, I’m not down on record labels. They do a lot of things well, including marketing and distribution, even if they are fully a decade or two behind the times on things like digital marketing.

The point is that there are other ways of getting what you want in music. And by the time you’ve reached your goals, you’ll be in a position of power to choose what you want – whether it’s to continue as an independent artist, or to sign a contract with a label. Because staying independent might start to look more attractive by the time labels start courting you.

Labels aren’t very fond of signing bands and artists these days, though, so let’s just keep that in mind. Basically, the most desirable jobs in music as an artist aren’t easy to get.

An entrepreneurial mindset, on the other hand, is all about having money and other people work for you. And while it might seem a little intimidating, and sometimes an abstract concept, the truth is you’re doing some of this already, just that you need to be more deliberate in applying it in every part of your career.

For instance, if you’re distributing your music digitally, then you’re already having your money work for you.

You can have people and money work for you in a lot of other ways, too, whether it’s getting your fans to pre-save your new release, putting money into advertising, or having someone post to social media on your behalf.

In my current team, I’ve had team members write articles, create graphical banners, run our ad campaigns and more. It’s quite exhilarating when you’re working with people who have expertise or skills in areas you don’t.

It’s quite exhilarating when you’re working with people who have expertise or skills in areas you don’t. Share on X

A lot of artists don’t have an ownership mindset, so they end up blaming the lack of their success on a lot of external factors, whether it’s labels, managers, audiences, or the fact that bassist Mike was projectile vomiting on Tuesday.

And I get it. It’s altogether too common for artists to hire a manager or publicist and end up wasting money on press that doesn’t get them anywhere. It’s a sad reality, and there are some things I could say in defense of managers or publicists, but I really do empathize with artists because this has happened to a couple of dear friends of mine, and I never like to see that happen.

The key question I want to leave you with, though, is where can you take more ownership? Where can you be more intentional? Can you put together tracking sheets for your gigs or social media posts? What structures do you have that help you manage and track your effectiveness?

You can’t do it all at once, but you can implement a step at a time. And I would urge you to implement whatever it is you see is missing in your music career structures NOW.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

174 – Let’s Start the New Year with a Bang!

174 – Let’s Start the New Year with a Bang!

Are you ready for 2020? How are you planning to make it your best year ever?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share what’s to come for Music Entrepreneur HQ in 2020.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – What to expect from Music Entrepreneur HQ in 2020
  • 00:49 – We’ve closed the doors on guest posting and advertising
  • 01:11 – Let us know what you’d like us to cover on the podcast
  • 01:52 – Growing the podcast
  • 03:17 – Sponsor message
  • 04:18 – What’s to come in the next month or so
  • 05:00 – Start Your Year the Right Way

Transcription:

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

I’m looking forward to a productive year and I hope you are too.

Today, I just wanted to let you know what to expect from Music Entrepreneur HQ in 2020.

It’s fair to say we’re going through some changes and I wanted to get into some of the details.

Guest Posting & Advertising Opportunities

Towards the end of 2019, we closed the doors on guest posting and advertising.

We’ve benefited a great deal from this initiative, but we want to take full control of our brand voice and focus on what matters, and to do that, we need to simplify.

If you’d like the full scoop, you can go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Closed to read all about it.

Listener Feedback

In 2020, we want to do a better job of listening to you and developing the type of content that serves you most.

To that extent, you can direct your questions, comments and feedback to musicentrepreneurhq@gmail.com.

We’re going to be using this email specifically for the podcast and we will be reading your messages on the show.

And, just so we’re clear, this inbox isn’t for personal messages, guest posting or advertising requests – we’d like to keep things streamlined.

We always love to see your comments in the show notes as well, so feel free to leave a comment on any episode.

The show notes for this episode can be found at davidandrewwiebe.com/174.

The Podcast is Our Focus for 2020

We’re going to be focusing primarily on building our podcast audience this year.

In December, our audience grew to its peak at over 2,500 downloads.

By the end of this year, we’d like to 4x the download numbers to 10,000 downloads.

To that extent, your support is always appreciated, and if you’re listening to this now, we consider you a supporter.

You may have noticed that at the end of every episode I ask you to leave a five-star review and comment.

This is because ratings and reviews get the podcast in front of more people.

If you leave a comment and rating, preferably on iTunes, we’re more than happy to give you a shoutout on the show.

And, there are a couple of other reasons I wanted to make the podcast our main communication channel.

The first is that, over time, we’ve created a huge catalog of content on Music Entrepreneur HQ, from blog posts and long-form guides to eBooks and videos.

Looking back, I can see that I barely even touched on the extensive resource the website has become – I’m sure I will cover this in more detail in a future episode.

The only way you’d know this is if you’ve been to the website or if you actively follow our social media updates.

So, if we have something to share, we wanted to make sure that you would be among the first to know.

The other reason is that our podcast numbers are up, while our organic traffic is down.

This is mostly for me to know and for you to find out, but as far as our strategy is concerned, it makes sense for us to streamline our efforts.

So, that’s what we’re up to at Music Entrepreneur HQ.

I’ll be right back after this message to close out this episode.

Record Label

I’ve gotten several questions regarding setting up an independent label.

As we all know, the business of getting a label set up can be confusing and even overwhelming.

My top tip for anyone looking to getting started is to utilize Ditto Music’s Record Label in a Box.

Ditto Music offers three packages, but even at the Basic level, you get label certification, your own personalized ISRC codes, 12 months of unlimited distribution and sole proprietor setup.

I’ve personally talked to the good folks at Ditto Music, and if you have any questions along the way, I’m confident they can help you in any way you need.

If you’re ready to get started, you can go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Label to get your Record Label in a Box.

We’re a big fan of anything that allows you to get up and running fast, and we feel this is one of the most affordable and convenient solutions available.

Go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Label for your Record Label in a Box.

Full disclaimer – we are an affiliate of Ditto Music, and if you purchase through our link, we will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Thanks for your support.

Forthcoming Episodes

And, I’m back to talk about what’s to come in the next month or so.

Every year, we publish a series of New Year Content, mostly to leave you inspired and share ideas and resources we’ve found helpful.

My hope is that you don’t find these episodes overly indulgent, at least from the perspective that I’m going to be sharing many of my own discoveries from 2019.

As with any content we create, we don’t want you to walk away from it without some actionable takeaways.

All that to say, we’ll be getting into all the favorite topics in the coming months, whether it’s streaming, social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing or otherwise.

As always, we’ll be getting into some great conversations too.

So, don’t tune out.

Take what you can from the episodes that follow and let us know your thoughts, okay?

Start Your Year the Right Way

Start Your Year the Right Way: Goal-Setting, Planning & Achieving Big in Your Music Entrepreneurship Career

So, as we come to the close of another episode, I wanted to let you know about my fourth book, Start Your Year the Right Way.

This workbook is designed to help you unload your baggage from the past year, get clear on your goals and action your plans.

This book isn’t just for the New Year, because a new year starts when you decide it does.

You can reset your preset whenever you want and move forward in your music career with confidence and momentum.

So, if you’re ready to get yourself back on track, you can go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Year to learn more about this book.

This is David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

173 – Identify Where You Need to Grow (What Are Your Pain Points?)

173 – Identify Where You Need to Grow (What Are Your Pain Points?)

Is there something that keeps you up at night? Can you think of anything that’s been bugging you in 2019?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share how you can uncover your greatest hurts, which is telling you exactly where you need to grow as a music entrepreneur.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – The reflection podcast series
  • 00:53 – Identifying where you need to grow
  • 01:51 – How do you know what you need right now?
  • 02:16 – Consider what your pain points are
  • 03:01 – My pain points
  • 03:06 – I don’t like how I look in photos and videos
  • 03:46 – My dating life seems like a failure
  • 04:14 – There are aspects of email marketing I need to learn about
  • 04:39 – I want to get better at Facebook ads
  • 05:12 – It’s more expensive to solve your problems later

Transcription:

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Welcome back to the podcast series in which we’ve been exploring numerous important questions to help you achieve clarity in your business and career for 2020.

Instead of giving you a long list of action steps, I’ve been having you reflect and think on the year past as well as the year ahead.

The focus in this episode will be identifying where you need to grow.

If you’ve been listening to this podcast series, then you already know how important it is to invest in yourself.

Now, you can choose at random and get some results.

When I was first getting started in personal development, I just went to the bookstore and picked out a few books that appealed to me and started reading them.

And, I ended up finding some value in them, especially Dr. Robert Anthony’s works.

But I would have never found his works if I hadn’t started this journey to begin with.

If I hadn’t read Derek Sivers’ advice, I’d never have discovered Steve Pavlina.

If I hadn’t read Steve Pavlina’s blog, I’d never have gone to the bookstore to look for personal development books.

And, if I hadn’t done that, I never would have discovered Dr. Robert Anthony, and my life would be very different if I hadn’t followed that trajectory.

I’m so thankful I did follow that trajectory.

But my point is that choosing at random is going to limit the effectiveness of your personal growth plan.

So, how do you know what you need right now?

Every single day, I come across plenty of shiny looking offers that promise a better future.

Again, I’m not saying there isn’t any value in these.

I’m sure I would learn something from these resources.

But is it what I need right now?

Probably not.

So, how do I choose what’s right for me?

How do you choose what’s right for you?

There are a few ways of arriving at some good resources.

But I would suggest that the best way is to consider what your pain points are.

I’m not just talking about things that occasionally irritate or frustrate you.

I’m talking about things that keep you up at night.

I’m talking about things that make you want to run away and hide when you think about them.

It’s okay if your pain points have nothing to do with your music career or business.

Honestly, the best way for you to move forward is to personalize and customize your personal growth plan to your needs.

The best way for you to move forward is to personalize and customize your personal growth plan to your needs. Share on X

Forget what anyone else has told you.

You don’t need to focus on marketing unless you have a real pain point connected to that.

You don’t need to learn about storytelling if the lack of connection you’re experiencing has nothing to do with telling or not telling stories.

See how that helps us filter through a lot of information that’s not relevant or important to us?

I’m going to be vulnerable and share with you a few things that are pain points for me:

1. I don’t always like how I look in photos or videos.

I know a lot of people have this problem

The good news is that since arriving in Abbotsford, I’ve been prioritizing exercise more and I’m starting to look and feel better.

But I’m not done.

I think my ideal weight is around 180 to 190 lbs., and I have consistently weighed 40 to 50 lbs. above that, but as I see it this is more a matter of health than anything.

If I’m moving, eating and sleeping well, I know the weight is going to come off and my health will also improve.

Though I don’t necessarily need additional resources to improve in this area, because I’ve already invested in my education, if there is something I need to get, I will spring for it.

2. My dating life is showing up as a failure.

This causes me pain.

This point probably goes hand in hand with the first in some ways, because being unhealthy can affect your self-image and self-confidence.

Online dating feels like a part-time job, and I don’t have the time or energy for that.

I get that this could just as easily be an excuse as a hindrance, but my point is that I’m willing to throw money at this problem to solve it, probably in the form of a matchmaking service.

3. I suck at email segmenting, sequencing and funnels.

I still have a long way to go to becoming an expert in email marketing.

And, in 2020, I will be launching and relaunching several new products, so I’m going to need to brush up on my email game to make the most of the launches.

To that end, I’ve already purchased a digital marketing course, but if I don’t find what I’m looking for there, I’ll invest in another course.

4. I want to get better at Facebook advertising.

I sometimes feel like a failure when I hear my friends talk about the successes, they’ve had with Facebook advertising, because most campaigns I’ve run only diminished my bank account.

Moving forward, I would love to learn more about effective Facebook advertising and ads in general, because I haven’t personally experienced much success with them, even though I’ve driven some amazing results for clients.

I don’t mind spending money on this, though I’m inclined to take a free mini course by an expert marketer that others have raved about.

Are you starting to get a sense of what your pain points might be?

As I’ve shared before, long-term, it’s more expensive to solve your problems later than it is to solve them now.

So, did you see anything for yourself that you need to work on?

What are your pain points?

Please don’t put off your growth any longer.

The time to act is now.

My fourth book is called Start Your Year the Right Way.

The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to start your year.

I created this as a resource to help you get inspired, set goals and put a strategy in place to ensure you have the best year ever.

You can even use it to get clear on what resources you need to invest in to solve your pain points.

Will you be buying a copy?

Learn more at davidandrewwiebe.com/Year.

This is David Andrew Wiebe and I will see you on the stages of the world.