How to Follow A Bestseller

Two years ago (I can’t believe it has been this long), I released my first eBook, How to Create A Successful Fan Blog, which became a bestseller in the UK, USA and Japan. To say I was amazed is an understatement.

Since then, I started work on a couple of other projects and although I always meant to come back to writing about the next steps in fan blogging, it never quite happened…until now. Picking up the reins again as been a bit trickier than I thought, and I’m reminded why I took so long to return! However, bearing in mind that the best time to start, or re-start, a project is today, (paraphrasing and borrowing from the fab Jeff walker) I’m pulling on my big girl pants and carrying on.

Following a bestselling anything is not an easy feat – note the numerous writers and musicians who have struggled to serve up a second project as successful as the first. I don’t expect to be any different so over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be exploring the ins and outs of my journey with the follow up to creating a successful fan blog.

I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.

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Keeping a Blog Going

This is a somewhat incongruous title for this blog piece as it is my first blog here for a while…hence the need to write something about the difficulty in keeping a blog going!

As with so many things, life got in the way and other blogs and businesses I’m involved in took over and…there must be loads of excuses but enough of that. It’s never too late to re-start a project, you just have to persevere (one of my favourite words) and deliver (a not so favourite word) value to your audience.

If it was that simple, I wouldn’t be writing this post but here I am, saying it is NEVER too late to come back to a dormant project or blog. So, today being the best time to start anything, I’m starting again with a renewed passion for writing about how to create fan blogs, or just about any sort of blog you want to take to a professional level. I’ll be sharing tips and content once a week and I’ll be expecting all of you to keep me to that challenge. Oh, and I’ll also be asking for a little help along the way, to find out what it is that you want to know about blogging.

The first thing I’m going to say is that the challenge of what to say will also be there; the terror of the blank page is like no other for a blogger. When you’re re-starting after a while, the added terror is that even if you have something to say, is anyone listening? Is your audience still there or have they gone elsewhere? They might very well have done just that, but don’t panic, if your content is good enough, a new audience is waiting to be found.

The best thing you can do right now to get your blog re-started is to…just do it.

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5 Tips to Build Your Online Following

This post is specifically aimed at musicians but can be adapted and used for anyone who needs to build an online presence. The key to achieving longevity in your chosen field is to engage with your audience and here are five tips on how to achieve this.

Share content…a lot.

Creating good content is important but in order for it to be noticed, it needs to be shared…a lot. How many times is a lot? At least eight times is the optimum number for content to be seen and acted upon. Don’t share all at the same time, play around with the days and times you post. Take note which days and times get the most response and ensure you post at those times in future.

Interact with audience

When you post, make sure you hang around on your chosen social media app and interact with those who engage with those posts. Reply to their comments, thank them for liking / retweeting, return the favour when they follow you, invite them to sign up to your list. Just be careful to not do this too quickly though – nothing is guaranteed to put people off faster than being seen as too ‘salesy’.

Giveaways

For further interaction, ensure that you always have something to ‘giveaway’ to your audience. Ideally, it won’t be a physical something, but should always be designed to encourage your audience to become more engaged with you. Ideas could include links to unlisted YouTube videos of rehearsals, watch parties, polls to decide the next song you sing, snippets of new songs.

Make Connections

All the above tips are about connecting with an audience and so this fourth tip is to capitalise on those connections. The ultimate aim of making music is to sell your music and, to a certain extent, yourself. Keep this in mind when posting on social media and remember that you are training your audience to follow you, so make sure that they do!

Perseverance

Perseverance is not a glamorous word, being associated with plain old hard work. However, perseverance is the one thing that you will need above all else to succeed in any business, whether it be music or otherwise. There will be plenty of setbacks and wrong turnings but everything is a learning experience and as long as you don’t give up, you’ll succeed.

Keep going with these and soon, it will become a habit that pays off – give it a go!

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Why You Need Fan Engagement

Fans are what making music is all about; everyone needs fans to buy their music. Fan engagement is one of those phrases that gets bandied about a lot when talking about releasing new music but what is it? I’ve been writing about music and working with fans for several years now and, in my first blog for a while, this is my take on why fan engagement is absolutely necessary to make a living from music.

Making and releasing music without fans to hear and buy doesn’t make sense. Making and releasing music without promoting it doesn’t make sense either. You would also think that making and releasing music without engaging with potential buyers wouldn’t make sense either, but that is exactly what happens across the music industry today.

I’m asking the question, therefore, what is fan engagement and why should you do it? Starting with what it isn’t, fan engagement is not just about posting updates about your music and ways in which fans can part with their money. This approach is just broadcasting and has no personal touch – eventually you’re just talking to yourself, and not in a good way.

If at this point, you’re tempted to say “everyone does it like this”, please don’t. This approach may be standard, however, in a world of sheep, would you rather be just another woolly sheep ambling along behind, or would you rather be a cute chihuahua leading by example?

Being a chihuahua instead of a sheep in the world of fan engagement means that you have to take those two words and really understand them: real fan engagement needs real engagement with fans. In today’s world of streaming, fan loyalty is an important factor in music sales, so ensuring that fans stay loyal is a huge advantage when releasing new music. Loyal fans feel important and when they feel important, they will support everything an artist does – every artist needs a core group of fans like this. And you don’t have to be a mega selling artist to have a core group of fans.

Engaging with fans is the lifeblood of maintaining longevity in the music business; if you want a long lasting career, then good fan engagement is what you need. Think about what happens when posting updates on social media channels – stick around after posting and engage with fans. By engage, I mean reply, like, share, retweet, comment. Spending five minutes doing this every day will mean that fans feel important and will be inclined to support your music time and time again. You’ll also gain a huge amount of knowledge about what your fans do and don’t like, which in a world where money talks is like gold dust.

Next time you think about engaging with your fans, ask yourself one question: am I a sheep or a chihuahua? In my next series of blogs, I’ll show you why it’s important not to be a sheep!

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xx

How To Create A Successful Fan Blog

Welcome to my first blog post about How to Create a Successful Fan Blog.  For the past three years I have been writing and running a successful fan blog for the British tenor, Alfie Boe.

As such, one of the questions I am most likely to be asked is “how did you start a blog?”.  No matter how hard I tried, I could never find a short answer to this question and so I decided to write a book instead:

Even though a lot of people had asked me about starting a blog, I was totally taken aback and overwhelmed when it became an amazon bestseller in the first week of release!  To say you could have knocked me down with a feather is an understatement.  If you want to know how to take the first steps in blogging then click here to buy.

I started writing after reading (what seemed to me) yet another poorly researched interview about Alfie and thought I could do better. I set up a WordPress account very quickly and published my first few posts. To my surprise and delight, other Alfie fans liked it and before I knew where I was, I had caught the blogging bug.

Audience engagement figures continued to rise and after a while I landed my first interview, with Alfie’s brother Michael, also a gifted tenor. That led on to other interviews which eventually led to being accepted as a Huffington Post blogger.

Now if this all sounds idyllic and easy, it wasn’t. By no means was it a bed of roses but like anything, the ups more than made up for the downs. The downs included the problem of staring at a blank page and not knowing what to write (still happens!), striking the right tone and balance with posts and the difficulty of juggling a full time job and a family with running a fan blog. Two years into writing the blog, I took the bold decision to leave my day job and writing quickly became my salvation as I was able to devote more time to it.

Thanks for reading and sharing

xx