12 Days of Monetization: Selling Direct-to-Fan via Your WordPress Website – Ross Barber [DAY 5]

Ross Barber, Electric KiwiThis article was contributed by Ross Barber, a web designer who specializes in design for bands and musicians. With his company Electric Kiwi he has worked with many independent and unsigned artists to enhance their online presence.

This article discusses options for selling music via your WordPress website. This list is by no means conclusive – there are a huge number of plugins and options out there and this article covers some of the more widely used methods.

If you don’t use WordPress, there are still many direct-to-fan options available, such as Bandcamp, Bandzoogle, ReverbNation and Topspin. Whatever your website platform, the right solution is out there!

Why should I sell via my website?

1. Your website = the epicentre of your online activity.

Your website should be the central hub of what happens with your music online, and it should be generating money for you. Displaying your products on your website, rather than directing fans and potential customers to an external store offers a more engaging and consistent experience. You wouldn’t send people away from your show to another venue to purchase merchandise, so why would you do the same on your website?

2. You keep more $$$
Selling your music and merchandise directly from your website means that you have control over the pricing. Of course, most external stores allow you to set the pricing too, but with your own website you are more in control of what you actually make per sale because you’ll have less fees to pay – which is always a plus! If you’re using PayPal as your payment method, then there will be a small transaction fee to pay (approximately 5%), but you can always work this into your product cost. To do the same on an external store, you may need to increase your costs by 10 or 15% just to keep your margins the same and your finances afloat. Using a store built into your website means that you can keep the prices lower, but without sacrificing your profit.

3. You also have the opportunity to be creative.
You don’t necessarily need to sell the standard CDs or t-shirts that every other musician is selling. Create experience packages and sell them to your fans. Are you an awesome guitarist? Offer a 45 minute lesson via Skype. Do fans always ask you for you lyrics? Offer a handwritten copy of your lyrics accompanied by a personal message. When you’re selling products on your own store, you have the freedom to sell whatever you want, and that means you can get creative – in many cases more-so than you can with an external platform.

4. Your products can (and should) tell a story…

and where better to do that than on your website? Don’t just list your products for sale – talk about them, give your fans a backstory… make them care about what you’re selling, and get closer to them as a result.

5. Email addresses!

One big bonus with managing your own store via your WordPress website is that you can see the email addresses of those who are buying from you. Now, you can’t just add these to your mailing list without asking, but what you can do is send out a personal message to those who have purchased your music or merchandise. A personalized thank you can go a long way – it could turn a passive fan into a super fan…and we LOVE super fans! Ask them if you can add them to your mailing list so they can keep informed about your latest releases. You might be surprised at the response, and you might just make someone’s day. You may not have time to do this for everyone, but if you find yourself at a loose end, take advantage of it and make a connection. It could be the start of something beautiful.

Before making any decisions…

Create a list of what you would like your store to do and separate that list into essential and desirable features. Consider:

    1. WHO your audience is
    2. WHAT you’re selling
    3. HOW your music or merchandise should be delivered
    4. GIVING your fans the best experience possible
    5. GENERATING income for you as an artist

E-Commerce Plugins

There are a multitude of e-commerce plugins available for WordPress. The features will vary between them, but for the more advanced options will include features like stock control, coupon codes, product variations and different shipping options.

Before deciding on whether an e-commerce plugin is right for you, think about what you want to offer on your store; do you want to sell physical merchandise? Do you want to offer digital downloads? Do you want to offer coupon codes as a reward/incentive for your existing fans to purchase your new line of t-shirts? Do you want to offer different shipping rates for domestic vs international destinations? These are all important things to consider when making a decision on store plugin for WordPress, as each plugin has different capabilities.

#1: WooCommerce


woocommerce

One of the big players is WooCommerce. Created by WooThemes, WooCommerce, for most, is an out-of-the-box solution. If you’re at the point where you need a full e-commerce solution, then WooCommerce may be the option for you.

Pros


  • Free.
  • Relatively easy to set up.
  • PayPal integration, with options for additional payment gateways available as add-ons.
  • Stock management (i.e. you can tell WooCommerce how many of those awesome new t-shirts you have in stock, and it will automatically tell fans when stock is low, or you’re out of stock – no more awkward emails!)
  • Options for physical and digital products – that’s right, you can offer secure downloads direct from your website, as well as selling physical CDs. It’s like iTunes, but without the middleman.
  • Product variations – do you have 5 different sizes of t-shirt, or want to offer a choice between signed and unsigned copies of your latest CD? No problem!
  • Options for regular and sale prices – great for offering holiday discounts.
  • Large repository of additional extensions and features.
  • Styles can be customized from the options menu.

Cons


  • While there are options for basic customization, depending on your theme, further customization may be required. Generally speaking if you’re using one of the default WordPress themes, or a well recognized theme, WooCommerce should work as is, but if you’re using a custom theme then you, or your developer, may need to spend some time tweaking things to get things looking just right.
  • Extensions may need to be purchased if you require more advanced shipping options.
  • So many options can be overwhelming and cause confusion when adding items, or initially setting up the store.

#2: Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart

simple-paypal

For many, a full e-commerce solution like WooCommerce is too large an undertaking. After all, if you’re only selling a small number of products, or don’t require features such as stock management or digital downloads, then you may be better going for a simpler store. The name really does say it all in this case.

Many artists already use Paypal to sell their products. It’s a simple way to sell your music direct to your fans. It’s not always the most attractive solution – however, when styled to be consistent with your website (and not just using Paypal’s standard buttons) it can look like a higher end solution.

For artists who don’t want all of the additional features that some of the larger e-commerce plugins offer, Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is one viable solution.

Pros


  • Free.
  • PayPal integration.
  • Simple to set up: you could have your products for sale within an hour, if not less.
  • Ideal for artists who just want to sell a small number of products directly from their website.

Cons

  • Will require some development work to make the store operate like a higher end e-commerce solution.
  • No alternative payment options – must use PayPal.
  • Less flexible than a plugin like WooCommerce.
  • Not ideal for digital downloads (as cannot generate individual URL for each download link), so would be limited to physical products only.
  • No coupon codes or discount rates available (at time of writing).

#3: Easy Digital Downloads

If you’re only looking to sell digital downloads, then Easy Digital Downloads is the solution for you. It’s lightweight and simple, offering only the functions needed to operate a digital-only store.

Pros


  • Sell digital downloads direct from your website – keep all of the profits without paying out to iTunes/Bandcamp etc.
  • Promotional codes available.
  • Create product bundles.
  • Add ons available to improve functionality.
  • PayPal integration included – other payment gateways available via paid add-ons.
  • Since it’s digital-only, you don’t have to worry about making trips to the post office ;)
  • Mailing list add-ons available to merge email addresses provided during purchase with your existing mailing list database.

Cons


  • Digital only – no physical sales can be made via this plugin.

What if I don’t use WordPress, or want an easier solution?

If you don’t use WordPress, or don’t want to set up an integrated store, there are plenty of other options. At the end of the day, you want to be able to make money from your music, and part of that is about making your music readily available, keeping prices low for fans, and keeping profits high (or at least sustainable) for you.

You should ensure that fans have an option to buy your music directly via your website in some way or another. If this is simply a link to an external store, then so be it, but an integrated store is preferable.

Bandcamp

bandcamp

Bandcamp is a great solution for many artists as you can create a storefront within minutes, and can also easily embed it within your website (WordPress or not). Bandcamp takes 15% of your digital sales revenue, and 10% on merch (dropping down to 10% on digital sales once you’ve reached $5,000 USD and stays at that level as long as you make that amount within the previous 12 months, too). Processing fees are (like Paypal’s) somewhere between 4 and 6%.

Bandcamp’s players are relatively customizable (although do lack in color and font options – hopefully something that will be expanded on in the near future), and Bandcamp is a trusted retailer by many. Embedding a Bandcamp widget onto your website is simple to do, and will allow people to make a decision without leaving your website.

Ecwid

ecwid

Ecwid is a new storefront, which is free if you’re selling less than 10 items on your store. You have the freedom to set your own prices and shipping details, and you can embed the storefront onto your existing website with relative ease.

Granted, the appearance isn’t exactly beautiful, but it’s very functional and for artists on a budget who want to get a working store online and sell direct-to-fan, it’s a very reasonable solution.

Others

Of course, there are many other direct-to-fan outlets available. The most important thing is that you do your research and compare them to find out which one suits YOUR needs best. Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback from other artists to find out what has worked for them, and what hasn’t.

In closing…

Ultimately, when it comes to selling your music or merchandise via your website, the decision is in your hands. There’s no correct answer, and no solution that is going to be right for everyone. The way that you sell your products to your fans will depend on:

  • What you’re offering (physical or digital, or both?)
  • How many products you’ll be listing at one time
  • Whether or not you need stock control or the ability to create bundles and/or coupons
  • What payment options you require
  • If you need to offer different shipping rates for domestic vs international
  • If you want to sell more creative/non-standard products

In other words, there are a lot of factors to consider before making a decision.

A fully integrated store solution is, in my opinion, the ideal option. Something that blends seamlessly into your website, and provides your fans with a consistent and smooth experience is a winner in my book.

Setting up your online store should be an exciting time. To ensure it’s a smooth process, consider hiring or collaborating with a designer/developer to get the best results from your new store. That will also free up some time to create some new music and packages that your fans will love. You’ll also have the benefit of drawing from a professional’s experience to help make your new store the best it can be.

If you lack the experience, budget or need for one of the more advanced, all-encompassing solutions, then an external storefront embedded onto your website may be right for your needs. It’s all about doing what’s right for you and your career at this point in time. Remember that things can always be changed and if you find that you need to upgrade at a later date, it’s very possible.

Whatever option you decide to go with, here’s wishing you a very successful, and profitable 2014!


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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12 Days of Monetization: How Do You Get People to Buy Your Music? – Debra Russell [DAY 4]

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That’s the question, isn’t it?  As Facebook makes “Likes” even more meaningless than they already were, and in spite of the common perception that your primary path to success is through social media, for most artists social media numbers simply don’t translate into actual purchasing fans.

So, how do you sell your music?

So, I’m not going to waste your time by answering that question the way the music industry USED to work, right?  Because that way is dead and gone and no longer applies to 99.9% of artists today.  And I’m assuming you’re not part of that .1%, because I’m guessing they aren’t reading this blog…

The short answer is – you must make a genuine and real connection with your fans.  Then, and only then, you must ask for the sale.

If you ask for the sale before you make the genuine and real connection, it will fall flat.  You will be just one more spamming, self-involved artist.  If you just make the genuine and real connection but don’t ever call your fans to action – that action being to buy tickets to a show, download or purchase your CD or buy your merch) – then you will feel the love, but you won’t be able to pay the bills.

So let’s break that out into the two steps.

Make a Genuine and Real Connection with Your Fans

Yep – I’ve said it, real connection, real relationship – that means you have to actually spend time connecting with your fans, finding out who they are, what’s important to them, what you have in common with them, creating rapport with them – in other words, Marketing!

Lest you think you’re already marketing – marketing is NOT:

  • Repeating ad nauseum – “check out my blog/youtube video/song on youtube, whatever!!!”
  • tweeting/facebooking about what you had for dinner, what your cat threw up or how many times you’ve changed your guitar strings.
  • tweeting/facebooking/G+ing how you recorded this song and who’s playing on that track. How cool are you?

That’s not marketing.  Because marketing has more to do with your market than with you.  And it’s not even sales – because there’s no real call to action, there’s a backhanded, implied call to action in the “check out my …”  Because the implication is, that if they check it out, then they’ll buy it.  But they don’t, do they?  Because it’s not a clear call to action.  And it’s not built on a real connection.  Because in order to make a real connection – you have to actually connect with them, not blast at them.

Real marketing is defined as:

Creating an environment in which people WANT to buy.  An environment in which they feel safe, excited, even driven to buy.

So you have to ask – what makes people want to buy?  And how do you inspire that experience in your fans?

The short answer is, that depends on your fans.  It depends on who they are.  What’s important to them.  What they’re passionate about.

If you can key into that and connect with them about what is important to them, they will go out of their way to buy from you.

If you can help them with a problem, help them fulfill a need, they will beat down your door to buy from you.

And if you can make them feel like they actually, genuinely matter to you, that you truly get them, they will get all their friends to buy from you.

But in order to do that – you have to listen.  You have to ask questions.  You have to know who they are and understand what their needs are.  And that takes actual work that has nothing to do with your music.  It has to do with getting online and reading their stream and asking them questions.  It has to do with responding to their questions in a way that is genuine and real.  It has to do with seeing someone, for example, ask for information about a realtor on Facebook and going to your stream and finding a realtor to recommend to them.  Or reading about them having a tough time in their lives and offering compassion and empathy.  Sometimes it just means responding to their joke with a real laugh of enjoyment and sharing it.

But Debra, that would take so much time!  Whose got time for that?  I just want them to buy my stuff, come out to my show, tell their friends about me!

But why should they?  WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM???

Look, I get it.  You’re busy, we all are.  But the best way to create real success over the long term is to create real fans in the short term.  Fans who will love you for life.  Fans who will share you with their friends.  Fans who will come work for you as your street team.  That’s how you create success.  It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

And I don’t believe there’s a quick and dirty shortcut.  Can you outsource this?  Maybe.

But you better outsource this to someone who really gets that what they need to do is create a real experience of you in your prospective fans’ hearts and minds.  You can systematize this connection so it doesn’t take over your life.  You can schedule specific, limited daily actions.  You can delegate the parts of the system that don’t need your voice and your touch.

But ultimately you are creating a relationship between you and your fans – and no one else is going to be able to do that for you.

So, now, you’ve built connections with your fans, your fans RT and share your content.  They respond when you ask them questions, they’re ready.

NOW Ask for the Sale

Here’s where it can be scary.  You’ve spent all this time creating a real relationship with them, but now you have to ask for money.  You have to ask them to contribute to your Kickstarter or buy tickets to your show.  You have to ask them share you with their friends by buying a CD as a Christmas gift.

And that can be scary – because you’ve actually created a relationship with them.  They’ve started to matter to you.  And if they say “No.” it might hurt.

But what if you think about it differently.  What if “No” doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or whatever you’re currently making it mean that makes it hurt.  What if “No” means either:

  1. This isn’t the right time/place/format/price for them, or
  2. They’re not the right fan for you?

If it’s the first, well, you can package your products differently, at different price points, formats, or whatever to make it easier for your fans to say “Yes.”  You can also change the energy around the “Ask” to generate excitement or humor or the emotion in your fans that your fans will respond to.

And how do you know what that is?  Oh, yeah, that’s right – YOU KNOW THEM!

You can test different ways to ask them and see what works.  But when you’re designing your “Ask” remember, you want to create in them the same emotional connection you feel when you’re excited, inspired and happily anticipating buying something.  Make it fun.  Make it real.  Just think about the last time you bought something and you felt really good about it.  Yeah – that – that’s the same feeling that will inspire your fans to take action.  So, what was it about the offer you purchased that made you want to buy?  How can you translate that into your offer for your fans?

And if its the second, no worries – because if you’ve spent a lot of time in the first step, then you have enough people.  So that even if one person isn’t the right fan for you, there are others who are!  So no single “No” will make or break your career.  And if you just ask for the sale enough, with a strong groundwork of relationship, you’re going to get plenty of fans who will say yes, happily!  Not only will they say yes happily.  But they will love you for asking.  And they will love saying yes to you!

Because your success has become important to them.  And why has it become important to them?  BECAUSE THEY KNOW YOU!



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Debra Russell, Speaker, Certified Master Results Business Coach, and Certified NLP and Hypnosis Master Practitioner is the founder of Artists EDGE. Specializing in the Music Business, Arts and Entertainment Industry and with Professional Athletes, Debra is guided by your passion as she applies her business knowledge and ability to facilitate transformational change and growth to guide you to success in your chosen field.

For more support, tools and resources, check out the Artist’s EDGE Website where you can also find more articles. Or follow Debra on Twitter.


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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12 Days of Monetization: How to Make Money from Live Shows – John Taglieri [DAY 3]

John Tag

Hi, I’m John Taglieri. I’m an indie artist with 11 CDs out selling nearly 25,000 units, have been touring the world for years, own my own recording studio, record label and Publishing company. I’ve done pretty much all I ever set out to do in this business and things just keep getting better. There are a LOT of ways you can make money in music… so lets focus in on one… Live Shows.

I play about 220 shows a year all over the country and have been for many years now. My shows are a mixture of cover songs and Original songs. I know many artists shy away from the covers and want to be ‘true to themselves’…and that’s fine, but what I’m going to talk about is making a living…not serving your ego. I play a mix and what its allowed me to do is make a living, while still putting out 11 (working on 12) original Cds and sell 25k of them. When I started, I took a lot of gigs some others wouldn’t take, but to me it was building relationships. I connected this way with two booking agents that I’ve now been with for 8 years each and who have helped to ensure that my calendar was always full.

While I play a hybrid show, I never present myself as anything more than me…come to my show, you’re going to have a fun time and I’ll hope that you want to come back again. This view on things has given me the ability to do some amazing things in my career, but first and foremost, what it’s done is pay the bills. About 70% of my income is from live touring and it’s something I truly love doing. It’s not hard and for all the naysayers out there telling you otherwise, there are a LOT of gigs to be had for those who want them. I have 220 or so gigs a year and a lot more I could take if I had the time. There are hundreds of venues out there that are willing to book acts and pay…again, you’ll have to be willing to play some covers. This is where you have to ask yourself one very simple but hard question…’WHAT IS MY GOAL’? Is sitting behind a desk/working at the mall/insert job here while you struggle to get gigs that don’t pay and you have to do all the work the goal? Or is making a living doing what you love the goal? I wanted to make a living. And I also figured, being on stage playing anything beats a soulless day job working for someone else any day of the week, plus I get to work on my chops and play some songs I love to play alongside my originals. So it’s really about you…and what you decide…career for your ego or career for good business.

If you choose to make a living in music, there is a decent amount of money to be made. More than most any decent ‘day job’ you’ll ever get. Most cover/original club gigs pay in the $200-$300 range for a solo act. It goes up from there for a duo or band. Now, I know some folks cant be solo…cant sing, maybe cant play guitar, or in some way be solo, but if you play at all, you can connect with someone or others who have those abilities and form a duo or band that does the same thing.

Also, just to touch on it, diversify. There are plenty of ways to make money from music these days. I also make money on CD sales, T-Shirt sales, studio session work both in my studio and others, CD duplication work (I bought a CD/DVD duplicator/printer and do short run work for others), picking up gigs as a sideman for other bands/performers. So there are a lot of ways to make money, which is what the end game is.

I hope this perspective has helped you in some way and you can always reach out to me if you have any questions or a differing view. I’m always up for a great conversation.

Now get out, play some music, LIVE WITH INTENTION and BE AWESOME!!

John Taglieri
John@JohnTaglieri.com
Facebook.com/JohnTaglieriMusic


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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12 Days of Monetization: What’s Really Stopping You From Making Money From Music? – Nikki Loy [DAY 2]

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This article was contributed Nikki Loy (@NikkiLoyMusic), a singer/ songwriter, entertainer and creative obsessive.

What do you really believe about your music career? If your thoughts about your music were announced to your audience on the P.A. system through which you perform, what would we all hear?  

Do you only think great thoughts? Or do you catch yourself thinking ‘I’ll never make any money at this’, ‘It’s too hard!’, ‘There’s too much competition’, ‘No-one notices me’, ‘I wish a major label would sign me and make life easier’, ‘No-one likes my kind of music’, ‘I make Un-popular music’ ‘I’ll be poor forever’ ‘Musicians don’t make money..’ ‘I’m just one in a million other talented songwriters’

If you have negative beliefs about yourself and your career, you will always feel like you are climbing your mountain of musical success with a bungie cord strapped round your waist pulling you back to the bottom. Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of that cord and just be free to ascend unhindered?

I suggest you take some time this holiday to find a comfy place, where you won’t be disturbed. Take out a notebook or journal, and get really honest with yourself about this. Don’t hold back. Get those thoughts and feelings out. Without judgement, let your emotions take over for a bit and write it all down. Find out what you have been rehearsing in your head that is contrary to the desires of your heart. Ask your self how any negative beliefs are effecting your ability to make money from music right now. Write that down too. And how will they effect you in the long term?   

The thing about beliefs is that your subconscious mind will orchestrate your life to reinforce your beliefs. You will unwittingly make choices and decisions, and adopt behaviours and expectations, that re-affirm your beliefs. For example: ‘No-one notices me’ used to be a big one for me. It manifested in audiences literally ignoring me. When I realised that I was subconsciously communicating ‘Ignore me’ to the crowd, through my tone of voice, my body language and my lack of interaction, I saw how I had created my own reality. Then I took action to change all of that behaviour, and it hasn’t been a problem since – Every crowd chants for an encore!

I also notice musicians struggling with this one ‘Musicians are badly paid’. When I probe a little deeper and find out who negotiated the deal and agreed the fee. I find the it’s musician who chose the win-loose scenario!? Doh! What would it be like to believe ‘I am a professional performer who is well compensated for my efforts’? How would that have effected the outcome of the deal?

By bringing these beliefs up and out into the open, you can begin to address them and swap them for beliefs that are going to help you reach the top of your mountain faster and more easily. So once you have found out what you believe about your music career, write down a corresponding, more empowering belief, so that you can notice next time that thought pops up, and choose to think the more empowering thought instead. You’ll be able to change your thinking and change your life. ;0)

Here are a few examples:

‘Musicians don’t make money in music.’ becomes, ‘Many musicians don’t make money in music but many, many do, and I am employing the proven techniques and strategies they have used that will grow my career and result in financial return.’

‘I’ll be poor forever.’ becomes, ‘I’ll be poor forever if I don’t change my thinking and my expectations!’

‘There’s too much competition!’ becomes, ‘There are 7 billion people on this planet, that’s audience enough for everyone!’

‘No-one notices me,’ becomes, ‘No-one notices me while I’m sulking in the corner, instead I choose to engage and interact with my audience.’

Sometimes just shining a light on a negative belief is enough to make it change. Your conscious mind will realise that it’s silly and ‘poof!’, it’ll disappear, sspecially if you can see how it’s going to negetively effect you in the long term. Other’s will take a little practice but persist, the change will be worth it!

You may never have given voice to the negative feelings you have about your career, they may have just sat like a knot in your stomach while you carry on regardless but your beliefs are the foundation of your ability to make money from music. If you can get into the habit of noticing and changing the negative ones, you can re-align your beliefs with your career goals and have your whole being moving in the right direction. Then all the practical stuff that you have learned about making money in music from Ariel Hyatt, Bob Baker, John Oszajca and the like, will be so much more effective!

So before you go making your New Year’s resolutions, set yourself up with some new beliefs and see what a difference it makes to you in 2014!

Happy Christmas!

Love

Nikki,

www.nikkiloy.com


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

Click to continue...

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12 Days of Monetization: 60 Do’s and Don’ts of Monetizing Your life in Music – Julie Flanders [DAY 1]

julie-flanders-photoHappy Holiday season everyone! I hope that you are taking some time to do a little bit of relaxing and reflecting. I always like to look back at what was important, what I would like to do more of, and how I can move forward with more ease and abundance which brings me to this blog series.

There is a lot of focus on what artists are not getting, and on the struggle. I want to focus instead on how to get a little bit more on what we all want, and that is to make money with our music. In that spirit, I have asked 12 of my favorite people to share with me their thoughts on monetization.

I left my request open and broad, and as you will see, there are a lot of suggestions here. I hope you are inspired and that you can use some of these actionable ideas in your toolkit for 2014.

I’m thrilled to kick off this blogging series with this entry from my success coach and dear friend and client Julie Flanders.

Julie is the perfect choice for this series understands the mindset you need to succeed because she’s been in both sides of the business – major label artist and indie DIY artist and she now coaches creative entrepreneurs on how to increase their joy, their income and she changes their overall mindset for lasting success. She’s changed my life and I hope this post changes your thinking.

From all of us at Cyber PR®, we wish you success!

Love,
Ariel


This article was contributed by Julie Flanders, Achievement Expert and Creative Success CoachRecording artist and lyricist for October Project, a major–label turned independent artist with a worldwide following.

Some BASIC Don’ts

1. Don’t suck musically. You need to be outstanding!
2. Don’t avoid the responsibility for the business part
3. Don’t limit yourself to outdated models or fantasies. The music business changes quickly.
4. Don’t listen to naysyers or myth makers
5. Don’t be too proud to do the work. It’s a business as well as a calling
6. Don’t be ashamed of your dreams or your mistakes
7. Don’t measure yourself by wrong definitions of success (other peoples!)
8. Don’t be afraid of failure
9. Don’t be afraid of success
10. Don’t let other people decide how you will think and feel about yourself
11. Don’t shrink to fit – stay expansive with your vision and actions
12. Don’t take anything personally
13. Don’t judge other people in ways you would not want to be judged yourself
14. Don’t think short-term
15. Don’t screw your friends
16. Don’t make enemies – they take too much time and drain creative energy
17. Don’t believe hype and myths – no one just gets it handed to them
18. Don’t stop
19. Don’t blame other people or make excuses
20. Don’t worry, be happy

Monetizing Mindset Tips

Some BASIC DO’s

1. Do be excellent, unique, fantastic, daring and unrelenting
2. Do be true to yourself
3. Do practice, rehearse, and commit every day to your Art, Music and Soul
4. Do innovate – try new ideas. DO try everything
5. Do Be scared (and don’t worry about it)
6. Do take action and then take more action
7. Do write your goals down and FOCUS on what you want to create
8. Do expect challenges and embrace them as NORMAL AND NECESSARY
9. Do celebrate yourself
10. Do ask for help
11. Do offer your music to the world constantly by performing, recording, collaborating, connecting, posting, blogging and being visible in your music community
12. Do put yourself IN harms’ way – Be IN it
13. Do be seen, be heard, be felt, be noticed, be everywhere
14. Do accept feedback but YOU decide who you are and what you create
15. Do have fun! You LOVE music! THAT’s important!
16. Do support other people
17. Do ask for and receive help
18. Do believe in yourself – teach other people how to hear, see, feel and VALUE your work by DOING THAT YOURSELF
19. Do go for it
20. Do the impossible until it becomes the actual

Practical Tips to Help You Monetize Your Life in Music

Some BASIC Do’s

1. Do sell your music – digitally, physically and in every format you can think of or that they invent
2. Do sell other related items of your brand and creativity such as hats, mugs, keychains, totebags, t-shirts, etc.
3. Do make song-books or sheet music
4. Do collaborate and share – working with other artists expands your skills, your reach, your audience
5. Do play out and perform as often as you can – consider it an investment not an expense
6. Do make money by building enough audience to support your gigs and expenses. Lavish your audiences with praise and attention
7. Do host other artists from other cities to play in your town and help them build audience
8. Do travel to other cities and play venues and house concderts to build regional audience
9. Do blog, send newsletters, post videos to YouTube etc , be active on social media
10. Do create relationships with booking agents in our city and other cities and REMEMBER they MAINLY care about how many people you bring
11. Do empower yourself to play in a lot of configurations – with a band, acoustic, with well-programmed tracks
12. Do keep current with what is happening with other artists you love, admire, envy or follow. The artists who you perceive as a step ahead of you can be very helpful. They are doing what you should be doing. Figure out what it is and go do similar things.
13. Do support artists who have what you want to have by LIKING their pages, supporting their work, going to their shows, offering tyo double3 bill with them. Create opportunities. OH! and if you want people to buy your music, buy theirs.
14. Do be a part of the music world – join ASCAP, BMI OR SESAC.
15. If you’re a woman, join Women in Music
16. Let CYBER PR Empower and educate you. Read Ariel Hyatt’s Books, blogs, etc. and attend her trainings and webinars. Benefit from the generosity of her enormous free resources.
17. Do make managers, agents, critics, bloggers and anyone you can think of aware of you by connecting with them thru every channel or means you can think of.
18. Do be willing to use your other gifts and abilities to make money – teach, coach, do art and graphic design, play your instrument for others, write songs for or with people, do tech, be an engineer – whatever it takes for you to “sponsor” your own life
19. Do crowd-fund – it not only raises money, it raises awareness and engagement
20. Do GO FOR IT in your own way and on your own terms
21. PS ALSO – if it’s right for your style, DO put yourself into the LOTTERY of the big time – record deals, the Voice, and shows like it, etc. Just realize it is a LOTTERY and a game, not a measurement of your talent, abilities, soul, musicianship or success. AT most, it might be a metric of your good looks and commercial appeal. It’s a game you can play, but not make the rules for. Don’t take it too seriously, but PLAY it if you are brave and silly enough. We did! and while it lasted it was a thrilling ride on the rollercoaster of the music business. You just have to remember you don’t own the amusement park!


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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FB Makes a Complete 180° – Are You Ready?

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3 Ways Facebook’s EdgeRank Changes Will Make Your Fan Base Stronger

(If you know how to master content marketing)

In early December, Facebook made an announcement that it was going to be making some slight ‘tweaks’ to it’s EdgeRank algorithm. For those of you not in-the-know, EdgeRank is used to determine what content, of all of your friends and all of the pages you’ve liked, will actually show in your Newsfeed, and they didn’t just ‘tweak’ it… FB has made a complete 180°.

Over the last two year, and particularly since the purchase of Instagram for $1 Billion (yes, Billion with a B) in mid-2012, Facebook has outspokenly favored photos and memes in the news feed over other forms of content such as links, videos and of course, plain text updates.

In fact, in 2012, a study by SocialBakers reported that 85% of engagement came from photos. This was updated by SocialBakers in July of 2013 to show an increase… a whopping 93% of engagement was coming from photos:

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The new changes to FB algorithm have been said to put a stronger emphasis on ‘high quality articles’ and less on memes (photos); a clear departure from the focus for the last two years.

In the short term, overall visibility of your Facebook Fan Pages, and thus engagement is likely to drop. A study from Ignite Social Media shows:

“..in the week since December 1, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by 44% on average, with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%. Only one page in the analysis had improved reach, which came in at 5.6%.”

In the long term however, Facebook will become a far more effective way to build genuine community through relevant discussion and shared mission-driven experience rather than the shallow ‘engagement’ we’ve recently been witness to, through liking and sharing of meme after meme.

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In other words, now more than ever is the best time for you to start focus on your content strategy. Facebook is literally inviting you to focus on higher quality content and share it through their platform.

There are 3 ways for you to leverage this opportunity to create a better content marketing strategy and a stronger fan base:

1. Understanding Your Niche is More Important than Ever

The key to any good content marketing strategy is understanding your niche – the intersection of your passion/ mission and your art. Once you understand that your your niche isn’t just ‘musician’ or ‘rock band’ but is ‘green, vegan rock band’ or ‘recovering addict turned inspirational musician’, you will be able to better target not only your target community of fans, peers and media makers on Facebook, but you’ll also have a stronger understanding of how to connect with them through high-quality content.

2. Create a More Consistent Experience Between Facebook, Twitter and Your Blog By Leveraging Your Content Strategy

Twitter has always been platform for niche discussions. However, Facebook was always the ugly elephant in the room, forcing you to stray away from the legitimate conversations taking elsewhere for the elementary engagement of ‘like my photo, share my photo, etc.’. The new emphasis on high-quality content allows you to extend the conversations being had on Twitter, with those who spend most of their time on Facebook.

3. Have You Started Blogging Yet? The Time is NOW!

If you’ve been neglecting your blog, there is no better time than now to get started with a strategy that allows you to explore your niche and expand upon your unique position within. For the first time in a long time, Facebook can be a good platform for you to share original, high-quality content that nurtures genuine discussion.

How have YOU been benefiting from the recent changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm?

Share your recent experiences on Facebook with us in the form of a comment below. Have you felt the changes yet?Let us know!

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