Your friends and family will support and claim they know you when you blow up or become famous, it’s not their fault, that’s the way humans are wired! So, instead of asking or should I say begging for support, retweets, shares, likes, or views, you should play another game instead. What you are about to read is not mainstream watered-down advice. It is straight facts and at the end of this post, you will learn 3 strategies and things to do instead of begging and relying on friends to post your music, content or work for exposure! You will learn what it takes to blow up and get traction for your talent! As a creative, even though you (we) do what we do because of the love we have for it, and would do it any day for free, we also want to be recognized for our talents and skills, we want as much people as possible to hear or see what we’ve created. Just like a mother loves her new born and wants to show off how beautiful her baby is, the same bond exists between creatives and their talents or skill.
Right off the bat, you need to come to a realization that your friends posting your content, music or work on their page will not blow you up! (except ofcourse, your friend is an influencer and has a very large following of people who would resonate with your content). There is a process of actually getting your work seen and heard by people and this takes well planned actions and not just a retweet from your friends and family. Stop relying on friends to blow you up, your career is in your hands.
If you are serious about music as being your craft and career, you need to get off the “begging wagon” and realize that nobody owes you anything. Be futuristic and strategic with your approach. The fact is this, if you create good content, it will see the light of day. The right people will share it and show it to other people. It will spread, it might take time and resources, but it will eventually spread. When people share your music or content because they love it and shared it from their own accord, that’s when you know the love is real and that they actually fuck with your content, you don’t want people to share your music or content because you asked or begged them to.
I am by no means saying you shouldn’t ask people to support you if you want to.
It is said that “Ask and ye shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be open unto thee” but if you want to get your content in front of thousands of people who will go from “not knowing you” to becoming “fans of you”, the doors you need to knock is different from those of your friends. I will be outlining the 3 things to do instead of begging for support from friends and family..
Leverage is the name of the game. If you don’t have money to spend to push your content in front of thousands or millions of people and you are tired of begging friends and family to support you, you better have something of value you can leverage on. I remember back when I was in Uni in Nigeria, I used to do music and have always known that my friends posting or retweeting my music wouldn’t put it in front of thousands or millions of people, so I leveraged what I had. Before I go into this, I want us to be on the same page as to what “leverage” means! Leverage simply means “power to influence people and get the results you want”.
So, back when I was doing music in Uni, I wanted my music to be heard by thousands of people. How can I make this happen or better still – who can make this happen for me? Well, its either a major record label or bloggers. So, I reached out to some big bloggers in Nigeria whose blogs were popping. Besides their blog being top 5 music blog in Nigeria, they also had connections with other bloggers as well, which means if they have a song they want to promote on their blog, they could also send it to 100s of other bloggers to post it as well, thereby creating some type of viral effect for the content.
So, what did I say to the bloggers? Well, I told them this “I am a university student and an up-coming artist, I create good music and am top 5 in my University. I would love to handle the graphics design for your blog in exchange for you posting my music whenever I release it. Attached are 2 of my previous songs and some of the graphics design gigs I have done and can do for you” Instead of asking or begging for my song to be posted on their blog like thousands of other up-coming artists do, I chose to offer value and leverage what I could do for them in exchange for what I wanted them to do for me.
I knew music blogs always needed designs done for their posts, mixtapes, flyers, logos and more! By the way, they could have been able to get those things done cheaper from a graphics designer but If am offering to be their go-to guy on standby, it feels a little bit priceless and they would see it as having a full time staff who they don’t have to pay salary to. With this offer, I was able to get a deal from 2 main bloggers who also had the power to send my music to 100s of their other blogger connects on my behalf for free.
So, I was handling their graphics design and they would post my songs on their blogs and send it to their blogger friends to do the same, to the ordinary eyes or even friends back then, I must have been really cool or was spending a lot of money to have my music on top Nigerian music blogs like 360nobs, TooXclusive, Najailoaded, and 100s of other blogs but what I just outlined above was what was going on behind the scenes, I wasn’t spending a dime, I was only leveraging what I had and could do for what I wanted and couldn’t afford.
I am very aware that not everyone would have graphics design skill and also aware that bloggers might not even be open to accept such a deal but I hope you get the point. If you don’t have money to spend to push your content or work out there, you better have something of value that you can offer someone who is in the position to push your work. Nobody will do anything for you for free except they truly love you and your work, you have to know and accept this. So, instead of complaining or begging friends to push your music or work, start thinking strategically. Think about who are the people in the position to give your work publicity and start thinking on what you can offer them in exchange for their service.
You will be surprised, people in power are always willing to help but they want to help people who have something to offer themselves, not just people who want to take, take and take without giving anything in return. The principle of leveraging works in all aspects of life, not just for up-coming artists and creatives by the way. So, just an update about my music career, I kind of hung my boots on music because I didn’t want my education to suffer back then and after my NYSC, I moved to London to get my masters and focused more on my Tech businesses than music, I will go back into music soon though and this time, I will not only be leveraging (because I now have more things to offer) but will also be doing the other things listed below.
#2 Pay Your Way.
So, if you have nothing of value to exchange with someone in power in exchange for getting their paid service for free, you must be willing to pay your dues! Most up-coming artists and creatives don’t want to pay for anything! They think people should see how talented they are and therefore kiss their ass and pay for all their stuffs and even their promotion. That’s not going to happen bro! It is easier to blow up now than it was 10 years or even 5 years ago with the power of the internet.
You have people blowing up with less or even ZERO talent, they just know how to work the system. Why not leverage the internet as a catalyst to blow up? So, let’s say you have a new song that you think is good and believe if people listened to it, they will love it and bump to it. So, you upload it to Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube. You tell your friends or followers to listen and share your song, you get a couple 100 views here and there, or some likes and shares even or maybe you even get thousands if you have a large following but that is not enough to put you on the map and make you a force to reckon with.
Let’s say you want to focus on the internet alone, you need your song on music-centric blogs, streaming platforms and large social media accounts (a.k.a influencers). You cannot get any of these for free, the owners of these platforms have spent years and money to build their audience and there is a fee attached to them posting your sponsored content. (some will post for free though, I will talk about this in the next point) You should be willing to pay money for the exposure of your content and you should also be open to running ads on your account to place your work and music in front of the right people or more people who would resonate with your content, follow and support your journey.
I remember a while ago, a new friend of mine who is an up-coming artist released a mixtape with some really good songs on them. I noticed that even though this guy was good and had the potential to blow up, he constantly always asked and begged people to listen, share and comment on his songs.
So, I reached out to him, I told him “Bro, you know am a genius in social media marketing right? I think we should create a campaign that will put your music in front of more people and give your tracks the traction they deserve” and he was so happy and said “Yes bro, please lets do it” So, I organized a meeting with him and started sharing and creating the strategy we would make use of to promote his songs and give it maximum views, he was excited about it and I started setting up the AD for him on his phone and told him to attach his credit card to the ad account I just created for him so his card can be charged for payments.
Then, he threw a bomb on me saying he thought I would pay for the ads since I wanted to “support him”. Wait! What??? The crazy thing is that the ads won’t even cost up to £50 but with the campaign strategy I wanted to put in place, the campaign would give him and his songs a lot of traction and exposure than he would never get on his own if he continued begging friends on his social media account for one year straight and he had difficulties coming to terms that he had to pay for his own promotion? Really? But he has no problem spending 100s and 1000s of pounds on designer clothes and gadgets that adds no value to his future and career as a musician? Do you see the dis-connect? Most up-coming artists do not want to pay their dues, they want everything for free.
I wasn’t even charging him my social media marketing consultation fees, businesses pay me upwards of a thousand pounds per month to create ads and campaigns for them as a consultant but I was offering the same service to a “friend” for free but because he had to handle his own ad costs, it didn’t make sense to him? He wanted someone to kiss his ass and give him fame on a platter of gold since he was “talented”! My reaction was “Fuck off, am not going to give this guy my time, he clearly doesn’t take his career seriously. He rather buy Gucci and over-priced gadgets than invest in his own career” Please, as up-coming artists, be willing to pay your way and make sacrifices from the little money you have, if you have nothing to leverage on! Remember the big picture, when you blow up, you will be making hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions and all this little change you spend on promoting your songs and videos will not mean anything!
Be willing to pay your way, be willing to sacrifice that new iPhone you want to buy, use that money instead to improve your song quality, shoot a video or even run some promotions. If you know nothing about running successful ad campaigns, reach out to people who do this and pay them to help you handle this. Be willing to eat shit now, so you can eat buffet in the future.
#3. Always Be Creating.
As an up-coming artist and creative, you should always be creating. Spend more time on creating than begging for support, trust me, your work will get recognized, people will fuck with you and your content but you cannot give up, you cannot relax, you always have to be creating.
You never know which content is going to blow up, go viral or get some traction. It will shock you to know that the songs that blew artists up is not their first song and if you go through their social media pages before they blew up, there is a track record of content creation that has been going on before the “overnight success” we all see. Same thing applies to people who have gone “Instagram or Youtube famous” People can see and smell hard work.
As long as you keep creating content, you will keep improving and people will start noticing you and your page. You might even end up on the radar of someone who will be in a position to either sign you and take all the burden of payments and promotions off your neck or someone who knows someone who can plug you . However, none of these can happen if you stop creating! As an up-coming artist and creative, You keep wishing and praying to be discovered but does your page have your best content? If someone who is in the position to promote or help you lands on your page, will they be wowed and feel indepted to putting you on? If the answer is no, START CREATING MORE!
How can you call yourself a musician, comedian or creative but your page doesn’t show you in the lab cooking some fire, doing some freestyles or showcasing your talents? Think twice bro! The other importance of continuous creation is because you never know which content will go viral, when your content goes viral, you will not need to pay anyone with a large following to post your content, they will post your content by themselves because you are the talk of the town. We all know success stories of people who have blown up from social media, they all follow the same concept of continuous creation!
We have also heard stories of labels and big artists signing people off of social media because one of their video or song went viral, this cannot happen if there isn’t a continuous creation process in place. Keep creating, keep posting, keep being creative!
Remember, because your friends and family do not post your songs, work or content doesn’t mean they do not love you. They will love you when you become famous and at that time, if you like, you can then choose to show love to people who actually supported you but for now, don’t give that any thought! Promote yourself using any or 3 of the outlined strategies above and you will notice some changes! Remember the big picture, if you are truly talented and you believe in yourself, you are one step away from being able to buy a Lambo without even feeling like you spent a dime! So, hustle strategically until then! Your future is in your hands, do whatever it takes!