“The market needs you, we need you and the tools are there, just waiting. All that’s missing is you and your vision and your passion”-Seth Godin, Tribes
One of my biggest failures came in the fall of 2007. It was a lesson that I will never forget. I was commissioned to create a performance piece for Dixon Place in New York City. This of course was not the failure. This was actually a great success in my career. The failure came during the run of this commissioned show. The show was called Sum Of Us and it was a collaboration between myself and a NYC band called Inner Princess. We had nine performances of our original gender bending creation and I think we had an average of 10 people at each performance. The small lower east side performance space sat 50 people. What I learned from that experience is: In order to fully thrive as an independent performing artist (IPA) we must build and nurture our own audience.
This post will focus on the #1 way to thrive as an independent artist and that is BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE, which is one-third of what I’m calling THE FOUNDATION. THE FOUNDATION is a set of business skills that every thriving IPA should practice. In my last post I focused on PERSONAL BRANDING and my next post will focus on your DREAM SCHEME. I believe that if we begin to embrace a few tools of the entrepreneur like this one, we can create thriving careers for ourselves.
What I know now is that as independent performing artists we must continue to build an audience outside of our performances and they must have the potential to follow us anywhere. Back in 2007 at Dixon Place, my mistake was that I thought that Dixon Place would pack the house for us. I was under the impression that they would provide an audience that would show up to see our show. I was wrong. People go see artists that they know, follow and love. As independent performing artists, who want to thrive, we have to build and maintain relationships with the people who will support us. Not only do we have to build our audience but we also should stay in contact with them. We have to treat them like our best friends. Shout outs every now and again are important.
We also need to think outside of our bubbles. What I mean is we need to think nationally and internationally. Imagine if you get the opportunity to perform outside of your city, state or country. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you had a following that you could invite to a live performance no matter where in the world you perform? This is the level of thinking that we need to have to become thriving artists! Build an audience all over the world. This is the profile of a thriving independent performing artist.
Your Facebook account packed with” friends” is not enough. You may think that your one billion friends on Facebook is all that you need to reach your audience, but the truth is that you do not own your list on Facebook or any other social media site.
The fact is that social media sites own all of those contacts and if they decide to change the rules about how you can communicate to your fans and friends, there is not a thing that you can do about it. I’m not saying that you should not use these sites to your full advantage as an artist. What I am saying is BUILD AND NURTURE YOUR OWN EMAIL LIST. An email list is yours to control.
Now, this is where the hard work begins. This is the stuff that no one wants to do. Building an audience that really follows you is hard and takes dedication. It’s grunt work and it separates the thriving from the barely surviving.
Building an audience takes time and patience. If you use the right tools and you are creative you can get a snowball effect that builds your own engaged audience for the long-term. This is not about just getting a million “likes”, this is about building an engaged community of people who will support you and your work for many years to come.
I have created a list of 10 AUDIENCE BUILDING STRATEGIES that all thriving artist use to create a following outside of their performances. Some of these strategies I have been using for years and some I have just discovered. I am now using most of these strategies to grow my email list and the results have been mind-blowing.
I’ve created a BONUS page full of strategies and resources that you can start exploring today and it is reserved for subscribers to this blog. I will always share valuable info with you here, but I will also share some BONUS material for those who really want it. You can subscribe right here on this page. I respect your privacy and will never share your email with anyone else.
Thank you subscribers! You give me motivation and energy. I really appreciate it. If for some reason you didn’t get the BONUS page password in your email, just shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. Thanks again!
If you have not subscribed yet and are interested in 10 AUDIENCE BUILDING STRATEGIES that you can start using now, join me in becoming a thriving artist by subscribing. You will get the password to the BONUS page on your subscription confirmation page. Once you enter the password on the BONUS page, which you can find on the menu bar, you will never have to enter it again when you return to this blog. This means you will always have access to all bonus material in the future.
Meanwhile, if you want to read a life changing book about the importance of building your audience, pick upTribes: We Need You to Lead Usby Seth Godin. You can also find it at The Survival Market, a book store I specifically designed for performing artists or any independent artists who want to thrive. There are many other titles there to explore, so go get ’em!
Please help me spread the word by SHARING this post on your favorite social media site. Like if you like. Also feel free to comment or email me always at Matlock@thrivingipa.com. I welcome whatever you have to say.