Position yourself strategically

Positioning yourself to find customers is one of the most important skills you can develop.

I was in downtown Kingston on business when I notice a vendor near a local bank. He stood across from the shouting get your mask.

One by one people passing by walked up and purchased a mask from the vendor. On the surface it looks simple but look at the business lesson from this vendor.

Go where your customers are.

He was right in front of a bank. People cannot go inside without a mask so there was a strong need for his product. Plus he was on a busy street so people passing would see him.

Let people know what you have.

At intervals he would shout get your mask. This is strategic as if he just stood there no one will know that he was selling mask. If your were passing and need a mask he was right there and you could buy one.

These two lessons are easy to apply. And it also demonstrates the need to be aware of who you a targeting so you can easily put yourself in a position to sell your products and services.

How to stop procrastination

There’s a popular Jamaican saying that says delay is danger.

The true meaning of that saying comes alive when you are working on a project and the deadline is fast approaching and you have not started.

Its not that you mean to but other things have caught your attention or starting maybe difficult.

I know this situation all too well and have found 4 things that help me overcome procrastination.

1. Do it now

If something needs to get done do it now.

For example, you need to set an appointment to speak to a client instead of putting it off do it now.

2. write ideas as they come

Another example, if you have a writing project and have a few ideas write them down as you get it.

Leaving it until later is dangerous because you may not remember what it is.

Outline it and flesh it out now. Whe you ready to sit down to right you already did most of the work.

3. Keep a journal

If you love to read keep track of quotes that inspire you. Similarly, keep photographs you like the look of, shots that inspire you and compositions.

If you are a designer you can keep a swipe file of flyers and other designs you like. They can give you ideas for starting projects.

4. Start before you are ready

Doing things before you need them can help you move quickly.

Have a project due in 2 months start it out. Finish it before it’s needed so that if any changes need to be made it can be done before it ships.

Do things in bulk and schedule them out. Write more than needed. Take more photos than necessary and put plans in place before you have a need for them.

In all cases don’t put things off for later get it done now. You may never get around to it.

5 software tools I can’t do without as a content creator

As a content creator software tools are my best friend. It’s the center of all I do.

These are 5 type of tools that I would recommend anybody to have and know how to use.

1. Audio editor

An audio editor such as Adobe audition is my best friend. It helps me clean up interview, pick out quotes for features and mix down podcasts and other projects.

Investing in an audio editor will make the world of difference to your videos and podcast.

2. Video editor

If you create tons of videos, whether for YouTube, Facebook or otherwise investing in a video will be necessary.

You can cut out mistakes, add titles, lower thirds and other graphics to polish off your video.

You can also cut and splice things together. Add music and other elements.

Adobe premier, Vegas pro, Wonderware fillmora and final cut pro are good options in this category.

3. Photo editing tool

Instagram has increase the use of photo online. So having an editor to tweak your photos will be good investment.

From creating flyers, info graphics and croping images a good photo editor is the next tool on this list.

You also use it to create images for blog post, book covers, carousel for Instagram and so on.

Photoshop, gimp, abode lightroom and affinity photo are great options in this category.

4. Desktop publisher

Desktop publishers can help you create books. Though you can do certain things in word or Google docs these tools can help you create pdf documents and fillable forms.

If you are looking to create ebooks, a desktop publisher will come in handy.

Affinity publisher, Adobe indesign and scribus are good options to look at.

5. Vector graphic

Vector graphic software can help you design logos useful shapes and icons that can be used in other design.

Illustrator, Inkscape and affinity designers are good options.

Though you may not use all of them but having access at somepoint will make your life easier. Knowing how to use them as well will be a blessing.

How to optimize your workflow

Have you ever started working on a project only to get stuck. Or becomes side tracked only to realize your deadline is fast approaching and you’ve made little progress.

You may make a mad dash to complete it or you ask for more time. But the feeling of lack of progress on a project can get overwhelming at times.

At the beginning of my career as a writer working for a media company meeting deadlines use to frighten me.

Luckily after some experimentation and research I found 5 ways to optimize my workflow that I think can help you meet those deadlines.

1. Break project into steps

Worse thing you can do is doing everything all at once. Break the process apart to increase your focus.

What this will help is help you make small wins and make the project manageable.

2. Batch similar task together

I learn this from Michael Hyatt’s book free to focus. The concept is simple, group similar task on your calendar.

Work on everything in batches to increase your focus and save you time later.

For example, do all interviews on the same day. Write your peice at another time.

If you’re a designer, spend time to find all your ideas. Spend time to download all resources needed. Then sketch out all concepts then finalize them on another day.

3. Create templates and systems.

Creating templates and systems is critical to optimizing workflow.

In the book emyth Micheal Gerber emphasizes the need to be able to repeat results. If you know how to do something really well create a template or system to ensure you can get that basic result faster.

If you do something repeatedly everyday create a template. It helps you get consistent results everytime.

4. Review only when finished

There’s a chance you want to scrutinize your work on the go. Don’t do it. Make changes only when you are finished with the original idea.

Editing while you’re working will only waste time. Lengthen the time to actually finish and worse make you miss your deadline.

5. Get all the tools you need for the job

Invest in the right tools to make life easier. Don’t look at the cost upfront, look at the time you will save buying the right tools.

This could mean, software, plug-ins, physical tools, templates even people. Get what you need to get the job done.

Optimizing your workflow will take some time. Once you put the measures in place you will see your productivity improve.

5 things that helped me improve my writing

Writing was one of the most difficult things for me to do.

Whenever I was to write a letter, compose an email and similar things I would always draw blanks.

It would be very frustrating and I would avoid it for a very long time.

The reason writing was so difficult 8s because I had trouble expressing myself verbally.

The following 5 things helped me improve my writing a lot.

1. Read widely

One thing that sky rocketed my writing was reading more books.

Expose yourself to different styles of writing. This will help you find what you like.

For me I love clear writing. I also gravitate to authors who get straight to the point.

Anything that uses a lot of metaphors usually annoys me because some of the books I have read the authors leave you hanging.

But the point is the more you read and the wider you read, the more ways you find to express yourself through writing.

2. Blogging

Staring a blog was the best decision I have made. It helped me practice in public.

It also helped build my confidence to try other forms of writing.

Another way to put it is practice writing down your thoughts.

Not just writing it down but sharing it to get feedback from others.

3. Have a structure

Nothing waste more time than trying out how to say what you want to say.

Learn how to structure your thoughts. Find something you like and stick with it.

One thing that helped me was following the structures that copywriters used to write advertisements.

These people know how to structure their thoughts in a logical format. Following these guys is a good way to learn how to structure your writing.

4. Don’t judge your ideas

One thing that increased my speed was trying all my ideas by faith. While writing just getting everything out of my head and onto the page.

If it works great if it doesn’t I learn from it and move on.

5. Practice everyday

Writers write. That’s what we do. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

Fund some time to write some thoughts down. Keep a journal, digital or physical.

The act of writing something down everyday, sharing it and having it edited by someone else helped me to improve the quality of my writing.

Conclusion

These are some of the things that helped to improve my writing.

5 reasons why people are afraid to release new music

After spending weeks sometimes months working on a new song. Its about the time to release it to your fans. But before you hit that upload button a flood of thoughts fill your mind.

Is it ready? Does the mix sound right? Will my fans like the song? How will it sound compared with other songs? and the list goes on and on.

The end result is a hard drive filled with music that nobody hears but yourself and family. That’s if you still have the courage to listen to the songs after the beating your self confidence just took.

I can relate to this. It’s crushing. Its causes anxiety when you are finished working on a song. I remember sending songs to several people before deciding to release it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 5 reasons why artist don’t release new music.

Reason 1. Comparing your music with commercial releases

One of the first things most artist do after recording a song is compare it with commercial releases. Some people do this before its even mixed or mastered. Having references is a good thing. It helps guide your mixing decisions and so on.

But many people get frustrated and disappointed if they think their music don’t sound as good as the commercial releases by major labels. The thing is most fans don’t care. If they like the song they will listen to it.

If you work with quality engineers your music will be good enough. You will get the commercial radio ready quality once you have finished the process. But you have to have the confidence in the people you work with. Even if you did everything by yourself.

Reason 2. Trying to create the perfect song

Another reason recording artist don’t release music is trying to create the perfect song. Here’s a clue it doesn’t exist. If you listen the stories of many artist they will tell you that if they work to create the perfect song nothing comes out.

Think about it you spend years in the studio trying to perfect the sound of your vocal, or the drums or bass part in the mix. When you done and compare it to something else you go back and fix something else. Then you go back and repeat the process.

So the question is when will you put it out? What was the point of recording the song in the first place to work on it and fix every detail? Or is it to get it good enough for the people to listen to it?

Seth Godin in his book poke the box says if it doesn’t ship it doesn’t count.

Reason 3. Waiting for other people’s approval to release your music

The third reason is waiting on people’s approval to release. This one is huge. You know why because you rely on the opinion of persons who you think are more knowledgeable than you. If they don’t like it you will feel crushed. Why give people so much power over your work?

If you think about it, you don’t know what your fans will like or what they will hate. The only way to find out is to put it out. They are many stories by recording artist that hated the song that eventually became a hit.

The right thing to do is ensure the technical details are good enough then ship it. You don’t want to release a poorly mixed song and that’s not what I’m saying. Also I’m not saying to avoid the opinion of others, the thing is don’t hang on every word they say.

Reason 4. Doubting yourself and the music you created

The fourth reason is doubting what you have. Many persons focus on being accepted and starts to doubt whether they are good enough. When it comes to there music, they find all the excuses in the world for not putting a song out.

I don’t like it anymore. I find a new song that is better. I want to continue to record some more songs before I will start releasing music. They listen back and they hate how it sounds and they complain bitterly.

I use to do this a lot and thought my music wasn’t good enough. That’s until the messages started coming in. People from different countries telling me how they use my music to reach young people and I should keep it up.

Those messages wouldn’t come in if I kept the music to myself. Gospel artiste Jermaine Edwards in an interview talks about a similar experience. How persons message him about the impact of his music.

Reason 5. You think people will not like the song

The last reason is worrying about whether people will like the song. As I mentioned earlier you will never know unless you out it out. The voices in your head doubting your new song is only preventing you from uploading the new song you have.

You will never know how people are going to react. You will spend days agonizing over something you will never know the answer to unless you put it out. The reasons may be real and valid. But you still in the dark of the reaction.

Another reason why people do this is that they want their music to be accepted. Some persons can’t deal with the thought of someone not liking the song. It’s like if you hate the song you hate them.

Your music is not for everyone. Your music is just your expression of something you like. You and your music is separate. If they don’t like the song that’s ok. Make another one.

Conclusion

Stephen Presfield in his book the war of art says you are not your work. So spend time creating music. But also spend time putting it out as well. Keep going and keep creating.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, what are some of the reasons why you use not to release new music leave a comment below.

5 reasons why having more than music is good marketing

Learning how to effectively market your music is a skill all artiste should have. With the many social media channels, using it effectively can help you as a n artist promote yourself in at an affordable cost. But your music isn’t the only thing that you can use to promote yourself.

Here’s the thing. There’s a practice that I see many artiste do online. Especially when they have a new song promoting. Every chance they get they post their music. They will send you a message every day with the same song. Not to mention post the song under other people’s post as a reply.

For example I will post a flyer about an upcoming event. An artiste comments on the flyer with a link to their song on YouTube.

Another example I will get a DM on Instagram from an artiste. When I check the message its a link to YouTube with a request to listen their new song. I have even seen people post a song on someone’s Facebook profile on their birthday.

When I see it done I ask myself the question is it very effective? Are they building a following on social media by doing it? Or are they turning people away?

Here are 5 reasons why having more than music is a good way to build a loyal following online.

1. It broadens your reach

The first place where most artiste look to promote their songs is radio. Especially radio shows that they know play their kind of music. They also target entrainment blogs, newspapers and magazines for reviews.

Then they apply the same concept online. On social media they post the song every chance they get. But they fail to move beyond the music.

Doing this can shift the focus off the music and more on the message. Focusing on the message can open up new audiences for you to promote yourself.

For example, reggae artist Spice released a song about the color of her skin and if she was lighter things might be better. What she did to promote the song I think was genius. She deleted all her Instagram pictures and posted only one. The picture was her with a lighter skin color.

The result was that everybody was talking about it. They even thought that Spice changed her skin color. It was believable. But later she revealed that she is promoting a new song. The campaign brought the message to the front and center.

2. Introduce your fans to things you are interested in

Beyond the music you must like other things. Like sports, art, books, clothes. Your fans might have similar interest to you as well. You can use your social media channels to talk about them and share a bit with your fans. What this does is move the conversation beyond just music and make your brand more interesting.

As a music fan, I always research my favorite artist. I want to find interviews with them talking about their story. How they grew up, what they like. What other music they listen to. What books they read. The type of movies they like to watch.

If you can talk about these things it can help you engage with your fans.

3. Give you more things to talk about on your blog in between releases

Having something to share with your fans is a good thing. After you have released a new song what else can you talk about? That’s the question you should always seek to answer. How can I keep my fans engaged and let them appreciate the song more?

That’s the next step. Focusing on the message of the song, the process, and more will give you more ideas for content. You can share bits and pieces overtime. You wont suffer from mental blocks because you will always have something to say.

4. Makes you seem human

If all you post is your song then after awhile people will start to tune you out. Beyond the music what else is there about you that can build your relationship with your fans.

When you share your interest it makes you more relatable. Fans will understand who you are and get to know you a bit better. These people will become hardcore fans.

For example many artiste struggle with certain issues but never talk about them. Fans who suffer from the same issue can benefit from you sharing your story and how you found a solution.

When Linkin Park frontman Chester Bannington committed suicide, there were a number of fans expressing how their music helped them through difficult times. Your music will have a similar impact and that’s why its important to move beyond the music.

5 It helps you connect with your fans more

The last reason is it helps you connect with your fans. You can engage with them in a more meaningful way through the stories you share. The experiences you have and the solutions you find to common problems.

What you share can be anything. It could be your faith, your favorite food, your hobbies outside of music. Your fans will appreciate you for doing it. When you share consistently it will build a momentum and give people more reasons to follow you besides your music.

Conclusion

The point i’m trying to make is this, share a little bit more about who you are. Become content creators online and give people a reason to come back for more. Music is just one option. The question is what else is there?

What are some of the ways you use to engage your fans between releases? leave a comment below.

7 ways to market your music independently in 2020

You spend hours writing, recording and mixing your new single or EP. Its now perfect and everyone who heard it love it. Now its time to let the world outside of your close friends and family hear your music. There’s one problem how do you go about doing that as an independent artiste?

With the rise of social media and the million ways to get your music out to the world which is the right one for you? This is even worse if you are just starting out. No one knows who you are. You have no contacts to anyone? You might as well quit because the road seems long and hard.

That’s what I thought when I was just starting out as a music producer 10 years ago. I didn’t know what I was doing. All I had was an EP compilation and a love for what I was doing. Which was making reggae gospel music.

After some trial and error, lots of reading and asking other musician questions I complied a list of things that will help any musician market their music independently.

Get your music played on the radio

The first place to start is getting a wider audience hear your music. The best place for that is on the radio. Radio reach millions of people on a daily basis. So the prospects of you reaching your fans on the radio is huge.

With the rise of social media and streaming services like Spotify and apple music listening to the radio has gotten less. But don’t count it out as an effective marketing tool for your music.

Outside of getting your music played on the radio you can get a live in studio interview on the radio. This can introduce you and your music to new audiences. If they like your story and your music they will search for you online. This can be a win in the long run if your line up multiple interview around your new release across different radio stations.

Get your music featured on podcast

Podcast is the internets alternative to radio shows. Millions of people listen to podcast on a daily basis. They all have different topics that span from politics to business to even your favorite hobby. These podcasters use music in their intro and outro. They also love to share interesting stories to their listeners.

You can use this to your advantage to share your story and interest to podcast listeners. This can broaden your audience and reach for your music it. You can also have podcasters use your music in their show. So with each episode persons will hear your song.

Apart from doing interview many dj’s have podcast where they play music. You can get your music featured in the podcast. Every genre you can think of has a music podcast on the internet.

Get your music featured on streaming playlist

Streaming playlist has become the new radio. Songs can become successful if they get featured on the right playlist. That’s because millions of music fans check these playlist for new music frequently.

Spotify, Apple music Deezer and other all have curated playlist by taste makers as well as playlist by regular fans. If you can get your music on these playlist it can help your song get traction online. That’s because more persons are listening to your song and sharing it with others.

Get your song review on blogs

Blogs have been around for a long time and they are as equally important today. Many magazines back in the day and now have music review sections. These writers listen to music and share their opinion on what they heard. Getting featured can help introduce you to the persons who read those magazines. Music blogs has been added to this mix.

Somewhere on the internet are a group of people who write about your kind of music everyday. Some do it for the love . Others do it for money and love. Their reason is not important. What’s important is if they like your song and willing to share it with their readers.

Music blogs can be compared to getting featured in the entertainment section of your local newspaper. But the good thing about it is that you can link to it and share the article with your friends and fans.

Get a write up in the newspaper

Your local newspaper is also a good way to spread the word about your music. People still read the newspaper whether online or the physical copy. Most newspapers have an entertainment section. You can send your press kit to the editor and if they like it you can get featured in the local paper.

The key to getting write up in the newspaper is ensure your press release has a relevant news angle. Meaning its can’t be just about your song. Tie to something relevant and interesting that will get the editors attention. That way they will be ready to feature the song in the paper.

Cross promote with other artist

Another way to promoting your music is collaborating with other artist. Especially artist with a larger following than you. The reason for doing this is because they can introduce you to their audience.

A perfect example of this is dancehall artiste Bounty Killa. He has collaborated and help to break out many successful dancehall artist. What he would do is feature them on songs, give them segments on live events and so on. This help the new artist build their own fanbase. The same concept can be used today.

To utilize this concept you can get successful artist to share your song on their social media pages. Send the song to their email list as well as help introduce you to taste makers.

Send your music to Dj’s

The next way to promote your music is finding and sending your music to dj’s. These people play music live, whether at events or on radio. Their audiences maybe small or large but they play music on a regular basis.

To do this find all the djs who play your type of music. Introduce yourself and ask them for their email address to send music. Then send the song with some information about yourself. That’s it.

Keep in mind some of them get music sent to them on a regular basis. They may not respond to your email right away if at all. But keep trying and one day they will respond and pay attention to your music.

Send the music your fans

The last way I want to talk about in this blog is sending music to your fans. While its good to collaborate and use other channels to promote your music. You don’t have any control over these channels. You have to depend on others to push your music. So its important to have a channels that you can use to send music directly to your fans.

This can be posting the song on your YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram account. You can also send it to your email list of fans and post an update about your music on your blog. That way when persons search for you the channels you control the first set of options they find.

Conclusion

These are just 7 things you can do today to market your music independently. They are all free but will take a lot of time to get any sort of tracking. But all in all keep at it and you will see the results you are looking for.

What are some of the methods you use to promote your music independently let me know in the comments?