Advice on Reaching Out To Your Fans

I got a request for advice from fellow musician Dan Russo and asked if I could post the exchange here. Hopefully this will help some of my other musician friends who follow my blog…

…I have always been super-impressed with your musical skills but I’m more impressed with your focus and determination and, I dare say, manipulation of the interwebs to your whim. I was wondering if you had any suggestions, insights, or advice. Does playing more matter? Does reaching out more matter? Which of your many outreaches works the best?

Honestly, nothing has mattered more to me than cultivating a relationship with my fans. I can do what I do primarily because my fans go above and beyond the call of duty.

This means a few practical things:

  • Put yourself on sites that your fans will frequent- Facebook, Ping, Rock Climbing Numismatists Monthly Forums, whatever. Be present where your fans and potential fans are.
  • Make sure comments from all these sites are emailed to you. You don’t need to visit every site you’re on to maintain a relationship. If your Livejournal-based fans communicate with you via LJ comment rather than emailing you directly, you’ll still get the comment in your email box if you tell LJ to send them to you.
  • Aggregate wherever possible. I use a WP-to-LJ plugin and a WP-to-Twitter plugin for my blog, artistdata.com to cross-post my blog and calendar to Myspace and other sites, and a Notes app on Facebook to pull blog posts to my fan page. This way, I make a single blog post on my own website and it shows up almost everywhere (and all over Google, too). There are only a few sites where my fans are concentrated that I can’t cross-post, so I have to copy-paste my updates there whenever I can.

As for advice about playing more… yeah, I don’t know about that. I finally got an agent last week and I’m going to see how much an increased tour calendar helps. Hopefully that answers your question a bit!

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