Blueprint for an Online Campaign

I originally began writing this post as more of a tutorial for how musicians should plan and tackle their crowdfunding campaign ‘Journal’ on Hifidelics. However, this style of online campaigning will work for just about any field or creative, so I thought it should be shared with everyone.

Selling anything online can be very tough. Somehow we have been conditioned to believe that if you put a buy button on our website that the money will soon start rolling in. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look at the online Adult industry; on average one person joins a premium website for every 1,000-1,500 targeted visitors. And sex sells itself! So don’t get discouraged when most of your new visitors show little to no interest when they’re on your site. It very well could be a lackluster product or service that’s being offered, but more often than not it’s lack of experience in online marketing.

I began marketing online in the year 2000. A lot has changed since then and I learn new things everyday, so I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any means. However I have tried many different approaches-some successful, some a miserable failure. It was after learning about a few artists having success with their new approach that I began formulating this plan. What I’m about to present you with is a basic, yet proven campaign foundation. There are many different variations and/or concepts that can be added (ie: contests, fan participation, etc.), but I have found this to be the most important to ensure engagement.

Our campaign goal is to create an engaging experience for your fans and followers, and not necessarily to be selling anything. Your goal should always be  fans, not consumers. Consumers will come from your true fans.

By doing this our intent is to:

  • Solidify current fans and attract new ones.
  • Add another stepping stone in building your brand

Distinguish a Clear Goal for Your Campaign

First thing’s first. Before you go any further it’s imperative that you are actually going somewhere with all this. I have almost forty years experience with “winging-it” and I can tell you it’s a horrible plan. In the case of a Hifidelics’ artist, the basic goal would be a completed vinyl record into the hands of their fans. However, there’s more to it than that when it comes to delivering something of value. Like a business plan, you want to think about and plan for every aspect of your pitch, campaign and finished product. I’ve found what works best is reverting to your school days when you were taught to answer; who, what, where, when, why and how.

Develop a Story to Drive Your Campaign

I hate to say this, but YOUR goal is unimportant to most everyone else. Sure, your family and friends will encourage you and you may have some strangers behind you, but ultimately nobody REALLY cares. It’s also important for musicians to get the notion that “the music will speak for itself” out of their heads. Yes, great music is very important, but there are already a lot of great musicians out there who will never go beyond their small circle of friends and fans. It’s up to you to paint the picture that surrounds your brand and music, and make them care. This is where you can really have some fun and shape your campaign.  Brian Clark of Copyblogger explains it best in his article, The Jedi Master Approach to Content Marketing that Converts.

You need to tell a Star Wars story. And by that, I mean you need to take your prospects along a content marketing version of the mythic hero’s journey.

I also recommend downloading this free e-book from StoryAmp, The Art of The Pitch

Record and Journal Everything

Using multimedia (video, photos, audio, etc.) is important. Nowadays, it’s almost imperative for any artist and/or marketer to own a video camera of some sort; whether it’s a phone camera or a professional.  Most people don’t like to, or do not have the time to read these days, but they will be more likely to read some of your copy if you mix it up a bit with visuals. People always ask me, “what kind of content should I be sharing?” The answer is, anything and everything that has something to do with your campaign and/or project. You can filter what’s important as you go along. Your fans will love getting a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes and videos, or video blogging, goes a long way. Not only will this keep your fans and followers up-to-date, but it also shows your personal side. This is the next best thing to your fans actually being there with you. Whether it was planned or stumbled upon, Imogen Heap practiced this method back in 2009 for her album “Ellipse” and her fans loved her for it. This will help build a more personal and intimate connection with your fans.

Heap maintained a regular video blog on YouTube.  In total, she posted 40 episodes, during the past 2 years, each running between 3 and 12 minutes long. Although, they’re publicly available, Heap’s vLogs make viewers feel like they’ve been invited into her home (indeed, most vLogs are shot in Heap’s home) for an intimate conversation. The vLogs capture Heap’s personality, her fun and celebratory nature, and allow fans to really get to know Heap even though they may never have met her in person.

Share It All and Build Steam

This goes hand-in-hand with ‘Record and Journal Everything’. You’re telling your story with content and you should share your content accordingly. In other words, you don’t want to just post all your content at once. You want to slowly unfold your story, titillate and keep your fans coming back to follow your progress and to see what you’re going to do or say next. You have probably already heard this a million times, but the goal here is to engage your fans.

You will need a central hub to share all this (ie: blog, journal, etc.), but be sure to also share it on your social networks as well (ie: Youtube, Vimeo, flickr, facebook, etc.) with a link back to your content/campaign hub. Not only will this attract new followers, but they are all set-up for quick and easy sharing; hopefully drawing even more followers to your campaign through word-of-mouth.

Pay-off and Reward

Your reward will come with a finished product or completed goal. If you have followed all the steps above you will have built a steady and loyal following while building more intimate connections with your fans. When fans and followers feel they have a personal connection with you and your campaign, they are more likely to tell their friends about you and more likely to give some sort of financial support, whether it’s for this campaign, the next one or even supporting you on another level (live shows, etc.)

Do it all over again

During your campaign be sure you’re paying attention to what is working for you and what was a mistake. If you intend to run another campaign it’s important not to make the same mistakes this time around. I know, mistakes in a public forum can be embarrassing, but it happens to all of us; myself included. This is how we learn, because what works well for you just might be a miserable failure for me, and vice versa. Once you have this figured out, begin planning your campaign as soon as possible. I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase, “strike while the iron is hot”. You have already built some momentum with your previous campaign and you don’t want to lose that momentum. Trust me, it will make your next campaign all the more easier.

Additional reading:

Tell a Story for Your CD Release and Beyond

3 Ways to Crush It With Your Music Marketing!

The New Album Release Cycle & Finding the Time to Do Everything

97 Ideas for Building a Valuable Platform

The 3 C’s Of Effective Artist Branding

7 Content Marketing Articles Worth Reading


Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what should be added to this? Please share it with us in the comments.

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