Our next Guest Blogger in this series is Danny “Yusakri” Wood.
Danny Wood is a multimedia developer for eLearning Brothers and their lead audio engineer. He is a musician that has played guitar or bass in various bands over the past 15 years and continues to collaborate and share his own music online via YouTube and SoundCloud under the alias “Yusakri.” (Photo credit: Harry Cleigh Photography)
Being an artist in today’s world is completely different than the pre-internet days. Everyone knows that the Internet has provided a means to reach a wider audience than ever before and allows more than the elite few to push creations or content to that audience. Anyone with an internet connection can potentially publish their work online and hope that people will see it and appreciate it. But therein lies the problem with the many emerging artists today. How do you get noticed among millions of others trying to do the same thing? How do you gain an audience? How do you get people on the other side of the screen to care about what you’re putting out there for their consumption?
I am far from being an expert on the matter, but I do have some experience with being a musician and attempting to have an online presence. Here are some things that I’ve learned over the years:
ASK YOURSELF WHY.
Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you creating whatever it is that you are? Are you trying to make a living as a creator? Are you more of a hobbyist? Do you create just for the sake of creating or for the sense of accomplishment? Are you creating for yourself or for others? Is the intent to share your art with everyone, just a certain audience or just for yourself?
The answers to these questions determine how you would approach attempting to have an online presence. Since I’m sharing my experience, I should explain my motives of where I stand with these questions. I am a musician who enjoys writing, recording, and sharing original music. I am not trying to make a living off of my music. I would consider it my passion, but a hobby nonetheless. Music, for me, is a way to express emotion in a way that words don’t suffice. Music is therapeutic for me and a method of releasing emotions in a healthy way. The recordings I have are the closest thing I have to a journal. I record music to remember different points in my life and to have a record of these creations for my posterity. I also enjoy sharing my music with anyone that has the desire to listen. I have no prejudice when it comes to my audience. If someone connects to my music in any kind of way, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I love sharing my music online and hope that it spreads as far as it can.
When using social media sites to promote or share your work, it is beneficial to think in terms of “good karma” online. No one likes a troll. Well, except for those dolls from the 90s maybe.
Do the opposite of what a troll does: leave positive or at least honest feedback in a respectful way. Comment on, like, share other people’s work. People are more likely to take a listen or check out your work if you’ve commented on theirs or shown some sort of interest in what they are doing.
Become a part of the online community. Your audience will grow as you reach out and show respect to others. For example, I have a SoundCloud account that I post a lot of my recordings to. When I first uploaded a couple of tracks, I just waited around for people to listen to them. But then I actually started listening to other musician’s tracks. I’d search for similar artists and listen to their music, “like” and comment on them. The more I did that, the more number of plays my tracks got and the more comments I got. Lately, I haven’t been that active on SoundCloud (commenting on others tracks) and as a result, I don’t have as much activity on my tracks. There’s a direct correlation. Seems like common sense, but if you don’t take the time to reach out to others, it’s likely others won’t have a reason to discover your work.
When others show interest in your work through these social media services, respond to them as much as humanly possible. With the exception of a few trolling or negative comments, I have made it a point to respond to every YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitter, Facebook, or ReverbNation comment I’ve ever received. People appreciate being acknowledged and especially fans of your work. When I comment on a Pomplamoose video and they actually respond to my comment, that makes me love them even more. I’m then increasingly interested in whatever they put out.
You will gain more loyal followers if you do this.
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
Is it better to post higher quality work not as often or is it more important to post as much as you can to get your work out there? This is a debate that could be won on either side and in my opinion it really comes down to what your initial intentions are to begin with. If you are trying to make a living from your art, then I think that creating quality work outweighs the idea of pushing as much as you can out there. However, it also depends on what you are creating. As a musician, if I’m just putting out a bunch of low quality content, then it can possibly cause my audience to shrink. But if I’m consistently pumping out high quality tracks for my followers, that’s another story.
If you actually create visual art, then posting little tidbits of your work often can actually be a really smart move. David Habben executes this fantastically on Instagram.
Keeping your fans happy by posting things on a regular basis will keep them interested. Also – if you think about this as a numbers game – the more you have out there for people to consume, the more people you’ll reach.
It is important to realize, though, that there is a fine line between posting a lot of content to keep your followers happy and posting so much too often that people feel like they’re getting spammed. I used to follow a photographer on Instagram that I genuinely liked their work. Then I realized that this person posted about 20 photos every day. I quickly lost interest and was actually annoyed that my feed was almost all their photos.
In conclusion, remember that what goes around comes around. Go out of your way to treat your audience the way you would want to be treated. No one likes artists who thinks they are better than everyone else. Thank people for their interest and show gratitude by respecting their attention.
FIND DANNY ONLINE:
Twitter: @DannyWood8 (https://twitter.com/DannyWood8)
Instagram: @Yusakri (https://instagram.com/yusakri)