Keep ’em Guessing

2010 Vinny Ribas

 Movie trailers are intended to create anticipation for a soon-to-be released film. So are talk show appearances by movie stars. TV commercials are designed to create an excitement to own a product or buy a service. Pre- release reviews of TV shows and films are all publicized to generate a buzz – again to create anticipation.[private_freebie]

As an artist, you can use these same techniques to keep your fans anticipating your next move. Here are 10 areas in which you should be creating excitement before the actual event happens.

  1. Shows – You can hype each local show, or an entire tour, via your newsletter, text messaging, website posts. Create excitement so that your fans tell their friends and you draw bigger crowds.
  2. Music releases – Whether you’re releasing a CD, and EP or a single song, build up the excitement beforehand. Post the lyrics ahead of time if it’s appropriate. Post an acoustic version of the upcoming song, or a video of you recording in the studio.
  3. Songs in performances – Study they way major artists set up their live concerts. They will stretch out the introduction to a song (check out the live version of the Eagle’s ‘Hotel California’, save their most requested song for the encore, use a slow or medium-tempo song to set up a real rockin’ tune etc. It’s all designed to keep the audience wanting more!
  4. Newsletters and other marketing – If you make them interesting enough, your fans will look forward to seeing what you’re going to include or say next. Just think about all of the TV ads like the Geico commercials or the E-Trade ads with the babies where you won’t turn them off if you haven’t seen it before because you know they will be entertaining. You can do the same with your newsletter and marketing to where people won’t want to toss your emails into the trash bin unopened.
  5. Videos – Each video that you release should be different from the previous one, and equally or more powerful. That will keep your fans guessing about what you’ll come up with next!
  6. Radio – Tell your fans that you’re releasing a song to radio. Tell them that if they would like to hear it on the radio, they should email or call radio stations to request it. Many people love the thought of knowing or having discovered someone who is now a ‘star’ on the radio. Never bombard a station, or they will see right through it.
  7. Your website – As long as it is entertaining, changing things constantly causes fans to want to come back to your site to see what’s new. You always want to use your marketing to drive people to your website, but it’s the constant changing of the contents that will keep them there long enough to buy your music or come see a show. Constant change also helps you move higher up in the search engines.
  8. Impromptu events (videos, text messages, tweets, contests etc.) – keep your fans on edge by surprising them with things that keep them singing, get them laughing, make them happy etc., engaging them several times a month. Again, if you keep it interesting enough, you’ll see that they will pay attention to anything and everything you send their way.
  9. Your blog – Be sure that you keep your blog fresh with new content at least twice a week. This will entice your fans to subscribe to it, and look forward to reading your next one. Make them personal and fun. Tell half-stories, completing the story in the next blog. Make them want for more!
  10. Your actions – This may seem out of place in this list, but it really isn’t. Your fans watch to see what charities you support, what you like to do on your vacation or in your ‘spare’ time etc. Show your fans that you’re real. Let them into your life just enough so that they feel they know you. Involve or even engage them in things that are not music related, and any chance they get they will want to take a piece of you home with them (your music, your merchandise etc)!

Obviously, you want every show, every CD you release, every video etc. to be better than or at least different enough from than your last one to keep your fans’ attention. So the key is to implement an ongoing campaign to keep everyone guessing what you’ll do next to top the last thing you did in that area. Drop hints. Tease them. Then ultimately, when you finally deliver, you will see a dramatic increase in both your music sales and attendance at your shows![/private_freebie]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.