You’ve probably noticed, but the newspaper industry isn’t in the best of health these days. They’ve been suffering declining circulation for some time now.
Yet, in one small town in America, there is a local paper that is bucking the trend. When the experts went to find out how, they discovered a proprietor whose policy was to make stars of his readers.
His objective is to put as many local people in the paper as he possibly can. As a result, people buy it.
It’s a good lesson for us musicians when it comes to our fans.
Often, musicians think about how best to promote ourselves. In this post, I’m going to shift the focus a bit, and think about how we can best promote our fans instead.
The reason why the newspaper man makes stars of his readers is simple. Put someone in the paper and they will go out and buy it. Put someone’s child in the paper, and all the Mums and Dads and Aunts and Uncles and grandparents buy it.
When you make a star of someone who doesn’t typically get the limelight, it becomes a story for that person, and everybody associated with them.
The beneficiary isn’t just those people who now feel special – but the newspaper as well.
Likewise, if we can incorporate the same idea with our fans, not only will we make them feel a million dollars, but we’ll benefit ourselves into the bargain.
Here’s 3 proven ideas for how to turn your fans into stars that I’ve used myself:
1. Photos in the album
My last 2 studio albums featured the photos of my fans.
The first time I tried this, I asked people to send photos of themselves and I had the centre pages of my lyrics booklet as a montage of everybody’s face. Needless to say, people were keen to buy the album because they were in it.
The second time I tried this, I included it as part of my crowdfunding pledge campaign. So my best supporters got their photo in the sleeve notes.
2. Acknowledgements in the sleeve notes
Just as the newspaper loved printing their readers names in the paper, so I recommend including your fans’ names in the sleeve notes.
Here’s two ways I’ve achieved this.
Two albums ago, I ran a special concert for hardcore fans who I played some songs to that were shortlisted for the album. It helped me decide which tunes to record. Anyone who was at that concert got their name in the album sleeve notes.
Likewise, those who helped crowdfund my last album got their names in the sleeve notes. People really love this.
3. The gig movie
I’d forgot about this idea but it’s great and I need to resurrect this into practice again!
A great way to turn your fans into stars is to make movies that include them.
Here’s what I used to do at gigs. I’d film the gig, and then afterwards I’d go round interviewing people at the gig.
Then I’d tell them to check my website the next day. Guess what – big traffic spike as people logged on to see themselves, and then got their family and friends doing the same.
Promotion isn’t all about putting yourself out there. It’s about building community too. A great way to do that is give out some limelight.
So they’re 3 ways I’ve done that already. Share your own ideas with me here. I’d love to hear them.