D.I.Y.

Using content pillars to define your artist brand

For those bands and artists looking to better define their brand, strategic marketing expert Dayna Young here breaks down how content pillars can be used to do precisely this.

Guest post by Dayna Young of the Symphonic Blog

Looking to better define your brand as an artist? Dayna Young, the Founder of Fred & Augustus and strategic marketing expert breaks down how “content pillars” can do just that…

How to Use Content Pillars to Define Your Artist Brand

What is a Content Pillar?

Content pillars are 3-5 topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify and create content for on social media. — As a key marketing tool, they act to help define your brand to your fans

Creating brand definition is one of the most definitive acts of artist marketing. Capturing fan attention is a bit of a chess match in that there’s many moving parts played out strategically over a period of time. In fact, capturing fan attention requires you to know and understand your voice, your audience, your aesthetic, and social and streaming algorithms.

  • You must have a clear understanding of your positioning as it relates to other artist brands and be able to pivot easily as your brand voice reacts to what is happening in the real world around you.

Get Personal.

A musician should never just talk about one thing (music). People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your fans are invested, because they invested in you, which means sharing how you view the world with them as a way of drawing them further into your personal story.

Artists who only share news about their music or merchandise run the risk of giving the impression that they are one dimensional, and that they are only capable of one conversation (themselves). We can all agree this isn’t very engaging or interesting. — It’s important to be authentically you.

How do you bring a more multi-dimensional voice to the table?

If music (new releases, behind the scenes, music videos, songwriting insights and so forth) and promotion (touring, merchandise, fan clubs, livestreams – anything that you’re “selling”) naturally form the first two categories, you’re left with only 2-3 additional content buckets to ‘fill’. Consider here what’s important to you personally as an artist, the interests you have, and what you want to stand for (as well as the degree to which you feel comfortable vocalizing your position).

It is a reasonable expectation that some artists are naturally more comfortable using their voice for advocacy matters, whereas others (who still wish to demonstrate support) feel more comfortable being active in less direct ways.

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Neither approach is right or wrong – and for artists who wish to show support indirectly (while still maintaining a voice on matters they feel strongly about), there are many indirect ways in which this messaging can be weaved into their content pillars. Aside from voice (speaking out on what’s important to you as an artist), another additional content pillar includes personal interests. Four is a fine number for content pillars, but if you have additional ideas you can absolutely fill out a fifth bucket.

Month to Month

Having defined your content pillars, you can now start envisioning your content month to month.

Your goal is to somewhat equally balance content between your chosen pillars. Some months (when you’re heavy in promo for a new release for example) might skew somewhat, but overall your goal is to present a well-rounded view of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. If in one month you do lean too heavily in any one content bucket direction, be conscious of trying to rectify that in the following months.

Time for the actual content.

Now that you’ve ideated the content you’d like to include in your pillars, you need to start capturing the actual content. This is where you move into the planning phase of content creation.

For example:

  • If you have an EP coming out soon, what are your ideas for marketing the release? Knowing this will help you define the exact content you need to capture and create that will help to fill the ‘music’ bucket for each single on the EP and the full EP release.
  • Will the content be image or video based?
  • What resources are required to capture the content?
  • Is it user generated content?
  • How do you plan to capture the UGC and through what platforms?

Then, do the same planning for each of your content pillars building out your deliverables as aligned with the social, email, and advertising calendar you’ve built.

In Conclusion…

If branding is the essence of who you are, marketing is the message you use to build awareness for your artist brand, products, and services. It’s imperative to clearly define who you are as a brand before you begin to plan your marketing strategies, tools, methods and tactics.

Content pillars help you to do exactly this. By clearly defining your brand content pillars, you are well on your way to creating advocates and life-long loyal fans.

Dayna Young has 15+ years global experience in music, entertainment and in leading creative teams to success. As the Founder of Fred & Augustus she provides strategic marketing resources for artists seeking to grow their online profile and engagement, with a focus on developing existing and new revenue streams. Ultimately, what gets her out of bed in the morning is the knowledge that she’s creating opportunities for artists.

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