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Liberian Musicians: How Unique Are You

There are millions of wonderful talented musicians and artists in the world. Are you just one of them or are you a unique brand?  Having a brand is key to a successful music career. Once you see yourself as unique, it reduces the pressures of competition because you know that you have something special to offer. The same holds true when you know why are you are the ideal person to satisfy the needs of your target audience. If you truly believe that you are the best person for that audience, it reinforces your uniqueness.

I have had the opportunity to speak with many Liberian artists.  One of my favorite question asked is, "who are your target audience?" Unfortunately, I get the same response from most, "I'm international, the world is my target audience."  Marketing wise, not a wise ideal.  Realistically, that is egoistical, you can't win the whole world with your talent but you could win a lot of people with the same musical desire with your talent. That is where branding comes into play.

Having a brand helps you work smarter, not harder.   Focus your efforts on a specific audience you want to attract. One musician could pursue audiences who enjoy Gbema music, another musician could direct his efforts to finding people who are into Hipco. They save time because they know whom to pursue and what they are going after.

Once you see yourself as unique in this world, you no longer have the pressure of weighing yourself against the competition because there is no one else who has exactly the same offering you do. This is particularly important in the creative world. Instead of seeing yourself as one of many talented artists, see yourself as an individual with your own special gift. This helps reinforce your belief in yourself, which in turn helps you attract the right public and flourish in your chosen career.
  
Building Your Personal Music Brand

1) Create your personal brand vision
Figure out how you want yourself to be perceived by others and also how you want to live your professional and personal life.

2) Define your target audience
There are 7.125 billion people in the world, it is impossible to capture the attention of all 7.125 billion individuals.  Defining a target audience is a best practice for anyone that needs others to give them something. It might be a salary, an investment or money in exchange for a product or service. Whenever you need something from someone you go through at least some of the steps in defining a target audience. The more narrow your audience, the easier it is to reach them.  If you are just starting off your career, focus on the first 10,000 individuals your music is going to appeal to and work your way up. The more specific your target audience is, the faster it will become to reach them. Don't try to please everyone but give the ones you can please your best.

3) Build up your online and offline assets
Assets are the things you own that will communicate your brand message to your target audience. Assets are things like your own website and blog, facebook page, etc.  Offline assets are things like business cards and or traditional newsletters that you send out.

4) Build your brand through outreach
Outreach is the act of providing value to those that have established audiences filled with the people you want to reach. You provide value and in exchange they give you the chance to sell yourself to their audience.  (Bloggers, promoters, etc)

5) Get free press coverage
Getting press coverage can establish you as an authority in your industry. You can get access to audiences full of the people that can hire you as an employee, partner and vendor. Getting free press coverage as an individual can be a challenge, but it can be done and be done effectively leading to the opportunities you seek as you work to grow your personal brand profile.

6) Connect with mentors
A mentor is someone that can provide guidance and friendship for your life. They might have experience in the exact life path you want to pursue, but that quality is not a requirement. Often, the best mentors are simply good listeners, educators and friends.

7) Monitor your brand
 Remember that if you're going to work so hard on your brand you should also work to find out what people are saying and, ideally, thinking which goes beyond the immediate feedback people are willing to give you.

 8) Be yourself
Though you are making conscious choices about presenting yourself in public that may sometimes require you to change your behavior or appearance, they should still be based in what makes you uniquely you.


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