Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week 6 (music success in 9 weeks)

Connecting with fans via newsletters


As the weeks go by, I’m getting busier, and the tasks are becoming more difficult.

This weeks’ chapter is titled “Connecting with fans via your newsletter list & conducting surveys”.

Until now, I’ve only contacted fans on my mailing list to announce specials or new releases, once or twice a year (AKA “Spam”?). I now realise we have a long way to go. Firstly we need to build up a substantial “fan base”. As a direct result of ideas garnered from “Music success in 9 weeks” this is actually slowly happening via these blog posts, our Facebook page and the “freebies” on our website.

My creative partner and I have spent hours discussing this chapter and how to go about writing engaging newsletters that will be read by fans, and will be interest/value to them. Since there isn’t much of a live aspect to what we do we struggled to find ideas to write about, but eventually hit on something:

As a kid, in pre-Internet days (no comment on my age here!) fan clubs were the thing. You’d write in to an address on a cereal box/newspaper/magazine (and perhaps have to send a small fee) and receive a parcel in the mail a few weeks later. There would be stickers, badges, a colouring in book and various other odd-and-ends. But aside from the free gifts, you were now part of a special, members-only club. Then there would be the writing/drawing/colouring-in competitions to keep members engaged. Prizes were often a just a poster and a certificate with the winners name hand written neatly with a calligraphy pen.

So the kids fan club is one of the ideas we’ll be pursuing in the new year.

I also love the idea of creating surveys: I’d love to know more about how teachers use our songs in the classroom, which songs kids enjoy and which ones they don’t. There are many things we can learn from surveys that will help us with every aspect of our business plans.

We have some more brainstorming and planning to do regarding the ideas listed above, but look forward to implementing them in due course!



Graeme Sacks

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Week 5 (music success in 9 weeks)


A bit of everything

When I started Music success in 9 weeks, I was going through a quiet spell. My new album was completed, I didn’t have too many gigs and other than a few small studio projects, I figured it was the perfect time to tackle this blog challenge. Then things went crazy. The last two weeks brought on a whirlwind of rehearsals, gigs, sessions and an educational project for a school in Soweto. Which brings me to a point highlighted in a blog by a fellow challenger Meghan Morrison: I’m currently marketing “African Numbers”, an African-style, “world music” CD for kids. But that’s not all I do. I’m a freelance guitarist, a composer, jingle writer, music teacher, studio owner/engineer.

In her book “Music success in 9 weeks” Ariel Hyatt highlights the importance of having a consistent look and message across all platforms. I’m finding this rather difficult to do. The only consistent thing about my career is the fact that every aspect of it revolves around music.

Onto this week’s chapter….

A few of things in the book regarding blogging aren’t new to me as I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now. But something that stood out for me was the instruction to “Identify 50 blogs where you want to be reviewed.” I have had a few reviews on blogs (mainly through my connection with the bloggers via Twitter). BUT FIFTY!? That is a challenge. And I’m always up for a challenge. So I am going to start working towards this goal.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 4 (music success in 9 weeks)

Social Networking

African Numbers, inside CD sleeve

The task this week is to setup and learn how to “water your social media garden”

(In case you haven’t been following, here’s what this is all about: “Music success in 9 weeks”)


I’ve already been active on Twitter for around two years I’ve found it to be one of the most valuable tools for spreading the word about my music. I’ve made many connections with people, and the relationships are often symbiotic. This isn’t a platform to push products, rather it is a platform to connect with people. If people I follow are producing music/literature/art or any product that I think is valuable or interesting, I will share the info with my followers on twitter. Almost every review or article that has been published about our music has been through my twitter friends. Some examples: Portfolio Collection Harassed Mom Times Live



I started a Facebook group a couple of years ago, and made a rather unfortunate mistake in doing so: I invited, coaxed and cajoled all of my personal Facebook friends to join the group. I had a few hundred fans in days. Then I began to push the kids CD and promote live kids shows which we were doing at the time. I did this regularly for months. Then one day I bumped into a friend who mentioned that she had hidden all posts from my Facebook group. Turns out I was posting way too often, and the majority of people that I had enticed to join the group were not in the least bit interested in kids music! So I sent an email to the entire group announcing the closure of the group and apologising for the spam. I also announced a new fan page ( and requested that people only join if they are interested in kids music. So from a few hundred fans, I ended up with around 50 on the new page. Its growing a little every month and I’m planning a contest to get more fans. But the best thing is that those who joined the new fan page are there because they want to be there.



By the time I had got into social networking (around 2 years ago) MySpace was dying. I decided that Facebook & Twitter (and my website) were enough. MySpace has recently been revamped so I may reconsider.



We have a YouTube presence, but I guess I should try and update it a bit more regularly


Music Alley

I had never even heard of Music Alley before reading “Music success in 9 weeks”! It is a fantastic site for podcasters to source music for their podcasts. I have just signed up and uploaded some tracks. Too soon to tell if any of our music will be used, but watch this space….