So I’m always telling people that they need to spend more time engaging with their community, but often people don’t understand what that means. It’s tricky to explain to people exactly how engaging with their community looks, especially in the COVID era – so I wanted to break down 3 COVID friendly community engagement strategies.
These can take any number of forms, from dedicating twenty minutes a day to engaging with other bands in your genre on social to figuring out fun collaborations you can do. Another one that really facilitates growth is my personal favorite – music journalism. Let me break this all down for you.
3. Engaging On Social
If you spend twenty minutes a day trying to talk to people on social media who are in your niche, you will be stunned at the results. So few people bother to do this small thing and are amazed they don’t get anywhere. It’s all about who you know and this is literally the best way to do this right now.
There are tons of ways to do this too. You could search your genres hashtag on IG or TikTok and comment on posts. You could go engage in a relevant Facebook group. Maybe you want to go and just comment on people in your scenes Tweets. It doesn’t matter. The thing is you just need to be showing up. If you’re not part of the community no one will care.
This one is a bit labor-intensive but it leads to great connections. Invite friends in other bands to come play on your record. Or ask if they want to record a cover song with you. Or maybe you write an original together! There are so many cool ways to collaborate.
Yes, it can feel like a lot, but then you’re going to wind up with a truly deep and cool connection with this person. That’s like… really cool! Collaborating is an awesome way to foster relationships. But start by talking to people in your scene as a jumping-off point. Don’t expect random big musicians to work with you, especially not for free.
1. Music Journalism
This is another one that is labor-intensive but can really get you across the finish line. If you embrace music journalism you suddenly start to get access in a way that you probably couldn’t have gotten before. You can use this to build relationships and grow your connections which in turn will help out your band.
Music journalism can take a variety of formats. It can mean asking a blog if you can write for them, or maybe you just do a podcast. Other possibilities include an Instagram Live series, like Sepultura are currently doing, or even just doing posts on your own socials talking about stuff you dig in the scene. All these things just help show you give a shit and help you engage.
The point being – engaging in your scene is really important, but it can be hard to find ways to do it if you’re not already emotionally prepared. These strategies are some of my favorite ways to move the needle and get people to see that I care.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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