Vic's new membership site about Songwriting!
I've had the idea to start a membership site about my true passion --- songwriting! --- for a few years now.
I'd always put it off and told myself that I'd do it when the time was "right".
But recently I started thinking about how I might live my life differently if I knew I had only a few years left to live.
As soon as I posed this question to myself I immediately knew exactly what I'd be doing, where I'd be doing it and who I'd be doing it with.
It's morbid, but imagine by some freak accident you got AIDS today.
I know it's an unpleasant thought but that's what makes it such a good thought experiment.
If you knew you had just a few good years left before you shuffled off this mortal coil, how would you spend your time...?
For me the final straw came when I had my friend Ashley Meyers on my podcast.
He talked about how he built a successful site in the screenwriting niche, and he now makes a nice chunk of recurring revenue each month.
Screenwriting is one of Ashley's passion and he's making good money while helping folks in his community.
How awesome is that?
So after vacillating for years, I'm finally taking action (thanks Ashley!)
In this thread I'm going to document everything I do to build up this site.
I'm going to share my strategies, my successes, my failures, and my income reports.
Because I've been doing this online marketing thing for about 5 years now, I've come to know that things take way longer than we'd like them to.
So I fully expect to put at least a year's worth of work into the site before I see any substantial monetary return.
In the following few posts I'm going to outline my marketing strategy.
Then I'm going to execute, execute and execute some more.
If you're reading this and you find it interesting and valuable, I encourage you to sign up for the forum (it's free), and hold me accountable.
If you decide to start your own Progress Thread, you can count on me to hold you accountable in return. 🙂
Let's do this thang.
My Marketing Strategy for WriteAwesomeSongs.com:
Step 1: Add value to the songwriting community and attract website visitors.
My medium of choice to accomplish this is YouTube.
I already have some experience with building a YouTube channel and using it to drive traffic to a site.
And I've already created about a dozen videos for the Write Awesome Songs YouTube channel to give a jump start.
I'll do my best to produce high quality, engaging YouTube videos given my limited ability in this area.
But since the focus of these videos will be mainly to teach songwriting techniques and concepts, I don't expect production value to figure too heavily.
As long as the audio and video are crisp and clear the videos should turn out fine.
The second prong of my marketing strategy will be through Facebook.
I'll create an FB page so that I can foster some early community interaction before launching any kind of formalized, paid community.
Everybody's already on Facebook and it's easy to post videos there, so it will be convenient to engage with my audience there.
The third component of my strategy is to podcast.
Ashley Meyers from SellingYourScreenplay.com built his audience on the back of his podcast.
We're always hearing "start a podcast" to the point that it's a platitude.
But podcasts simply work, so this is a cliché I can get behind!
Step 2: Collect email opt-ins.
When a YouTube visitor clicks through to WriteAwesomeSongs.com, he'll be given an opportunity to enter his name and email address in exchange for some kind of opt-in incentive (I haven't decided what this will be yet).
Step 3: Determine the songwriting frustrations/issues that folks in my community experience by surveying them.
Once somebody has opted in to receive the freebie, they'll be added to my email list, and sent free songwriting tips and tricks.
One of the first emails I'll send out to new subscribers will be a request to take a survey.
I've already implemented a survey on VicDorfman.com with great results.
I was inspired to put this survey method in place after reading the book Ask by Ryan Levesque.
I use GravityForms, Google Sheets and Zapier to automatically enter responses into a Google Spreadsheet where I can analyze them later in bulk.
Step 4: Create buckets for the different segments of my audience.
This step is also straight out of Ask.
The basic idea is to identify 3-5 specific segments of your audience, separate them, and communicate with them as individual segments rather than as one undifferentiated lump.
For example, the survey on WriteAwesomeSongs.com may reveal that there are:
A) Folks who can play an instrument but have no experience and no clue about how to get started with songwriting
B) Folks who play an instrument and have attempted to write songs but want help making their tunes come out better
C) Folks who don't play any instrument but still want to write songs
D) Songwriters who have been creating original music for many years and would like help marketing/selling their art
E) Songwriters who need help coming up with lyrics
These are just theoretical buckets.
But you can see how each group has their own needs and frustrations.
Step 5: Create products and services to solve the problems of folks in each bucket.
For example, a good product for my theoretical bucket A above might be a video crash course on getting started with songwriting.
Or for bucket E, an eBook on how to come up with and write lyrics for your songs.
It wouldn't make any sense to offer bucket A's product to bucket E or vice versa.
So the power of this Ask Funnel approach is that it takes the guesswork out of what your audience wants.
Thus it also takes the guesswork out of what kinds of products and services you can create to serve their needs.
I need to make one very important note at this point.
My focus will be on creating *recurring revenue* products and services.
It's possible I may create some one-off products such as ebooks and courses to sell, but I actually think it's to the benefit of the community AND to the business side of things to foster long-term engagement and participation.
Getting better at music takes time and encouragement and constructive criticism from peers and mentors.
And if I incentivize people to stick around, participate and help one another out, it will be a win/win situation.
It's vague at this point but there will definitely be some kind of community element.
That might take the form of a private Facebook group, a forum, or even a full blown Ning-style social community.
Step 6: Focus on growing aggressively.
Once I have products and services in place and they're selling, the next step will be to attract as many people as possible to the WAS community.
I'll explain this step in more detail once I'm actually on it, but for now suffice it to say that I'll be doing a lot of guest posting, YouTube guest appearances, live events, paid traffic, etc.
Step 7: Spread and popularize my own original music!
One of my motivations for starting this project is to create a platform and community that will help me share my original music with the world.
So WriteAwesomeSongs.com is both a means to an end (sharing my music with others) and an end in and of itself (helping the songwriting community grow and improve AND to help songwriters make a good living from their music).