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Hot Tips: How to Build Your Fanbase with Content

Jonathan Papan

April 16, 2024

For music artists, social media has evolved into an equilibrium of unlimited opportunity to reach new audiences contrasted by what some might see as an endless trudge of content-based algorithm servitude. Like it or not, content creation is now a vital part of an artist’s career and should be leveraged to grow in the current music industry climate. In this month’s edition of Hot Tips, we delve into how to build an active & engaged fanbase with content. 

But fear not, as a well thought out and authentic content strategy will not only make things easier for artists, but help you generate ideas that will capture the attention of your ideal audience. With the right content strategy, artists can effectively attract, engage, and convert casual listeners into loyal fans. 

One powerful method for achieving this is through the creation of a “content funnel”—a structured approach to using media beyond your music to turn casual listeners into supportive fans. Each stage of the funnel plays a vital role in nurturing and building relationships with your audience.

You will create different styles of content based on where a fan is in the funnel, deepening their bond to you and your music. The modern fan often supports the artist more than the art itself. Your message, what you stand for, and your ability to connect with audiences on an experiential and spiritual level takes center stage in the land of content creation.

Let’s explore how musicians can leverage a content funnel to find new fans online, along with content ideas for each stage of the journey.

Capturing attention with discovery content

The first step in the content funnel is discovery content. These pieces of media are designed to capture the attention of potential new fans. This content needs to not only give audiences a snapshot of who you are as an artist, but be engaging enough to capture and hold their attention as they mindlessly scroll through their media feeds. 

Short form video is vital in the discovery stage. The majority of your efforts at this stage of the funnel should be put towards content designed for TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. 

It will bring new fans in and give them an idea on whether or not you are worth their attention. Clips should be short and to the point. New eyeballs are only a thumb swipe away from disregarding your video completely, so do anything you can to capture their attention immediately while maintaining authenticity to your personality and values.

Most modern music fans will need to see your content across their feed a few times before they care enough to follow you. Even if they see a great piece of content that they enjoy. That’s why it’s important to consistently release content that shows your face. Familiarity is your friend when trying to build a fanbase. 

Make sure your content brings some kind of value to your viewer. What’s in it for them to keep watching? Most value-based content falls under three pillars: entertainment, education and inspiration. In the discovery phase, most artists will gravitate towards one of these styles and maybe occasionally dabble in the other. Feel free to experiment and find what’s right for you and your brand.

Examples of Entertaining Content:

  • Comedy skits
  • Live clips of exciting live performances
  • Lip syncing your songs in interesting environments
  • Music video clips
  • Unique twists on popular songs
  • Stitches or duets with viral content

Examples of Educational Clips:

  • Songwriting tips
  • Producing tutorials
  • Gear reviews
  • Your artistic process

Examples of Inspirational Content

  • Stories of personal experiences that others relate to
  • Before and after transformations, showcasing your growth as an artist
  • Motivational tips and advice

Showcasing your personality with content

At this point, you’ve engaged someone enough to ideally follow you on social media. Once you’ve captured the attention of new listeners, the next step is nurturing those relationships and deepening their engagement with your music and brand. Personality content aims to foster a sense of connection and community, encouraging fans to invest more time and energy into your music. 

You should continue posting new iterations of your discovery content. After all, this was what brought them to you in the first place, so it’s safe to say they probably want more of it. At this stage of the funnel, audiences should experience a mix of short-form video, engaging photos, live clips and, if possible, long-form video or audio content like a podcast or vlog. 

Personality Content Examples

  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Behind the scenes videos and photos of music video shoots and live shows
  • Day in the life photos and videos
  • Vlogs
  • Audio or video podcast
  • Personal Stories and Insights: Share personal stories, anecdotes, or reflections that offer fans a deeper understanding of who you are as an artist and individual, building trust and authenticity

Generating engagement with special offers

As fans become more invested in your music and brand, it’s essential to provide opportunities for them to take the next step in their journey from passive listeners to active supporters. The free offers stage focuses on converting interest into action. 

By now they’ve expressed enjoyment in your music and interest in who you are, but might not be ready to buy merch or come see you live. You can ease them into supporting you by giving them zero cost, low commitment offers.

This is an easy way to reward those who are paying attention to you and make them a part of your community. By enticing them with secret content, access to fan-communities, chances to enter contests for merch or free tickets, etc, you will allow them to take action and deepen your relationship by giving them a VIP-style experience. 

It’s recommended that you try to receive their email as part of this exchange. Having their email will give you a bit of ownership over your audience, allowing you to communicate with them without being at the help of social media’s algorithms. Those who care enough will be excited to see your messages in your inbox and you will be able to track who is paying the most attention.

Fan-Engagement Offers

  • Free merch contests
  • Access to secret content in an exclusive community (Discord, Patreon, Facebook Group)
  • A unique virtual experience on your website
  • Free stream/downloads of unreleased music

Converting fans into active supporters

The final stage of the content funnel focuses on converting new fans into financial supporters. While not every fan will become a customer, cultivating a dedicated fan base lays the groundwork for sustainable revenue streams and long-term success. 

There are various methods in getting a fan to make their first purchase. Limited time discounts on merchandise is the most obvious. Or limited edition collectable merch items. But it doesn’t stop there. There are various ways to draw revenue online.

You could make content promoting things like:

  • Merch sales and digital downloads via your online store
  • Crowdfunding campaigns for your next album
  • Online VIP experiences and exclusive fan clubs
  • Exclusive livestream concerts (ticketed or by donation)
  • Private lessons with you

In conclusion, musicians can effectively expand their reach, cultivate meaningful relationships, and build a dedicated fan base online by implementing an effective content funnel strategy. Through a combination of compelling content, authentic engagement, and strategic promotion, artists can unlock new opportunities for growth, creativity, and success in the digital landscape.

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