There once was a time when being a rock star meant cultivating a JD Salinger-esque persona and keeping the public at arms length. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this to anyone, but years ago I used to have several fake “assistants” to help me deal with my fan mail because I just didn’t think “rock stars” were supposed to be that accessible. Not only was that thinking kinda RIDICULOUS, it’s also dangerous in today’s world of transparency and accessibility.
This should really be your mantra for the rest of the year…
You are not just a musician, you are a channel.
It’s easy to record an album, but the truly “stand out” artists offer much more to their fans than a collection of songs every few years. They offer a stream of engaging content that is not only interesting, but which helps reinforce their brand. This is even more important if you are an independent artist who does not have a main stream barrage of press, TV appearances and blurbs in the tabloids to keep your fans connected.
As independent artists we do this with email, blog posts, social media feeds, youtube, and a million other tools that are now available to us in the social sphere.
And while communicating with our fans is great, getting them to communicate with us is much, MUCH better.
In many circles this is being referred to as cultivating your “tribe”. Reading a blog post is one thing, but a person who takes the time to comment is truly part of your “tribe”, a fan for all intents and purposes. Reply to that comment and you have built a genuine relationship. That relationship might just be the difference between selling music or waiting tables for the rest of your life.
In short, fan engagement is the name of the game. That is how you make the much discussed “1000 Fan Model” actually work.
There are a million tools out there that can help you do that. Blog comments, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and we can’t forget the all powerful email list.
But there is a new tool that I just discovered that I thought was worth sharing. And don’t worry, its free 🙂
You may have already noticed it on my site, over there to the far right hand side of the page ====>
It’s called SpeakPipe…
SpeakPipe is essentially a voice messaging widget that allows your fans to leave you voice messages right on your site using their computer’s built in microphone.
This is essentially like blog commenting on steroids…
With voice messaging there is an infinitely greater amount of information being passed on; emotion, intelligence, even demographic information to some extent. Getting a voicemail from a fan is so much more “real” than a blog comment, and getting a voice message back from the artist has the potential to leave an impression that would last for a lifetime.
Because let’s face it, aloof or not, very few of us would be comfortable giving our phone number out to fans. Not only is that perhaps a little too accessible, but it’s also way too time consuming.
But with Speak Pipe you can have fans leave you messages, and you can then respond with a quick message. No personal information is passed on and there is no risk of getting stuck on the phone with a lunatic 🙂
As I write this the only option for replying is via email, but I spoke with SpeakPipe recently and am told that they should have the voice reply functionality up within a week or two.
Here’s how SpeakPipe works…
- You create a free account here: (It’s 100% free for a basic account but there will soon be a few paid optional upgrades).
- You fill out a few options, customize your button and/or link.
- Generate your code and place it on your site.
- The user sees a tab like the over there on the right hand side of this site and clicks it to leave a message.
- When you get a message you receive an email alert and you can then retrieve the message from within your account. You can then reply via email or with a voice message reply (VM reply will be available within a week or so).
- Messages can even be downloaded which is great for fan quotes, testimonials and contests.
SpeakPipe is VERY new. In fact they are still in beta mode and at the moment they don’t even have the premium accounts available (Changing any day now).
But should you ever want to upgrade to the premium service just follow this link to get 35% off. Speak Pipe upgrades are apparently only going to run $2 -$5 a month so we aren’t talking about much to begin with. And as mentioned, a basic account is FREE.
Note* I have no affiliation with SpeakPipe whatsoever. I just thought it was a cool tool, saw how musicians could benefit from it (I’m using it as we speak), and thought I’d share it with you guys.
Check out SpeakPipe for yourself…
Click the tab to the right hand side of the page and let me know what you think. Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Have a question for the Podcast? Leave me a voice message and let me know how I can help.
Just be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can get back to you. As mentioned, voice reply won’t be active until some time next week.
And don’t worry, you will be prompted to “send” your voice message once you left it. No click anxiety necessary 🙂
If you have any specific questions about SpeakPipe, how to use it, or just general thoughts on how musicians might be able to use something like this, please leave them below.