Why social media sites aren’t always the best places to hold a contest | DiscMakers

Chris Bolton

Champions Cup Icon Band ContestHolding a contest online is a great way to engage your audience and make new fans. But, I think a lot of artists go about it the wrong way. A lot of contests happen exclusively on social media, and this is a missed opportunity. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media to promote your contest—you should—but you want to make sure that ‘the act’ of actually signing up for your contest happens on your website. You need to lure your friends and fans from the seductive world of social media and get them to visit your artist website. Why? Well, let me tell you . . .


On your website, you can capture emails instead of likes
You’ve seen the stats. With Facebook’s constant algorithm updates, only a tiny fraction of your Facebook fans actually see your posts. Facebook has become a pay-to-play game. So how do you connect with your fans without paying Facebook your hard-earned dough? Simple: get your fans signed up to your email list and you can chat with them anytime you like—for free. Next time you hold a contest, ask your fans to sign up to your email list and leave a comment on your blog to enter. Forget about getting people to like your Facebook post or Facebook page to enter; an email address is worth far more.


Asking more of your fans means deeper engagement

A ‘tweet,’ ‘like,’ or ‘comment’ on a social media site takes almost no time and thought. Fact is, you want people to actually think about what you are doing. You want them to listen to your music and show up at your next concert. So asking for a little more time is OK. In exchange for this attention you might have to give away something better than a cassette recording of your last practice. And That’s OK. Sweeten the prize. You’ll be rewarded for it. Throw in a date with your bass player, a bottle of champagne, or a song on your next album named after the winner.

Traffic on your website is the best kind of traffic

Where do you want your fans to hang out? Mark Zuckerberg’s website or your own? Seems obvious right? It’s always better to have fans on your website where they can buy stuff and communicate with you directly. So don’t bother directing people to a social media site to find out about your contest. Instead, direct them from social media websites to your own. Not only that, in addition to entering your contest, some people will probably spend some time checking out your concert calendar, your blog, your videos, and whatever else you have on your site.

On your website, you’re the center of attention

Social media websites are attention deficit playgrounds. Thousands of things are always going on at once. I’m surprised people manage to concentrate long enough to comment on a post or hold a conversation. On your website (assuming you haven’t plastered your website with ads) there is only one thing for visitors to pay attention to: YOU. You’re in the driver’s seat and you don’t have to worry about competing with advertisers and Upworthy posts. On your website, your fans can read about your contest, focus on the rules, and signup without being distracted by alerts, ads, and messages.

So for your next online contest, whether you’re giving away a t-shirt or a date with your bass player, make it happen on your site and reap the rewards.

25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry fool | CDBaby.com

They Call It Music Crowdfunding1 300x242 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry fool

[This article was written by guest contributor  of the Launch and Release Blog.]

Asking for money sucks. Maybe you fear rejection or maybe you worry that you’ll look desperate, greedy, incompetent or rude.

It’s a lot like being a middle schooler trying to hold hands or put an arm around your date while at the movies.

Asking for money often raises internal doubts like:

* Will I seem greedy?

* Will it negatively affect our relationship?

* Do they trust me?

* Will they understand why or buy into my vision?

* Will I look like an a—hole?

These are legitimate questions and they can arise in a variety of circumstances in life.But when you are going to run a music crowdfunding project, you cannot afford to have these questions dogging you because self doubt and fear will betray your efforts in some subtle and many not-so-subtle ways.

Thus, it is CRUCIAL that you are WELL PREPARED to ask for money for your crowdfunding project. If you’re not, you run the potential risk of sabotaging your own efforts which (newsflash!) isn’t really a great thing to do.There are tons of resources to help you prepare to ask for something you want – just google “how to get what you want.” It shouldn’t take you more than a page or two of results to get a good grasp.

A few of my favorite blog posts are The Art of Asking by Sarah Peck and How To Get Everything You Want by Dave Kerpen. And spending 15 minutes watching the TED Talk Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking will certainly be worthwhile.

How to get what you want crib sheet

 * Be grounded, centered and certain in WHY you are asking (Purpose and Mission)

* Be kind and make sure that saying yes may also be in the other person’s best interest

* Practice asking so that you are confident and know what you’ll say

* Directly and clearly ask for what you want

* Say Thank You

Once you’ve done all your homework, you will be significantly more prepared. But as you actually execute your music crowdfunding project, there remain many more potential pitfalls when you are asking.

I’m going to give you the top 25 ways musicians screw up when asking for money during their music crowdfunding campaign.

Make these mistakes and you could end up looking like a money hungry fool.

Going through the list should help you solidify the language you use in your project and when asking individuals.

Do this homework ahead of time because these mistakes will actually bleed over into your video, project description and project updates if you aren’t careful.



All These People Will Give Me Money 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolI honestly can’t imagine needing to write much about this.


Whether you are quoting Sarah Peck from her article, Nora Roberts, Tony Robbins or anybody else with a pulse, they’ll say: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Obviously, you need to ask. But also beware the stealthy cousins of Not Asking such as:

2) The Non-ask Ask

The non-ask Ask is usually due to fear or perhaps forgetfulness.

It is where you talk about your project, your purpose and your mission with your music crowdfunding campaign. You talk about what the funds will be used for and how the result will affect your life. You talk about how great it is to have supportive people in your life…

And then you stop short, not asking the person or audience to become a backer.


Don’t forget this!!

Another infamous cousin of not asking is:

3) Thinking You Shouldn’t Have To Ask

This is functionally equivalent to the Non-ask Ask but is rooted in ego and pride instead of fear or uncertainty.

It is particularly likely to happen with people you are close to and care the most about because you feel like they should know what’s going on with you and that they should give their support automatically because of how close you are with them.

But the truth is that even these people will need to be asked directly.

While some people may volunteer support for your project, others who really care about you may be too busy or may not realize the importance of your campaign.

Or maybe they’re just not thinking clearly and they become a victim of the Bystander Effect where they assume everybody else will do it so they don’t have to.

Don’t hope for mind readers.



These mistakes are big ones because they can severely decrease the chance of a person saying yes to your request.

They usually happen because you don’t completely understand your purpose and passion OR because you try to copy all of the other disingenuous marketing drivel out there which you are used to seeing in the media and from other musicians who don’t know what they are doing.

Overcoming these mistakes is as simple as preparing yourself. You must truly know what you and your project are all about and what you are specifically asking for.

It also requires that you care enough about the other person to only want their “YES” if it is also right for them.

4) Being Phony or Employing Bullshit Hype

Ask Willy To Back Your Project 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolThis Forbes business blog post, Get What You Want By Asking, looks at the genetic makeup of a good Ask: Connection, Vulnerability, Timing and Honesty.

Dave Kerpen supports the notion of being Authentic, Transparent and Vulnerable.

Once you start reading about Asking, you’ll see this all over the place because it works.

You cannot bullshit your way to crowdfunding success. To demonstrate that point, see this Kickstarter and thisKickstarter.

No bullshit hype… Heart hype is essential. ~ Danielle LaPorte

You must understand your purpose and passion and communicate on a trusting, person-to-person level. It’s the same way you’d talk to your best friend.

Don’t try to be all I’m-a-superstar-you-are-an-adoring-fan (unless you are actually a superstar I suppose).

It doesn’t work in music crowdfunding because music and music crowdfunding are both much more personal than your typical internet-based product or marketplace.

5) Being Uncertain of Your Desire

Are you doing this because it seems like it might help you “get somewhere?”

Or are you doing this because you have a fire burning behind your artistic vision that you must see through?

Back to Sarah Peck, she is right…

You need to know you want it!

Want as in “you need it with your very soul…”

Not simply “it would be nice…”

Want as in “you would do whatever it takes to help your mom cover that life-saving medical treatment…”

Not “oh look at that sweet pair of shoes, I want those…”

I have seen many failed music Kickstarters where it’s closer to the later.

6) Not Having Dealt With Your Fear of Asking

Fear is a very powerful psychological factor in our actions and choices… So much so that you can go pay $49 for an online course to Overcome Fear!

If you haven’t dealt with your fear of asking in general, then you may end up betraying your own efforts.

It’s not that you have to be completely fearless. You may always have a little bit of discomfort when asking people to back your music crowdfunding project.

You simply need to have a holistic understanding of your mission and purpose so that you understand and can justify your need to ask people for money.

Because if you are fearful, chances are good that either you don’t really think you need it or you don’t really believe in what you are doing.

If you feel like you’ve got your Purpose covered and you know you want it and you’re still having trouble, head on over here for some music Kickstarter advice on how to slam the door on your fear of asking for money!

You can also read How To Ask for What You Want which points out that “Asking for help makes the relationship stronger.”

7) Lacking Genuine Concern for the Person You are Asking

Music Crowdfunding = asking for help.


There is nothing wrong with that. It’s actually good because the people that do help are interested in the outcome of the project; they benefit from it.

But before you run off asking for help, spend a little time focussing on the ideas of gratitude towards and caring for those whom you’ll approach.


Because people are more likely to GIVE help when they know they’re likely to GET help.

Check out the 11:40 mark of this Simon Sinek video.

He describes how the Marines build the relationships and social fabric necessary when sending soldiers into battle who must be willing to kill or to be killed for their fellow soldiers. Pretty intense stuff.

He points out that those who think they can do it on their own or who aren’t team players slowly get ostracized during training and that they aren’t able to accomplish their individual goals until they help the team accomplish its goal.

Now obviously, music crowdfunding isn’t life and death.

But there are subtle ways to screw this up like when you put out the vibe that you’ll achieve your goal because of how awesome you are, how awesome the music is, how awesome the players are or how much you’ve achieved in the past.

On the flip side, don’t pander. This isn’t a contest to see who can gush on and on about how supportive your fans are and how you couldn’t do it without them and how everybody is awesome and how much you love them and blah blah blah. (Even though it’s true.)

The way to show that you care is to be certain that pledging to your campaign is right for the person you are talking to.

Don’t EXPECT them to back you. Don’t COERCE or FORCE them into backing you. Don’t GUILT them into backing you.

Show them the opportunity in front of them and let them make their decision.

8) Expecting People to Jump on Your Music Crowdfunding Bandwagon

Give Me Your Damn Money 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolOne of the most annoying lines ever in a music crowdfunding video is, “And that’s where YOU come in…”


People don’t come into the equation just because you need money.

They come into the equation because you are developing your artistry, your vision, and your project in a way that will benefit them.

You should be thinking about people from the very beginning because without them, your music is the same as silence. (If nobody is around to hear it, does a singer make a sound when their mouth opens?)

This isn’t anything new to you but just be mindful of what you say and how you say it as it is counterproductive to simply assume people into backing you.

9) Asking Clumsily

This results from simple laziness and is not justifiable given all of the other work you will be putting into your music crowdfunding project.

Read #5 of 9 Surefire Ways to Get What You Want: “Practice until you’re an expert, and keep practicing.”

The first several times you present your story and ask for help are going to be awkward. There is no way around it so don’t worry about it.

You will need practice to find a smooth and flowing narrative that succinctly accounts for all of the necessary considerations. This is why professional sales people go through extensive training and often times work from a script ~ so they don’t miss things or screw it up!

Find a trusted friend who is willing to invest some time and practice going through what you’re going to say.

I would recommend practicing at least five times. (Five is arbitrary but you should be getting the hang of it by then.)

When you think you’re good and comfortable, ask your friend to start pushing you out of your comfort zone with non-receptive body language or snarky comments.

This will give you a big leg up when you start talking to people during your project.

10) Playing the Victim Card

You aren’t likely to start your campaign in victim mode where you feel sorry for yourself because raising money is sooooo difficult.

But if things become difficult, it can be tempting to place the blame on things outside of your control including other people.

This might make you feel better but it sure as heck isn’t going to actually make things better.

And if you start leading with negative feelings about how things are going, you are not likely at all to get backers.

People will be backing you because of purpose, mission and vision.

If you act like the victim, it ends up sounding like whining and an uninspired cash grab.

11) Focusing More On Your Need Than On Your Mission

This is another area which can subtly shift people’s perception of your project to cold grab for cash.

Obviously, you have a need that you are addressing with your music crowdfunding project.

But you can’t afford to focus on it because people don’t give due to needs.

The non-profit world knows this all-too-well. Many, many organizations make the mistake of thinking that because their motives are worthy, people will respond to their need.

Experience has shown this to be untrue again and again.

A catch phrase at many successful organizations: Money follows Mission.

It’s a fact that you need to internalize before you start talking to people.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still talk about what you’ll spend the money on. You just can’t present your costs as a primary motivator because it won’t motivate anyone!

12) Boring People With Your Laundry List of Credentials

Music Crowdfunding Laundry List 300x288 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolThis is the sneaky step-brother of Bullshit Hype but instead of exaggerating or using an innocent little white lie, everything you say is actually true…

It’s just that it’s either boring to hear or the listener doesn’t really think it’s important to their decision.

As musicians, you are trained to do this from early on in your profession. Go pick up the local What’s Happening This Weekend and read through the press releases for local bands or their CD releases:

“We’ve opened for…”

“Produced by the legendary Bob McSchmee who has also produced The Awesomest Band Ever…”

“Featuring the lead guitar player from the hugely successful group The Guitars So Hot They’re On Fire…”

But honestly, most people start tuning out before too long if you lead with this, especially when it comes to music crowdfunding.

Instead, they want to hear about mission, purpose and what the project means to your life because that’s what drives 90% of music crowdfunding contributions. Hell, maybe it’s even 100%.

When a person starts showing interest and asking you more about the project, feel free to gush. But don’t make the mistake of leading or even trying to convince with your laundry list.


This is probably the most common mistake that we see in campaigns and generally results from a misunderstanding of music crowdfunding mechanics.

Remember, 75% of music crowdfunding projects are for under $10,000 and they typically have 100-200 backers.

Where are these backers most likely to come from: your pool of existing relationships (friends, family, fans) or strangers who have never encountered you?

It’s not that you can’t turn strangers into fans… you can. But during a crowdfunding campaign, this is a little bit like a sales person cold calling prospects out of the yellow pages ~ EXTREMELY DIFFICULT with a low conversion rate.

Your strategy with the highest probability of success focuses on existing relationships.

And without going into detail, the bottom line for dealing with these folks comes straight from Simon Sinek:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy Why you do it.

The best way to communicate your Why, which is your purpose and mission, is to think about talking to many individuals instead of one, big crowd.

13) Ignoring Individuals and Focussing On “The Crowd”

Big mistake, killer even!

There is no better way to establish a connection with someone than by being completely personal.

So you cannot think of “the crowd” like it’s a gym full of people who you are going to give a speech to.

Instead, take a cue from the politicians. (I can’t believe I’m saying that!)

Talk to people on both an individual basis AND to all of them at once.

If you only talk to all of them at once, your chances of making a personal connection fall dramatically.

In The Psychology of Persuasion (one of the most widely read psychology books of all time, especially in the business world), Dr. Robert Cialdini talks about the Bystander Effect and how, the more people there are in a crowd, the less likely each individual is to act.

You’ve probably heard stories of experiments on this where researchers will set up a fake “mugging” in a busy place like Times Square just to see if anybody will help the victim. And, amazingly enough, nobody helps even though there are hundreds or even a thousand people around.

Cialdini has a simple solution to this: when he needs help, he approaches an individual directly.

For example, if he were in a crowd and fell down in cardiac arrest, he would make eye contact with a single individual, point to them and say “you, get a doctor please.” (You know, if he could talk during cardiac arrest.)

And guess what?

The chances of that person helping out go from nearly zero to nearly 100%.

The mechanics of music crowdfunding work the same way, maybe not from 0 to 100, but even a modest doubling of the probability of receiving help makes a huge, measurable difference.

So, do the work of talking to one person at a time.

Yes, you should still deploy communication to your email list and through social media. But this is your secondary task and should still focus on the same things you talk to people about individually.

Your first objective is to reach out to individuals. It is literally the difference between a successful campaign and a failed one.

14) Trying to “Go Viral”

Viral Crowdfunding Video1 300x225 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolThe holy grail of any marketing effort is to “go viral.”

You end up getting untold amounts of exposure for free which usually results in lots and lots of new, paying customers.

So, why wouldn’t you try to “go viral?”

Simple: the probability of success is soooooo low that it’s a waste of your most precious resource: time.

Crowdfunding typically lasts for around a month. This is a limited amount of time to contact all of the individuals whom you need to (remember the last point?).

You cannot afford to be wasting time screwing around trying to “go viral.” This results in lots of unfocused, non-productive effort… oh, and two more things.

One, have you ever actually seen a music crowdfunding project go viral? I have not. Even the biggest ones like Amanda Palmer were primarily funded through relationships which were already in place when the campaign started.

Two, remember all that stuff up above about “how you ask?” When you try to “go viral,” you will inevitably confuse the issue and water down your purpose and mission.

P.S. If you want to shoot for going viral after your campaign is over, have at it. Just don’t try it during your campaign. Given the low likelihood of success, the trade off just isn’t worth it.


Asking for the wrong thing will also adversely affect your efforts. Luckily, simply knowing what you will ask for ahead of time will take care of the possibility that you get off track and go wrong.

15) Confusing the Issue

If you Googled “how to get what you want” earlier and read a few results, then surely you have seen the advice to be clear and specific in what you ask for. And you need to communicate this clear, specific need in a straight forward manner.

This article, 9 Ways to Ask for (and Get) What You Want, takes it a step further by pointing out that piling on extra reasons doesn’t really help:

2. Don’t pile on the reasons.  Speaking of charity donations, research by Dartmouth psychologist Daniel Feiler and colleagues (2012) showed that alumni were more likely to give money to their alma mater when given a single basis for the request. The alumni asked to give for altruistic reasons (to help others) or egoistic reasons (to help them feel good),gave twice as much, on average, as alumni asked to donate for both altruistic and egoistic reasons.  Find one reason to make your request, and give that the biggest play possible in order to ensure that you’ll get a positive response in return.

I often see music crowdfunding projects for a CD tack on a little charity donation, maybe 5 or 10%. Heck, Pledgemusic makes charitable giving part of their platform.

But I don’t think it helps.

If you do a great job of communicating your purpose and mission, then a charitable donation might not hurt. But if you try to use your charitable intentions, honorable as they may be, as a reason to support your project, then your efforts are misplaced.

Start with your Why… and if you ask me, finish with your Why with a ton of Why in the middle.

16) Asking For Too Much

Music Crowdfunding Redneck 300x175 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolThis is a mistake that can happen particularly on an individual level.

Yes, you need to be specific and clear about your need. But as we discussed earlier, you need to also have concern for the person you are talking to.

If that person is broke for whatever reason, then asking them for a $100 donation (or maybe even $25) is a real stretch that could come off as pompous.

Some consideration and use of judgement will go a long ways here.

17) Asking For Too Little 

The converse of this is that you don’t want to ask your super supportive, really rich buddy who hit it big importing tea from Manitoba to pledge $20 if he was really thinking about pledging $500!

(Of course, if your buddy is rich but only mildly interested in what you are doing, then maybe $20 is right for him.)

Non-profits understand the natural phenomenon of 80/20 where 80% of the results come from 20% of the occurrences so they’re always on the lookout for big fish donors. You’ll usually see non-profit appeals lead with a very high dollar amount followed by a couple of lower but still high dollar amounts such as “Please consider pledging $2,000 to our very worthy cause” followed by some checkboxes with the amounts of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and Other where you fill in the blank.

Most people will choose other and throw in $10 or $100 but every once in awhile, the person will just throw down a big ol’ chunk of change.

You must keep this option on the table for the backer by not removing it. It is fine if they remove it because it’s right for them but it isn’t fine for you to remove it.


The first type of When-You-Ask mistakes are made when talking to individuals. These mistakes generally arise out of discomfort in asking.

The easiest way to keep yourself from making these mistakes is to do all of the preparation that we’ve already discussed: know your Purpose and Mission and have an authentic concern for the people you are talking to.

18) Thinking You Should Ask About Them First

This is something I am guilty of ALLLLLLL the time! Like when I’m looking for free babysitting or trying to get a free Budweiser.

You think you should show some concern for the person you are talking to before you ask. Call it “buttering them up.”

But at about the 25:30 mark in the Simon Sinek video, he explains how the simple ordering of your request can be the difference between a Yes or a No.

He gives this example of what might happen when emailing someone with a request:

Hi Person,

Haven’t seen you in years. I hope you’re doing well. Congratulations on all you’ve been doing. It’s really amazing! We should grab coffee sometime. If you could do me a favor, I’m in an online contest where I can win a big prize and I was wondering if you’d vote for me. Hope you’re well, talk to you soon.



As Simon points out, reading that email would leave you dismissive or maybe even offended and hitting DELETE!

But what happens when you get the same email with a change of order: request first, pleasantries second?

Hi Person,

I’m hoping you could vote for me in an online contest where I can win a big prize for my work. I haven’t seen you in years. I hope you’re doing well. Congratulations on all you’ve been doing. It’s really amazing! We should grab coffee sometime.



This works better because the person knows what you want and then the pleasantries don’t seem like a thin veil of disguise. Instead, the person can be grateful for them as well as willing to consider the request.

When you put the Ask last, your pleasantries seem really disingenuous and can potentially offend the person you are communicating with, even though you have no intent of offending them in the first place.

Be very careful with this one in both spoken communication and in written. Because of our inherent discomfort with asking, it can sneak up and bite you anytime!

19) Giving Up Too Early #1

He Gave Up 300x199 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolThis one is really subtle but it can be a bugger.

Let’s say you’re talking to somebody who is listening intently to your story but they are maintaining a fairly neutral body language and posture so you aren’t sure where they’re at.

You ask them to become a backer of your project.

They pause for a moment.

Perhaps they are trying to find the words to express their admiration that you are taking such a bold risk. Or perhaps they are trying to decide how much to donate. Or perhaps, at precisely the moment you stopped, they just had to swallow and take a breath before they could resume talking.

But you take the slight hesitation as a negative sign and because it’s so unpleasant to be denied, you pipe up: “Or could you just share it with your friends by email or like it on Facebook?”

Mistake made.

This won’t bite you all the time. Some people will have your back.

But some people will decide that instead of being a backer themselves, it would be better for them to share your music crowdfunding project!

But it’s really not better. Check out this excerpt from a post about Social Media and the Bystander Effect:

My friend Brian Solis led a project for the United Nations in 2010 to help increase awareness of Malaria in Africa and also generate $10 donations for bed nets. He found that initially most people shared rather than donated, essentially accomplishing just one of the two goals. In his research to uncover why, he found that people believed that their act of sharing was worth much more than a $10 contribution. He found that people truly thought that their digital influence or social capital equated to tens or even hundreds of individual donations from their connections.

People believe their act of sharing is worth much more than their potential contribution! So they share away and think somebody else will take care of it.

Their intention may be noble but the crappy thing about their thinking is that it’s not true!

Think about it. If everybody just shared but didn’t pledge, well, you’d have a boatload of shares and no pledges!

So the reality is that they are standing there waiting for somebody else to take care of it.

This is very related to what Cialdini wrote about in The Psychology of Persuasion: ask specific people to take specific actions.

20) Not Following Up

A critical part of any sales process is follow-up.

It is so critical that companies spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars training their staff and implementing follow-up procedures. Hell, they probably even spend millions on it! (Even if that’s just the cost of the private jet carting around the CEO and Board of Directors ride while they talk about sales follow-up.)

Commonly held wisdom (which means I don’t have a scientific reference but I hear it all the time) is that you need to ask people up to 7 times before they’ll take the desired action. Sarah Peck says so in The Art of Asking and I know I’ve heard it several other places.

Get comfortable with the idea of asking people multiple times.

If they say NO, obviously you need to respect that and stop asking.

But if you contact somebody during the first three days of your campaign and don’t see them take action nor do they say no, then contact them the 2nd week, the 3rd week, and especially in the closing days.

Heck, sometimes people will say yes but not take action because they get distracted and forget. ASK AGAIN!


There are also a few ways to mess things up by having completely bad timing.

These will all seem obvious but I am constantly surprised at how many people contact us asking for help in the middle of their campaign who are guilty of one of these mistakes.

Usually, these mistakes are made due to lack of planning or misplaced expectations or possibly due to discomfort with asking.

21) Starting too late

Lazy music crowdfunder 298x300 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolMany music crowdfunders are guilty of launching a campaign and then waiting to see what happens.

Perhaps they don’t want to ask, perhaps they think they don’t need to ask or perhaps they think they can make up for it later (they have 30 days, right?).

But he who hesitates is lost.

Or at least HAS lost… a golden opportunity.

There are two periods to capitalize on people’s excitement and momentum. The beginning of the campaign is one of them.

We highly advocate that campaigns plan to roll hot right out of the chute and then do the work to make it happen.

I have seen campaigns hit a $10,000 to $15,000 goal in as little as two days!

Get early support from your closest friends and family to generate momentum and social proof and then capitalize on that by continuing to make your appeal for people to become backers.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. You can still be successful at that point but it will be a lot more difficult and, at the very least, you’ll end up raising less overall.

22) Bad Timing: Not asking when you have momentum

This mistake doesn’t seem as bad as the last one but it has the potential to dramatically lower the amount you raise all the same.

I mentioned seeing campaigns hit a $10,000 to $15,000 goal in as little as two days.

But what happens after that can vary dramatically.

Take a look at this Kickstarter’s funding progress (provided by Kicktraq):

Sammus Theory Kickstarter1 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry fool

Monster first day! Okay second day. Then coasting…

That may have been okay with them so it’s not a criticism. But I bet they could’ve kept the pedal down and further increased their fundraising if they had wanted to.

Now take a look at Jay Stolar’s Kickstarter (provided by Kicktraq):

Jay Stolar Kickstarter 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry fool

Big 1st day! Bigger 2nd day!! Even Bigger 3rd day!!!

And, importantly, check out what happened during the last couple of days of the campaign: another ramp-up. There’s quite a few thousand dollars there folks.

The end of your campaign is the 2nd period when you can capitalize on people’s excitement and momentum.

We worked with Jay so I was in on this campaign. And I will admit that he had done so well, it just didn’t seem possible to raise much more money than the $40,000 he had raised through day 27.

But there were three days left… and you can see what happened: he raised another $10,000! (Same thing happened to Carsie Blanton who, after raising $50,000 through the first 3/4′s of her campaign, pulled in another $10,000 over the last few days.)

If you hit your goal but don’t have a plan for the end of your campaign, you will be leaving money on the table.

23)  Giving Up Too Early #2: Giving Up mid-Campaign

Don’t worry about how much of your music crowdfunding campaign has elapsed compared to what percent of your goal you’ve hit.

If you hit the 2/3 mark of your campaign and you’ve only raised 20% of your goal, that doesn’t mean you’ll fail.

So many people make the mistaken assumption that your funding progress should somehow match up with the amount of time that has passed in the campaign.

It’s not true.

I have seen projects make close to 25% or even up to 70% of their total funding in the last few days.

Kickstarter Stats show, “Of the projects that have reached 20% of their funding goal, 81% were successfully funded. Of the projects that have reached 60% of their funding goal, 98% were successfully funded.”

What you need to worry about is being sure that you’ve contacted your friends, family, fans, mailing lists and social media contacts.

Do it as personally as possible (in person, by phone or personal email in that order) especially for those who you have a tight relationship with.

If it helps, think of your campaign as a few mini-campaigns where your JOB is a race to 20%, a race to 50%, a race to 60%…

If you get close to the end and have a long ways to go, it just means that you have a LOT of work to do in a short time…

Also, remember that people are procrastinators in general and that you may have to remind them several times to view your project and pledge before they take action… even if they have meant to all along.

Lesson: believe in yourself and be sure to do the work.


I don’t really know where to put these but they are important so let’s not forget them.

24) Focussing Too Much On Rewards

Kickstarter Rewards Ideas 300x278 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolWhenever you ask somebody for something, it’s nice to have something to offer them. It’s called reciprocity and it just feels better.

So naturally, you want to have great Kickstarter reward ideas for your people.

You need to have good rewards but keep in mind that the vast majority of backers will care more about WHY you are doing your project than about WHAT you are giving them.

In other words, people will back you because they believe in your purpose and mission, not due to the rewards you offer.

So when it comes to your video, project description and talking in person, you must give people the information they need: your Why, Purpose, and Mission.

If you gloss over or skip your Why to get to your rewards so you can “demonstrate value” to them,  you’ll be leaving out the most critical information that people need when deciding whether to back a project.

Be sure to put your primary focus on Why and continue to refer back to that throughout your story.

Rewards are necessary and people DO want them, but they very rarely convert backers on their own merits.

25) Not Saying Thank You

When asking for money, you cannot focus on your desire for money in your pocket. You need to have a genuine concern for your relationship with the person you are talking to. That means caring for them as much as for yourself.

If you care genuinely, you will feel compelled to communicate your appreciation and heart-felt gratitude.

If you notice that you’re forgetting or rushing through this step, then you are probably sabotaging your efforts by focussing to much on the outcome and not enough on the relationship.

Take a little time to get grounded. Think about your relationship with the person you’re talking to. Chances are that you are thankful for their presence in your life.

And as a side note, publicly thanking someone on Facebook or Twitter is a good way to make their support of you known publicly and have your project show up in their feed. It won’t help you “hit the jackpot” so to speak, but it will raise awareness and you just never know how those things will turn out.

The Final Word On Asking

You are welcome 239x300 25 music crowdfunding mistakes that can make you look like a money hungry foolIn the words of Maya Angelou, “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”

This list gives you a ton of crap to worry about. It takes some preparation and practice to nail it when you ask somebody to pledge to your music crowdfunding project.

But as long as you are very clear on Why you are doing your project and can clearly communicate this to people…

As long as you come to the conversation focussed more on your relationship than on the outcome of the request…

And as long as you ask consistently from the start, through the middle, and to the end of your campaign…

Then you will have the bases covered and the best possible experience when asking people for support.

And remember, you never know who is going to pledge. There will be a few disappointments and there will be many fun surprises. Consider these wise words from Hans York:

With all the folks I had on my list and was sure they would pledge, I was stunned by who really came forward. All in all more folks that I did not expect to pledge did so, and the ones I would have bet my life on did not…

If you’re attached to the outcome you’re doomed. There are so many factors that one impossibly can count in at the beginning. So the best attitude is grateful excitement to launch into an adventure!

If you have yet to launch your music Kickstarter, leave a comment letting us know what freaks you out about your campaign. If you’ve already done one, leave your best pearl of wisdom for those who come after you.

Author bio: Ian Anderson is co-author of 100 Music Kickstarters to Learn From and The Music Crowdfunding System for Intelligent ArtistsYou can find more of his music crowdfunding analysis, tips, and advice at launchandrelease.com.

Five elements of your artist brand | DiscMakers


Establishing your artist brand is a blend of organic unique elements that set you apart and standard business practices to keep your image fresh and consistent

A key part of any marketing strategy is the development of the brand, be it the brand of a person, a product, or organization. As an indie musician, your artist brand can be anything that helps you to maintain a unique position within a market, including your:
• Name
• Logo
• Image
• Sound
• Color palette
• Approach to community management
• Live performances
• Distribution

A common misconception of a brand is that it revokes the artistic license; a synthesized look and feel that are used to define the art.

On the contrary, your artist brand can be the product of a very organic, genuine approach that you take to your art, your community management, your live show, or beyond. As an indie musician or band, your artist brand is whatever approach you take to any aspect of your career that gives definition to your fans and to the market place.

Once a brand has been established, even in an organic way, it is important to nurture and uphold that brand through your online presence. After all, with all of the social media clutter and chaos, why not try to make it easier for your dedicated fans to find you and engage with you?

Given that your artist brand can be anything that makes you stand out in a unique way, there are many things that can be done to ensure your online presence offers the proper reflection. Even within a specific type of branding, each musician can find their own ways to nurture their artist brand.

Below are several examples of ways musicians and bands have leveraged social media to further develop their brand, making it easier for their fans to seek them out, engage and become more loyal to their artistic mission.

1. Maintain a consistent look and feel across all social media

More of a best practice than something unique, every strong brand maintains a consistent look and feel, so let’s go over this one first to dissect how others have pulled this one off.

Dr. Dog’s B Room
Your band website, being your online hub, should define a look and feel and the rest of your social networking sites should follow. Of course, even your band website can be defined by the look and feel of your most recent work.

Dr Dog Artist brand

As was the case with Dr. Dog, who’s most recent album B Room was released on October 1st,
you can see that the skinning, including the imagery, color palette, and font of their website all reflect the
look and feel defined by the album cover.

Dr Dog TwitterDr Dog Facebook artist brand

Dr. Dog then took this look and feel of their album cover, now applied to their website, and expanded that experience to their social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

2. Give your fans something to call their own (AKA start a movement)

Not all brands need to involve a movement, but there’s no question that it can be a huge help in the successful development of your artist branding if you can get people behind it. Cleveland-based rapper Machine Gun Kelly did just that. He not only put a name on his movement, “EST,” but he gave them a calling-card in the form of an exclamation.

MGK Facebook artist brandLace up!
Machine Gun Kelly (or MGK) and his fans began using the term “Lace Up” as a way of maintaining positivity: no matter what life throws at you, you lace up and move forward. It was a concept that became a powerful statement of loyalty to the EST movement.

MGK uses his Facebook band page as a platform to share his own journey, and shares the journey of his unique fan base as well.

MGK artist brandTo validate his fans for their emotional (and from the images above, physical) connection to the “Lace Up” statement, MGK released his debut album on Bad Boy Records with “Lace Up” as the title.

3. Use of imagery to further develop brand

Bono with his sunglasses. Steven Tyler with his scarf. Michael Jackson with the red Thriller jacket. The list of artists and their specific imagery goes on and on.

Your image, not just your sound, will become an important part of the development of your brand. This is a concept that goes far beyond music (e.g. Steve Jobs with his black turtleneck).

While no one wants to be pigeon-holed to one look for the rest of their life, a great way of making yourself instantly recognizable to a market is to have a look that is all your own.

Thrift shop hero
Hip-hop has always been a genre to overtly blend fashion and music, especially with designer brands. Seattle-based Macklemore, on the other hand, couldn’t be further removed from this trend. His recent hit “Thrift Shop” set the stage for a niche that no one else had thought of: while everyone goes for designer brands, Macklemore went to thrift shops and found some of the most ridiculous combinations he could find.

Thrift StoreTo develop this concept online, Macklemore took to Instagram and posted photos of himself trying on unique, thrift shop purchases from different cities around the world while on tour.

This use of ‘thrift shop’-centric imagery helped Macklemore further develop his style and overall brand image to a point where it bled into his official photo shoots and high-profile appearances.

Macklemore artist brandingFrom the Billboard Magazine feature on Macklemore as ‘Breakout Artist of the Year’:
Macklemore's artist branding at SNLFrom backstage at Saturday Night Live:

4. Strong and Consistent Messaging

In addition to look and feel, it is also important to maintain consistency in your messaging. Be it your blog, newsletter, tweets, or even the official bio on your website, any copy that you publish should maintain the integrity of whatever it is that makes you unique.

• Do you have a dry sense of humor? Are you goofy?
• Are you empathetic?
• Are you understanding of the human condition?
• Do you approach concepts logically or emotionally?

These are just a few things to consider when shaping the voice of your brand messaging.

Sara Bareilles’s Potty Mouth
Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles has done a great job with her messaging. She approaches her writing from a very personal place — in fact, her official bio is actually written in the first person. Sara is also genuine and honest about who she is and what drives her.

Sara Bareilles Facebook artist brand

Sara Bareilles blog artist branding
Most importantly though, Sara is consistent throughout all of this. As you’ll see below, Sara’s Facebook bio (written in the first person) makes mention to the fact that she has a potty mouth. Something she refuses to apologize for. This appears again in a recent blog post (again, written in the first person) about her new album where she makes a very similar claim.

5. Leveraging strong brand monitoring into engagement

While not actually apart of branding itself, it is absolutely important to monitor all of the other aspects of your brand. By consistently searching for key terms that either directly reflect your brand (i.e. @YourBandName on Twitter or #YourBandName) as well as other keywords that relate to your location, genre, or niche, you will be able to identify existing conversations by new or existing fans and tastemakers, all of whom are important for you to associate with.

Amanda F’ing Palmer
You may be saying: Really? Another example of things Amanda Palmer has done so well?

Amanda Palmer artist branding queenWell the fact is, Internet darling Amanda Palmer quite simply knows what the heck she’s doing. All of the attention that Amanda garners from things like her $1 million Kickstarter campaign is due to the fact that she is not only engaging, but monitoring and re-engaging with her fans at all times.

The dedication of Amanda Palmer’s fan base stems from the dedication that she shows them through constant validation of their support.

If you were to go through Amanda Palmer’s Twitter feed, you would see that her number of retweets almost match (if not surpass) her number of original tweets. And what is she tweeting? As seen above, Palmer is taking the time to seek out her fans who are speaking about her and retweeting them, showing her constant appreciation of their affection. Even at almost one million followers on Twitter, Palmer still goes out of her way to retweet the fans that take the time to speak about her most recent show, TED talk, blog post, album, etc.

There are a few ways to do this:

1. Pay attention to your at mentions on Twitter. Any time you are tagged on twitter, it will appear in your at mentions. All at mentions should be retweeted, responded to or, if nothing else, made a favorite so that you validate those speaking to you or about you that you hear them and appreciate them.

2. Use a Twitter Search tool to monitor effective brand key words as outlined above. This can be done through Twitter’s own search tool OR even better, you can set up a saved search panel on a Twitter management dashboard such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

Making a Case for Strong Branding
Branding can take shape in many forms. All of the above will help you to better establish your own brand online but it doesn’t end here. Share with us below in the form of a comment how you have further developed your online brand. Or, share some other examples of others who have done a great job establishing their own online brand so that we together we can all benefit.

Read more: Five elements of your artist brand – Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2013/11/five-elements-of-your-artist-brand/#ixzz2lr1zGUyA

Renaming Your Band: How to Re-Brand Without Losing Fans | CDBaby.com


shutterstock 128946584 Renaming Your Band: How to Re Brand Without Losing Fans

Depending on where you’re at in your career, changing your artist/band name can either be as easy as renaming a few social profiles or as difficult as destroying every trace of your previous incarnation and humbly starting from scratch. Hopefully you’ll never have to change your name, but here are some reasons you might have to:

You find out another band is using the same name.

Understandably, this used to be a much more common occurrence before the advent of the internet. Somewhat less understandably, it’s still a problem. Swedish metal weirdoes Ghost recently changed their name to Ghost BC as a result of what they described as “legal reasons.” They are the 32nd band on Discogs to use that name, so I’m assuming one of the previous 31 told them to knock it off.

Then there’s the case of bands like Suede and The Charlatans, who had no issues in the UK, but as soon as they came to the States found they didn’t have claim to those names. You might know them as The London Suede and The Charlatans UK. Not quite as catchy.

Do your googling and make sure the name you want hasn’t been used before! You’ll save yourself some major annoyances later.

You realize the name you picked is terrible.

You think Radiohead would have conquered the music world using their original name, On a Friday? Well, maybe. Their music is really good. But, On a Friday is a high-school band name if I’ve ever heard one, and the future-Radiohead’s label saw this and made the band change it. Plenty of bands have had to – or chosen to – do this, and they’re probably glad they did. You think Red Hot Chili Peppers is a mouthful? Try Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.

You have rendered yourself unGoogleable.

Sure, you could name your band Food (I’m sure it’s already happened many, many times), but good luck getting anyone to find you online. Not to mention the struggle that comes with trying to get a decent URL, Facebook address, etc. You might find this is all too much and decide to go with something with a little more SEO power. May I suggest The Food UK?

Your name no longer reflects your music or is holding you back from a wider audience.

Portland band Starf*cker decided to change their name back in 2009, briefly becoming PYRAMID, then Pyramiddd, then they just changed it back. Rapper Killer Mike temporarily become Mike Bigga a few years back, but he changed back, too. Both artists probably felt the connotations that came with their names was hindering them, but when you’re at a level of popularity such as they were, it was too late and it didn’t take.

Which brings us to the real point of this article: how do you get it to take? And how do you do it in a way that your fan base will accept and respect? It can be tough, certainly, but not impossible. Here are some tips:

Tell people why you’re changing your name and take any criticisms in stride.

Fans and friends will want to know why you’re making this change, so tell them. Whether it’s for legal, career, or personal reasons, they’ll understand. They may not love the idea at first, but stay strong and stick with your decision. Your fans will adjust.

Use it as an excuse to have a party or show.

“Food is now The Food UK! Come celebrate our rechristening and pick up a t-shirt with our new name and logo on it!” Boom: you’ve turned a possibly awkward situation into a reason to celebrate, and it’s a great way to spread the word.

Unless you’ve received threatening legal documents, leave your old stuff up for a while.

People will still be trying to find you under your old name, so let those sites/profiles live for a little while. Just make sure the old sites make the name-change clear and have direct links to your new pages. Or, just redirect your old site to your new one and save them a click.

Be prepared.

If you want this to go smoothly, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row. Slowly transitioning things (specifically online things) over the course of a few weeks will just add to the confusion. Make a plan ahead of time, have all your new branding supplies ready, and try to add the new stuff and delete the old stuff all in one fell swoop.

Have you ever changed your band/artist name? We’d love to know if it helped or hurt, and how you did it. Tell us your stories in the comments section.

3 Tips on Crowdfunding Your Music from The Kickback | Launch + Release

the-kickback-kickstarterThe Kickback is a group from Chicago, IL, with some South Dakota roots.

This may not be a combo you hear of often (South Dakotans rarely move to Chicago, I’ve heard) but The Kickback is absolutely crushing it as they raise money to fund their debut album!

Here are a few tips and tricks that their project highlights.

VIEW PROJECT | GOAL $16,000 | 30 DAYS | Emails 300 | FB 4603 | Twitter 771 | Monthly Podcast Subscribers 1500

Reach Out Any Way You Can

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, when nobody knows about your crowdfunding project then you will receive zip/zero/zilch/nada through pledges.

And it makes sense that when more people know about your project, then your odds of success and funding will be higher.

But trying to maximize the number of people who know about your project is an extremely daunting and ambiguous task that often leads to procrastination, unfocussed effort or, worst of all, paralysis.

The Kickback took a very reasonable and doable approach to spreading the word about their Kickstarter campaign.

I think everyone in the band has found themselves reaching out to people virtually anyway they can. From family members to professors from college to disinterested people from high school, we think that people knowing the campaign is even happening is a big part of (hopefully) making this successful. ~ Billy from The Kickback

Tip: Make sure each and every person in your group reaches out to each and every person they know. Start with those you are closest to like friends and family and work out from there towards loose acquaintances.

Choose the Crowdfunding Platform that is Right For You

Kickstarter is all-or-nothing and has national and international brand recognition.

Indiegogo has flexible funding that let’s you keep any funds you raise but isn’t quite as well known as Kickstarter.

Pledge Music positions itself as a direct-to-fan avenue and allows pledges all the way through product fulfillment allowing you more time to collect pledges.

And those are only the three most recognizable platforms!

Somehow, you have to choose which one of these makes sense for you and this decision needs to be based on the factors surrounding your project.

For The Kickback, Kickstarter just made sense.

Our campaign fits very much into the Kickstarter “All or Nothing” approach because the basis of our goal is that we’re tired of making records the wrong way: cheap and usually in one or two days, as fast as humanly possible, and not particularly happy with the result. People who know us and those who watch our video hopefully understand that this is something we’ve been fighting for (literally) years. We either want to make a record the right way or we’ll wait longer, so having a set goal is just the way it has to be for us. ~ Billy from The Kickback

Tip: Before deciding which platform to use, take a little time to consider your needs. (But don’t turn the choice into an obstacle. Actually creating your project is by far the most important objective!)

Dont’ Be Shy, ASK for Support

This is always a tricky topic for many artists when it comes to crowdfunding.

You don’t want to seem needy, greedy, ungrateful or poor (even if you are). So asking for money feels bad.

If you’re worried about dignity, you shouldn’t be publicly asking people for money.  ~ Billy from The Kickback

This quote made me chuckle, but what I take away from Billy’s comment is that if you are crowdfunding in the first place, you cannot be ashamed to ask for money.

He is right on about that and note that there are also many reasons why it is both legitimate and important to ask for money.

Tip: Be unapologetic and direct when you ask for money. Make sure people understand that you are chasing your hopes and dreams with their donation not just boozing it away! Give a clear Call to Action with your project that asks for people’s pledges.

Project Takeaways

  • Don’t assume that people will “spread the word”. Make sure each member of your group contacts everybody they know over the course of the project.
  • Spend a little time choosing the platform that is right for your project.
  • Of HUGE importance, get comfortable asking for people’s support and money. It is a critical element in turning project viewers into project backers.

Telling People You’re Broke Won’t Help Your Music Career | DiscMakers

BrokeMusician-254x300The starving artist routine can help derail your music career, so focus on the positive

As indie musicians devoting ourselves to the demands of a music career, we know that many (most?) musicians are always broke. Like Ramen broke. PB&J broke. Rice and beans BROKE.

You know who doesn’t know that musicians are broke? Non-musicians. And let’s keep it that way.

Music lovers (your fans) don’t want to hear how you are a “struggling/starving musician.” It’s not romantic. The starving artist thing is romantic to reflect back on (once you’re successful) and you can talk all about it in interviews with Rolling Stone in five years. But don’t talk about it now.

Building a grassroots fan base is about showcasing that you’re on the up and up. No one wants to be a fan of a failing, starving, broke-ass band. They want to support bands who have their act together, have a budding music career, and are about to take over the world. They can then say “I knew them when…”

There is a difference between talking about how broke you are and being humble and (for the most part) transparent. I see bands post all the time on Twitter and Facebook about how broke they are and can’t afford to eat so “buy my music.” Big no no. Guilting them into buying your music never works. You’ll be sure to get an “unfollow” rather than a sale.

You can, however, post about how you’re looking for a crashing pad. Just because you need a place to stay doesn’t mean you’re broke. It could mean that you’d rather spend that $100 on gas, inventory, blow, whatever. Or that you just want the comfort of a friend/fan’s hospitality. Amanda Palmer STILL crashes with fans all over the world and she raised over a million bucks on Kickstarter!

Your fans are living vicariously through you. All of your successes are their successes. If you keep talking about all your music career failures, they’re not going to be so excited to be your fans as they already have enough failures going on in their own lives and don’t need any of yours.

Also, I made the mistake when I first moved to LA by telling everyone I met how tough it was to make ends meat in LA (vs. Minneapolis). I thought people would empathize and we would share in our collective misery. The thing I soon realized was that most people thrive on positivity and enthusiasm out here (not misery — go figure). I lost a few early connections because I revealed too much struggle and not enough inspiring drive.

Sure, misery loves company. But you know what also loves company? Awesome. Be awesome and you’ll attract awesome people.

STAY POSITIVE and keep the uplifting, exciting success stories (as seemingly small as they are to you) coming. That keeps people inspired. Talking about how you lost a gig, can’t pay for gas or food, and are thinking of quitting music because it’s too expensive is just a bummer. Don’t bum people out with your negative tweets, posts, or in person conversations. Leave that for your music.

Since quitting his day job at Starbucks in January 2008, Ari Herstand has played over 500 clubs, colleges and festivals in 40 states, opened for Ben Folds, Cake, Eric Hutchinson, Matt Nathanson, Joshua Radin, and Ron Pope, and had his music featured on popular TV shows like One Tree Hill and various Showtime and MTV shows. Ari relocated from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in the fall of 2010 to begin the next phase of his artistic journey. This year he landed two co-starring roles on 2 Broke Girls and TOUCH, as well as a lead role in feature film. Check out his independent music business advice blog, Ari’s Take.

Read more: The Starving Artist Routine Won’t Help Your Music Career -Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2013/04/telling-people-youre-broke-wont-help-your-music-career/#ixzz2UcMQRLFH

5 Rules for Responding to Blog Comments | DiscMakers

5 Rules for Responding to Blog CommentsYour blog is buzzing. Your content is getting shared far and wide. Your articles are getting commented on all the time. Now what?

Well, first — congratulations.

Second, it’s time to sit down and RESPOND to those comments.

Here’s a handful of general guidelines for responding to blog comments

1. Respond to every single comment. It’s a basic courtesy. Someone took the time to interact with you, your work, your articles, your content; so take the time to acknowledge this by responding, even if your response is short and sweet: “Thanks! Glad you liked the article.”

2. Be thorough in your responses. If someone asks you three questions based on your blog article, don’t just answer the first one and hit reply. To the commenter it’ll look like you didn’t care enough to read their whole comment.

3. Don’t be afraid to disagree. After all, disagreement is the spice of life. We often feel like we’re being rude when we disagree, and so we hold our tongues. But this is YOUR blog. It’s YOUR article. It’s YOUR ideas and personality. Feel free to have a healthy debate in your comments section. Just don’t cross the line into an argument. Which brings us to…

4. Let the trolls go hoarse. Haters gonna hate! Let ‘em. The funny thing about angry internet trolls is that they end up outing themselves with their weird rants. And if you delete posts by trolls, they just keep posting. Better to approve their comment, give them their moment to shine, and the world will see them for the dense black holes they are. Oh, and maybe with trolls you can ignore Rule #1 — unless you simply say, “Thanks for commenting.”

5. Use your comments to inspire further engagement. By responding to comments, you’re taking advantage of more opportunities to have your voice heard. You can deepen relationships with fans, customers, or readers. You can solicit the opinions of folks who are your biggest supporters. You can converse. You can point commenters to other useful articles or resources on your site. You can ask them to take some kind of action, follow you on social media, or make a purchase.

Hopefully these basic tips help you make the most out your blog, turning every comment into a true moment of engagement.

How do you manage your blog comments sections? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the  (—you guessed it!—) comments section below.