Avoiding The Discouragement of Online Competition

Article by Tyler Alexis

The world is hurting right now. People are looking for ways to escape, heal, learn, distract, connect, fill voids, and they have no choice but to look to the internet to fulfill those needs.

With so many artists jumping online and the competition for attention rising, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged. Worried? Don’t be. This is amazing! Cause what is more accessible or free in the world than the internet? With billions of eyes now glued to their screens, every business in the world is now trying to figure out how to meet those needs so that they can stay in business. It is now more important than ever for you, as an artist, to find ways to connect with your audience.
Sound familiar? As artists, we are no strangers to competition. However, just within a couple of months, the competition for internet attention feels like it has increased tenfold. This can feel overwhelming when trying to keep up or stand out.

    1. Don’t Get Discouraged
      With so many artists jumping online and the competition for attention rising, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged. It’s true, thousands of artists are focusing their attention on live-streaming and other virtual methods. So, what makes you special? Well, that’s actually the question you should be asking, because what makes you special is exactly what is going to bring people in. Figure out who you are and what you bring to the table, then find your niche and focus on what value you can bring to them. Whether you realize it or not, the world has billions of people and they are all getting incredibly bored. There is less competition than you think. If you stay true to yourself, you will find your true fan base.
    2. Connect With Other Artists
      Trade has been an essential foundation and building block for every invention in history. This is because we can’t just create within a void. We need external inspiration, thoughts, ideas, etc. And with tons of virtual communication platforms and file sharing apps, you’re no longer limited by your ZIP code. Find others and brainstorm together. Throw together virtual events, CDs, or whatever! Heck, it doesn’t even have to be other artists. Find businesses who are looking for ways to compete for the same attention and figure out ways you can work together to achieve your mutual goals. The world is your oyster.
    3. Be Genuine
      Be honest and open with your audience. People are comforted to know that even those they look up to are going through similar struggles. In fact, it could be considered insensitive, or down-right off putting right now to pretend like you are not affected. Instead, find ways to connect to your audience through these weird times. Acknowledge the awkwardness of now having to record in your shower or closet, or compile a joke video about how your pet continues to steal the show while you’re trying to create. People want to see that they are not alone, so be transparent. This situation is awkward at best, so your fans will appreciate it if you can throw in a little honest humor to take the edge off. And if you’re nervous about your current situation, remember that everyone loves to root for an underdog.
    4. Stay Positive
      On the same train of thought, through all of that honesty, make sure you balance anything negative with something positive. Yes, we’re all hurting and the world is a mess, but be careful of falling too deep into depressive topics without having a way to uplift your followers. People want to be able to identify with you, but they also want to be distracted and inspired by you. Show them how you are making it through this difficult time. Don’t forget, music is the number one soul-healer. It’s a huge reason why many of us got into music in the first place. So, DO NOT UNDERVALUE YOURSELF. Your fans need you. Your fellow musicians need you. As the world’s unsung (excuse the pun) therapists, it is our job to help others through this the way we know best: through music. We’ve all gotten through difficult times by listening to that one song on repeat because it made us feel understood, comforted, or strong. Embrace it!
    5. Don’t Forget Your Current Fans
      Yes, we always want to build our fan base because that opens opportunities for growth in our career, but don’t forget the ones who have been there for you. Now is the time to solidify those connections and make them your super-fans. Even the smallest gestures can go a long way, especially right now. Your fans will not forget what you gave them during this time when they were hurting most. Whether it’s song dedications to some of your top supporters, fundraisers for certain causes (or maybe a specific fan who is being hit particularly hard by all of this), free downloads or merch (if you can afford to do so), a personal note, letter or DM, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just whatever you are able to give. It truly is the thought that counts when it comes to this. Many of us are hurting financially, but a kind word costs nothing and is worth so much more. Remember, the seeds you plant today, will be your harvest for the future.
As a final thought, we are all trying to find ways to pay off bills that aren’t going anywhere, and yes, the stress is piling up. However, don’t make the mistake of focusing only on the money. Looking only at the short term will cause you to miss opportunities for long-term growth that can be made during this time through solidifying genuine relationships with your fans, publications, and other artists. Not to mention, it could add undue stress to you during an already stressful time.
Just take things one day at a time. It’s okay to have days where the weight of everything is too much. You’re human. Be patient and loving towards yourself. No one garners a following in one live-stream, so take deep breaths and keep on trucking. I know it’s cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was any successful business. Work hard, be flexible, and persevere. You’ve got this!
Article by Tyler Alexis
image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

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