Before knowing the “transmedia”, I was already critically aware of the importance of having not just a cohesive online brand, but one that cross-promoted itself. Before starting djalexrose.com (and still now), Instagram was my primary social media platform. I had always promoted my Soundcloud using the business website function and by posting previews of songs, however, now the connection is deeper. My Instagram and Snapchats focus primarily on “story” function engagement with polls, event promotions, and exclusive media.
My Facebook and Twitter are both quite neglected, being automated to post content whenever I upload to Youtube and Soundcloud. I’ve heard from colleagues that Facebook has a much stronger ROI on advertisements than Instagram (which I recently tried) so I’ll be investing more into that platform soon. As of now, neither one has exclusive content.
Soundcloud has shifted to have only my best musical content. From originals to bootlegs to remixes, Soundcloud houses all the tracks that make it Spotify and ones that can’t clear copyright but are still strong releases. It also includes links to all my other social media platforms.
Youtube is the king of my content strategy. It’s home to weekly vlogs, 30-80 minute mixes, exclusive mashups, and much more. As you can see, djalexrose.com remains a focal point being included in my banner.
The final service I’ll mention is ArtistUnion, a download-gate service that exchanges downloads of your music for specified actions. In my case, I require my audience follows my Soundcloud and like and reposts the song they wish to download.
The first four months of 2018 have felt like the fastest of my life. At the crossroads of doors opened and closed, I’ve developed a digital home for myself to chronical what has begun to feel like the legitimate fruition of my creative pursuits. To say I’ve learned a lot about myself, my industry, my art, and my brand is an understatement. I want to focus the many learnings I’ve had into the 5 most important. Some of these I knew in a different context but had to realize they still applied, some were taught to me by mentors, and some I learned over the coals. Regardless, they continue to inform my decisions about this website and my digital presence overall.
Unfortunately, none of us come out of the womb knowing how to use Adobe Premier, how to produce in FL Studio, or how to design a website. Thankfully we live in possibly the best time to learn ever. Companies like Skillshare, Khan Academy, Lynda.com, and many more have been built with the sole intention of educating people and developing their hard-skills, with the World Economic Forum estimating the e-learning market was worth an enormous $166.5 billion in 2015. The best part? If these services aren’t the content for free, someone on Youtube is.
Here is a short list of hard-skills I’ve become proficient in mostly from video tutorials and with no formal training: DJing (both on controllers and on CDJs), music production (primarily in FL Studio), playing the guitar, Photoshop, Premiere, Salesforce, and so on.
I’ve seen far too many of my peers roll over and die at the discovery of their own ignorance or incompetence. News flash: success doesn’t come from your genes or luck, it comes from closing your Netflix tab and spending that time learning deliberately.
Build a home
I had some initial scepticism about the costs and benefits of creating a website for my brand. As a musical artist, my priority should be directing the public to my Spotify as my main revenue stream and putting clicks in between discovering me and listening to my music could lose potential listeners. I’ve learned very quickly however that this potential cost is vastly outweighed by having my own domain, my own home on the internet.
Magnetic Magazine puts it best in saying “one of the biggest advantages of running a website is that the artist has full control over it”. Unlike social media platforms like Instagram where I am at the whim of the algorithm about whether or not my tribe even see my content, every piece of content on this website is created and designed by myself. I can experiment and change as much or as little as want at any speed. The agility and freedom of having a website has allowed for me to engage my tribe how I see best.
The other huge benefit to having a website is the consolidation of the many platforms I use. Instead of linking people my Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, I can just tell them to come here. It’s fantastic. Especially as I learned to integrate widgets throughout the site instead of hyperlinks, djalexrose.com became the easiest way to follow me on Spotify, subscribe to my Youtube, and much more. My blog and media pages are also filled with relevant content that is well organized, meaning my tribe can explore the site and find value throughout.
You are not your audience
Many creatives say that they make their art for themselves and that their desired audience is “people like me”. While the response may come from a place of wanted to seem authentic and empathetic, it can’t be true. If it were, any content you produce would have 0 value to the audience as they’ve already thought of, known, or seen it. It’s possible to have a past version of yourself as an intended audience, but to say you are your audience is a failure to understand your own potential and the variety of interests people have.
Take me for example. I am, as of writing this, a 21-year-old male from a major North American city who produces bass-heavy / ghetto house music at an intermediate level, DJs multiple genres at clubs downtown, is classically trained in music theory, and a vocalist. If I only targeted myself as my audience I would miss a lot of opportunities. For example, my experience as a classically trained musician who is literate in music theory is unique in the dance music production industry, meaning I can teach those who do not have my level of theory. Being a vocalist means I can attract other vocalists from outside of the dance music world. If I only focused on my own age range I would miss a huge potential audience of teenagers who consume dance music. Finally, as an intermediate producer, I can’t teach other intermediate producers but I can teach novice producers techniques I find valuable.
Your target audience should be value-aligned to your brand, meaning that they can extract value from your content, but that target is far larger than you as an individual. Accepting this fact does not come at the cost of authenticity, in fact, it amplifies it by making you seem inviting and accessible to the public.
Make it easy
After 4 years of a Communications degree, my writing and speech heirs more on the side of quantity over brevity. My tendency towards purple prose is still noticeable in my writing which is a huge problem when communicating with a general audience. Thankfully, the medium of a blog incentivizes concise content over the 3000-word research papers of my university faculty.
When it comes to creating content for my audience, I always keep in mind that I target beginner producers and dance music fans who have little-to-no technical knowledge. This manifests in my content in a couple key ways. First I try to never have videos go over 10 minutes to make sure my tutorials are focused and streamlined. Second, in editing I simplify sentences as much as possible. The more density of meaning and the less repetition the better.
This philosophy even impacts my UX design. Compared to other DJs, my website is very minimalist and visually simple. Take a look at Dutch superstar DJ Hardwell’s website. It is so cluttered with carousels and text boxes it leaves me nauseous. Of course, this is due to the challenges of being world famous and having multiple music labels to promote, but for an artist who is always so cutting edge, his website is surprisingly unfriendly. I try to do the opposite of Hardwell with my website. I am okay with having more than 2 pages for the sack of accessible and we as designers should always have the user’s ease in mind.
Don’t keep secrets
The world of music production like any art is prone to copy-cat’ing. Once Tchami and Oliver Heldens combined the worlds of deep house and mainstage electro to invent the genre of future house, Youtube exploded with tutorials on how to make their bass synth patches and percussion patterns. The same would happen with future bass, future bounce, and now Confession-style ghetto house. Because of this, most producers are reserved about sharing their techniques out of fear of being copied.
I believe that an artists sound goes beyond just the bass they use (see Tchami’s evolving style from 2014-2018) or the shaker they prefer. Videos titled “How to make music like _” or “How to sound like _” equip developing artists with new tools to add to their arsenal in developing their unique sound. Personally, learning to make percussion like Oliver Heldens, kick patterns like RICCI, basses like Tchami and Malaa, and melodies like Martin Garrix have allowed me to craft my own sound in my productions like Drank.
Sharing my techniques with other only works in my favour creating a stylistic movement behind my music. If someone produces a track similar to Drank, others will say “hey that sounds like Drank! I like it!” and both myself and the other artist benefit.
There you have it, my top 5 learnings from developing a website for my artist brand. I expect to continue learning more as this site and my career progress, but I’m extremely happy with where its come in such a short time. If you’re a returning reader, thanks for sticking with me, and if you’re new, welcome to djalexrose.com.
However, I never thought about monetizing my blog because I don’t expect it to become popular in any way. I started this blog because of PUB101, but if I did make a blog outside of a course, it would be for fun. I also didn’t want to monetize because I feel like there would be more expectations placed on me, and it wouldn’t be as fun anymore. I also didn’t want to be pressured to write about things just to gain views. Looking at YouTubers that are famous, like StrictlyDumpling or RaphaelGomez, they have a distinctive personality. RaphaelGomez also has the advantage of attractiveness, in addition to his cute and humble personality. But in the case of this blog, I don’t express enough of my personality, mostly because people might not like the informality and possible vulgarity. In other words, my blog doesn’t stand out. Despite not making much money, I found out that adding a few ads, wouldn’t affect me very much.
After the presentation about monetization. It appears easy to gain a small earning from Google Adsense. You don’t lose anything from including ads in your blog, besides maybe the aesthetics of the blog. I also learned that you can control what kind of ads are put in and where they are placed. If i were ever approached by a restaurant to advertise them, I would take the opportunity. Even better, if i started to blog about fashion, I would love free clothes. So after learning about monetization, it became incredibly appealing. But I wouldn’t monetize at this point in time, I would only do it if I had some regular readers, which I don’t right now. I’d also have to be more committed to blogging, and I feel like in the future I would rather vlog. If I become a Youtuber, however, I would monetize for sure.
When I do want to monetize my blog, I would have to market my website and branding. Like I mentioned earlier, I would need to make my blog and myself stand out from everyone else who blogs about food. I’d also need to be very active on social media to advertise myself, and make an Instagram page, Facebook page and public snapchat story. Then, research on my audience, and keyword research. And I would need to improve the design of my blog.
Onto my person opinion on data trails, I think that I’m so used to giving out my information online to the point where I don’t realize it. I remember when I was younger I would use fake information on the internet, out of paranoia. But nowadays, everyone gives their information out on the internet nonchalantly, because of the convenience. Like when I started buying items online, my parents warned me about using credit cards on the internet. But even they have gotten used to saving their credit card information on certain apps or sites like Starbucks, for the convenience of reloading their Starbucks cards. I’ll have to admit it’s a little scary, like when I go on Facebook and all the ads are for things I really want. How did they know? Can they read my mind? However, if I refused to give out information online, I would lose access to things. For example, buying clothes online, and certain apps like Uber and food delivery apps. I just hope that all the information that google or Facebook have on me, won’t negatively affect me in the future.
Initially, I was against the idea of monetizing my website. My website provides me with an outlet and the idea of making money off of my personal posts makes me a little uncomfortable. I want to share posts that other people can relate to and monetizing my content seems to be at odds with the aim of my work. In my mind, it feels disingenuous to be posting content that is meant to be for others but also benefits myself.
I wanted to say that I didn’t care about money, but I realized that doing so would be a disservice to myself. As much as I want to deny it, money is necessary to satisfy a number of the things I value in life: an education, food and shelter, and even some of my hobbies. If I want to post about my hobbies, I will need the funds to do so. This is where monetization comes in.
Although I installed Google Adsense, I have refrained from implementing any ads on my blog. I like how Google Adsense allows users to regulate what ads are posted and I think that a lot of bloggers can effectively use Google Adsense to incorporate advertisements. In my own experience, I tend to question the credibility of websites that feature too many advertisements. I find that an excessive number of ads detracts from the purpose of a website. Overall, I think that a few strategically placed advertisements can be beneficial for individuals looking to monetize their website. I don’t like the look of advertisements
If I were to monetize my website in the future, I would do it via affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing would allow me to promote products that I have personally tried and that are relevant to my blog. In order to enhance transparency with my readers, I would ensure that my audience knows that certain posts may result in monetary compensation.
Monetizing my site is something that I go back and forth on a lot. I have already expressed doubts about advertising being something that I don’t think will work for my blog. My blog is more of a reflective platform rather than promoting a service or brand so I just don’t like the idea of having ads on it. I feel as though the presence of ads would look almost out of place. I’ve had a lot of trouble trying to get Google AdSense to approve my blog anyways, so this may work out for the best. Now this leaves me with other possible options of monetization. As I learned through the guest lecture this week, there are actually quite a few ways to make money through a blog. For example, I could reach out to organizations to ask them for money in exchange for writing a review about them. However, considering my blog is about nature, that type of content doesn’t really fit. However, I did write a blog post about New Zealand so I suppose I technically could have reached out to the specific places I mentioned. Yet I doubt that would have resulted in anything. Tourist places are not places in which to make money through blogging about.
I think I would have to change up my actual content if I did try to make money through sponsored reviews. And that is not something I am willing to do. Right now, it seems as though I am heading in the direction of not monetizing my site. And I am okay with that. That was never a desire for me when I first started it and it still isn’t now. My blog is more of a place where I can reflect on things I care about and share those opinions with others.