With the start of 2021 just around the corner and the chances of returning to a pre-pandemic nightlife industry looking very unlikely. It’s time for artists to start focusing on marketing, branding and strategic partnerships.

This aspect of earning money holds great potential for artists because everyone is — essentially — starting at square one. Disruption breeds opportunity and right now is the ideal time to build, form relationships and better your position as an artist in the COVID-19 Era.

Economically, an assumption that is safe to make is that people will NEVER stop listening to music, even if the draw of a live experience has been taken away. There’s an opportunity for artists on all levels to connect with businesses — locally & nationally — that have a shared or similar target audience.

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”

Jay-Z

This famous Jay-Z lyric is impressive because it speaks to the opportunities that are created from operating as a business and treating your brand as such. As artists, you have a direct line to consumers that reach past television, advertising and even social media.

Focusing on marketing, branding and messaging shouldn’t take away from your creative process. Although, it should push you to examine your personal experiences with artist development and infrastructure. The key is to explore your target market and identify what businesses share the same audience.

The opportunities that come with sponsorship and strategic partnerships are effective because it is a proven method of growth for all parties involved. The whole idea of treating your content as a business is based on the simple fact that artists and businesses share similar objectives.

What do businesses care about the most? What do artists care about the most? For the majority, it’s marketing and branding with profits being a byproduct of your efforts. We all are looking to grow an audience and increase profits.

It begins with brand messaging and positioning your content next to companies that share similar values. Right now is a great time to start researching your audience and connecting with companies that could a be a strategic partner.

Back in 2019, Justice Baiden — the co-founder of LVRN — joined Joe Budden’s podcast to discuss the music business, building brands and the power of cultural currency.

He also pointed out the fact of how — insignificant — ‘show’ money can be in comparison to receiving funding, sponsorship and forming strategic partnerships with brands.

Check out the clip below.

Working with brands and businesses to form strategic partnerships isn’t anything new in hip hop. Jay-Z and Steve Stout were one of the most notable duos to connect brands to music back in the early 2000s. With the rise of the independent artists, I do believe there is a greater opportunity for endorsements and enterprise products.

On a more recent note, Travis Scott has been an artist that has repeatedly plugged in products and brands into his marketing funnel to continue his run as having one of hip hop’s highest conversion rates.

Travis Scott has now partnered/does brand collaborations with:

Strategic partnerships are all about aligning brands with artists and you don’t necessarily need to have a huge fan base to get sponsors. You DO need to know how to navigate the business side of content creation though.

How do you connect the outside(fan base) to the inside(business)?

For starters, you should focus on your brand and then build out a marketing funnel. Once you have a good idea of who your target audience is you can begin to research what businesses to potentially partner with.

Artists should place a certain priority on marketing and branding because it does open up a number of different revenue streams outside of receiving an advance check. This can range from short-term collaborations to long-term sponsorship deals.

How can artists get more sponsors in 2021 when it matters the most?

Present your brand like it’s an official business. By treating your content as a business you can calculate revenue projections and how much you plan to grow quarter-by-quarter.

If you can demonstrate these revenue projections in the presence of a marketing funnel. You can go out and get funding, land sponsors and form strategic partnerships with businesses that share similar audiences.

Marketing funnels are key to your business’s growth because the process begins with ‘awareness’ and ends with ‘conversions’. This is a great way to show potentials partners how you plan to connect your fan base to their products.

Having an infrastructure in place can be a valuable asset when planning out strategies for releases, collaborations and future endorsements. As an artist in 2021 you need to know how to navigate both areas of content creation.

Marketing and branding to build a fan base. Plus, marketing and branding to connect with businesses.

The top reasons why businesses want to partner with artists are:

  1. Connect with your fan base through music. (Brand Awareness)
  2. Increase revenue & finances (Bottom-Line Growth)

If you’re interested in learning more or joining the conversation feel free to sign up for our monthly Newsletter, join our Facebook group. You can also follow me on Twitter!

Written by

Entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, MN. I write about Music, Inspiration, Economics & Business. Website: 227-mn.com & Newsletter: http://ow.ly/nBJJ50AbYAF

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