Whilst the world’s of marketing and business may seem a million miles away from that as a gigging jazz musician, there are plenty of lessons to be borrowed to speed up our career-building journey.
In this article, we touch on a concept which has been around for almost 100 years… The Rule of 7.
Back in the 1930s, Hollywood movie bosses stumbled upon an idea which came to be known as the rule of seven.
Essentially, they believed that a customer needed to see a movie poster on average seven times before they bought a ticket.
Before that number, moviegoers either hadn’t really paid attention to the idea, or were not convinced enough to look into it in more detail.
This idea of people needing multiple ‘touches’ before they start to engage with something has maintained over the decades and, whilst it is often talked about in the world of marketing and advertising, it’s a useful concept to be aware of as a musician.
It’s worth also noting that this number ‘seven’ was dreamt up in a very different era. No social media, no handheld devices, no internet…
In today’s digital world where people are bombarded with content all the time, that number may well need to be much higher.
But the concept stands…
The Rule of 7 in [Jazz] Action
Imagine someone is browsing a jazz website and they see a short piece about your project.
It’s probably not enough to turn them into a ‘fan’ who buys your albums and searches you on social media.
But if you then pop up on their Facebook newsfeed, autoplay on Youtube, recommended by a friend and in the programme of a local jazz club, those ‘touches’ start to add up.
I know from personal experience, it’s very hard *not* to go and check out an album when you’ve seen or heard the band’s name on several occasions in a short period of time.
After that, it’s of course largely down to the music as to whether this person becomes a real ‘fan’ or not, but future touches serve the purpose of bringing them back to your music and reminding them about what you’re doing.
So how do you make sure that you’re reaching the right people in a way that’s memorable?
On a basic level, with consistent branding.
Imagine your website uses a photo and colour-scheme completely disconnected to your latest album cover… And your Facebook, Instagram and Bandcamp profiles use a range of different fonts and photos… And the graphics you’re creating as social media content have no consistent style…
There’s a good chance that people don’t even make the connection when they see your project pop up on different platforms.
If, on the other hand, you take care to develop a great series of visuals for your project which are then used consistently across all platforms, you’re on the right track.
And it’s not just about visuals…
If you are using one well-crafted piece of text to describe your project in all places, that message will start to get through too.
Not a dull biographical recap, but the essence of your music and motivation in words… your ‘why’ rather than your ‘what’…
Fans see it on your website, in your Spotify biography and infused into the words you post on social media…
Promoters see it in your pitching emails and re-share it in their gig listings…
Journalists read it in a press release and rework it into the review they publish.
Armed with this strong brand and good practical application of it, you should be able to support your music in the best possible way to get new people listening and turning into fans.
Types of content
Of course, the type of content you’re reaching people with is important.
You can’t (unfortunately) post a “check out my music” graphic 7 times a day on all your social media platforms and expect people to react positively to it.
No, more than ever, the content you post needs to be an extension of your musical personality and be at least one of these:
The good news: you don’t need to be ‘that musician’ who is always telling people to “buy this” or “come to this gig”.
If you’re posting content that is connected to you as an artist, with a consistent style that makes people take notice, you’re building a brand recognition and racking up those touch points.
(But it does mean that mindless content is out the window; it takes thought and planning to create interesting content…)
Rule of 7: Recap
If we reduce it into the simplest ‘action steps’ it comes down to this:
Firstly, make sure the photos, videos, graphics and words you’re using to describe your project are of a quality and used across all your online profiles.
Then, figure out how to infuse the content you’re posting online with your musical personality and then do this regularly.
Looking for more ideas and support on this topic?
Check out our musician branding case study (feat the likes of Brad Mehldau, Bill Laurance & Madeleine Peyroux) or join us inside Jazzfuel Manager PRO for the Manager Track course on “Presenting Yourself”.