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DIY Diaries: Cheri Lyn

Today we interview Cheri Lyn from Germany.

Cheri is a savvy DIY artist who uses an array of digital marketing skills to foster her fan base.

We find out how she got started, how she leverages social media, and pearls of wisdom for budding artists.

What got you started in music?

I was born into a family of musicians – both of my parents were successful musicians.

I have always been surrounded by music and business. My mom was a successful singer and for me, it was normal that she would do gigs on the weekends or invite her music friends over to our house, where we had many table music sessions.

For me therefore I think my path was already clear. I realised very early in my childhood how music can connect people. I could always feel what (live) music did to me.

Therefore, music has always been my anchor and I never doubted doing anything else.

What are the biggest obstacles in DIY?

Of course, learning the ‘how to’s and more important the ‘don’ts’. If you are DIY, you have to figure it out more or less by yourself and find your way. There is no manuscript that works for everyone. Every artist is different and so is the audience.

What works for me, is different for someone else.

Building up a business infrastructure is very complex. Luckily have a business degree, however, music still has its own laws.

I am still learning it. I just figured out how to communicate best with my audience. For me, social media works well and of course the live gigs. I am a performer and I love the direct contact with the audience.

Still, the language is the same: How can I connect to my audience?

There is no manuscript that works for everyone. Every artist is different and so is the audience.

This is something that I am constantly learning, cause this means, I have to be honest and authentic about myself, which is very challenging.

Recently I realised there is ONE major challenge with DIY: You don’t get much feedback. I imagine with a label or a manager, they are probably telling you what you should improve.

As a DIY you need to hire all these people, like a business coach, a vocal coach, and a producer. Of course, the best feedback comes from your audience, however, it is amazing to have people behind the scene who constantly push you. I think that is crucial.

What are the benefits?

For me, the biggest benefit of a DIY is that you have room to discover and unfold your artistry. I am still developing my artistry, so I am not a masterpiece yet. A label might have the experience and resources to form an artist within a few years into an outstanding brand. But this might not always represent what you intend it to be.

As DIY you have room for that, and I think for long-term satisfaction, happiness and success, that is very important.

As for the skills you have to learn as a DIY, nobody can take those away from you. I know we all just wanna sing, but as DIY that is not enough. You have to write the songs, be an amazing performer, have an idea of music production, choose the people you work with, have good time management, and you have to know the business and marketing ABC and so on… It is a lot, but these are very useful skills that you can use for everything in your life.

What are your favourite tools for DIY marketing?

Communication and storytelling!

I would say that no matter what you use, you have to understand that marketing is not advertising or fancy graphics, marketing is just the channel between you and the audience.

I love social media, not because you can show off how great your life is. I love it because it gives everyone a voice. I have connected with the most incredible people through social media. I even met you, Chris, on Facebook 🙂

Artists have to understand that it is not about feeding a machine or an algorithm, it is about connecting with real people.

marketing is just the channel between you and the audience.

This has always been my mindset around ‘marketing tools.

If you wanna know on the tech side which tools have helped me, I use Instagram the most, then Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Spotify, LinkedIn, a bit of Twitter and TikTok and newly on the Blockchain.

Facebook I still like it a lot because my audience is there. Also, Instagram and WhatsApp belong to Facebook (Meta). My newest discovery on Facebook is gaining leads via Facebook advertising. Works impressively well.

I always try to funnel my audience to my newsletter. I mean we all hopefully know the rule now: Social Media we don’t own. Meaning, it can always happen, that Facebook shuts down and you lose all of your audience.

I even explain to my audience, that I won’t bother them with emails, it is just a way to save their contact and to make sure that they’ll receive all important information, such as tour dates or new music.

Most people do understand and sign up.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop doubting so much, start doing!

Also, get good coaches that will save you around 1000 mistakes.

Learn as much as you can.

I know you advocate paid social, how does that work for you?

Yes, when I have an essential campaign coming up, I do feed the algorithm :).

I first want to say, you have to have some kind of experience in advance before you use it.

What I do is push some of my posts to funnel people to my Instagram profile. This helps me to grow my audience. The likelihood that people will see your content is bigger if they follow you.

And even if they follow you, it is not sure, that all of your followers see your content.

We know, Facebook & Co live off advertising, so sometimes they expect you to feed them.

Then with campaigns, such as my album release, I use a great tool on the Facebook advertising manager to gain leads. It is very effective if you have good advertising.

By “leads” I mean people who sign up for your newsletter. Facebook has an embedded form that you can use for that. I find it very effective and affordable.

Another thing I do is Google Ads to push some videos on Youtube and to channel traffic to my website. This is also super effective as YouTube has such a huge audience.

The key to everything is knowing your audience. I always try to reach an audience from similar artists in my field. The more niche, the better the targeting.

I know we all think everyone likes our music and we all love Beyonce, but the likelihood that you are like Beyonce is very little. So go niche. That works well for me.

What’s next?

I have just released my Debut Album ‘Saviours’.

My goal is to build up a bigger audience and find a band again. I plan to go on tour next year and at least get more gigs again with my music.

I spent two years in the recording studio with my music.

I was on stage all the time, doing functional jobs, so I still know how to perform.

I just need to find a band again – I cannot wait to play my music live again!

So my plan is: I see my career as a ladder, to constantly be climbing and to develop my artistry. Step by Step.

How can people sign up?

Via my newsletter 🙂

Follow Cheri Lyn

Bandcamp
Spotify
YouTube
Instagram

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