Music and digital marketing. They are two completely different worlds, aren’t they?
Well, the association may not be an immediate one. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some valuable digital marketing lessons hidden in the discipline of learning an instrument.
Here’s what learning an instrument can teach you about digital marketing.
You Must Persevere & Have a Long-Term Mindset
While the pros make it look easy, learning to play an instrument well is a long-term prospect. Many don’t stick with it long enough to get anywhere with it.
You might be able to learn a few simple scales and melodies (e.g., “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”) within a short amount of time of starting lessons, but if you ever hope to be able to trade licks with the best, you’ve got to stick to the daily discipline of three- to 12-hour practice sessions.
In blogging, the widely held opinion (validated through stats) is that it takes at least six to 12 months to see any kind of traction or make any kind of money.
You can name just about any organic marketing channel, and the outlook is similar. You must commit to showing up, posting, and interacting with influencers and audiences, to see any kind of traction. And it usually takes months or years.
You Must Adopt Good Habits / Correct Bad Habits
Whether it’s the guitar or the trombone, good technique makes a world of difference. If you practice with bad technique, you will get better at playing the instrument the “wrong” way, which usually means having to correct bad habits later.
On a rare occasion, a genius picks up an instrument, plays it in an unusual way, and gets away with it. For instance, former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman’s picking technique is quite unusual – he bends his wrist inwards to avoid muting strings. Most guitarists find this a very difficult way to play, especially with any kind of accuracy or speed.
In digital marketing, the best habit to get into is to “keep the winners” and “ditch the losers.” This means doubling down on what’s working and eliminating the tasks or channels that aren’t delivering results. This frees up time and resources you can reallocate to testing other channels.
You Must Set Goals & Measure Progress
While practicing daily will make you a better instrumentalist, you will progress faster in the direction you want to go if you’re clear on what you want to achieve.
Let’s say, for example, you want to deconstruct the playing style of legendary American saxophonist Charlie Parker. You’d have far more to gain from studying the musicians he was influenced by than idly practicing scales or chords.
Digital marketing is the same way. While showing up to do the work daily will help you get results, if you’re clear on the metrics that matter to you most (likes, shares, conversions, etc.), you’re far more likely to do the things that will lead to meaningful results.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the valuable lessons learning an instrument can teach you about digital marketing. If you’ve ever thought about picking up the guitar, piano, drums, or otherwise, there is no time like the present to begin.