Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

What's So Confusing About These 2 Words?

There's a two-word phrase I've been using a lot in recent years. The words have a pretty profound meaning behind them -- and they have everything to do with achieving creative success and fulfillment.

But I've discovered a surprising thing about them: These words are often misunderstood by many people.

Here they are: "serve others."

And here's an example of I how used them in a recent ezine:

"There's no better way to create your own prosperity than to engage yourself in something you are passionate about -- and that serves others in the process."

Sounds simple enough. But the disconnect comes when people think about "service" in one of two ways:

1) They think that being of service to others only takes place when you are raising money for charity or working in a soup kitchen. Wrong. Doing charity work is certainly admirable and is one great example of serving. But it's only one aspect of a much larger picture.

2) Another misguided notion is that "serving others" means you are subservient -- meaning you have to be submissive, compliant and obedient to authority. Nope. Actually, quite the opposite is true. Being of service to others is often one of the most self-empowering things you can do.

The kind of service I talk about takes place when you focus on the benefit that your talents deliver to people who are attracted to it. It takes center stage when you are driven more by the need to make people feel good via your music and creativity than you are to gain fame and fortune.

Having this attitude turns marketing into a completely new endeavor. It's not just about you and your needs. It becomes more about your audience and how you can spread your feel-good vibe to more and more people.

Dexter Bryant Jr. gets this. Here's part of an email he sent me last week:

I couldn't agree with you more, Bob!

The first time I read a Jay Conrad Levinson's Guerrilla Marketing book (about 10 months ago) my eyes were opened to new possibilities. My research since then, including reading your excellent Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, teaches me time and time again the value of engaging oneself with one's passions while also serving others.

It is the best life mantra I could ever want. I can't think of a better way to live a happy and fulfilling life than this. The gratification received from serving others is an unbelievable feeling in and of itself, but to be able to do that while pursuing your passions is amazing.

The connection between these two things for me is the ingredient to happiness in life. I have always been the type of person who was unwilling to accept an average 9-to-5 life doing work I wasn't interested in.

Discovering guerrilla marketing has truly changed my life. I never have to worry about a 9-to-5 or about retirement because I'll never tire of helping others and engaging my deepest passions.

A big thanks to Dexter for reminding us all of the keys to success and fulfillment!


Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookIf you don't own it yet, check out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

Free Twitter Music Promotion Guide Just Launched

Check out this new resource page that features everything you need to know about using Twitter to market your music, connect with fans, promote your live shows, and sell more music.

Twitter Music Promotion and Marketing Guide

It's an ever-expanding page of incredibly useful Twitter music resources.

Let me know what you think of it, and feel free to share the page link with anyone you want.

Also, please send suggestions for links I should add to the guide.


Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

Online Conversations: The TGIF Word Play Challenge

Last Friday I posted this simple message to my Facebook and Twitter accounts:

Bob wants you to give him another meaning for TGIF. Like "Thirsty Goldfish Ingest Fervently." Your turn!

I received a LOT of creative and funny responses left as Facebook wall comments and Twitter replies. Here are some of the better ones (with a social networking lesson at the end):

Those Gams Invite Fondling

Today Gratitude Is Foremost

Tempting Girlfriends Incite Foolishness

The Gnome Is Frolicking

Tomorrow Gets Interesting, Frodo

Try Getting It Fried

True Greatness Inspires Frivolity

Try Guinness, It's Fab
Though Guinness Increases Farting

Twitter Goes Idio-Fanatical

That Guy Is F**ked

Tweeple Gather Interesting Friends

Time Grows Increasingly Fractal

This Genius Is Frisky

Why am I sharing this with you? Two reasons.

First, these responses are amusing. And if you want to add one of your own, I encourage you to leave one in the comments below.

Second, this is a good example of how to use social networking beyond pure self-promotion. Yes, I plug my books and other things on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. But I balance those promotional messages with conversations.

You should do the same thing.

Many people go too far one way or the other. No, I don't need to know every move you make on Twitter. But sharing some snippets of your personal life is fine, especially if it engages people and stirs some discussion.

Some "social networkers" do nothing but post sales messages. I don't know about you, but after a while I start tuning these people out and unsubscribe from their feeds.

Check out how John Mayer and Ryan Seacrest (and even MC Hammer) use Twitter to communicate. It's a mix of personal and promotional. And it works!

So, start using these sites to plug your new songs, books, artwork, live events, and media coverage -- while also asking questions, replying to other people's comments, linking to amazing sites and blog posts, sharing funny thoughts, etc.

Got it?

Great. Thank God It's Friday!



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Just Stop It Already!

Are you feeling fearful about the state of the economy and sky-high gas prices, and how they are affecting your creative and artistic pursuits?

Here's an inspiring, in-your-face message from Joe Vitale that might shake some sense into you.

I first spoke with Joe in 1995 when we was a copywriter and marketing guy in Dallas (who also played a little music). Since then he's become an Internet marketing guru who now weaves a lot of spiritual and positive thinking messages into his work. He was one of the teachers featured in the book/movie The Secret.

Here's an email Joe sent out just today ...

Stop it!

Stop paying attention to the media.

Stop paying attention to the doom and gloom of anyone and everyone around. Stop getting sucked into being a victim.


You won't go anywhere buying into the cultural trance that there isn't enough and times are tough.

You won't accomplish your big goals, or do anything of real greatness, as long as you give in to outer circumstances.

You have to take back your power.

You have to take back your control.

You have to "awaken."

Recently I told a woman who was interviewing me that I was homeless and in poverty only as long as I stayed stuck in survival "thinking."

As soon as I put my mind on what I "wanted" to have instead, I began to shift and get better results.

This can happen for you, too. It took me ten years. You can do it in one weekend.

But you have to stop listening to the media paint a picture of darkness.

The media paints it by finding something dark to report on, whether it's true or not. You and others listen to it, believe it, and before you know it, you have "created" what the media painted.

They predict a recession before there actually is one.

But people believe the media, fall into fear, stop spending, and suddenly a recession is here.

This has to stop. And it can stop right now.

Break free from money worries.

Break free from job worries.

Break free from health worries.

Break free from love worries.

Break free -- PERIOD.

This great message was admittedly sent to promote Joe's Miracles Weekend event in September. But even if you take the event completely out of the picture, there's still a lot of power in his words.

So ... are you ready to STOP IT?


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Bob Baker on NPR's 'Morning Edition' today

Allow me to toot my own horn and share some good news. I was featured in a short radio piece today on Morning Edition, which is broadcast to more than 12 million people on 600 NPR stations across the U.S. and beyond.

You can listen to the three and a half minute segment here:

It was about the recent FCC payola ruling (which I wrote about last week on my music promotion blog) and, more specifically, Clear Channel radio's new attempt to give more exposure to local and independent musicians. But the agreement they ask artists to make is raising a lot of questions.

Reporter Neda Ulaby used quotes from three people in this great piece, so she could only use sound bites from each of the interviews. While I take a "pro exposure" stance, don't think for a moment that I devalue the worth of an indie artist's music.

I don't think creative people should always give up everything or "play for free" just for the "exposure." You should read and be concerned about the legal agreements you enter into. But don't let these concerns scare you and keep you from taking advantage of true exposure opportunities.

I've found that a lot of artists are overly paranoid about people -- and corporations -- stealing their stuff. But in reality, their biggest problem isn't copyright infringement. It's obscurity.

If Clear Channel (or any commercial radio station) is willing to give you airplay in an attempt to improve its image as a do-gooder, I think you should strongly consider it. As I mention in the NPR piece, the worse case scenario isn't really all that bad, in my opinion.


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Hilary Clinton, Celine Dion & The Sopranos

Want a great lesson on how to use the Internet to create a viral buzz? Keep an eye on the U.S. presidential campaign over the next 18 months. During the 2004 campaign we discovered the power of bloggers. This time around it seems video content will be king.

In an effort to show her softer side, Hilary Clinton ran a lighthearted contest to pick a new campaign song. Check out this video from a couple of weeks ago (which has been viewed nearly 300,000 times).

Also take a look at the announcement video on Sen. Clinton's site, which spoofs The Sopranos finale and makes nice use of former pres Bill and Soprano Johnny Sack.

All of this lead to a big climax: the announcement of the winning song ... which turned out to be an upbeat anthem by, of all people, Canadian songstress Celine Dion.

Here's what was right with this song contest idea:

Hilary did indeed loosen up. In these clips she shows that she has a sense of humor and the ability to not take everything so seriously (something her campaign people have been desperately trying to convey).

Kudos to her for including some of the video submission clunkers and particularly the negative comments people made about the song contest -- important aspects of open and transparent, community-driven communication. Most politicians (and corporations) try too hard to control their intended message and suppress critical comments -- much to their chagrin.

The Sopranos spoof was clever, and the use of Bill, Chelsea and Johnny Sack added some smiles.

Now for the bad: Crowning Celine Dion, the queen of female power ballad sap, as the winner was a mismatch. When I think of web-savvy, forward-thinking voters ready for a change in the White House ... Celine doesn't immediately spring to mind.

Viral buzz is all about connecting with a group of people with a similar worldview. Trying to overlap Hilary-supporting Democrats with Sopranos devotees and Celine Dion fans was a stretch by anyone's imagination.

Another important aspect of today's viral buzz creation is community involvement. While I believe Hilary did welcome new song suggestions, the voting was mainly to choose an existing popular song. Had she opened it up to songwriters and solicited a brand-new campaign song, that would have added a lot more "community involvement."

So, when concocting your own online video buzz theme, make it interactive. And make sure your concept ties in directly to your identity AND the audience you're wanting to reach.


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