We sat down with Ian Cochran, the frontman of Cowboy Diplomacy, to discuss the new single “Easier When I’m Stoned,” released on November 5, 2021. The smooth, swinging track stands in stark contrast to their previous release, a hard rock-esque album “Burn Down the Road,” that debuted in 2019.
This new release touches upon the subject of substance use — Ian said he noticed how people would turn to various vices to make living and completing tasks easier, and was inspired to collaborate with the band on a track that could comment on that. While the title refers to smoking as a vice, Ian noted that the sentiment of the song could revolve around anything one turns to in order to get through every day.
After the past year, I’m sure many can relate to the central message of the song. It’s interesting to note how the more intimate sound of the song following the loud, rocking “Burn Down the Road” comes off the heels of a pandemic where many of us were faced with wide introspection. It seems many artists have produced and written more living room-friendly records and tracks following a time period where the world was indulging in music from the comfort of our homes (i.e. the more introspectively written “folklore” from traditionally pop Taylor Swift).
Cowboy Diplomacy formed in Austin after Ian and bassist Brad Bentley moved to further pursue music, and from there, Ian remarked that meeting people who were interested in the band’s intended southern rock sound was easier than ever. Their success in the Austin music scene is evident, complete with various accolades and audience-voted awards from the Austin Chronicle, including the runner-up title for Best Austin Band in 2019.
The return to live music, Ian says, has been successful for the band and they look forward to more shows in order to promote their new music.
Here’s “Easier When I’m Stoned,” available on all streaming platforms:
It’s the most wonderful, stressful, profitable time of the yeaaar….
Regardless of the true meaning of the holidays, one thing is universal. People will flock to the stores, click on shiny objects, and buy. the. stuff.
Whether or not you have “stuff” to sell already, here are a few easy-to-implement marketing, content, and planning ideas to help prepare you for the season.
LET’S TALK HOLIDAY CONTENT
Yes, you could slap a Santa hat on some of your old pics. You could use a red & green filter on your videos to make them festive. But in addition to visually being in the holiday spirit, what other content plans do you have?
And which ones would best match your brand with your fans?
Try these on for size…
What fun stories could you share related to the holidays or have a seasonal twist? Or are there inspiring things you could share that would be a good post?
It doesn’t have to be specifically about the holiday even. Think “Die Hard” and the yearly debate online whether it’s a holiday movie or not (by the way, of course it is).
Also, people love lists. Don’t be afraid to create a story around a list —
Do you have a few related ideas that might make a good seasonal series? If it’s too late to record and release holiday music, what about sharing weekly livestream (or recorded) covers?
Holiday Tunesday // holiday-themed songs each Tuesday
Country Christmas Covers // a twist on holiday songs specific to your genre
Unboxing music or non-music gifts
Themed Parties and Shows
What gigs do you already have on the books? Are any of them themed? Would a theme help get people out? Or no?
Some common themes you’ll probably see…
Naughty or Nice Show
Night Before Thanksgiving Party
Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest
And don’t forget your virtual livestream options as a paid offer.
Having worked with bands who booked virtual private events via Zoom last season, there’s no reason not to have that as an offering — especially if you can help people feel safe while enjoying the holidays.
POPULAR SHOPPING DAYS TO CONSIDER
Ok the gist of this list isn’t necessarily to plan something for ALL of these days; it’s to target the ones that make the most sense for you and be aware of what your audience may already be searching for.
Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)
Nov. 26 – This is usually the official start of the holiday shopping season, but don’t be afraid to get a head start. People’s attention will be pulled in MANY different ways on Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday (Saturday After Thanksgiving)
Nov. 27 – Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday that encourages buying gifts from smaller businesses versus larger chain stores. But don’t just take it for granted they’ll buy something JUST BECAUSE you’re a small business. Still make a great offer on something they’d like.
Cyber Monday (Monday After Thanksgiving)
Nov. 29 – Cyber Monday — which is basically Black Friday in your PJs — is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. What about hosting a livestream holiday concert?
Giving Tuesday (Day After Cyber Monday)
Nov. 30 – This isn’t necessarily a huge shopping day per se, but depending on your brand, could be a more suitable fit for a sale or event.
Green Monday (Second Monday of December)
Dec. 13 – Green Monday (named by eBay in 2007), is the third-largest online shopping day of the year, behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday (had no idea this was a thing!)
Super Saturday (Saturday Before Christmas)
Dec. 18 – Since Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and marks the end of the holiday shopping season. It’s not nearly as popular, but could still be an opportunity for you to share your music with your fans.
Free Shipping Day (Third Monday of December)
Dec. 20 – This is a universally recognized day where businesses offer free shipping in hopes you’ll bite the bullet and grab those last-minute Christmas gifts.
But what about putting a unique, fun spin on it and offering “free shipping” on some of your digital products and music. #YouAreWelcome
Especially with supply chain delays impacting shipping times, you might want to get creative 🙂
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SELL?
I get it. There isn’t always merch and music readily available — even though there really should be…
So, here are a couple of quick options of things you have up and running today.
Sign Up as an Amazon Affiliate
It’s easy and free to join the Amazon Affiliate program. It’s basically becoming an affiliate for Amazon where you can help your audience purchase things they may find helpful while you earn commission in the process.
You’ll be able to choose from over a million products to advertise to your customers, but the best options would be things that you already use.
Books you’ve read
Lighting for livestreams
Seriously though. Look around at things you use or consume on a regular basis and I bet you AT LEAST half of it can be found on Amazon.
The options are endless.
Create Branded Merch via Dropshippers (or join as an affiliate)
It’s an easy drag and drop site that allows you to upload your designs to their apparel. There are tons of sites that provide “dropshipping services.” Find one that works best for you!
Sites like Cafepress and Printful also have an affiliate program if you don’t want to — or don’t have time — to create your own designs!
This is a great place to change the visuals and put your music and merchandise upfront. Create a temporary page that says “Holiday Sale” or “Holiday Music” so when people visit the site, it’s 100% obvious what they’ll find on that page.
Plus, if you’re able to get decent traffic to that page, it’ll set you up for being able to run retargeting ads after the holidays when the ad cost is lower.
Hopefully you already have an email list, right? If you don’t, the best two times to start one are yesterday and right now.
If someone has given you their email, they’re already a “warm” audience. Meaning, you don’t have to introduce yourself. You can use your list to let them know about your holiday plans, events, and offers in a one-on-one connection.
Quick Tip: Don’t just plan on ONE email.
Take some time to write out (at least) 3 emails you can send, maybe even more. Also, share some of the stories we mentioned at the top of this article as CONTENT for your emails with your offers included.
Also schedule a separate Happy Holiday email for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day that don’t have any sales copy or calls to action. People can appreciate a non-pitch email and the holidays are the perfect time to do so.
Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., let your followers know about your holiday offer, your music, your merch. And as we mentioned, instead of repeating the same post over and over again (or worse only posting it once), take some time to come up with 5-6 engaging messages that you can share online as well as email.
Video is literally the most consumed form of media on the web. Use this as a chance to get creative and share your personality online. You can use a platform like StreamYard to broadcast to multiple social media sites, Facebook groups, and other platforms simultaneously.
Once the holidays are over, take some time to look back at your analytics and see what worked. What types of posts and content did your audience respond to?
Depending on your findings you can also repurpose the type of content and campaigns for other holidays throughout the year — Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, and more. You get the idea.
And yes, there are a lot of ideas in this blog. But just like those chestnuts roasting on that open fire, the goal is to spark ideas that will keep you and your warm audience warm throughout the holiday season.