Ever since the world got hit by the unforeseen Covid-19 pandemic, the landscape of business operation and content consumption has changed drastically. The online world has seen a lot of growth and received a lot of attention.
With the rise of a future metaverse, NFTs and lots of diversity in cryptocurrency, people who didn’t already own a piece of online real estate are rushing to get a piece and those already in the business have chosen to expand their territories.
One of such individuals expanding his online territory and building his brand is a music entrepreneur and journalist and Co-founder of Unorthodox Media, Godwin Mitchual.
Godwin Mitchual, a young music entrepreneur, is part of a growing community of African music enthusiasts who are interested in elevating African music by educating musicians and music brands on the importance of the music business. He has interviewed well-known African musicians like Efya, Seyi Shay, Amaarae, Cheque, M.anifest, Anthony Yeboah of the legendary Ghanaian band Vis-A-Vis, among others.
Leveraging his vast network, Godwin with the help of his Co-founder, Philip Edusei, built a powerful online music magazine called Unorthodox Reviews in 2016, a brand recognized across Africa. Unorthodox Reviews has amassed an Instagram following of more than 50,000 active users and over 19,000 followers on Twitter and are currently official Apple Music curators.
A few months before the pandemic hit in 2019, Godwin Mitchual together with his partner Philip Edusei started a Public Relations company called UR-PR to provide affordable services to musicians and music brands.
Here are a few key tips about branding and starting an online business to help guide you on your journey.
1. Step out of your comfort zone
This is the first thing I usually tell budding entrepreneurs. If you want to start getting new results, you need to try new things. You need to start creating new opportunities and not just focus on doing what currently exists. In 2016, nobody was really interested in featuring unknown or aspiring musicians on their websites, we decided to change that and now we are one of the few platforms helping people find new music and new artistes. We knew very well what we were doing was unorthodox but this is what we signed up for and we are now reaping the benefits.
In the course of this journey, I have learnt how to design, copyright, understand search engine optimization, understand how to grow and keep and following on social media and use video editing software. Finding the courage to step out of your comfort zone in the early stages of your brand development will be important for its longevity.
2. Focus on creating good content
From my experience, the second most important factor in building a lasting online brand is creating good content for your audience.
As I said in the previous point, we were doing something out of the ordinary. Normally we could have chosen to get a domain name, get a blog and just cover all the trending entertainment news in Ghana and Africa but we decided to be different. So this meant we had to strategically create our content to get accepted by our niche audience.
This took a lot of brainstorming and fine-tuning of our content. Now, we can say we know exactly what our consumers want in terms of titling of our headlines, the design of the visual content we post on our social media but it took years to achieve this.
3. Build a strong social media presence
Unorthodox Reviews’ 50,000 Instagram followers are a testament to our efforts in marketing. Today we have a lot of social media platforms that you can leverage to create brand awareness and grow a following. Find which networks work best for you and create platform-specific content. Putting out good content is a great way to get an initial boost in traffic to your social profiles. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using social media ads for exposure. The best exposure is putting out great content and using specific and targeted keywords, tags or hashtags. The people who are supposed to find you, will.
4. Staying Original
We are flattered when a new brand starts and tries to look exactly like us, we get happier when they eventually find their footing and start doing things their own way. It helps them stand out and be easily identified.
Being original gives your potential supporters/fans a reason to follow you and keeps those already supporting a reason to stay. In the entertainment/music news space, we basically report the same things but what will make you different from a competitor is the presentation or delivery. No one will buy into your brand if it just looks like everything else.