This semester, I decided to continue my existing digital artefact, a music blog called Listen Loud. As someone who is extremely passionate about the music industry and digital marketing, I felt this was the most productive use of this opportunity, as it would allow me to further enhance my portfolio with the addition of a long-term project. This is particularly useful at this point in time as this semester marks my last, and I’ve recently begun the search for full-time work following this very submission. With limited entry-level employment opportunities available, not to mention the competitiveness of the industry, I felt Listen Loud would be the best way to kickstart my career, as discussed in my original pitch.
To do this, I originally planned to share one blog post per week based on the press releases received from my multiple sources. Once published, I would also share an announcement on Facebook and Instagram to drive traffic to my blog and reach a wider audience through the use of tagging and hashtags. The progress and relative success of my blog would be determined through the increase in my following as this suggests the growth of the Listen Loud community, defined through a well-considered and frequently revised starter pack. However, as the semester progressed, I decided upon a number of changes, beginning with my posting frequency.
Due to the newly enforced lockdown order, I found myself with significantly greater time and attention to dedicate to my project. Hence, I was able to consistently meet and exceed my revised posting goal, pushing out a minimum of two posts per week. Additionally, I decided to place greater importance on the use of Instagram Stories, as, combined with the increase in weekly posts, this would ensure my account and content was reaching a greater number of people and showing up more frequently in my followers’ feeds. Finally, I decided to shift my overall focus from an increase in followers to an increase in engagement, as this was a more appropriate and reliable indicator of the response to my content, and would allow me to assess the relative popularity of various artists and genres. These changes were discussed in depth in my beta.
Throughout the development of my project, even beyond this subject, I’ve come to realise the importance and value of peer feedback. Unfortunately, the feedback I’ve received from my target audience has been minimal, consisting almost entirely of vanity metrics rather than actionable feedback, even when it has been explicitly requested. Hence, I’ve had to rely heavily on the input from my peers, though this has offered me a valuable outsider perspective to consider when iterating my concept.
For example, my Instagram user feedback uncovered the following: During the month of September, I reached 42.7% more accounts than the month prior, with 1085 compared to August’s 760. Of these, 164 accounts engaged, an increase of 124%, and I gained an additional 12 followers. In the last 30 days, however, my reach has dropped to 697 accounts, a 35.8% decrease, though engagement has dropped by a mere 17.7%. I’ve also gained a further 6 followers since the beginning of October. Although I may not be reaching as many people, I am engaging a higher proportion of my target audience, and have gained half as many followers in two-thirds of the time, despite a significant drop in reach. Additionally, my average engagement per post has increased since the beginning of the semester. While I can theorise why this is the case and test my hypotheses, it doesn’t give me actionable suggestions on how to improve any future iterations.
On the other hand, the peer feedback received throughout the semester was much more explicit and allowed for the development of ongoing feedback loops. Primarily, the feedback received supported the changes implemented in the beta, and proposed other methods of engaging my audience such as returning to Zoom interviews or TikTok, which I ultimately deemed impractical and ineffective based on prior attempts (#FEFO), or not possible under the current lockdown restrictions. The biggest downside to this method of feedback collection, however, was that none of the peers who had reviewed my project were interested in the punk, rock and alternative music scene, and would not be able to reliably comment on the artists and sub-genres of greatest interest to my target users. With such varied engagement across each, this was also not something I was able to uncover in the metrics collected. Hence, moving forward, I intend to further push for explicit written or verbal feedback from my target audience to gain a better insight into their listening habits.
Ultimately, I feel as though my digital artefact has certainly enhanced my portfolio as intended, though there is still plenty of opportunity to grow my platforms and further engage with my audience. In the last three months, my understanding of my users has developed greatly, and my latest iteration is much more effective at addressing my initial problem than it was at the beginning of the semester. While it is still too soon to comment on whether Listen Loud has helped land me a job, many potential employers have expressed interest in my work, so here’s hoping it pays off!
- Listen Loud Blog
- Listen Loud Instagram
- Listen Loud Facebook
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