An Open Letter to the Official Adam Lambert Fan Club

I want to start out by saying I am an Adam Lambert fan.

I’m not a big enough fan to get a tattoo, but I am a big enough fan to get a personalized license plate on my car. I don’t want anything else I say to be taken as negative criticism or to over ride that fact.

I want to address his fan club web site. It’s nice. It’s basically a paid “Adam Official” website. That’s all.

We’re in an age of new media, of interaction, of fan empowerment. If his club takes that leap and embraces this, his fan site can be a leader in the new media fan revolution, taking advantage of this “new” source of FREE promotion. Fans are not your competition. They are your biggest source of free advertising.

Let me introduce to you the ways in which music fans are currently interacting:
• Twitter
• Facebook
• YouTube
• Private blogs and forums with “named” fans (i.e. Glamberts, Lambskanks, Glambs etc.)
• Podcasts
• Fanfiction
• Other fan made art and media
• ___ others I haven’t thought of

Some fans are on Twitter, some on Facebook and still others on YouTube. Some like forums while others like emails sent to their inbox. Although fans might differ on what kind of information they want or the medium in which it is delivered, I think there is something that all of these fans can agree upon. They want information and they want it now.

Right now his site caters to a limited, niche type of fan. The segment that the fan site currently caters to are those who want to go on the website and chat in a forum. Some fans will tell you that “all fans” or only the “true fans” like forums and I’m here to tell you… that is not the case. There is a large segment of the fan base that is being ignored.

First of all, let’s talk email. The club needs to add a gadget on the site that allows people to sign up to get an email when the blog on the site is updated.

Next let’s address social media. The fan club needs to create a “fan club” Twitter and Facebook account. Make sure they are both branded in such a way that it is unmistakably the official fan club account. Create a link between these sites so when the blog is updated it is posted to both Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I know that these will be accessible to people who haven’t paid… but it will only be a LINK to the article and not the article itself so it’s only a teaser… and advertisement for the paid site.

Next, link the existing YouTube account (which should be similarly branded) so that when it is updated it is posted to the blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Once these accounts are made and properly branded and linked to each other, put a link to the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube account on every page of the website right next to the link to sign up via email (think header, footer or side bar).

To be honest… if this has all already been done then it’s too hard to find because I’ve looked and haven’t found it or didn’t realize they were “official”.

Now here comes the fun part. Interaction with people on Twitter and Facebook. This does not have to be done by Adam himself. He tweets and that’s fine and we’re happy with that. I’m talking the next level of fan club interaction.

For example, OK Go takes a picture of the crowd from the stage at every concert and posts it to their Facebook page so people can tag themselves. Fans can “meet” each other and their own page gets updated to show the concert picture and that picture shows up on all of THEIR FRIENDS NEWS FEED (more free advertising for the concert series). Another example was this just a few weeks ago (January 2011), Linkin Park asked people to send them links to the videos fans made at a particular concert (you know everyone stands there with a cell phone… get it working FOR the artist). The band made a compilation video of one of the songs from the concert and posted it on their YouTube page. Having that many people tweet with a particular hash tag can create buzz on Twitter if you can get it trending. It will also get people to go to your YouTube page and watch the video. The club does realize videos can be monetized on YouTube if they own all of the rights to the video that’s posted, right?

It would be really fun to have an Adam Lambert twitter feed on the site (I’m thinking a side column on the home page). You know; a live feed that shows Tweets that are tagged “@adamlambert”. Another cool thing would be to show the live Twitter feed lists that happen during each concert. Maybe one could be created for each concert that is accessed via a blog post (Linkin Park Underground does this for every concert by requesting a certain hash tag for pictures on Flickr, Tweets and videos YouTube). Did you know that people have created these lists of Adam fans that are actually at the concert? If you showed the feed on your site then others who aren’t at that particular concert can read the tweets live. You might even link to concert videos as they are posted by fans. Sometimes it happens as the concert is going on and sometimes just minutes (or hours) after it happens. It’s like having a live, FREE news crew at every concert.

Now let’s talk contests. Some bands have video making contests, other song remixing contests. Maybe photo contests would work, or art contests (think of it as free graphic design for t-shirts, posters etc). I know Adam’s “people” already do contests so I’m only encouraging a continuation of this. They don’t have to happen every week… maybe a couple of times a year. People are creating content anyway; take advantage of people’s excitement.

The social media links etc should all be able to be done in a day or two, but the last types of “fandom” are a bit trickier. Thing this is where the magic happens. Who ever is currently updating the fan club blog should be re-drafted as the “community liaison”. They need to find as many fan sites as possible If you want fan input on what sites exist, then post the question somewhere and have people submit their favorites (another free way fans can do research for you).

Take the top sites (maybe top 5 or 6 or something), along with any others the “community liaison” finds which are really cool, and start a dialogue with the uber-fans who run these sites. Do not let the fan groups vote on which sites you pick because inevitably it will be weighted towards one type of social media or another. On the other hand, you might want their input on which they like and why, but in the end, rank them in a non-biased manner such as web traffic or membership volume, take the top 3-5 and add a few of your favorites (maybe ones with interesting content or those who don’t get much traffic but have excellent writing).

Once you find the sites you like, let them blog on your site. I’m not talking about the blogging ability every fan is given on their profile page (although you might be able utilize that existing ability depending on the structure of your back end). I’m talking about on the front end, front page that gets updated on your Facebook and Twitter pages. You might have different columns for each writer or something, but they should all be given equal access (although maybe they should be limited as to the number of articles written a day).

Why would you do this? When cool stuff surrounding Adam happens, we want to know about it and if it goes on your blog (which is perpetuated and advertised by social media and daily email updates) we can all know about it. I’m talking paparazzi pictures, fan videos, podcasts, fanfiction, Twitter parties, concerts, after parties, pre concert parties, books being written, art being drawn, interviews, etc, etc, etc.

Yes, there will be a LOT of activity. That’s what you want, right? If you want to stand out. If you want to be different. If you want to embrace new media and your fans, this is the way to do it.

Money an issue? You do realize that most fans are already doing this for free and would JUMP at the chance to be linked to Adam in that way? Do you feel like you want to compensate your new bloggers in some way? Give them a meet and greet before a concert in their area. Wanna be generous? You could even give them a free concert ticket.

Read an article by OK Go’s Damian Kulash called “The New Rock-Star Pradigm” posted on the Wall Street Journal on December 17, 2010

In an interview with Byron Cook (Australian DJ) on January 11, 2011 (and reposted on January 13, 2011) Juneau and Xena discussed similar topics in detail. Listen to the podcast here:

Check out the Linkin Park video (posted February 14, 2011) with video contributed by fans:

I hope you find this helpful and I really, REALLY hope to see some changes to your site. Right now it’s a snooze, and it doesn’t reflect Adam’s beautiful nature and his seeming desire to be out there and different.

Let’s do it!