- Betsy O’Neill-Sheehan, LCSW
If I were to venture out for an evening, I find out where my favorite local musicians are (such as Jon O’Neill & Pete Maserati.) If I’m bringing my kids to an event, I’d take them to a reading by Mo MacPhail, Renata Bowers, and/or (coming soon) Val Sousa. My idea of an ideal family evening is to hit the local farm, The Apple Place, for an evening of music and fresh ice cream. Our local theater group, the St. Michael’s Players, puts on plays with talent of the caliber of a traveling production. And every time I support these local artists and venues, I am supporting the culture in my community. It’s authenticity. It’s charm.
One evening this summer, I had the pleasure of being the local music act at the Apple Place (along with my sons who came up to the microphone.) It was interesting to be on that side of the wooden pallet stage. My heart was full as so many friends and locals came out to support us. The mix of ice cream, a perfect sunset over apple trees, and the sound of music and children playing can’t be beat. When the evening wrapped up the owner commented, “Did you really know all of those people?” My response was, “For the most part, yes.” His next comment has stayed in my heart since: “You must be very blessed.”
I count my blessings every day. The words of encouragement. The people who show up. I would not change that evening for the world. We set up and took down all of out things, and then spent the majority of our earnings on ice cream. The night was worth it just to have spent it with our community and the people we love.
That night was a success because of the support of our friends. My local artist friends who experience success, do it with the help of their friends and followings, too. I’m typically eager to help others (by nature and trade as a school counselor) but frequently shy to ask for help. But I’m going to put this out there in hopes that you can see yourself as an influencer on your local culture. Here’s my ask. Here’s how our communities can help us best:
- Interact: This one is easy and does not require much effort or money at all. Do you see that social media post? The one where your friend says they have a new blog, new book, show, song, video, podcast, event, art, etc… Go ahead and “like” it. Not just like it. Interact with it. Share it. Comment on it. Click on that link! It helps to get the word out.
- Show Up: Not just to events at venues (but that is super helpful- venues will have your friends back if there is a following who they take with them.) Show up when your friend announces that they have a release date by purchasing their product (if you can). This helps their debut numbers. Debut numbers affect success and mentions on lists such as Apple Music or Amazon New Releases. (I’ve actually had two of my self-published books hit the Amazon #1 Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers because of awesome supporters.) Showing up on Youtube requires just one click.
- Review: Thank you for showing up, could you please now write a supportive review? I had to have my car body work done last year after an accident. Dan, the owner at Collision Plus Auto Body, asked if I would leave a review on their sites. I happily agreed and took the five minutes to do it. If you notice one of your local artisans does something well, the best thing you can do to thank them or continue encouragement is leaving them a supportive review. Please don’t wait for them to ask you. Go ahead and leave that review. I didn’t wait for Cindy Rossini of Posh Studio to ask me. I was excited for the chance to leave my word-of-mouth advertising on her page after 15 years in awe of her love and dedication to her craft.
- Tell Others: See what I did there? You now know where I get my hair styled, authentic New England farm experience, car fixed, kids’ books, music, and theater in and around my area just because of a little name dropping.
Thank you for being a supporter and an influencer of local culture. Please consider yourself asked to “Like”, “Share”, “View”,”Comment”, and “Review”. As we enter 2020, I am excited to collaborate with EduMatch Publishing to bring forth a picture book,”I’m Agi Nation – Thought Compass”, illustrated by the talented Manuel Herrera (http://instagram.com/manuelherrera33). Warning: You will be seeing my excited posts about this new collaboration. Thanks in advance for your support.