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Music Success in Nine Weeks, Week 7: Real Live Networking Tips

While revisiting content from Music Success, thought I would take a moment to share several music and advertising industry blogs I now follow.  Week 4, Web 2.0 presented the challenge of locating 50 blogs to follow which interested a band/ artists.  The biggest hurdle has been identifying quality blogs which cater to independent artists; welcome input from those in the music or blogging world who have discovered other blogs worthy of following.  A few blogs are listed in True North’s Blogroll, but wanted to list the blogs I found which present an interesting read or pertinent independent artist information….of course, some are focused on marketing as well! 

Click the link to directly connect to the blog or incorporate the RSS feed into your blog feed. 

Ariel Publicity Blog, Music Think Tank, Musician Coaching, Echoes:  Insight for Independent Artists (DiscMakers), Google AdSense for Feeds, Kelly Mooney’s Blog, Logo Design Blog, Pitch Fat City, Pitch Wayward Blog, Pitch PLOG Daily News, Locker Partner, NPR All Songs Considered, NPR Monitor Mix, Twitter Blog, Advertising Age DigitalNext & GenNext, Creativity Online, KC Star Dollars & Sense & Your Job, Community Marketing Blog, Trey Pennington.com, Derek Sivers, MusicWhore, Brainzooming, New Music Strategies, It Goes without Saying and Average_Jane’s Blog.

On to Music Success Week 7:  Real Live Networking Tips

This seems like an elementary concept, incorporating physical meeting/ networking into a PR campaign, but I believe artists miss huge opportunities by neglecting appropriate community activity or events…city-wise or online.  It is one thing to expect fans/ consumers to come out to a band show, yet another to put oneself out there in the public eye to represent your band aka your business!  Ariel lists three reason why people network:  finding a direct target/ consumer, gain a sphere of influence (source for referrals) and a resource for you and your consumers; excellent tips to perpetuate the ideas for building a networking base. 

I appreciate several of the tips Ariel presents, an excellent place to start for any artist or entrepreneur.  Be Memorable, Be a Gatherer of Information, Follow Up (email or phone call), present nice business cards and information about you to give away.  I consistently show up at every social networking opportunity with a stack of business cards, flyers for True North’s upcoming shows to put on tables or hand out and a small stack of CD’s to give away.  Literally, these items are an artist’s calling card, people will REMEMBER they have received something intimately connected to you…the practice goes a long way to being memorable.  If you have social phobias, well, take some Xanax, get over it, put yourself out there and try it on.  There are days I detest having to plug the band, get out of the house, put on the game face or be up for promoting.  After most events, I walk away with unexpected connections, a feeling of accomplishment, novel opportunities and new friends/ fans to connect with on Facebook or Twitter.   

I like the comment “Be a Shark in a Sea of Tuna,” cracked me up and is spot on for considering avenues outside your comfort zone or music circles.  I have had the fortune to develop relationships with the Kansas SBDC (KU, JCCC, Washburn) as well as work with the National Small Business Administration (SBA).  These SBA individuals are invaluable resources to connect to other individuals who might be interested in an artist’s music!  Plus if you want to sit down, jive about your music or receive FREE, consultative business advice, a local SBA organization is a great place to begin.  Also, if you cannot afford to be a part of the local Chamber of Commerce (KCK/ KCMO), find a friend, business owner or someone who will forward the events and email communication to you.  I am continually surprised at the number of opportunities, events or potential gigs one can investigate simply by reading over the happenings in the local community.  Show up at an event or go with someone who regularly goes to community meetings or functions, can be time well spent.  Ariel also suggests trying on going to a bridal convention or a venue which is somehow connected with music.  Depending on your music genre, there can be a wealth of opportunity locally to find new leads and gigs.  If your area has Wineries, a special point of industry/ commerce or unique tourism venue, those might be other areas to explore.  Finding an interested contact at the Department of Commerce or Travel/ Tourism never hurts either!

Ariel shares an excellent exercise about Mentally Preparing for What You Want before Going Out.  Take five minutes, get quiet, take a deep breath, focus on what you need today (week/ month) to move the music career forward, write down a few quick goals, remember to ask for business cards and go for it!  I like this philosophy, the centering tips mentioned would be of good value to anyone.  Like most business entrepreneurs, I am running from one event to the next, hardly taking the time to pause, figure out what I am going to say, do or accomplish at a networking event.  Being in sales/ marketing for years, am comfortable with interesting situations, having to “be me on the fly” and taking things as they come.  It is not easy to BE with people, share oneself, but with practice, it can become second nature.  Going to take Ariel’s advice, work to create a more somatically centered and aware mental state for the next networking event.  Maybe taking a breather, gaining a bit of goal clarity will benefit me and help achieve being open to new possibilities. 

 A few final posts to complete for the Music Success blogging contest, Week 8 & 9 to follow shortly as this contest winds down.  Now the challenge becomes what in the world to blog about after working though a Music Success program, geesh!  –Will Gladhart

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