PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030
TTY/MA RELAY 800-439-2370
Web site: http://www.communityartsadvocates.org
©Stephen Baird 1997
Marketing of your career
There are many options and directions to go which will depend on your specific goals and objectives.
Phase one: Determining goals: What do you like to do best -- live performance and entertaining, recording and studio work, writing? What audience are you trying to reach -- children, teenagers, college students, adults, families, seniors? What venues are you comfortable in coffeehouses, day care centers, libraries, museums, schools, fairs, concert hall and clubs? How far will you travel? How often can you play? These questions need to be answered and priorities need to be determined first.
Phase two: What specific service do you have to offer: What do you do concerts, jokes, stand on your hands, classical guitar, juggling? What qualifications do you have? What is unique about your work that no one else does? How much does it cost? This needs to be described in detail.
Phase three: Strategies: How much money do you have to invest in marketing? What should you do first -- brochure, tape, video, post card, mailing list? How do you reach the right people -- agents, managers, media people, club and coffeehouse bookers? How long will it take? How do you evaluate your plan?
Traps, pit falls and avoidance:
Artists often feel if they do not get job at a specific prestigious club they will not survive or feel burned because they are not even being heard. Or think they will play and be liked by everyone. Even the most popular artists are only liked by 10% of the country. Two million sellers are just 1% of the country. Club owner have personal preferences that often can not be changed. Your task is to find the 10% that likes you. The record company, agent, manager, club owners, radio djs can help, but eventually your survival depends on how well you communicate. If you have an audience then the world will be at your door. If you only send out ten audition tapes or sing for 100 people it is likely you will never reach enough people to even begin to find the 10% that will like your stuff.
There are many gigs available if you do not just want to be a concert star. There are thousands of festivals, colleges, clubs, libraries, schools. churches, museums, arts councils, camps, senior centers, community centers, resorts and parks. The potential and variety of work is enormous.
Many artists avoid the business and specifically avoid money issues. Yes it is hard to be an artists. It is like doing a job hunt and interview 200-300 times each year. No easy task indeed. The artists' resume is a brochure. It minimizes the interview process. Artists do not like becoming a "product" and often refuse to sell themselves. But if the you understand the motivation and have a clear purpose and goals then the selling can become integral part of the creative process. However, we must get beyond the clichés or it will just be hype and you will not be motivated to even use your own brochure and no one else will be convinced by it to hire you.
The majority of engagements are produced by amateurs. Whether it is a college student on a campus, a parent at a school, a volunteer at a coffeehouse, a librarian, they generally have limited production experience. These good-hearted people do not depend on the event or program for their income. If the college student has exams that week your poster will not be distributed. If the coffeehouse volunteer has sick children your press release may not be sent out. Try to minimize these circumstances by providing support materials such as your own posters, flyers and press releases. Remember it is your living that is at stake, not theirs.
Another advantage of supplying your own support materials is that a consistent message will be presented to the general public. Your work will not be present with a variety of perspectives, distortions and misconceptions, but with one vision--your vision. The public will not be confused and/or misled about what you do. You might reach the 10% of the people who will like your material. Be sure to have a mailing list so you can reach your supporters and patrons often.
So to take control of your career you need a focus and specific goals. A pragmatic plan to achieve those goals. An evaluation process to consistently revise and update your approach both artistically and business wise. Get your telephone answering machine, PO Box and computer so you can effectively and efficiently communicate with the outside world. But most importantly use your creative imagination and determination to visualize and focus you artistic career.
with Stephen Baird
Tasks One: Workshop One $100
- Write one page bio--where you were born, family, education, hobbies, honors, travel and any unusual facts.
Describe your show:
- Role play by pretending you are being reviewed by the Boston Globe. What would they say. What would you want them to say.
- What happens with the audience. How and why.
- Be specific, include individual pieces and reactions. Beginning, middle and end of show
- Role play by pretending your being interviewed on 60 Minutes. What would you say as an artists to the whole country.
- What questions would you want asked? Influences? First performance? Background? Motivation? Philosophy? Anecdotes? Future plans?
- In your review and interview what words appeared repeatedly. List these words (10-15) and any words you think should be included.
- Define each of these words with a dictionary.
- Research alternatives for these words with a thesaurus.
- Create a new list of words (30-40) you are comfortable using.
Tasks Two: Workshop Two $100
- Rewrite biography, review and interview with new word list
- Write one paragraph statement of purpose
- Develop 2-3 word byline subtitle.
Tasks Three: Workshop Three $100
- Determine primary income market trying to reach.
- Write brochure text 100-200 words targeted to specific audience served.
- Venues applying for market trying to reach
- List of previous engagements
- Photographs & Graphics which reinforce by-line and goals.
Task Four: Workshop Four $100
- Research and Develop mailing lists and marketing strategies for gigs, recordings and products.
- Develop time line
- Evaluation of responses
Consultation can be over the phone or in person. There can be comprehensive sessions defining goals, market strategies and a course of action. There could also be direct help in developing a brochure and other marketing materials.
Fees: The first general phone or visit consultation is free. Other consultations $100/hour or some combinations of a fee and/or donated labor. Do your homework, use the library and the books on the reference page can help determine the scope and effectiveness of the workshops.
Community Arts Advocates Index
Statment of Purpose
Programs & Services
Non-Profit Arts Management Services
Artist Career Development Services
Staff Profiles & Photographs
Stephen Baird's Resume
IRS Tax-Exempt Determination Letter
Copyright 1999-2010 by Stephen Baird