It is only fitting that the last chapter in our SAC blog challenge would cover “the real world” of marketing, networking and publicity do’s and don’ts, as I consider this to be both my greatest strength and weakness. Unfortunately I did not have Ariel’s book to refer to almost fifteen years ago when I decided to take the leap into becoming a professional recording artist and handle my publicity.
With a wing and a prayer, I did my best with what I could source out . I’ve since learned that anything to do with MNP (marketing, networking, publicity) is vastly time-consuming with no guarantee of any outcome, that can be quite daunting even for the most seasoned professional. However, thanks to lady luck I have had lots of very cool things happen over the years from my zealous efforts, along with assistance from various hired publicists resulting in features, on CTV, CBC, Georgia Straight and other press, appearances on several Vancouver TV shows, Shaw’s “The Travel Guys”, radio shows, and the most exciting of all, a heady, live appearance on ET Canada with the lovely Erin Cebula. When I include newspaper articles, quotes and pictures from these experiences, it all adds up, but in reality, they are but a small representation of the flip side of the coin of massive dead ends, rejections and countless disappointments. But that’s what comes from sticking one’s neck out. I am grateful for all those stepping stone experiences and the many relationships I have had the pleasure to foster . Publicity is great and we all need it, but what matters most is one’s music .
Some of the aspects I didn’t do so well on?…. was I did not have a specific marketing plan nor knew enough about how to execute and follow-up on what I did do. Therefore I had no idea how to effectively manage or direct my (very expensive) publicists. Talk about throwing money to the wind.
By the way, a good publicist is not necessarily a good music publicist. The music industry has its own distinct language, and requires an experienced professional that speaks that language fluently. It’s like the difference between Quebec and Paris French, yes, publicists can cross over, but they will not necessarily “get” all the nuances of your given demographic or genre. This is simply because they don’t have the network of connections in the music industry that you are paying to help leverage you into. Maybe that seems obvious to you, but I had to learn this the hard way. So, I had unrealistic expectations because I essentially did not understand the critical difference between ”publicity” and “promotion” . Also I did not use the many choice publicity moments and media relationships that came my way, to their fullest advantage, as I did not have a clear sense then, as I do now, of a continuum. The continuum funnel was last weeks chapter and I see now that it is really the bread and butter of any musician’s livelihood~ including mine.
To make music, I need a supportive audience who will listen, willingly pay to come to gigs and buy CD’s and my merchandise. It is a vital, reciprocal, essential relationship that I treasure. It fuels me on every level and makes what I do possible. Singing to myself in a mirror is only good for practice. I literally need my fans, to sing and connect with and share my musical stories, to have my art feel complete. Talk about a gift. This, along with my daughter and family is my passion and my life. Yet, as I live in this modern tech world that can also be a very fickle, demanding one when it comes to ones professional persona, MNP deserves much attention, care and thought and most of all, follow-up and through.
The biggest challenge in current time , is learning to use and integrate the newer fast paced avenues of Twitter, FB fan page, blogs, podcasts, texting etc into an effective cohesive campaign that dovetails with traditional Radio, Internet Radio, TV, and Press. I’ve made some inroads these past weeks but have much more to develop. In the past, I also see now that without defining what I really wanted to achieve in my career, my process resulted in more miss than hit. I spread myself so thin on every level, at whatever cost, doing far too much, for far too long on my own steam, without an extended network of support, that I became scattered and I burnt out. Not once, but two times. After my second CD’s sales fell between the cracks in terms of what I had hoped it would do, I became very discouraged, went into a depression and for a few years, virtually retreated from all radar, gigs and any attention. As I recovered and reflected, I began to research, write new songs, take private lessons and online study with Berklee music, and then take this Challenge. As you can plainly see, I decided to give it another go.
In some respects I am starting from scratch again as I write a new bio, and create my third press kit and all the other connecting support materials required. I am also launching a new website for the new CD and so on and I will hire another publicist if I can find one that will do what I need this time. If not, then I will happily do it myself but will hire an assistant to help and see what happens. My rich, varied experiences so far have taught me that even with a plan, MNP is still a long shot, but essential. Along with the concrete instructions of Ariel Hyatt’s great marketing book and my recent Berklee music marketing class, I feel optimistic about the potential of my new CD process. Most importantly, as I am now older, possibly wiser, and more realistic, I have nothing to lose any more and everything to gain.
What do I want? It’s pretty basic really. I want to sing and share my music with you and your friends, and my friends. I want to perform in cool places, locally and abroad, as much as I can, with full to sell out crowds – to cover all expenses and make a good living . So… here I am with a whole new viewpoint, some new tools, with a marketing and continuum plan. The future looks promising indeed. Want to hear more about the ride? Please join my newsletter http://christiegracemusic.com/news-sign-up.php
So folks, this is my last ( and longest! ) blog specifically about the SAC Canadian Songwriters Social Media Challenge that should be renamed “SAC Media Boot Camp!” However, it is only the beginning of my adventures, bi weekly blog, monthly newsletter and who knows what. So I hope you will stay tuned!
I have sooo enjoyed the comprehensive, intense experience over these past few months. Man, it tested me to my max. So much so I came close to dropping out a couple of times, but I am very pleased I hung in because among many things, I discovered that I really enjoy writing blogs. Who knew? Mind you I will need to learn to be more concise!
What a great way this has been to kick off 2012 and beat the winter blues. Through this steep learning curve I have made many wonderful musical friends across our nation that I look forward to cross paths with at some of our gigs and when I go on my cross country tour! So thank you SAC, Ariel Hyatt, Dave Kool and Lily for providing the container and navigation for this, and all the participants. I wish you every success in your endeavors. Here’s to all of us! : Tom, Joe, Shelly, Ross, Lucy, Rory, Dan, Lyle, Karyn, Kim, Adri-Anne, Ansley, Kat, Kristine, Kenya, Nicole, Andy, Jinral, Kathryn, Lindsay, Maddy, Dervla, Heather, Tucker, Jessica, Stephen, Sarah, Sue, Sioux, Debra, Cheryl, Tracy, Lindsay, Mauricio, Mao, Fenulla, and Don.
It has been a pleasure,
Happy Spring Break!
Our talented group! Lindsay May http://blogs.theprovince.com/2012/03/06/lindsay-may-shimmer-lindsaymay-com/ Mao, http://www.maoplanet.com/home.cfm Fenulla http://www.fenulla.com/ Maddy Rodriguez http://www.maddyrodriguez.com/Tracy Mills http://www.mowbrayandmills.com/Sue Newberry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FmKFtfbDI0&feature=player_embedded Lily C. http://www.lilyc.com/l/Home.html Sarah Calvert http://www.sarahcalvert.ca/Lucy Leblanc http://lucyleblanc.tumblr.com/ Kathyrn Berry Sauageau http://radiostar.supernova.com/KathrynBERRY/blog/8215/The-Blog-Challenge-Week-7-The-NewsletterDervla Trainor https://www.facebook.com/dervla.trainor Kimi Lyn Smith http://sneakyhooks.com/2012/03/sac-social-media-challenge-week-8-creating-a-continuum-program/Shelly Dubois http://www.shelly-dubois.com/Heather Hill http://music.cbc.ca/#/bands/Heather-Hill Ross Douglas http://www.rossdouglas.com/Aynsleys Saxe http://aynsleysaxe.wordpress.com/ Kat Leonard http://wp.me/p29Jb2-2N Dan http://wp.me/p27tHb-2H Tucker: http://www.songstuckerwrote.com/songstuckerwrote/2012/3/4/tucker-isnt-continuum-plan-a-star-trek-episode.html Adri-Anne http://adriannesoundslike.tumblr.com/ Debra Alexander: http://wordmavenmusic.wordpress.com/Sioux Berry: http://siouxberry.wordpress.com/Tom Shea: http://www.trioarjento.com/Karyn Ellis: http://karynellis.com/Jessica Spezial http://www.jessicaspeziale.com/ and Joe Wiseman http://smokinjoewiseman.wordpress.com/Kristine St. Pierre http://www.kristinestpierre.com/fr_home.cfm