Networking online or in person (eventually it is necessary to do in person) involves talking to complete random strangers. People you don’t know, people who might be untrustworthy, people who might have an agenda, people who might take from you, people who might steal from you, people who might harm you. We don’t like talking to strangers. Strangers are bad. Strangers will hurt you. Strangers have negative associations. Yet we are all strangers to other people.
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Every now and then, I go on an open mic binge and discover new little spots and new artists honing their craft. There was this one girl who was absolutely amazing. I told her what I did and she started asking questions. Our conversation came around to how one can get the right exposure and further their career. I shared with her a lot of things, but one of them was about reaching out to industry insiders and building a professional network that will help propel her career forward. It’s not enough to play live. You have to also work hard at building your professional network in the music industry. Finding contact info is easy. There are directories and registries out there you can buy. However, there are some realities concerning industry people that you have to understand before you reach out to them. Or else, you’ll only annoy and alienate them. Here are those realities.
Most musicians or artists think of only one or two aspects of their career; music and social networking. I find that most musicians just go through the motions not really giving it their all especially when it comes to social networking. In order to improve your skills as a musician, get more gigs and make more money you have to think outside of the box. Improvisation is a key asset to your bag of tricks and can pay you back ten fold. If you always practice what you know you will never learn anything new or improve your craft and skill set. Trying new things out and getting out of your comfort zone forces you to expand your mind with the side effect being some potential hit tunes on your hand. More importantly it will help you to bridge out of your genre of music, once you get good, and allow you to diversify your income potential by taking on other projects or gigs. This article however is not about making better music or writing hit records, it’s about doing simple steps with social networking, like improvisation, that will pay off in the future.
Assuming that you have strong songs and an kickass live show, here are ten (10) simple things you can do to get more gigs:
1. Create a YouTube channel for your band.
Upload a live performance video on YouTube that represents your band at its best. Include a phone number and e-mail address too, so that anyone who wants to book you can contact you easily. Say something like “Contact ________ to book us for a live show.” To show professionalism and interest, try your best to respond to every inquiry within 48 hours.
2. Print up nice business cards
…with your band name, links to your music, live videos, and a phone number and e-mail address that can be reached for booking purposes. Also, include a link to your website so they can learn more about you. You’d be surprised how many bands STILL write down their phone numbers on dirty napkins and torn pieces of paper. Wherever you go, tell people who you are, how good you are, where you are playing next, and how easy it is for them to book you directly.
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(Updated June 17)