Hey all! How was your weekend? We were at a church in Miami on Sunday (the farthest south we've ever driven!) and though it was a small church, the people there were such a big blessing. I had a chance to talk with a woman whose ability to walk is severely impaired by MS, and her perspective on life and her attitude were such an encouragement to me. We were connected by our faith in Christ and the knowledge that this world is not truly our home, and I will never tire of the way my job allows me to get such a beautiful glimpse of the body at work! Today's music monday post is the first in a mini-series of quick tips for anyone looking to get started as a musician.
Getting started in the music industry can be rough. There is a lot of talent out there, and a lot of advice being thrown around. You'll hear the word "networking" a lot, and it can have both positive or negative connotations, and be somewhat confusing when you're not sure where to start. Building a network is important to a musician, especially a new one. Not in a schmoozy way, in which the people you "network" with are just being used as a means to an end, but as a genuine foundation for the future of your career and ministry.
The people you meet on the industry side may become people you work with, or they may introduce you to others you end up working with. People you meet on the listener side can become your greatest supporters and advocates. Sometimes the people you meet have no direct influence on your career, but end up being your community, which is vital to keeping you spiritually healthy, refreshed, and equipped for life as a musician. Networking could be a whole post in itself, and I'll save diving into that subject for a later time.
Today's quick tip is something that will help you connect to your specific network and use those relationships (in the right way, of course) when you need them down the road. Beginner tip #1 is simply: get email addresses! We've stuck with a good old sheet of paper on a clipboard since we got started, but however you do it, make sure you give people the opportunity to sign up for your email list. There is also a place to sign up on my website (with a free download!) and I do my best to mention it and encourage people to sign up at concerts.
Being able to reach most of your network with one quick blast will come in so handy, whether you're entering a contest and you need votes, have a new CD for preorder, or have a special announcement to make. Here are a few rules to get you started:
1. ONLY send emails to those who have signed themselves up, and include an unsubscribe option (even if that's just "reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line") and unsubscribe those people promptly.
2. Please, please respect people's privacy and send emails in a way that does not disclose their email address. You can use a specific mailing list service, or you can simply blind copy (bcc) people if you're still using your personal email address.
3. Send out content that is concise, relevant, and timely. Sending too-frequent emails is annoying, and it can also harm you by detracting from the very important emails mixed in with all those not-so-important ones. Put thought into your blasts, and focus on what's important
4. That said, make sure you still reveal who you are in your emails. Connect with your personal network by speaking in your own voice (be that witty, "punny", laid back, etc...") because people who sign up want to be part of what's going on with you.
5. Be professional. Check for typos, send yourself a preview to check formatting, include a link to your website. Put time and effort into your emails to make sure you clearly communicate, without over-sharing. If you can't fight the urge to over-share, start a blog! :)
However you do it, go ahead and get started! Emails are free to collect and free to send (mailing list service fees notwithstanding), and you don't need to have CD's for sale or a full tour schedule to get started on building your email list. Good luck!