Musicians have no problem creating master plans to "rule the world," but they often fall short of seeing these plans through effectively. What an unfortunate waste of talent! As Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said, "The best-thought-out plans in the world aren't worth the paper they're written on if you can't pull them off." Here are nine tips that just might help you accomplish your goals and get to that next level of your career. While these aren't groundbreaking, sometimes we all just need a little reminder!
1. Stay proactive
Attract the attention of those who can help you by first promoting yourself. Remember that no one – not a personal manager, agent, or A&R rep – is going to come save you and whisk you from your garage to superstardom until you've accomplished some things on your own. Light as many fires as you can, and people will see the smoke.
2. Plan your funds
Plan wisely so that you don't run out of money. You might use your own money that you've saved up, get fans to invest in you via crowdfunding services like Kickstarter, get interested parties (such as family members and friends) to front the cash, or arrange "barter" deals where you pay for services with your special skills.
3. Schedule efficiently
This means that you prioritize your tasks and schedule the most important things first, find ways to accomplish tasks simultaneously to maximize your resources, and allocate enough time to complete each task on time and on budget.
4. Delegate the workload
Assess your team's special talents and capitalize on them. The drummer can be in charge of booking, the bass player might do all the social media, and the guitarist can be the one who seeks out music placements. If you're a solo artist and don't have other members to depend on, then try enlisting a reliable fan to help you.
5. Follow up diligently
After sending off your initial correspondence (emails, tweets, or whatever), follow up in a week if the intended receiver hasn't replied. Repeat this technique for several weeks or attempt to use another means of communication (phone, letter, etc.) if necessary. And, of course, remember to always be nice in all of your correspondence.
6. Don't spread yourself too thin online
It makes no sense to have 10 social profiles with only a few hundred followers when you can have one or two with several thousand. Be social on your social media. Practice the same etiquette that exists offline, online. Address people by their first names, have an attractive profile picture, and don't be overly pushy with trying to get people to "check you out" or "click your link."
7. Work smart
Keep informed on changing technologies and how this might affect your promotion. For instance, due to social media sites' algorithms, certain times of the day and week are more advantageous to post, and you might need to use paid advertising to reach all of the people you're trying to reach.
8. Use online tools to free up your time
9. Don't be afraid to sell yourself
For example, when you're selling merch at your live shows, make sure that people know about it! Ask them politely for their business. Always remember that if you ask for the sale, people are more likely to buy.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Low Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books" or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.