I often get calls from artists who want to know more about using a radio promotion
company to help boost airplay and build new audiences. Most artists believe they ought to launch into
a full-blown campaign as soon as they have their hot-off-the-press CD. Some artists should do just that,
others should not, depending on your career goals, of course.
While driving through Missouri on my way to teach a seminar, I heard a report
on National Public Radio about the power of a song. All Things Considered former producer,
Marika Partridge, had attended a festival where she heard a song by Pat Humphries nearly one
year ago. Her story was about how this one song influenced her, inspired her and stuck with her
after all that time.
I receive many promotional packets. I don't receive nearly as many as a club owner or
promoter does though. As I review the packets, a few main issues strike me—first, the most interesting
and important facts are often buried deep within the text. Second, in an attempt to look impressive,
the artist includes far too much material reducing the impact of the really "good stuff." And third the
material is not well organized. Since your promotional material often serves to introduce your act and
create a first impression, it is important to make your first shot count.
You may have heard the expression, "the right tool for the job." It works for home repair,
car maintenance and promoting your act. One of the greatest expenditures you may make to market your act is
creating an effective promotional package—including your CD or video. This is your marketing tool. It needs
to be appropriate to the audience you are attempting to reach. It needs to be right for the job at hand. If
you are booking club dates, you must be mindful of who is on the receiving end, opening it, reading it and
making the booking decisions. Perhaps you are doing a radio promotion campaign. Again, be aware of the
recipient and their needs. It is a waste of your financial resources to send more than what is necessary
and you do yourself a disservice to send a packet that doesn't represent your act effectively.
Not everyone is an emerging artist. You might be starting a new phase of your
career with new band members, a new release and a whole new outlook on the business. In the past
your band had some success, achieved some recognition and toured extensively. Don't just bury
the past; use it to boost your new efforts. As you begin to promote your new release and book
the release tour, tap into the good will you developed earlier in your career.
Your inclination might be to launch this new act without any reference to the past,
a clean, new start. That's fine, but why reinvent the wheel? If you had any amount of success
in the past, play on that notoriety to open doors, even just a crack. Work smarter, not harder.