August 23, 2010

Rules for Email Marketing

The Approach
Essentially, an email list is about permission marketing, as in someone has agreed to let you send them promotional materials. That is important to keep in mind. It means that your mailing list is about trust and it is important that you keep it that way. There is no better way to alienate potential fans than by adding them to your email list without consent or exchanging lists with other bands.

The Info
Don't send out an email about every little thing you do (this applies to tweets, fb updates, etc.). No one particularly cares what you ate for breakfast. Unless maybe you're Justin Bieber. At the same time, don't just use it to sell records or tickets to shows, include a little personality (though again, not by sharing mundane details). It is extremely easy for people to hit the spam button the second your email list becomes impersonal (or too personal).

August 17, 2010

Building Your Personal Brand

These days it is easier than ever to find out way too much information about just about anyone. I'm sure you're guilty yourself of googling some people or facebook stalking. You probably also know that employers do it too. This means that you both can and should use it to your advantage to portray a professional, well informed, experienced image. Here are some tips:

Get Rid of the Evidence
Most things you post online are permanent so you should be careful what you post in the first place. However, if there is anything lurking out there that can and will be used against you but is deletable, you should delete it. This could include photos of you drinking or anything else you wouldn't want your boss to see.

Make Use of Privacy Settings
This is pretty self explanatory, but if there are profiles you don't want potential employers seeing you should block them. However, you cannot count on this alone, they may be able to find you anyway through a common friend, network, or even just a change in security settings.

August 13, 2010

Music Jobs: New Media

One of the newest jobs in music, or almost any field for that matter, is new media. In fact, because of the increasing importance of technology, it is probably one of the fastest growing careers in the music business too. So, here's some info on what a new media career might involve.

What they do:
New media is exactly what it sounds like: working with any forms of media that are new. This could mean working with direct to fan marketing, social networks, widgets, youtube videos, mobile, etc. At the lower levels of this career it can be extremely tedious and often requires lots of updates social networks. It also involves good people skills and an ability to build relationships with contacts at different sites and write messages (copy) that appeal to fans of each artist.

Potential skills:
This can range depending on the company and the specific job but generally should know at least basic html, css, and photo shop. You should understand how to build a following online and help and artist engage existing fans while attracting new ones. Some jobs require more advanced web design knowledge including flash, PHP, SQL, etc.

How to get experience:
In some ways this can be the easiest to get experience in: learn the applicable codes and programs, build your own social networks and get a following for yourself. This shows places you apply that you know what you're doing. However, online marketing and planning for a band is a bit different than for a person or other brand so use that self-built experience to get an internship.

Other Info:
This job will likely continue to evolve drastically over the coming years. If you want to work in this field it will require a knowledge and interest in culture, new technology, and media trends. You should be the kind of person who find the newest thing online before your friends. For instance, the first of your friends on FourSquare or the one who was on Twitter when your friends all thought it was useless.

August 11, 2010

3 Tips on Writing a Cover Letter

How long will you spend reading this blog post? Probably not very long.
So, how long do you think someone will spend reading each resume in a huge pile of applicants? Probably even less.

How do you get past the trash pile and even get your resume read in the first place? In most instances, a good cover letter is the key.

Don't Be Everyone Else
The purpose of a cover letter is partly to convince them to read your resume and partly to get an interview (this is in conjunction with that resume you're trying to get them to read). So you should sound like yourself and be yourself because the person you portray in your cover letter is precisely who they will be expecting to interview. This means you don't have to necessarily follow the form letters you find online or even write what your career advisor tells you to write. You should follow some general rules and guidance, like being positive and explaining why you want to work at that company, but you should be yourself, not what you think everyone else is expecting you to be.

Grab Their Attention
Remember those hooks you were taught to write in 8th grade English? Now is the time to tap into those skills and use it. The person looking to hire is going to read an awful lot of cover letters, you need to give them a reason to want to read yours. So don't start it with "I am Jen and I am a music major at Awesome University..." Do you even care to read that?

Make It Professional
Be sure to look up some info on how to write a formal letter and follow the format. Use proper English and be sure to proof read and spell check. Change the letter to fit each company and explain why you want to work there.

What To Put on A Business Card

If you've ever been to a networking event you know the power of a business card. But as an intern, student, or new grad you probably don't have one yourself. Here's some thoughts on whether or not you need them, if it will seem pretentious, what to include, and where to get them.

Many professionals have told me they don't usually keep cards from students. This may be discouraging, but really all it means is that it is your job to get their contact info and having your own business card will help you do just that. So, ultimately, the main goal of a business card is a tool for networking.

Be sure to include your contact info, that's probably pretty obvious. But what do you put where most would put a title and company? It is generally pretty unanimous that students should not put a dream job title or any other descriptive title that is not actually a job they have. Otherwise, what you put is really up to you, but you are probably better off just being honest. If you include that you are a student you can include the degree you're working and the year you will earn it. You may also wish to include a website.

Check out Part 2 for more advice and ideas

August 09, 2010

How to Recover from a Mistake On the Job: Part 1

Make a mistake at your job or internship? Who hasn't? The question is what can you do to recover quickly.

Don't Beat Yourself Up
Just as the first line said, who hasn't made some sort of mistake at work. We're all human. Your boss is too. So don't spend too much time worrying about how bad you looked or wishing you could turn back time. You can't. Drewlling on it will just make you more likely to make another mistake and everyone else at the office has probably moved on by now. Learn from it, and move on.

Accept and Address It
If you made a bigger mistake that isn't so easy to just walk away from, then take some time to think through things and show your boss you are actively working to learn and improve. If you feel it is appropriate, set up a meeting to talk about or think about some other way to smooth things over in a professional manner while showing you are committed to growing and learning. Apologizing and accepting the consequences while showing that you are sorry is a much better way to handle it than trying to deflect blame.

August 08, 2010

Moving Your Career Forward: A Challenge For You

Ever feel like you are in a rut? Stuck in some way and can't move foreword because you just don't have the time to put in the work to get to where you want to be? Actually, the idea can apply to just about anything in life: the gym you keep meaning to go to, the unread book on your shelf, the new career you intended to start. Still, you can't seem to escape your routine and by the time you return from work or school you are too exhausted to bother.

I understand, even I am guilty of not updating this as often as I would like. Not everything needs to be completed on a large scale though. Even taking as little as 5-15 minutes a day to do just one thing to accomplish your goal can make a big difference in the long run. Take 15 minutes to update your resume, 5 minutes to read a news article related to your goals, 20 minutes to find some networking events to sign up for, 10 minutes to read part of a book that will teach you about your dream job. This is a lot more productive and manageable than waiting for the next time you will have several hours and actually feel like doing some work. Surely, the next time you have time to spare you'd probably rather relax.

In an effort to listen to my own advice here, I'm going to try to do the same, and take some time each day to try to make some progress on this blog. I will keep you updated. I challenge you to do the same this week: spend at least 5 minutes each day doing something that will help you accomplish that goal you've been putting off working towards, and let me know how it goes!

August 04, 2010

Give 'Em Something to Talk About

Who wouldn't kill to make a viral video on Youtube? To be the next OK GO or "double rainbow?" The problem is how do you determine what that will take?

I recently met a man who was a nurse turned CEO of a collection of psychological hospitals. The hospitals were in a bit of a business crisis when he took over and he had no real background in business. He managed to turn them around by utilizing various techniques but the one that stood out most to me was his ability to make it personal. He asked his employees and fellow executives if they would be willing to bring their family members to their facilities for treatment. The response was silence. So the CEO made it a goal to make each facility a place that anyone would gladly bring their family to and focused on the details of the patient and family experience.

The key was making it a place worth referring a friend and giving customers a reason to talk about it. In the hospitals' case it meant service, attention, and nice facilities but the concept can and should apply to any business. If you give your customers a reason to talk about it, in a positive light, word will logically spread on its own and you will build loyalty. On Youtube, this may just translate to making a video so remarkably entertaining the viewer feels compelled to send it to friends and then watch your other videos. In music, it means practicing and writing until your performance your songs are so compelling you fans bring a friend next time or post a video on their Facebook. As an intern, it means showing up on time, learning as much as your can, behaving professionally, and doing a great job with each task you've been given. Until you have reached that point, the point where you are so good at what you do people feel the need to tell others about it, whether in business, music, or youtube, you have not reached your potential and you certainly shouldn't expect to reach your potential audience.

August 02, 2010

3 Unexpected Ways to Find a Music Industry Job

Surely this sounds odd and there is no magical add-on that will find internships as you listen to music. Though that would be wonderful! But, this is a good place to start when you are feeling stuck. Take a look through your most played list on iTunes and make a list of the artists that show up. Then do some research online to find out who is responsible for their career. This can include record labels, management, booking agents, etc. Then you can do some research to find out how to contact these people.

There are a lot of internships and jobs posted and retweeted on Twitter. It is actually an incredibly easy way to find internship postings from countless companies all over the world. So, use the search tool on twitter to find out who is looking to hire.

This requires some research first to get phone numbers to call, but if you have good conversation skills then cold calls can be a decent way to get in touch with a company you are looking to work for. Most companies are almost constantly looking for new interns for the next term and some companies do not directly post job listings online. Be polite and do not be harass them or continue to call back. Simply ask if they are hiring or looking for interns, find out how to apply, and thank them.

Any other suggestions you'd like to share?
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