I may have written about this before, but a good friend of mine was wondering about how to capitalize on his showcase success at Folk Alliance International in Memphis this year. Here’s what I do:
First off, I try to only do one showcase a night, Thursday through Saturday. I then do everything I can do to invite everyone that I believe might be interested or with whom I am interested in making a connection. By doing only one showcase a night, I am essentially guaranteed a good crowd for each show. This makes a good impression on the folks who come to see you and even those passing by the room.
Secondly, I see as many people as I can at these conferences. It’s good networking and you always learn something, from every single performance that you see by anyone, amateur or pro. I keep saying it and it keeps being true. Not my fault, it’s just the way it is.
Thirdly, while I am there, if there is any way that I can be of assistance to anyone else who is there, I do it. Not because I expect something back, but because it just sets up a good vibe, good karma, whatever you want to call it. It’s just a better way to be and it becomes its own blessing. As the old enema joke goes...”it couldn’t hurt”.
Next, on the plane home, I go through the Folk Alliance Program Guide, which lists every attendee with their mailing address and email address. I circle every person that I met and if I can remember something particular about the interchange with that person, I annotate it. I also circle every person that I wanted to meet that perhaps I didn’t get a chance to, as well as every person that I wished had attended one of my showcases. Those people would include all with whom I had personal contact, all DJ’s, Venues, Presenters, House Concerts, Agents, Managers, Press People...you get the idea.
Then when I get home, I email each and everyone of them and thank them for coming to the show, or for coming to the conference, or something. What I don’t do is lie or fake it. Whatever I write is really what I think, thought, did, etc. Nothing is more resonant than the truth, so that’s just one more reason for sticking with it.
Every DJ that I met or didn’t meet gets an individual post and the promise of a CD. I don’t usually give away CD’s at the conference unless someone specifically asks for it. It is better, more impactful and usually more effective if you follow up the conference with a post and in that post allude to the CD that you are going to send to them.
Think about it. These people go home with a ton of CD’s that they didn’t ask for. How much time do they give those? Some folks might give them a real shot, but my instincts tell me that they give it a cursory listen if at all, somewhere down the line.
My approach is to meet them, perform for them or not, then email them and then send them a CD. Then send them a follow up post in a week or ten days and ask them if they received the CD, and then in a few weeks do a follow up about work or air time or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.
I send out all the CD’s withing four days of being home so that me, my post and my CD will be fresh in their minds. There are a lot of wonderful singers, songwriters, guitar players and entertainers out there, so whatever you can do to distinguish yourself with your audience can only help.
That’s what I do. If you think of some other stuff that you do or should do, please let me know, I’d appreciate it.