Say “No” to Stock Responses

Dave Business, Cracked Up (Blog), Music/Audio, Opinions, Personal Leave a Comment

Over the past few days, I’ve been able to kind of sit on the proverbial “other side” of the boss’s desk. Instead of me pounding the pavement and knocking on doors offering my wares, I’ve been (the “boss”) entertaining requests from around the world to consider the merits of others’ creations.

It’s been enlightening to see the variety of approaches folks take to “market” themselves.

Some tactics seem to be in line with my own marketing techniques: there has been some research and familiarization done to try and focus the “product” to the “need”.

Then, there’s the other side of the coin. But, before I get into my rant, some background might be in order…

The Product

You may or may not know about my “alternate identity”.

Besides running this company / site, I also run the podcast: Inside Home Recording. The podcast is quickly coming up on its 100th episode and I thought it’d be interesting to mark the occassion with a new theme for the show.

I guess I could have written it myself, but I thought it’d be much better to put it out to the listeners of the show and put a little competition together to choose a theme!

Over the Christmas break, I decided to go searching for a “carrot” or two to sweeten the pot and entice folks to enter the songwriting contest.

The response to my request for sponsorship has been overwhelming! I got some great offers from old and newly-made friends and I’ve been able to put together some fantastic prize packages that are sure to bring a lot of folks out of the woodwork!

Marketing 101 – Sending the Right Message

Entertaining sponsorship is a two-way street. Of course, these aren’t just gifts that these guys and gals are handing out. They’re expecting some decent exposure out of the whole deal.

Cue the wheels and set them in motion!

In order to get the word out, I thought to myself:

“Self, you need to tap into any and every vehicle I can to drive traffic to the contest … and get some eyeballs moving over to the sponsor sites.”

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+: come last Thursday evening and Friday morning, I posted some messages to generate some interest.

Boy, did I get a nice, hefty bump in traffic to the site – almost FIVE TIMES the regular traffic … a noticeable spike in visitor volume for sure!

Getting the word out continues – trying different angles and employing different avenues.

Enough of the background. Now, back to the point….

Seriously?… Seriously Missing the Mark

I have some pretty clear instructions (and there really aren’t that many) on the site about how to enter, what I’m looking for and of course, the contest rules.

I mentioned, above, that I’ve gotten some great responses and entries that have shown me that the instructions aren’t hard to follow at all. I’ve also received some valid questions asking for some more details to help them focus their creative muse – which is all cool to me.

In sharp contrast to the above, I’ve gotten a few “dashing by” responses from supposed professionals that had me scratching my head. I’ll protect the innocent and not mention any names.

The Nameless

As part of getting the word out, I posted a link to the relevant pages with some details on a couple LinkedIn groups and forums in which I participate. They’ve generated some great responses, but also, some not-so-great ones – supposedly from “professionals”.

I got emails and forum responses in the form of:

  1. A link to a ReverbNation / BandCamp / MySpace / Insert-music-sharing-site page and
  2. an email address…

Except for one dude who added: “Yo, check out my dope tracks.” (seriously? seriously.)... that was it.

Not a lot of effort put in at all … Barring the fact that these guys obviously didn’t read past the title (even that’s doubtful) of the post before deciding to reply…

WHY WOULD I WANT TO GO CHECK OUT YOUR “DOPE” TRACKS
BASED ON A RESPONSE LIKE THAT???

I put in a bit more effort than they did and replied (resisting the urge to be sarcastic and snarky)- pointing them to the site and the appropriate entry details.

A Little Effort Might Work Better

I recognized a couple of the above “pros” from the LinkedIn group as the same people who complained and whined about the state of the music industry and the lack of jobs. If these guys consistently market themselves to folks using the method outlined above, then I truly wonder if they’re getting gigs at all.

It seems like common sense to me, but if you’re truly looking to get hired to do something, wouldn’t you want to make the best impression possible?

How about making your “proposal” personal, focused and above all, easy for the recipient to find what they’re looking for?

Putting together a stock, impersonable response that requires the potential “employer” to do a lot of the heavy lifting is only going to be headed to the Deleted folder and promptly forgotten.

At least, that’s what I think.

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