Marketing Methods. Part Fourteen: The Self Against The Professional

If you're here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You've come to the right place.

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If you're here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You've come to the right place. I'm Tom Colohue, and this is Marketing Methods; your guide to traversing the basics of the marketing world while avoiding the pitfalls, the traps and the unreasonable arseholes in it.

Marketing Methods by Tom Colohue

Part Fourteen: The Self Against The Professional

This is always a tough one to write about.

Several times already, during this series, I have shown the importance of always acting in a professional manner, regardless of your own opinions, thoughts and intentions. However, being the concummate professional, while doing wonders for your professional career, can be a little bland. First off, let's take a look at the meaning of the world.

The meaning of 'professional' is 'paid'. That's it. 'Amateur' means 'unpaid' as the flip side of that coin. It's really that simple. As a professional writer, I am a writer who gets paid. That's all there is to it. Acting professional is simply acting as worthy of payment as possible, presenting a face that people want to be associated with when it comes to performances and the local scene. Why is this potentially a little bland? Easy. Nobody's perfect. Everybody has to let go now and again, and the fans have a different concept of value for money than, say, a venue or a competitor. They want to see you do something awesome, which might be a very poor way to show value for money to a venue, but might be brilliant overall for attracting fans.

The balance here is in always being seen by venues and promoters as somebody entirely reliable, so there are some lines that you don't cross. For one thing, there is no such thing as fashionably late to a meeting or a performance. You're not going to a party; you're working.

When you're on-stage, you're permitted to do whatever you want, within reason. Damaging equipment might look cool to an audience, but you're going to seriously piss somebody off if it just so happens to be their equipment that they're tampering with. If you're going to bust stuff up, make sure it's your own stuff.

Hecklers are brilliant for this, because you can be an absolute cock to them and still come off as the consummate professional. Have some lines ready for dealing with hecklers and you'll earn a lot of respect.

Respect continues to be a key word here. Any time that you show a lack of respect is not good. An audience might love to see you taking the piss out of somebody for their hair or their taste in music, but venues, and the person you're mocking, know better. Respect your audience.

There's another one that's really simple, and is often overlooked, but it's something that will make everybody much, much happier to have come and see you perform. Look like you're always having fun. Sound like you're always having fun. Invite the crowd to join in with banter, try to get them clapping, be energetic. Everybody loves an energetic show.

If you're in the street talking to people, you don't have to act like a professional, but it's still a good idea to name drop and self-advertise through subtle means.

"Yeah, come and have a drink with us, we're at on Saturday," as you walk away, as an example.

When advertising, or handing out fliers (essentially the same, but with different levels of social interaction) you should always be yourself instead of showing a professional face. People will connect with you much more strongly if you just seem like a normal person with a band who happens to be trying to make the world explode.

But, when the crowd gets bigger, it's time to put on your happy face.

Written by Tom Colohue, originally posted on Dotted Music.

Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Brilliant advice! Haven't had a gig with my band yet, but we're working on it and all the things you say make sense. I'll put it to the test! I'd say something like "pleeze continue" but you're a professional so your wallet is already telling you to continue anyway ;