Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been around for decades, there are essentials that you should not live without especially if you want your career to progress (who doesn’t?). As they say, artists cannot live with talent alone. You need to be able to sell yourself to all the people you meet may it be online or in the flesh. Here are eleven items every artist should have:
Website with own domain name. It’s make a world of difference in the online universe now, more so in ten years and beyond. If you buy a domain with your name (Janesmith.com), then the other Jane Smiths of the world can’t have it. That means, it’s more likely that you’ll rank higher in Google and you’ll be more visible. This also gives the aura that you’re legit. If you use free domains, people would think you’re not really serious about your craft (even if you so are!)
A good profile photo. Well, if you want to be considered as an artist, you must at least assure them that you know the basics of aesthetics. Good taste matters and it should show in your profile picture. You can always create a nice professional portfolio and make your own personalized USB flash drive and offer as a nice gift to your best fans.
Facebook page with at least 1,000 followers. Ain’t it sad if you only have twenty followers? You might as well not make a Facebook page if you’re not aiming to get at least a thousand likes. It could make you look bad if you only have very few followers. It’s not that hard to reach 3,000. Just keep sharing good stuff, give away some freebies, keep inviting, and there’s also Facebook ads if you’re willing to spend.
Newsletter. Facebook is nice, Facebook is fine but people don’t want to read marketing stuff from you on there. When people log in to Facebook, they want news or entertainment. They don’t want to see ads and promotional stuff. That’s why you need to send your long love letters and promotional stuff to their e-mails. When people open e-mails, their minds are conditioned for work and ads. Therefore, you’re less annoying and the message will surely be put across.
ON THE STREETS:
Cute giveaways. When fans or just about anybody come up to you whether you have an exhibit, a gig, a screening, or a performance, then it’d be nice if you can hand them a cute giveaway. It shouldn’t be expensive! Some of the coolest merch are less than a dollar!
Creative business card. If you’re into the arts, especially if it’s your profession, it’s a must that you have creative business cards. You can’t just hand out plain-looking ones, you gotta have impressive business cards that reflect just how awesome you are!
Press Kit. Press kits are like promotional booklets/sales brochures with detailed information about your project. It could contain your portfolio, demo reel, sample works, and must contain contact information. It is a must when meeting executives, bloggers, and the press. Here’s how to make a kick-ass press kit.
Really awesome merch. You have to make merchandise to augment your income. You cannot pay your bills with just gigs alone. It’s also a great marketing item.
A good manager. It’s not impossible to manage yourself. However, you’d be less exhausted, more focused on your craft, and would go farther in your career if you partner with someone who manages you and markets your work. You wouldn’t have to worry about putting a price on your work or choosing what to wear during client meetings.
A mentor/ adviser. The music industry is a maze. You need people’s help to guide you every step of the way. Sure, you can work it out on your own but there are setbacks to doing everything on your own (takes a lot of time, involves a lot of risks). You can also ask your peers but nothing beats the advice from someone who’s been around for decades.
A Virtual Assistant. Everything’s online nowadays. If you don’t have online presence, you don’t exist. But how can you make time for Twitter and e-mails when you’re busy performing and practicing (or with your day job)? Let a good V.A. do it.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.