The following is a guest post by Amber Saxton, owner of A. Sax Management in Philadelphia, PA.
No. 1 - Not Following Instructions
When you submit your music to a blog, radio station, festival/showcase or any other opportunity for coverage, the most important thing to remember is to follow the submission guidelines to the T. Even though there are now an enormous amount of blogs and online magazines out there, caused by the explosion of the internet, there are still more artists and music than all of these media outlets put together can handle. That means your submission may be just a drop in the bucket, so you've got to make sure you stand out among the crowd. In order to do that you must first ensure that your submission is viewed, and the best way to do that is to follow the instructions for preferred method of delivery. Do they want links or files? Do they require an EPK? Is there a submission fee? All writers should (and most do) include instructions on their website for how to submit your material for coverage - follow it! Make sure to include all required information, and if something doesn't apply to you simply put "N/A" (this will let them know that while you may not be super experienced, you are able to follow directions). You can add in some additional information about yourself at the end if it is relevant and you think it may increase your chances of getting coverage, but don't overdo it. Some writers get hundreds to thousands of emails a week from artists requesting coverage. If you make their life easier by following their specified format you will automatically increase your chances of getting coverage.
No. 2 - Buying Followers
I cannot stress this one enough. Artists...please stop buying followers on social media. While you may think that the increase in numbers will help your online appearance, it is actually quite detrimental to your career. Everyone, not just industry folk, can tell when someone has purchased followers on social media. The numbers never add up and you end up having an Instagram with 100k+ followers and an average of 17 likes on each of your pictures or a Twitter account with an average of 1 retweet. If an influencer were to visit your page with the intention of possibly reaching out and they discover that you have purchased followers to inflate your social media numbers, they will turn and run. It automatically gives the impression that you are not willing to put in the work to advance your career.
No. 3 - Being "Too Cool" to Network
It's all about who you know, in the music industry and in life. Networking is not only the most efficient way to grow your career, but it can also be one of the cheapest (if not free!), so I never understand why I see artists jump off stage and head straight for the door. You should be networking at every show you attend, whether you were a performer or just there for the entertainment yourself. After you have just rocked the stage is absolutely the best time to network. People who enjoyed your performance will be excited to talk to you and you won't have to worry about coming up with an ice breaker to explain who you are and what you do - because they just witnessed it for themselves. The other great part about this is that you can spend time getting to know them; asking who are they, what they do, and how you can help fulfill a need for them. People love to talk about themselves, so let them! We network to grow our rolodexes so that we have a go-to-person for any situation that may arise, however you must remember that it is a two-way street, so make sure they know that you are here to lend support for them as well. After all, networking is really just making friends - very talented, well connected friends. Make it your goal to leave every event you attend with the contact information of at least 1 person. And don't count out "regular people" who aren't in the business; the Six Degrees of Separation Theory says that it may just be Joe-Schmo who helps you catch your big break. So network, network, network! "I know too many amazing, talented, ambitious people", said no one ever.
Amber Saxton of A. Sax Management holds a B.S. in International Business and specializes in Independent Artist Management. She can be reached at A.SaxMgmt@gmail.com.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn and is republished with permission.
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