Being able to effectively pitch yourself to venues, promoters, licensing agents, etc., is one of the great skills of being a musical entrepreneur. In this piece we look at how artists can get through to people in these positions without irritating them, and actually ultimately receive a yes.
Guest post by Cheryl B. Engelhardt of DIY Musician
Writing emails that can’t be ignored.
For years, my biggest challenge was writing emails to music venues, promoters, licensing agents, magazine editors, and even my fans, and rarely getting a reply. They could have called me Cheryl “Crickets” Engelhardt.
When I actually got a “yes,” it was due to luck, or laborious followup. Probably more of the latter. The first few years of my music career felt like all of the grass-growing analogies you could muster up.
It was probably because I hated asking for stuff. Asking to be booked. Asking for fans to contribute to funding my projects. I hated to be a burden. I’m sure that’s deep rooted somewhere in my childhood but for all intents and purposes, I was pretty bad at making powerful requests. And, of course, getting a “yes.”
Then it came time for me to book a big winter tour. My plan was to hit up ski resorts in the midwest, plus some college shows, live radio performances, some smaller live music venues, and a few house concerts. That’s a LOT of gigs to book.
I didn’t have the time or energy to go through my normal “send 100 emails, get 1 reply” process. So I studied up, hard core, on how to be more effective in writing pitch emails.
And then I did an experiment.
I took one week to do ALL the research I needed to do to book this tour. I had an Excel sheet of every possible venue host’s contact info, the radio shows, house concert hosts, local newspapers and event listings, ski resort managers, etc. It was approximately 100 contacts to reach out to.
Part two of my experiment was to take just a few days and email every single contact. All 100 of them. And keep track of the numbers. Was my new pitching process working?
70% of these people wrote me back. (Um yeah, this is working.)
50% of them said yes.
I had 17 live shows booked total for a 15-day tour, plus several press mentions and local event listings.
Since that tour, I have gone in and perfected this pitching process so that now, 100% of the emails I send get a response. Not 70%. 100. Per. Cent.
I’ve created a course called The Perfect Pitch that outlines the 8 steps to use to have the same results when YOU are pitching your music to music supervisors, promoters, bloggers or whoever. In it, I also give you email templates from my outbox that work, but for now, I’ll give you the gist (and a free checklist here to get you going).
How to set yourself up for a YES
Do Your Research!
Like I said, I took a whole week to gather all of the emails, in an organized way, and that was a huge relief when it came time to actually write the emails. I wasn’t scrambling my focus looking for contact information.
Know What You Want.
The more clear you are, the more clear they will be, and more likely to respond and say yes.
How Can You Help Them?
This is a weird one for us musicians, who often live in a world of “help me, please.” But if you can turn the table and figure out how your music, your performance, your track is an opportunity for them, then you’ll be irresistible!
Ask For Something.
This may seem like the biggest no-brainer piece of advice EVER, but you’d be surprised HOW many emails I get from musicians who found me (because my company CBE Music LLC is listed as a composing company on some websites) that say “I’m awesome because of x, y, z. Check this out.” My response is always WHY? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? This is infuriating and is the quickest way to my trash.
Don’t Overwhelm Them.
Your email signature shouldn’t contain links to every single one of your social media platforms and all of your Soundcloud playlists. Give them what they need and keep it short and sweet.
Start there, and download the free checklist and guide on how to prime your pitch so that you can book those gigs, land the placements, fund the projects, and start getting results that you KNOW are possible.
Don’t take years to figure this out. (I already did that. No fun.)
Give it a whirl, and feel free to reach out on my Facebook group for musicians and let me know how it goes!