Resources – 5 hats

Debra Recommends LaTour de Force Productions

Debra Russell recommends, Kristina LaTour, Latour de Force Productions, professional performance reels, TV, Film, Theatrical, Actor, director and musician reels

Professional Performance Reel Production

Latour de Force Productions will take your footage and help choose your scenes in a fashion that will best represent you, while being consistent with your brand! They custom design your reel, and make it fun to watch – with titles, captions, transitions, and music. They also apply basic color and sound correction; author & burn a DVD with a customized label; and include YouTube; Email; Website; Actors Access, compressions of your reel!  In addition, they will also archive your project for future editing sessions.

For actors, directors, production companies, musicians and bands.

Kristina Latour is passionate about working with actors, and creating their customized reels that will showcase them at their best, and make them stand out in the Industry!  She has quite a diverse background in the arts having served as performer, writer, producer, and even delving into the casting world. This all informs her work as a Video Editor for Actor/Performer Reels as it’s not only an asset, but also imperative to find an expert editor who understands the field and knows the business of acting. She enjoys giving actors her personal attention, while producing a terrific reel that really expresses who they are at their best!

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S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Step 1: Starting Point Assessment – Where Are You NOW?

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramOnce they’ve set a goal, most people make the mistake of jumping right into action doing the stuff they think they should.  But how can you successfully plan for a journey without knowing where you’re starting from?

In any journey from Point A to Point B – identifying Point A (your starting point) will enable you to chart the quickest, easiest and most likely path to success.

Most people don’t want to “waste time” evaluating where they ARE and what they’ve ACCOMPLISHED.  They want to focus all their energy on where they aren’t and what they don’t yet have!

This is a huge error from both a tactical standpoint and from a Law of Attraction standpoint.  Because remember, what you focus on expands.  If you are focusing on lack, you will soon lack more.

The Starting Point assessment is the 1st Step in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success.  In this class, you will discover:

  • Why you MUST start from the starting point
  • How to assess your starting point in a useful way
  • Several useful tips to start assessing your starting point

When my private clients take these actions in pursuit of their goals they always feel more powerful and able to pursue their goals.  This is a surprisingly empowering process.

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Internet Marketing 101

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramSEO! SEM! PPC! Oh My!

The internet has paved the way for the Artist Entrepreneur to create your own career without waiting for the record deal, the publishing deal or anybody to “discover” you. But learning what you need to know and figuring out how to apply it to your business can quickly become overwhelming.

In this class, Debra Russell will give you the basic, fundamental, what everyone needs to know to get started, primer on internet marketing. You’ll discover:

  • What all those initials mean AND what they mean to your business
  • The difference between black hat and white hat marketing methods – or what NOT to do
  • Three quick and easy ways to drive traffic to your website

We know the internet is here to stay. We know that if you don’t have a web presence no one will take you seriously. But having a website isn’t enough. You must learn how to get people to FIND you. And that means Internet Marketing!

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Websites and the Artist Entrepreneur

Internet Marketing Part Deux

In last month’s Newsletter, I talked about the importance of not only having a presence on the Internet but having a presence that would be easily discoverable by your prospective customers, clients and fans. And that the trick to being found is through the use of good key words and SEO principles.

But first you have to have a website. It amazes me that there are still people who think they can get away with a MySpace, Facebook, or ReverbNation profile as your primary internet presence.  Using your Facebook page, or whatever, as your landing page on the internet is a mistake for several reasons including:

  • You have no control over your content – because you don’t OWN Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation.
  • These sites can shut down with no notice or just shut down your profile/page with no notice and you will lose everything.

But beyond that – it communicates to the industry that you’re just not that serious. You aren’t willing to invest a few hundred dollars (or less) to set up your own website.

I also don’t recommend the template options that are abundant out there. For example, if you’re a musician or band, you can build a template website on Bandzoogle, Nimbit or Hostbaby to name a few. And it can be useful as a quick and dirty shortcut. But I don’t think you save money in the long run and you run the same risk as using Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation for your website – you don’t own it.

I recommend using WordPress to build a site that you host on a web host like Hostgator. This way, you own it. And using WordPress will allow you to update it, edit it, and even change the look and feel of the site as often as you need to without spending thousands of dollars to do it.

OK, now that I’ve convinced you that to grit your teeth and create your own website – what should you have on it? I recommend 5-6 main pages – some will have more, but I don’t think you want to have fewer:

  • Blog
  • Bio/About
  • Store
  • Calendar of Events (If you never play out or show your work – you can skip the Calendar/Tour page)
  • Press Kit
  • Contact

You can use either your Blog or the Bio/About page as the landing or home page (I hate the flash entry pages). The store can also have music samples, your art images, etc. as long as it also has a way to purchase those items. You can call that tab “Store” or you can call that tab “Music” or “Art”, it’s up to you.

Some websites have “Video” as a separate section – but you can also just build it into your blog – which becomes a vlog. Actually I would recommend posting the video’s first to YouTube and then using the YouTube code to pull it into your website – but I digress…

I recommend that the Contact page be a form rather than your email – it’s still too easy for bots to steal your email and flood you with spam. I also recommend using your website domain in your email address (name@namemusic.com or whatever). This promotes your domain with every email. If you don’t want to use your host’s server for email – and there’s a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t, you can create a Google Apps account for free with 7 Gigs of memory.

In addition, the Theme or Frame must be built with a sign-up for your mailing list and links to all your social media, so that they appear on every page and post.

If you are tech savvy – you can probably figure out WordPress in a few days.  Several of my private clients have done it in a weekend.  But if you’re like me, NOT tech savvy or with other things to do with your time, I recommend hiring a designer.  Then you can get them to give you a quick tutorial on WordPress (I learned the basics in an hour).  And you can add your copy and blog posts yourself.

“The confused mind doesn’t buy.”

Andrea J. Lee, Author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and Money Meaning and Beyond

Here’s the bottom line about your website.  Less is more.  The purpose of your website is to engage, entertain, and develop prospects into customers, clients and fan.  If it’s unreadable people won’t stay.  If it’s too cluttered, people won’t stay.  If they can’t easily and quickly find what they’re looking for, people won’t stay.  So:

  • Use larger font
  • Light type on a dark background is impossible to read – if you want a cool dark frame, that’s fine – but use a lighter color for the background of the text box and a dark font
  • Make the navigation easy and simple to follow
  • Don’t be mysterious about what you do – be ridiculously obvious – state it in the frame, so it appears on every page and post.

What are your biggest questions about your website and internet marketing?  What are your biggest pet peeves when you land on someone’s site?  Please share with us!

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Music Marketing in the Real World – An Interview with Michael Brandvold

artists-marketing-business-academy-interview-with-expertsKISS, yeah the band. The guy who spits blood and sticks out his tongue. The band that wears more makeup and higher heels than your mom. What can you learn about marketing from them?

KISS is alot more that just caskets and condoms.

Michael Brandvold will share with Debra Russell some of the marketing lessons he learned from working with the band. Lessons such as:

 

  • It’s All Branding
  • Not Everything You Do Will Succeed
  • Listen To Your Fans, You Work For Them
  • “The Secret To Success Is To Offend The Greatest Number of People”
  • If You Don’t Ask For It, You Won’t Get It

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Michael Brandvold

From working with up-and-coming independent artists of all genres to overseeing online marketing for major acts like KISS, Britney Spears, and Dream Theater, Michael Brandvold’s impact on the modern music industry is without question.

In addition to spearheading digital strategy creation and online social media management for bands, he has helped create marketing strategies that have made millions of dollars for clients.

Internet Marketing and the Artist Entrepreneur

Whether you’re in music, film, dance, the visual arts or writing, the presence of the Internet has significantly changed your industry in the last 20 years. For many of the big corporations who in the past controlled your industry, these changes have been terrifying, threatening their very existence.

For the artist entrepreneur, the DIY artist, the internet is the great leveler. It has opened the doors of opportunity that were previously jealously guarded by the studios, record companies and publishers.

But the key question that should be on your mind is:

How do I use the internet to advance my career as an Artist?

How can you use the internet to:

  • Sell more of your work?
  • Connect with fans outside of your immediate geographic location?
  • Increase the size of your impact?
  • Make a decent living doing what you love?!?

The good news is that the internet is huge and it’s global. The bad news is that the internet is huge and it’s global… There are over 2 Billion internet users in the world.  And there are over 350 Million websites.  Google alone gets 2 Billion searches each day.

So, while it’s critical to have a presence on the internet – how is anyone ever going to find YOU unless they are specifically looking for you and already know your URL (web address)?

Think of it this way, imagine that you are a fisherman and you are fishing in the middle of the ocean in a spot that is teaming with fish.  You would think – well this is easy, right?  I’m surrounded by fish, I should be able to catch dinner, no problem.  So you throw a hook and line out there and wait and wait and wait.

Meanwhile the fish are swimming all around that hook and not a one is biting!  Why?

Because they’re not looking for a hook.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the prettiest, shiniest, most beautiful hook in the world.  If the fish aren’t looking for your hook, they won’t bite and you don’t eat!

So, the key is having bait.  Bait that the fish will see, will notice, will be intrigued by enough to bite!  So, it can’t be just any bait.  It has to be the right bait.  The only way to know what bait to use is to get to know your fish really, really well.  Not all fish.  Not any old fish.  But the particular kind of fish you want to catch.

What kind of bait are they looking for?

With internet marketing, the first key to being found is knowing what your fans/customers/clients are already searching for – what are their key words?  But it’s not that simple.  Because if you pick things that are too broad, too general, then you could have millions of other websites also using that same bait, I mean, key word.  And so when your prospective fan is searching, literally millions of websites could come up in response to that search.  And let’s face it, few people get past the first page of a search.

So, simply stated, the essence of effective internet marketing is to be specific enough with your key words, so that when your target market are looking for them, you show up on the top of the list.  In order to do that you must :

  • Know what your target market is searching for
  • Show up on the first page when they search for it.

So, how do you do that?

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – creating a website that the search engines LOVE.

I’ll be talking more about that in my next Newsletter Edition – stay tuned!

WordPress Websites for Musicians – An Interview with Middle Tennessee Music

artists-marketing-business-academy-interview-with-expertsI’ve been saying it for years, MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation – I don’t care – If you are (or want to be) a Professional Musician or financially sustainable Band:

YOU MUST HAVE YOUR OWN WEBSITE!

Thanks to platforms like WordPress, building your own website or hiring someone to build it for you no longer has to cost thousands of dollars.

But whether you build it yourself, or you hire someone to do it, it is up to you to decide what goes in it, on it and how it looks and feels.  I’m thrilled to have 2 specialists in building websites for musicians, Josh and Bret, to help us figure out:

  • What must every Musician/Band website have?
  • To blog or Not to blog?
  • What are the best WordPress plugins for musicians’ websites?
  • How do you integrate and brand yourself from Social Media to your website?
  • And what about SEO?

We’ll be talking about this and more!

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C Bret Campbell and Joshua Smotherman

Middle Tennessee Music is comprised of C Bret Campbell and Joshua Smotherman:

Our Work

Joshua Smotherman, Bunks Media, Middle Tennessee MusicJoshua Smotherman‘s Bio:

Back in 1999, along with a childhood friend, I started writing, producing, and recording full-time as part of the hip hop duo, BUNKS.  With no desire to ever sign a recording contract with a big label, we decided to build our own label and to use the Internet to promote the music.

Back then, Social Media did not exist, but we had services such as MP3.com and Soundclick which allowed us to create profiles, upload music, and share it with listeners across the world.  Forums and Messages Boards were the go-to sites for interacting with the independent music community. Specifically in Hip Hop, large numbers of emcees, producers, and fans spent hours engaging in writing lyrics, sharing recordings, and collaborating on instrumentals.

When Myspace became the most popular social networking site in the U.S. in 2006, we dove head-first into Social Media and began sharing and promoting our music with the Myspace community.

Shortly after, it was YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation, and an ever growing list of social networking services.  It became hard to keep up with everything going on, but we quickly learned that the World Wide Web was changing, growing, and evolving on a daily basis.  It was necessary to learn and maintain flexibility as well as spend a few hours each day reading and researching the latest developments.

The more time we spent with Social Media, SEO, and all the research involved; the less time we had to focus on writing music, booking shows, and releasing albums, BUT…

Other bands, venues, and indie labels noticed our presence and began asking questions. Then they began asking for help. Then somewhere along the line people started paying us for our advice as well as asking us to oversee their Internet Presence (from the Website to all their Social Media accounts).  Things began taking off in unexpected directions but we rolled with the punches and soon realized the music community could use our help.

After years of learning, researching, and throwing ideas back and forth, Middle Tennessee Music was born.

Small Barn Sound, Middle Tennessee MusicC Bret Campbell‘s bio:

C Bret Campbell is owner of Small Barn Sound recording studio in Hillsboro, TN; known for it’s artistic vibe and down home feel. The philosophy at Small Barn is that beauty and integrity of performance comes first. The drive is a desire to see the underdog succeed.

He is also Vice President of Middle Tennessee Music. Founded in 2011 as a merging of Small Barn’s promotion services with those of BUNKS Multimedia, Mid Tenn focuses on independent musicians, labels, venues, publications and web partnerships. Along with free information and promotion services Mid-Tenn act as consultant, webmaster, and online marketing director for bands, artists, indie labels, radio promo companies, and others. We build, host and maintain websites, handle social media campaigns and help build the professional team that an artist on the rise needs.

Bret has been a musician for 35 years, and involved in the music community in some way or another all of that time. He is currently making music, and writing PR and reviews. He covers Social Media forThe Saturday Independent newspaper, the Tennessee music scene for 101 Distribution, and a multitude of topics on Mid Tn and Small Barn Sound. He also organizes and participates in charity concerts for several organizations.

He is blessed to be a happily married father of 3 beautiful children who constantly give him inspiration to be the best he can be.

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Step 4: How to Create The Plan

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramOnce they’ve set a goal, most people make the mistake of jumping right into action doing the stuff they think they should.

Which may get them to a level of success, but more often they get stuck at that level, because they are only doing what they already know to do –

And they don’t know what they don’t know!

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. Thomas A. Edison

Create the Plan is the 4th Step in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success.  In my experience, people who try to go after their goal without first creating a plan often have sadly limited success and may even quit on their goal at the first sign of a challenge or obstacle. A plan will enable you to:

  • Work through or around obstacles
  • Maintain momentum in the face of challenges and distractions
  • Take advantage of serendipity and opportunities that come your way.

In this class, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 things that stop you from making a plan
  • What to do with the results of the first 3 steps of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success
  • A fast, simple and natural way to create the plan for any goal or project
  • Some tips and tricks for implementing and moving forward with the plan

They say that Luck = Opportunity + Preparedness

Creating the Plan will help you be Prepared for the Opportunities!

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How to Manage Your Marketing – The Contact Management System

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramMarketing is creating an environment in which people feel comfortable enough to buy from you,  over and over again.

Sounds like a great idea, right? But what exactly does that mean in terms of day to day actions?  And how do you systematize creating that environment?

Does this sound familiar?

  • You’ve got a pile of business cards on your desk, but you don’t really know what to do with them.
  • Picking up the phone to make marketing calls is terrifying because you don’t really know who to call or what to say when you get them on the phone
  • You know you promised somebody something, but don’t remember who or what or when
  • A prospective customer/client/fan tells you to call back in three months and you promise to, but you know you won’t remember

These are all symptoms of a poor contact management system (or CRM – Customer Relations Management System)!  There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s the system that is lacking!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • Why you need a Contact Management System (and why your memory isn’t enough!)
  • The Key Components of an effective Contact Management System
  • How your Contact Management System feeds into and energizes your larger Marketing Plan
  • A review of some of the 3rd party apps out there and how to choose the right one for you

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Procrastination is Keeping Me Waiting

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramOne of the most frequently asked question in my Ask Coach Debra calls is how to deal with procrastination.

Very often we know what we need to do.  And yet somehow, we can’t get ourselves to sit down and do it!

All of the Time Management structures and systems you’ve learned to create in the Time Management and Project Management Classes will be impossible to implement if you don’t figure out how to overcome procrastination.

Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.  ~Victor Kiam

In this class you’ll discover:

  • What is procrastination, really, and what causes it?
  • Three techniques to get yourself moving when you’re stuck
  • An NLP process that you can use over and over to create momentum with ease

At the ArtistsMBA, you are learning a lot about how to create a successful, sustainable and profitable business doing what you love.  But until you put this knowledge into action your dreams are fantasies.  This class will help you move past your internal blocks and into action.

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