Today is the 1st December and the scramble towards getting work finished up for the year, getting home / family plans organised and packing in last minute shopping begins.
As a music publicist, my work doesn’t slow down in December, it just shifts focus from full on campaign mode to mop up and planning. There’s still lots to do this month, with a restrospective look back at 2012, how our campaigns have fared and what could have gone better, pushing for all the last pieces of press throughout December as we try to get our bands placed in the ‘best of 2012’ lists, albums of the year lists and also looking forward to the 2013 schedule, with releases already in place for next year, we have to make sure that journalists know about what we’ve got going on next year too. Then we’ve got the organising of cards and gifts to our media networks, cleaning and prepping our databases, archiving emails, scanning and filing magazine articles – it never stops, it just gets colder in the office and the mornings need a little more coffee to get you started.
As a band or a musician, if your calendar isn’t busy in December with last minute Christmas gigs, then it’s a great time to use the downtime to map out your plan for 2013. Here’s a handy list of 5 things you could be doing this month in order to push your band forward and maximise your time next year so you get off to a flying start.
1. Map out the year with key dates throughout from January to December for things you want to achieve with your band. What’s your plan for the year? Do you have a release coming out? Do you want to tour? What about a video? Merch? Gigs? It all takes time and December is the perfect month for laying foundations now, in order to save yourself some time next year. Don’t bunch up all your efforts into a few weeks during the summer. The best bands have working plans that show a hive of activity throughout the year, maintaining a consistent output and presence so that you’re not just visible as a band for a month or two then quiet for 6 months. Drill down as far as your social media plan, how often you want to post out on your sites, content you can upload to your websites. Staying visible and active as a band is key to you being taken seriously. Nothing makes you look more unprofessional than social media networks that are never used, a website that hasn’t been updated in years, promo photos that don’t have current band members in, or a gig page showing any gigs in the past 5 years. Plan it out, delegate some responsibilities throughout the band and most of all, stick to the plan. The plan can and probably will, evolve and grow throughout the year, it’s just essential to have a starting point and that little bit of effort now, can save you feeling lost along the way next year.
2. Network, Network, Network. You’ve got your plan in place, now all you need to back that up is a network of contacts to help you get to where you need to be. December is a great month to do this. You have a free hour or two, spend some time putting your contacts database in order. So you want to play some festivals next year? You’ve added it to your plan…now you need to find out who the bookers are. You want some press next year but you don’t know where to start? Either get some PR people on board, or DIY it and find some press contacts. Got a release planned but no idea what to do with it once you have the physical product in your hand? Then look at record labels you could contact and find out who you need to speak to in their A&R departments. Get the contacts you need to execute every aspect of your plan for next year and you’ll be off to a flying start.
3. Take time out to thank your fans. This sounds like a no brainer, why should you have to take time out to thank your fans? They already know that you appreciate them! Right? Well, you’d be surprised how responsive people are just towards hearing the words, ‘Thank You’. December is a great time to say that, not only with words, but perhaps with a Christmas present. How about a free download of a song? How about a video of the band thanking them and giving a small interview/chat about how the year has been and what your plans are for next year? How about a recipe for mince pies? It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be something that shows that you, as a band, have taken time out to say ‘cheers’ to your fans for them having to put up with your constant ‘buy me, come to my gig, get this t-shirt, download this from iTunes’ messages throughout the year. You bombard these guys year round, it’s time to say – we appreciate you, here, have a cookie.
4. Consider a merch sale. Everyone wins with this one. Depending on when you do it, fans can get their hands on some cheap Christmas presents and you can also fill your band bank account to produce more stock next year. 50% off, bundle options, buy one get one free, every product sold in December gets a free Chocolate Santa – there’s LOADS of ways you can make it interesting.
5. Book gigs/festivals. This is a huge part of the plan you made in step 1 above. Add in to your plan any critical events such as festivals (not just the big boys, but look to smaller and local festivals as well and all dayers) and start to find contact details for the festival bookers. Festivals right now are busy slotting in headliners and mid level bands, but it’s always worth getting in touch with festivals with your press kit. Don’t leave it until the last minute, a week before the festival starts is NOT the time to be hitting the bookers up looking for a chance to play, start early, be professional, work hard at finding the right contacts. It’s also a great time to be talking to other bands, networking with them and discussing tours, gig swaps and plans to get your music out and about, further afield.
There are loads of things you can be doing this month, these are just a few suggestions to get you started. Don’t forget, if you are looking for PR for your release next year, get in touch now if you want to discuss options with us. Drop me an email via my contact page here. I love hearing from you, I’ve already had some pretty amazing emails and sparked up some great online friendships with some readers of my blog. Thanks for continuing to read my posts, apologies there’s been a bit of a gap between this and the last one, I’ve been super busy working on the last few releases of the season.