Who Should I Hire, and When?

Ugh I hate writing…always have…honestly, it started in grade school and it continues on.  However, as I struggle with an “Integrated Marketing” blog post (watch for it next week, I hope) and I am mumbling to myself “why can’t I just pay someone to do this for me?” – it hits me… maybe that is a better subject this week. When do you decide to hire someone and who?

I once received a piece of advice “if you suck at it, pay someone else to do it”.  However, I get for most artists that’s easier said than done, so how do you decide who to hire first?  This comes to the second piece of advice I received while I was creating eEK! – Invest in the things that makes you money first.  For artists, I feel that should be someone who can create you a decent website that has a great online store (revenue).  Now, in this day, sites like wordpress and bandcamp are great because most people can figure them out and be able to create something pretty great with the templates, widgits and their own time.  Thus, you can save some cash there.

Next, I would suggest to hire someone to help you out with your digital footprint and make sure that you are on all the sites you need to be on and that they are up-to-date with your current information.  Now, I am not suggesting hiring someone on a monthly basis but I would encourage you to look into companies that have programs that help you out for a short period of time rather than handling it for you.  Until you are on tour over 250 days a year and have a packed promotional schedule, there is no reason why you are not handling your social media day-to-day.  And for people who tell you that no one call tell the difference if you are doing it rather than a team member, believe me your fans know.

The final team member that I would suggest bringing aboard when you first start out is a publicist.  I have this argument all the time, I do not believe that you need to hire a publicist located in your home city or in Toronto.  I think you should hire the person who is most excited about what you are doing and has the contacts to help you.  Also, only hire a publicist when you have something going on.  For example, are you heading out on tour or have an album release?  Great time to hire someone, but don’t hire someone because you think you should have a publicist.  I think I should have a Tiffany’s tag necklace, doesn’t mean I need one.

So that brings me to the other part of the post – how do you decide on who to hire?  This is a tough call because it’s really like hiring an employee (they do work for you).  You need to do some research – does this person have experience working with similar artists to you? Do you know anyone who has worked with them? What is their reputation like?  The biggest thing is when you talk to them (and please do talk to them) – do they “get” you?  Are they excited about what you are doing?  Have they prepared ideas for you?  Can you afford to hire this person for a minimum of 3 months?  At the end of the day, hiring someone should move you forward not set you back.

I hope that this little rant helps with the question of who I should hire and when.  At eEK! we can help with things like social media, funding, tastemaker and street marketing campaigns so if you are interested, please hit us up at info@eekproductions.ca.

See you next week with a blog on Integrated Marketing…or something. 

EK

Online Audits

We’re in 2014, I think at this point it’s pretty obvious to everyone how important it is to be online and have your information readily available if you hope to be able to speak to your fan base and create new fans.  As we know, the digital space offers a copious amount of touch points for you to be able to do so. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Google+, Tumblr… (the list goes on), it can be difficult to keep up with them all and the majority of artists choose the platforms that are best suited to their target demographic or personalities and stick to those.  However, it’s important to understand what your footprint is in the digital landscape overall.  Why, you ask?  Well, did you know that iTunes pulls all of their biographical information on artists from allmusic.com?  Did you know that an artist’s Myspace and Google+ pages generally rank in the top 5 when searching via Google?

An online audit essentially gives you a snapshot of how and where you’re being portrayed on the internet; which platforms you’re using regularly, which you have information available on but don’t generally use and which platforms you don’t currently exist on. This is a simple way to let you know what needs to be updated so you can refresh your online presence and make sure you have not missed any opportunities to communicate with and create new fans. And hey, if you don’t have the time and/or energy to pull one together, no worries, just give us a shout at eEK! HQ and we can help get you sorted and on your way.

B McD

Tips For Funding

I spent a large majority of my weekend working on funding completions and applications for our clients and I figured I would take a moment and share some helpful and really simple tips we have developed here at eEK! to make these things less daunting.

1)    Create a 12 month calendar which includes:

  • All deadlines for the programs you qualify for.
  • The dates of when each of your completions are due.
  • Important dates such as start and end dates of recording and release date of your album (domestically and internationally).
  • Pretty much anything you might need to reference back to in the future.

2)    Create a dropbox, google doc or box account and invite everyone on your team to it.  This folder should be used for the following:

  • All distribution agreements.
  • Any press you receive.
  • Marketing plans and budgets.
  • Tour itineraries.
  • Band members’ passports and contact details.
  • Invoices and proofs of payment scans.
  • Sync placement paperwork.

3)    Get to know your funder and their guidelines:

  • Read through the eligibility requirements and program guidelines for each round (these are constantly being updated).
  • Read through your completion documents carefully and make a list of everything you need and add it to your calendar and online file (see what I did there  ).
  • Find out who your point of contact is at each agency and touch base with them.  They want to help you and they are nice.
  • Go to funding seminars in your community and at conferences.
  • Become a member of your local Music Industry Association, their mandate is to be an advocate for the Music industry in your community and they have the inside scoop about funding programs and in most cases they have some of their own.

Now you might read this and think, “come on, Erin, this is common sense” and it is, but in 9/10 cases this doesn’t exist.  The time and energy you can save just by putting in some extra work at the beginning and organizing yourself is worth its weight in gold.  To help you out, here are some key upcoming deadlines for the rest of 2014:

August 28 – Radio Starmaker Fund Deadline.

August 29 – FACTOR Semi-Annual Review for Artists & Companies.

If you want to apply for the September 25 deadline, you need to have an up-to-date rating.

September 4 – MuchFACT deadline.

September 25 – FACTOR – Demo and Juried Sound Recording Deadline.

October 30 – MuchFACT deadline.

November 20  – Radio Starmaker Fund Deadline.

November 28 – FACTOR – 3rd Quarter Review for Artist Profile.

Also, FACTOR has put together an amazing list of alternate sources of funding, check it out Here.

If you are looking for information on how eEK! can help you with your funding needs, please email us at info@eekproductions.ca.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favour,

EK