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7 Ways to Market Yourself as an Artist Without Turning into an Annoying Salesman


We want to market ourselves as freelance artists and we want to market our works. However, when the opportunity strikes for us to introduce ourselves to an individual or to a crowd, we fumble and only manage to let out a soft squeal. Or, when we’re not shy, we’re too scared that we’re sharing so many things that we become the annoying overopromoter. There’s a science to being pleasant even if you’re aggressively promoting yourself. Here are some ways you can “tone down” and become casual with your self-promotion without actually toning down or becoming less aggressive.

1. Make an informal Business Card. It is necessary that you print formal business cards for executives and other important people you meet at formal events but it is equally important to have a more casual business card for new friends and acquaintances. Handing out informal business cards will not only make the meeting appear more casual (read: not businesslike), it will also make it less awkward for you to hand out business cards. Here are some examples of really fun business card designs.

2. Don’t over-promote on social media. The quickest way to be annoying is by posting endlessly on Facebook about your new album or movie or whatever. Sure, people liked your page or added you because they like you and would love to get updates from you from time to time but that’s just exactly what they wanted- time to time, not ALL THE TIME! I’ve seen so many artists nowadays from musicians to filmmakers who just have nothing else to say except their next gig, next screenings, next exhibits, awards, interviews, whatnot. Can we be more human and also show our real-ness online? I do not mean sharing what you had for breakfast (unless you had a 10-foot pancake or something interesting), what I mean is that we should post more human, universal, real stuff in between album/DVD/kickstarter/gig promotions. It’s important that you always monitor that you’re still charming to be on your fans’ feeds.

3. Let other people talk about you. Instead of sharing about your latest stuff like a crazy maniac, let other people do it for you. That way, you’ll reach more people without being too annoying. How do you do this? You can simply send e-mails/messages to these people saying “Hey, could you please share blah blah” but the problem with this is that unless they’re your friends, they will simply ignore your message. Send these favor requests to very close friends and colleagues only. So how do you contact those influential people whom you’re not close with? Send them the same message but answer the question “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”. If you have budget for marketing, then contact the big guys and offer them a few dollars for retweeting you or talking about you on their blogs and social media. However, if you can’t give them cash, you can provide an ex-deal. If you’re a musician for example, you can provide royalty-free music to those few influential people. If they’re huge fans, you can give them free CDs but chances are they’d be willing to do it for you without batting an eyelash.

4. Let other artists share your stuff. Network with other artists so that you can help promote each other’s works. The good thing about this is that your approach will not be so annoying since you have at least similar fans who are into music/film and other arts. If they share your stuff to their tribe, there’s a chance that those people will find your stuff interesting because their tribe is not too different from yours, vice versa. Of course, when the time comes for you to share the stuff of the artists who helped you, make sure you are very willing. That is why, even if it’s “free”, you have to choose wisely.

5. During personal interactions, don’t automatically gravitate towards the “big guys”. Well, of course, it’s great for your career to mingle with the executives but they will instantly know if you’re just there to kiss their asses. Your peers will see this too and that’d make them less likely to help you unless you’re a generous ass-kisser which is rarely the case.

6. Make sure each recipient of your newsletter really signed up for it. Do not just send e-mails to anybody because not only will you likely get reported to Google, recipients who didn’t sign up for your newsletter will get turned off and unsubscribe. That means goodbye to potential fans.

7. Don’t call more than once to check the status of your submission/proposal. If you submitted your demo to a label or if you sent press kits to bloggers and other publishing companies, it’s okay to give them an e-mail/text/call informing them about your submission but it’s absolutely a no-no to bug them about the status of your transaction especially since you’re not paying substantial amount of money! If everyone will make calls to these people, their phones will never stop ringing. Unless they promised to give you an update on a certain date, be patient.

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s a must to be aggressive but make sure you apply these tips so you don’t lose your charm.

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