by Tracy Johnson
You have the three most important things a personality needs to become great: Desire, work ethic and talent. Now all you need is a break. At some point, every personality needs to advance. And that’s why it’s a good idea to be constantly marketing.
Whether the goal is to land a better job than you have now, make the most of the situation you’re in or just prepare for the future, it’s up to you to become the solution every PD or manager absolutely must have.
But for every great new gig, there are hundreds of applicants. A great demo package will help. But how can you stand out before that job is even posted? By constantly marketing your own personality brand.
The first rule of thumb in marketing personalities is to never wait until you really want a job to promote yourself. And second, don’t wait for a dream job to open up. Start now to get attention from decision makers.
In other words, start raising your industry profile.
The more influential decision makers that know about you, the better chances you have when that gig is open.
When most openings arise, programmers immediately start sifting through the inventory of personalities they know. And that is usually a very short list. Being high profile gets you on that list.
So how do you get on the list?
Start with Morning Show Boot Camp. It’s a great way to meet other shows, get new ideas and be exposed to opportunities.
But don’t just attend. Participate. There are so many opportunities to establish relationships with managers, programmers, talent coaches, consultants and other shows. Take advantage of it.
Once you make new contacts, follow up. Trade ideas and provide value that can help them. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. But don’t make it questions about how to get a new gig. The opportunities will come around when the time is right.
Try to start a relationship with programmers, managers and other industry executives that could help you in the future. Some won’t respond. Don’t get discouraged. Everyone is busy. But of you’re persistent and interesting, many will become part of your personal industry network.
When you reach out, don’t just ask for a favor or send a demo. Start the conversation by showing you know something about them, and would like to ask for feedback, input and advice. Tell them how much you admire them and would love to learn from them.
That means some investigative work is needed to start the process.
Part of the constantly marketing process is being humble. That may go against your nature, so fight it!
The more the conversation is about the influencer, the more success you’ll have.
In the first contact, explain quickly who you are and why you’re reaching out. And ask for help with a couple of specific questions. But again, don’t make it about getting a gig! Ask about something that can improve your process or execution.
I really love how your morning show handles phone calls. It’s an area I’m trying to improve, and would like to ask a couple of questions. First, I have a hard time getting into the calls quickly without making it sound abrupt or rude. How do you coach your shows to do it? And second, I noticed that many callers on your show contribute, then the caller disappears and the show takes over. I love that. How do you know where to get out of a call?
This sends several messages:
Whatever you do, don’t send a demo in the first contact. That’s too presumptive, and it’s kind of transparent that you just want a gig. Chances are, they’ll get back to you, provide some feedback and ask for audio.
The relationship has begun, and best of all: they’re invested in your success because they’ve shared their expertise.
Every decision maker is busy, so make sure everything sent (including applications when going for a specific gig) is easily accessible and efficient.
But also make sure it stands out.
Include a short mp3 featuring only examples relevant to the discussion. Use the opportunity to explain a little more about the show for context. For example, send a link to a video, if available. If not, get one. Video can really sell personality. Also include links to social media pages, but just your show pages. Not personal pages.
Repeat this process as much as possible, and extend it to stations you are targeting for the future.
First, make a connection with the PD and GM, if possible. If there’s an Operations Manager and Consultant, contact them, too.
Then, try to get a meeting. Tell them how much you love the station and want to get a tour, buy them a coffee or lunch and learn more about how they make radio magic.
It works best to tell them you’ll be in their town on certain dates, and hope they can spare a few minutes for you. Once they agree to a meeting, schedule your visit to the market!
This is how John Moug (The Moug Show) got his gig on 91X/San Diego. He was in Las Vegas, and wanted to be in San Diego. Moug identified the station he wanted to be on and started constantly marketing to get noticed. It took about two years, but it worked. Now Moug is right where he wants to be, with co-hosts Jarod and Danielle
When you get the meeting, sell your personality and character, but don’t over-sell it. And whatever you do, don’t pitch them for a job in this meeting.
After the meeting, send a hand-written thank you note, highlighting specific things that stood out. And ask if it would be okay to stay in touch.
Then ask a couple of follow up questions that apply to your show, as described above. This is the time they’ll likely ask for a demo. The relationship is getting deeper!
Marketing a personality brand to new contacts takes time. Invest the time for those gigs you want.
In the meantime, start building tools and resources. Here are a few things to invest in.
It’s so easy to set up a simple website. Every personality should have one. Check out a free site like WordPress or even Wix.com. Part of John Moug’s constantly marketing strategy for 91X was a customized website specific to his pursuit of that one job. Impressive.
On the site, include a bio, audio demos, videos and testimonials. This is a great place to include details and more audio examples to show off depth and range.
When a PD or GM asks for audio, post it to the site, and send them a link. While there, they’ll discover more about you.
Try to purchase a domain featuring your on-air name, preferably one that ends in “dot com.” Also buy domains for common misspellings and redirect to the site.
There are plenty of inexpensive website building programs, but he best solution is a self-hosted WordPress site. One of WordPress’ big advantages is that once it’s set up, you can update it with a backend that’s as intuitive as a word processing program.
This isn’t hard to do. If you don’t have the time or skills, put an ad on Craig’s List of Fiverr to turn up plenty of folks that can create one for you.
The website doesn’t need to have a ton of content, but it does need to be current and regularly updated. Set a schedule to post updated material on a regular basis.
If you don’t have a current headshot, get one. This is one of the basic promotional tools every personality should have. And don’t do it yourself, unless you or your buddy is a pro. It only costs a few dollars for a professional photo session.
Going with a pro will insure the right lighting and turn out dozens of photos to choose from. Use them in materials, on the website, on social media, etc.
Hopefully you actively use social media. At the very least, you should have a Facebook page (not just a personal profile), a LinkedIn profile, and a Twitter account. Twitter is an overlooked platform that could become one of the most effective promo tools, but it’s tricky. Click here for tips on how to use it.
Use a program like Hootsuite to manage social media profiles from one place. If you haven’t been posting regularly, start. Aim for at least once per day on each platform.
Also look into private groups on social media specializing in radio. Linkedin and Facebook have some excellent groups. Get involved, be active and work those contacts.
Getting a great gig is almost never because of luck. Sometimes the best talent is hired, but most of the time it has a lot to do with personal marketing. It’s usually a combination of talent and building relationships.
Get started now and be proactive in managing your future by constantly marketing to reach goals.
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