by Tracy Johnson
Admit it: You’ve been frustrated that the same folks keep getting the great gigs over and over. And many are less qualified or talented. Many are simply overrated. How does that happen? Most jobs are awarded to someone a hiring manager or decision maker already knows. That’s why a key part of he Get That Gig strategy is to network to get work.
It’s common sense, isn’t it? Even if a candidate makes a strong impression, it’s common to finish second because of a powerful force: familiarity. That’s why Constantly Marketing should be part of a career strategy. Relationships pay off.
Impressing management is usually not that difficult for most personalities and programmers. WIth years of experience working with clients and listeners, most excel in these situations.
But, it’s hard for management to judge how well an unknown personality will fit a new culture. How will they get along with the existing staff? How will this person react to coaching and direction? These are real concerns. It’s natural for managers to place candidates they know at the top of the list. Even if not the most important consideration, it’s a tiebreaker.
And with so much competition for great gigs, you need to win those ties.
That’s why networking is critical. It takes time, but it isn’t expensive. There are many ways to reach out and make connections. A good place to start is radio conventions like Morning Show Boot Camp, where personalities, programmers, talent coaches and consultants gather.
At conventions, the Exhibition Hall isn’t the best place to make connections. It’s too crowded, and after a while it’s all kind of a blur. The best way to make an impact? Participate in sessions.
Ask questions and don’t be shy to let people know you’re available.
Air Personality Krystina Ramey knows how to make an impression. She networks by being bold to make things happen instead of waiting for gigs to come to her.
In the weeks following Morning Show Boot Camp, three program directors asked me about her. One manager wasn’t even at Boot Camp, but heard about her from others who were.
She made an impression by being prepared, asking questions and participating in the sessions.
Boot Camp is an investment and it’s not that expensive if you follow these tips.
But being involved at conventions is just where it begins. That alone won’t get that gig. Now it’s time to network to get work.
Out of site is out of mind. Decision makers have short attention spans, just like listeners.
Seal each new relationship by following up.
Exchange a business card that links to a personality website. It’s ideal if the card includes a photo as a reminder. And make sure to get their card to remind you to get in touch later.
Each new connection is a lead. Follow up to stay top of mind, but don’t stop there. Send a personal thank you card via good old fashioned snail mail. This will stand out as personal and thoughtful.
But don’t send a demo or resume yet.
Krystina makes it a point to make a personal connection:
Conventions are terrific. But what if it’s still weeks or months to the next conference? There are other ways to network to get work.
Expanding a personal network takes time, but is easy. Everyone has a program director, former boss or instructor that knows folks you don’t. Most will be flattered to spread the word.
Ask for a personal introduction via telephone, video conference or email. This establishes a new contact and expands your network.
I met Krystina through KRBE/Houston’s Eric Rowe, one of America’s best producers (Roula and Ryan show). Eric introduced us and Krystina took it from there.
She talks about how she networks through her circle of influencers:
Stay in touch with contacts by reaching out regularly. Chances are, you’ll hit it off with one or more.
Maybe you don’t have a personal contact that can open those doors. That’s okay. Start knocking. Some doors will open.
Media Talent Pool: Networking is why we started MediaTalentPool.com. It’s a free resource for talent to be discovered and managers to find talent. Everyone should have a listing there, if for no other reason to get on the radar of Tracy Johnson Media Group. When clients are looking for talent, this is our go-to resource.
Consultants & Talent Coaches: We’re always looking for exciting, fresh talent, and most consultants will respond to an inquiry. It’s easy to find an email address. Mine is [email protected] Make a contact. Start a relationship. Get recommended.
Professional Help: Want to get an advantage over the competition for a gig? Consider a private coaching session with one of the TJMG talent coaches. We can help build a demo package. and will even edit audio and video demos. Each coaching client receives special designation in the Media Talent Pool listings and is guaranteed to be top of mind for future recommendations. Get details and book a session at www.aircheckcoaching.com.
Look, radio is not exactly a growth industry.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 5% decline in radio and TV announcers in the next ten years. That’s discouraging. But fight that emotion.
Nearly every client has told me, “There’s nobody out there”. Clearly, they just haven’t met you yet.
Decision makers are looking for confident, positive and optimistic personalities. Many interviews start with a great first impression, but the candidate is eliminated because they don’t inspire confidence or aren’t fun to talk to.
We rarely recommend air talent that complains about lack of opportunities or makes excuses. Managers don’t want to hear talent say radio “isn’t as much fun as it used to be”. Keep it to yourself. Suppress negative thoughts.
Humble confidence with a positive outlook is contagious. Figure out how to project that attitude, even if you have to fake it.
Krystina has a pep talk for you:
There are still great opportunities in radio.
Gigs are out there. What will you do to network to get work?
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