So you went to SXSW and you had a great time. You played some great showcases and you met some great people and hopefully you made some solid contacts and networked with some great people. Hopefully you have had a few hours to catch up on some sleep and refresh yourself physically. Being from Austin, TX; we here at Quite Trill have been dealing with SXSW for years so we know the ups and downs that come with the biggest music conference in the country.
Congratulations on all the work and sacrifices you made to get to Austin, congrats on building your brand and being chosen to be a part of SXSW, congrats on the long or short trip you made to physically get to SXSW. However, the reality of the situation is that with all the work you did to “get” there, your real WORK started when you got there and the most important work will actually be done in the up-coming days and weeks. SXSW should be treated as a work trip not an industry fantasy. Remember you are an artist / entrepreneur just like them, you are not a fan. Contrary to popular belief it is not about how many photos you took with your favorite artists and it sure is not about being on the same bill as what ever star It’s all about the follow-up. Meeting artists is great and there is a level of inspiration and barter that you can get from other artist but the real connections are with the people behind the scenes. The people who push the buttons, those that do the unpopular jobs and make the machine go.
Quite Trill has compiled a list of things that should do in order to ensure you get the most from your SXSW experience.
1. Organize all of your contacts (all the cards, CD’s etc) in one place. Ideally a spread sheet or even a Microsoft word document. Also, it’s a good idea for you to notate who the contact is and what they do if not on the contact you have.
2. Contact all of your contacts within one to two weeks of SXSW. Remember how many people you met and exchanged information with, do you remember all of those people? Well they probably don’t remember you either. Hopefully you made an impression on the people that you met but as the old saying goes, “you must strike while the iron is hot”. There is a small window of opportunity here.
3. Compose a general email message to send to the contacts but don’t make the message too general if that makes sense. The message should be direct, polite and it should reference SXSW and the fact that you met at SXSW and who you are. Make sure you add any information that will further identify you to that contact. If you have a hot song or current video etc include any links you have or mp3 etc. If you know specifics about any particular contact make sure to add relevant information to the general message that you send to that contact.
4. Even though you are sending a general message please do not send a mass email, approach it like you would if you were making phone calls. Send each email individually and personalize it by using the contacts name in your opening for example
5. If you don’t receive a return message within 48 hrs send another email. Let the contact know that you have attempted to contact them previously and restate your business. Be persistent but not pushy, real go-getters will appreciate your effort.
6. Gain a general understanding of what business function your contact serves then determine what that function can do for you and more importantly what you can do for that contact.
7. If you have a blog or a website you should definitely post about your experience at SXSW, complete with photos and video. This will help to take your followers along with you on your SXSW journey. Also, as crazy as it may sound to you, acknowledge other acts that you enjoyed during the conference and make sure you tag them on social network. Why you ask? Remember, it’s all about the network and who knows that group may also return that acknowledgment. You should do this asap as well, remember “strike while the iron is hot”.
8. Take a bit of time to acknowledge SXSW and any other promoters that put you on “unofficial” shows. Send them a thank-you email, text or call if you have phone number and let them know that you enjoyed performing, that you will be in contact with them on a constant basis and hopefully that you can do it again next year. (again remember you are building a network)
9. Get with other artist you met and establish your network with them but understand that you have leverage and they have leverage. You all can help each other through show swaps and other things. It’s not about a lot of music collaboration unless it will expand your brand and expose you to a new market. If you do not have relationships with local promoters, venues, radio etc then you don’t have much to offer and you should not expect much from other artists. Remember artist are trying to gain more ground, bigger markets, more opportunity for expansion………………. I mean aren’t you doing trying to do the same thing? Main thing is to be willing to work as well as reap the benefits of connecting.
10. Organize with other acts in your city or area and get a venue in Austin for SXSW 2017 and make the showcase about your city and the artist in it.