Hey guys, today we’ll be looking at product placement, but not in it’s typical form. Usually product placement is when a company compensates you to have their product in your video or to mention it in your song. In the strategy I’m going to share with you today and next week however, we’re going to adapt this strategy and use products, interests and hobbies to attract the attention of companies that have a bigger reach then you. This could lead to sponsorship, getting exposure on the targeted company’s marketing budget, and more.
Important: Part 2 on product placement for musicians is out now. Read that after you’ve read this one.
Specifically in this lesson we’ll look at:
- An overview of the strategy. Although this lesson will go on for two or three weeks (It’s quite an in-depth subject), you’ll get an overview of the full strategy in this lesson.
- The potential rewards for using this kind of strategy (There are a lot).
- How to pick the right topic or company to target which will give the best results.
- How to avoid the wrong subjects and why that’s important.
- A walk though allowing you to create a long list of companies, then shorten them based on their potential to do well.
- And more.
By the end of this guide you’ll have not only a good understanding of what this little used strategy is and how it can benefit your music career, but you’ll also have a filtered list of relevant subjects for you to start working on.
Ok, so what exactly does this strategy involve? What will we be doing and why?
In short, we’ll be drawing up a list of interests, hobbies, governing bodies, brands and companies we have an interest in. From there we’ll be incorporating an element of them into either a song or video you’re working on.
Once done, you’ll use this piece to gain attention from the target in question, directly contacting them both early and later on in the process.
The aim is to draw good attention to yourself from the brand, and convince them to enter some kind of beneficial partnership for you both.
This strategy can work well as there aren’t a lot of people already doing it. It’s a proactive way to build up partnerships with people with influence, and it can get you known in circles you probably wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
So now you have an overview of what we’ll be doing over this and the next lesson or two, let’s get into the finer of getting a sponsorship as a musician.
Important Note: As with most things in the music industry, nothing is guaranteed. Doing the below you’ll create opportunities for yourself, and increase the likeliness that you’ll build up a collaboration with one or more companies. That said, not every company you try and work with is going to get back to you or want to take the relationship further. Keep going however, and sooner or later you’ll get your chance if you’ve enough talent. This is the same with most things in the music industry, so give it a proper try.
The Potential Rewards For Using This Strategy
So let’s get on to the good bit, the potential rewards you can get from using this kind of strategy. To be honest, there’s more then one potential end game you can gain from implementing this. Here are four things you can aim towards, any of them would be a good result. If you can secure more then one from the same company or group, you’re in a good position.
Note: The below four things also gives you an idea of some of the things you can try out. That said, use your imagination to think of even more ways you can reap the rewards listed below.
Getting Your Song Licensed For Their Promotional Materials
One of the best outcomes you can have is them liking your song, and deciding to use it in some of their promotional materials. For example, let’s say you targeted the UK based company Centre Parcs in one campaign. You wrote a song about being in a relaxing environment, yet being able to experience new activities you always wanted to do. You may or may not have mentioned Centre Parks directly in the song, but it was clear that’s what you were talking about either way.
If you were to contact Centre Parcs and they were to get back to you telling you they wanted to use your song in one of their adverts, that would be a pretty big result. Not only should you get paid for them using your song, but you could also collect royalties each time the advert with your song is played.
Companies like this often advertise both on TV and via other means. They often approach companies to find them songs which they can use, but if someone was to approach them with the perfect song, there’s a chance they’d use that instead.
Getting your song in one of these adverts should be one of your main aims.
Working With Them On Other Songs And Projects
Another potential rewards is building up a working relationship with the people you’re covering. Let’s say for example you’ve made a song which draws the attention of a popular soft drink company. You may have done this by creating a full on song about them, or probably better yet you’ve shown their drink in a video which mentions quenching thirst to some extent (This is often more effective at it’s something relevant but not to ‘in your face’, making them more likely to use in promotional material).
If the company like what you do, they may try and work with you on other future projects. For example, they may have a fun day coming up which they’d want you to be involved in. Maybe a performance of your song, or have you hosting part of the event.
They may also get you to write for their blog here and there, or even commission you to write a future song which will further promote their company.
The potential future collaborations are only limited to what the company can do, and how much you manage to impress and make things easy for them.
Getting Covered In Their Updates (Social / Magazine etc)
Sometimes, the rewards from getting bigger companies to notice you are as simple as getting more exposure to one of your releases. For example, let’s say you personally liked to hike a lot. If you were to put this in one of your song and spoke about the joys of hiking (Without making it cheesy or any less credible), you then have the option of pushing it to a number of related companies and organizations which may promote the single.
For example, you could approach the American Hiking Society and let them know you’ve just released a single which relates to what it is they work on. Include the single, and let them know you’d love if they could give it a review. With any luck they’ll take you up on this offer, and leave a positive review of it on their website. If they go on to share this review on their social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have a load of people hearing about your single who probably wouldn’t have otherwise. As this will be an unbiased third party review from a company they trust, them hearing about it in a favorable light may encourage more sales of this single.
Freebies From The Company In Question
One final reward which can come from this strategy is gaining freebies from the brand or company you mention. Some companies may decide to give you free stuff for mentioning their product. This may simply be as a thank you, but more likely because they hope you’ll continue to push their brand for free or get them exposure in other ways.
While this isn’t going to be the biggest reward in terms of pushing your music career forward, it is still beneficial and can show the strategy works. Get a create of your favorite drink out of it? Or a ticket to see a show you like? That’s not bad considering it’s not going to cost you much money to record the song in the first place.
Besides, from you get your foot in the door with one of these companies, there’s always the chance of working one of the above deals with them in future. That, and you can say you’ve worked with this company before on your website, boosting your credibility and making you seem more attractive to other brands.
Brain Storming A Company Or Industry To Target
So now you have an idea of what the strategy entails and what we’re going to be doing, the next step is to start drawing up ideas of what you’ll be making a song or video about. After all, as you’re not going to be targeting the usual song subjects most people use, there are literally thousands and thousands of things you can choose to focus your songs around.
In order to decide where you’re going to target your efforts, first you’ll want to get a pen and piece of paper, and list all of your interests. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to music or not, just get a load of ideas down where you can see.
Maybe you’re into football and you play for fun every weekend. Maybe you’re into train spotting, and have a collection of photos related to the subject. You may even be signed up to a train spotting forum or membership site.
What about any types of foods you’re particularly fond of? Maybe a specific brand of sweets or pizza?
Any places you like visiting? Whether it’s somewhere which is man made such as Centre Parcs or Disney Land Paris, or just a city or area of interest…
What about TV programs you like watching? Or even a popular Youtube channel which gets a lot of regular viewers?
Get a list down of at least thirty things which you have an interest in, trying to span them across the above mentioned categories and any others you can think of.
The reason you should be looking at things you’re personally interested in is because you want to work with something you personally use and would be comfortable to associate your name with. After all, as you already do this activity or use this brand, chances are you wouldn’t mind collaborating with them in some way. While that won’t be the case with all the things which end up on your list, creating the list does give you a good idea of some of the things you can use in this strategy.
Avoiding Targeting The Wrong Kind Of Companies
Before I show you how to narrow down this list to a workable few ideas, I want to make a quick note about which type of things to avoid. There are two main reasons you’ll want to avoid some specific subjects:
1. They’ll Have A Negative Affect On Your Image
While doing these kind of songs and videos can have a positive effect on your music career, making songs related to and associating with the wrong kinds of company can have a negative affect on your image. For example, let’s say you’re a hardcore rapper who’s been targeting and building up a fan base based around that image.
If you were to turn around and all of a sudden start taking about taking leisurely strolls down the valley, there’s a good chance you’ll alienate your original audience and come across as someone who’s less then genuine to both your fans and the company you’re targeting.
When using this strategy, you’ll want to ensure the new material you make is something the majority of your existing fan base will also enjoy. If you can get them to support, you’ll get more views on Youtube and get your song in more place then if they didn’t support it. If you can get a good amount of Youtube views before the company you’re contacting has even shown any type of support, this is going to be a good sign to them and could even be a deciding factor when they decide if they want to work with you or not.
It’s because of this that you should only target things that naturally fit into your life style, and things you’re genuinely a fan of.
2. You Don’t Personally Agree With What You’re Promoting
If you get the opportunity to work with a brand you don’t personally agree with, would you take it? This is something you’ll need to ask yourself when putting this strategy into effect, as there’s a chance this could happen. You may have an idea to make a song and mention or showcase a product you don’t personally like, and you know most likely the company will throw money at you for doing so.
While there are many people who would take this opportunity, my suggestion is that you don’t. You want to remain as genuine as possible, so your recommendations mean something and are something you can stand behind. After all, if you get one company chasing you to promote their product in some way, chances are you’ll have other opportunities again in future.
Choosing The Final Targets
By now you should have a list of at least thirty things which you personally enjoy. Once this list is made up, the next step is to shorten it significantly to just a few things you could potentially target.
During the shortening process, be sure to keep a copy of your original list of good ideas. The reason for this is simple: The shortening process isn’t just there to get rid of bad ideas (Although there is that element to it), it’s mainly about choosing which ideas you’re going to work on first. The list you made were all based around things you’ve some level of passion about, so chances are most of them are things you can incorporate into songs in one way or another.
With that in mind, let’s get to shortening down your list of thirty to a list of five subjects you’re going to target first. You’ll ideally want them to fit into these below categories:
1. It’s Something You Have A Great Passion About
You like all the things mentioned in your list, but which ones are you really passionate about? Which ones would you be happy to promote regardless of whether or not the company returns the favor? The ones that fit into this category should rise to the top of your list.
2. It’s Something That Fits In With Your Image As A Musician
As I mentioned before, you don’t want to try this strategy with any hobbies or brands that don’t tie in with your existing image (Unless you’re stilling finding your image / fan base, in which case feel free to experiment).
Chances are, some things on the list are things you enjoy, but wouldn’t go down well with the image you’re trying to portray as a musician. If this is the case, take these ideas off the list, as there may not be a way to credibly target these things without losing some of your fanbase along the way.
Note: If you’re something of a trend setter in your genre or feel you’re willing to show another side of yourself to your audience and feel they’ll accept it, then feel free to keep these things in your list. Remember though, if you’ve already got a supportive fan base who you’ve taken a while to build up (Supportive in terms of spending money on you in some way and spreading the word about your material), chances are you won’t want to do too much to mess that up.
3 (If Not A Brand). It’s Something With A Number Of Companies You Could Potential Target
While you can target specific brands you like in your song or video, targeting hobbies and general concepts are often the best things to do. This is because you can target a number of companies with one song, and if they’re not interested in collaborating in some way, push the idea to another company.
So, is there anything on your list that fits this bill? My previous example of hiking is a good look at this. If you make a song of hiking and try and get the American Hiking Society on board but they’re not interested, there are plenty of other companies you can send it to to try and get some kind of sponsorship or review from. For example, you could send your song to makers of hiking equipment in the hope they’ll use your song for a future campaign of theirs. Or that they have a social presence and wouldn’t mind reviewing your song for their audience (More on that in the section below).
If anything on your list meets both this requirement and the above two, you’re giving yourself the best chance of making this strategy work for you.
3 (If A Brand). Is A Social Company Which Can Push You In Some Way
If you have decided to go for a brand, you’ll want to make sure they’re a company which has at least one of the following things in place.
One of the things you’ll want to look out for is their social presence. Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest or Google+? Are their follower numbers worth reaching? At least 8,000 Facebook followers if that’s the main platform, 15,000 Twitter followers. Ideally a lot more of both. Do they have their own blog with regular interaction?
If yes to any of the above, have a closer look at the type of things they post on these social promotion tools. Is it 100% strictly internal material (The occasional update about what’s happening within their company)? Or do they cover generally anything that’s related to them?
If the latter, that’s a good sign. Lots of brands with large social numbers are increasingly using fan sourced material such as fan videos and things made by users of their pages, and sharing them with their existing audience. You can take advantage of this with one of your songs or videos; hopefully your material will also get shared on their pages and bring you extra attention and sales.
If any of the companies on your list fall into this category, you may want to give it a go targeting them in some way.
Similarly, if you have a company on your list which uses different songs in their advertising campaigns which aren’t well established songs (Or at least they weren’t before they used them), this is a good sign. There may be a chance to get your song featured in one of their adverts.
Choosing The Final Targets Continued
Hopefully after seeing which of the above three points apply to each of the things in your list, you have five or so hobbies or companies you would feel comfortable targeting some way in a song or video.
The next step is to decide which one of these projects you’re going to work on first. Over time you may end up working on a few of them, but for now you should only focus on one. This is so you can get a feel of the strategy before you work on them all, and see what does and doesn’t work for you personally during your approach.
On top of that, you don’t want to target too many companies at one. You don’t want to be seen by your fans as someone who’s just promoting product after product in the quest for money, so you should incorporate these projects within your other normal songs which aren’t targeting any company in the method I’ve mentioned today.
So how do you go about picking just one to work on first from your list? Your best bet is to look at the potential companies you can target with your final five ideas.
Beside each of the ideas, list all the companies you can potentially target with the chosen hobby or brand. So for example, let’s say one of your ideas is sewing (Yes, this strategy can work with literally any hobby you have). So you could find some places you can contact to do with sewing, and list them beside your idea. After doing a quick Yahoo search, I found this magazine, this Facebook page and this Youtube channel. All potential targets with existing fan bases you can take advantage of. Besides these, there are plenty more sewing related media platforms which could be targeted.
How do you go about finding these companies? Well, in your chosen search engine, search things like sewing club, sewing magazine, sewing forum and the like. They will give you places you can target, and lead you on to other related companies in your chosen subject.
Once you’ve done that for all five, you’ll have a better idea of which idea will allow you to target the most companies. Your best bet is to go with the one that looks to have the most opportunities.
Tip: For your first go at least, I suggest you go for a general hobby or type of product, rather then a specific brand. As I mentioned, this will allow you to target more then one company with your song or video, so you won’t have just one chance of making things work with this first song. That said, it’s your choice.
End Of Part 1
So that wraps up the first part of this strategy. You should now have a idea of what this strategy is all about (And why it’s worth you pursuing), as well as have a list of subjects which you can work on next and in future.
Next Thursday, we’ll be looking at how to best create the song you’ll be releasing. After all, you don’t want to make it so you’re name dropping left right and center. You still want your material to remain credible for both your fans and the companies you’re targeting.
We’ll also be looking at how to get these companies to take notice of what you’re doing, and how to effectively communicate with them at different stages of things. Ok, I’ll see you in the next lesson. 🙂
What To Do Now
- Be clear on what the overall end game is for using this strategy and how it will benefit you. Go over any of the above points again if needed.
- Draw up a list of potential hobbies, brands and companies you could credibly include in your videos and songs.
- Narrow this list down to a top five list using the above mentioned methods. This will be the five things you’ll be targeting in future campaigns.
- For now though, we only want one idea which you’ll be working on first, so pick that one based on which you’re most passionate about, which has the most opportunities attached to it, and which seems to be easiest for your first go.
Note: Part 2 on product placement for musicians is out now.