Hi guys. Today we’re going to look some more at how you can use (non traditional) product placement to get in contract with companies, and getting some of them work with you. Potential rewards include them licensing your music for their promotions, them giving you freebies, them reviewing your music and sharing the review with their large social network, and more.
This is part 2 of the series. If you haven’t yet read part 1, you can see that here. Be sure to read that before you go any further so you have a full overview of how this strategy works.
In this part of the guide we’ll be looking at:
- Some of the things you’ll need to bare in mind when creating the song in question (How much you should focus on the product or hobby, what kind of song you should make, the issue of using brand names etc).
- How to best get in contact with the companies in question.
- How to chase up with the companies to increase the chances you’ll get a collaboration.
- And more.
I also touch on other points throughout which will help you make this strategy work for you. After you’ve read this guide and part 1, you’ll have the knowledge you need to give this strategy a go. With that in mind, let’s get into it.
Should You Create A Song Or A Song And Video Making?
So now you’ve chosen which company or hobby you’re going to target, the next step is to start putting your song or video together. But which one should you use?
Both have their uses, and both can be effective. The real question is, can you afford to make a good quality video for this? Or if you can make music videos yourself, have you got the skills to produce a good quality video to present to a company?
If you can answer yes to either of the above questions, you should go with a video AND song. A video can be much more convincing, and will make for a easier sale. When people can see a good quality visual representation of what you’re trying to push, it’ll become easier to get excited about, and increase the chances they’ll want to work with you.
If you can’t realistically make a good quality video for this project, no problem. Your best bet is to instead create a relevant song. This can still work for this strategy, so don’t feel like you’re set back if you can only make a song.
Important Tip: If you’ve a consumer level camcorder and can make amateur videos, don’t make one and approach a company with it. The majority of these companies are used to seeing high quality professional videos, and probably won’t take anything less than that seriously. This kind of video will actually harm your chances of forming a collaboration, so if this is the only kind of video you can make, simply go with just a song instead.
How To Incorporate The Chosen Brand Or Theme Into Your Song
While I won’t tell you how to write a song from scratch (hopefully you’ll already know how to do that if you’re reading this guide), what I do need to mention is some specific things you’ll want to think about when putting this song together. After all, we’re using it to mainly target companies rather then you’re usual audience. That said, as a secondary aim you’ll probably still want the song to be appealing to your more general fans.
With that in mind, the first thing you need to decide is how you’re going to make your song relevant to the hobby or company you’re targeting.
There are two main ways you can do this:
- Using the targeted companies names directly.
- Talking about things related to the company but without directly mentioning any specific names.
I won’t go deep into this argument, as I already briefly mentioned what I feel is best in last week’s lesson. Most of the time, you should go for the second option of not mentioning any companies name directly. There are a few main reasons for this:
- You may want to target more then one company with the same song. By targeting more companies, you’ll increase the chance that more people will support it in some way. For example, you might get a couple of companies reviewing it, and another company using it in their advert. If however you only chose to target one company and they didn’t want to use it in any way, you’ll have to start again with an all new song.
- Making a song about a certain brand may alienate your audience. Bait promotions often aren’t very attractive within songs, so there’s a chance your fans will question your choices to make a song about a specific brand. That said, there are ways around this. It’s possible to make this kind of song and only try and push it to companies, without releasing it to your existing fanbase.
Unless a company specifically asks you to write a song for them mentioning their name, you may want to avoid making songs around a specific brand. Mentioning a brand once or twice is fine, but to include them in your chorus, all your verses and title is a bit much. Which brings me to my next question; Within the song, how much should you focus on each topic or company?
Making The Song / Video – How Much Should You Focus On The Subject In Question?
Next we need to determine how much we’ll be talking about the topic in question. Should you only mention the company or hobby a couple of times throughout the song? Or should the whole song be focused on it?
While it will depend on what subject you’re going for (as well as how comfortable you are talking about the subject), you should aim to keep the theme consistently about the subject in question. Let me explain.
If you’ve decided to create a song talking about a specific subject which you can target a few companies with (recommended), it should be easy enough to write a song around this topic. After all, you picked it from a list of things you’re passionate about.
To make things clearer, let’s use the example of hiking. You’re going to target the hiking hobby, and within that you’re going to send your song to a load of hiking related companies. With this in mind, you’ll want to ensure your whole song is relevant to this subject, and will be appealing to any companies you’re approaching for collaboration.
Within the song, you don’t want to start talking about clubbing or partying, as it won’t be what the companies you’re approaching will be interested in. Instead, you’ll want to talk about the subject in a favorable light.
While this is easy enough when you’re targeting a hobby or interest, it becomes more difficult when you’re targeting a specific brand. This is because there’s often not as much you can say about brands without sounding too cheesy, or like you’re paid to talk about it. Again, this could alienate your existing audience, so if you go down this path, you may only want to promote this song to companies but not to your fanbase.
Despite this, if you’re targeting a brand, you’ll still want to keep the focus of the song 100% on them. You won’t want to be name dropping the brand every couple of lines, but you will want to include it at least 3 or so times within the song. As well as that, focus on the benefit of the brand, how it makes you feel, what it helps you achieve and the like.
If you can’t make it sound credible, you may want to think about leaving the name dropping out. After all, if it doesn’t sound natural or credible, the company will most likely see this as well, and not include it in any of their promotions.
Huge Tip: Still not sure how much you should focus on the subject in your song? Then have a look at other online and television adverts to see what goes down well. You’ll find that many songs used for adverts don’t actually include the company’s name, and that the names are usually added in after during a voice over.
Why You Should Avoid Putting Brand Names In Your Song Titles
Just a quick point here. Even if you’re including product or company names within your song, be sure not to include their name in your song title. This is for legal reasons; you’re not going to want the company to think you’re trying to pass your song off as an official sponsored song of the company, as this could lead to them sending your a cease an desist letter, or worse yet attempting to claim damages from you.
If this was to happen and you took the song down right away, most likely it will all go away. That said, it’s not guaranteed, and you’ll probably want to save yourself the hassle of going through that in the first place. So never try and claim you’re officially associated with a company, just that you’re a fan and simply want to express your feelings. There is nothing wrong with doing this, hence you being allowed to leave reviews of products on stores like Amazon etc.
Serious Vs Spoof?
One last things I want to touch on when it comes to making your song is how you’ll approach it. Do you make the song in a more serious tone, or do you try and cheese and spoof it up to fit in with a fun brand? Well, in all honesty the choice is yours.
You need to make sure the song you make fits in with what you’re comfortable with, so if you’re used to more serious songs, doing a cheesy jingle for a children’s brand probably won’t be a good move for your music career. That said, if you’re already a pop act who focuses on things that will do well in the mainstream, it may be a good idea to go for this kind of opportunity.
For the majority of non pop musicians, spoof and cheesy songs won’t be a good idea. Most companies also don’t go with these kind of songs, unless they’re advertising towards children, a fun brand, or a comedy event.
Be sure to match the type of songs you make to the companies you target. Have a look at songs they’ve previously used for promotions etc (their track record), and decide what kind of song you should make from there.
Getting Companies To Hear About Your Song
Alrightly then. Now that we’ve chosen and put together a song, the next step is to actually get the company to hear that song. We’ll also want them to get them to respond and work with you in some way.
As I mentioned in the last lesson, just because you’ve contacted them with something relevant to their company, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be willing to work with you or give you the time of day. That said, some companies will be more then willing to sort something out with you. Therefore, don’t get demotivated if you don’t have a successful result the first time around. Keep on working at it, and you will find people who you can collaborate with in future.
With that out of the way, let’s start contacting people.
Sending Your Song To Companies
There are three main ways you can contact companies once you have your songs ready:
- In person.
- Via direct mail.
Below we look more at each one, as well as which one often works best.
1. Approaching Companies In Person
This is probably the best way to contact companies. While not always possible as you may not be able to get to the company you target, if you’re not that far from them and travel there isn’t too difficult, you should definitely use this option.
Building up a connection face to face is one of the best ways to get others to take you seriously, and even form a bond with you. It’s easy to reject people online, a lot of companies simply don’t respond to their emails. That said, it’s a lot harder to not give someone a chance when they’re sitting right in front of you.
If you’re able to visit the company’s offices, it’s a good idea to find out who in the company will be able to help you before you visit, then ring and book an appointment with them. Let them know you have a song / video which you’ve made with them in mind. That you’d appreciate the opportunity to show them your material as you think they’ll like it and could potentially use it in future.
When trying to book a meeting, try and get the meeting confirmed with as little of the pitch as possible. You don’t want to reveal everything over the phone, it’ll be a lot better if you see your contact in person and pitch the song to them that way.
Not everyone will take you up on the opportunity to meet in person, but some will. Meet the people that allow it, play them your material, and let them know you’re open to possible collaboration ideas (Including licensing them the song for promotions). Be sure to also let them know you’re open to other suggestions on how the two of you can collaborate.
If the meeting seems to be going well, take it from there. If it doesn’t look like the company are willing to take a full on collaboration further, as a last resort let them know you’d appreciate it if they would still get their social media person to give the song a review and post it on their social sites. After all (and be sure to let them know this), you’ve made a song promoting their company, and it’d be a shame to let the song go to waste.
Getting meetings and showing people your songs in person is one of the best ways to do things, so give it a go.
2. Sending Your Songs And Proposition Online
If you can’t see the company representative in person for whatever reason, one of the other two options is to approach them online. Most companies give contact details on their website, so give that a go. Go to their website, and look for a email address, a contact form, and a phone number. Also take note of any social sites they may have.
When contacting companies online, it’s best to use a few different contact methods. Sometimes, emails get lost among all the rest. Other times, people may not be fully monitoring their social accounts.
It’s best to contact the company using one of these methods initially, then if you haven’t heard back in say 3 or 4 week days, contact them using a different method.
When you’re contacting them, again let them know that you’ve a song related to what they do which they may be interested in hearing. Let them know there’s a opportunity for them to use it in one of their campaigns, and that you’ve a few suggestions on how you can work together to benefit you both.
Approach the company like you’re doing it to help them, but don’t over do this. People can see through fakeness, so give off a genuinely helpful attitude and this will serve you best.
3. Sending Your Songs And Proposition Offline
One final option is to contact companies using offline methods. By this, I simply mean either via phone, or via mailing them something through the post.
If you go down the mailing option, I suggest you contact them in some other form first (Either via phone or email usually). Let them know you want to send a song to them which relates to their company, and have them give you a reference or FAO name so they know it’s your package. Write this on your package below the address, or on the back of the package.
When companies receive unexpected packages, they’re not always as responsive to them. It’s common courtesy to let people know to expect a package from you. On top of that, you’ll also save time and money if you contact the company first, and they let you know they’re not interested in what it is you’re offering. If you was to send out a load of song packages without checking this first, you’ll waste both demo producing and postage costs.
Company phone numbers and addresses can usually be found on their websites if they’re a brick and mortar company. If you can’t find it there, look for them by searching online, and also in any directories you have.
Letting Companies Know You Can Personalize Your Song As Needed
When you’re approaching companies with a song or video, there are a few things you’ll need to mention. Most of these things I’ve mentioned already in this guide (That the song has been written for them, that you think it’ll go well in one of their promotions, that you’re open to any other ideas etc), but one thing I haven’t mentioned is that you should inform each company you’re approaching that the song can be used ‘as is’, or it can be adapted to fit their needs.
This is a very important thing to mention, as the company’s representative may see something in the song, but there’s something about it which doesn’t quite work for them.
Don’t assume that they’ll ask you to change something if they don’t like it, they might just tell you they don’t want to use it. But if you make things easy for them and put it in their head that you can adapt the song to their needs, this could save the deal for you, and help you form a partnership with the company.
If you’re far enough in discussions for them to ask you to change something specific about the song, there’s a good chance that a collaboration could happen. While nothing’s official until you’ve got a contract in place, this is a positive direction to head in. So be sure to make it clear what you’re offering can be worked on and adapted, as this can increase the likeliness you get a good result.
Staying Respectful To The Companies You’re Approaching
There will be times during this process where you may get frustrated with companies. They might be taking long to get back to you, or maybe they’re ignoring you all together. Maybe they tell you that the song you’ve provided them with isn’t the sort of thing they want associated with their brand.
Whatever the case may be, things don’t seem to be going your way, and you’re not pleased about it.
It’s during times like this that you need to stay calm and still keep polite and respectful communications with the company going (Unless they’ve already told you they don’t want to work together, in which case you should politely move on to the next company).
Remember, rudeness won’t help you get any further with your music. In fact, it’ll likely have the opposite effect. Don’t ever take rejection personally in the music industry. Don’t let it turn you bitter, and don’t take it out on their company. At the end of the day, they’re just trying to do what’s best for their business, and it just so happens you didn’t fit into what they were trying to achieve.
It’s no problem though, as there are other companies out there who you may fit more in line with, and whom you can form a mutually beneficial relationship with.
With that in mind, let’s look more about chasing companies up.
Chasing Things Up
As you’ll be working with companies, chances are that you won’t get a decision about them working with you right away. Many will need to check with people in different departments if they can use your song in any way. Some companies will have to go through a process and submit your song for consideration for use by the company.
Whatever the case is, you won’t always get an answer right away, even if you submit the song in person. It’s because of this that’ll you’ll need to chase up with many of these companies.
So how do you go about doing that? Usually, it’s by phone or email. Whenever you’re pitching a song or video to a company, if they can’t give you an answer on the day, it’s important to find out when you can expect to hear back from them. A few days? A week? A few weeks? More?
Whatever the case is, be sure to make a note of this, and set a reminder for yourself for a few days after the supposed contact date.
If you haven’t heard anything from the company by the time they said they’d contact you back, don’t take this as a rejection. Often things in companies just get busy, and they may be delayed in replying to you, or even have forgot. So be sure to get in touch with your contact a couple of days after you should have heard from them.
Ring or email them, and ask them what’s going on with the song you’ve submitted. Sometimes they’ll be able to tell you, other times they’ll let you know they need more time. If this happens, again find out when you can expect to hear back from them, and make sure they have your contact details.
Be sure to stay polite and professional throughout this process, even if it’s taking longer they you had initially expected. This is all part of the job.
What Next If You’re Successful
So you’ve approached a company, and they’re willing to work with you in some way. But what next? Well other then organizing how you’re going to work with the company, you may or may not want to approach other companies with the same song. If this company is going to use this song exclusively, then you won’t be able to of course. But if they’re not (e.g. They’re just going to review your song), you can approach other companies with the same song.
Be sure to see if you can work out any more deals with any company you start working with, as it’s often easier to squeeze more out of a company you have a relationship with, rather then convincing a new company to work with you in the first place.
What Next If You’re Unsuccessful
What happens if you’ve written a song but no companies or brands want use it in any way? Well, you have two options. If the song is still good and your original fan base will like it, you can give or sell it to them like you would any other song. If it’s not suitable for your existing fanbase however, you could either release the song generally and hope one of the companies you originally targeted has a change of heart when they see it out there (you’ll have to push it quite a bit), or you could simply leave that song and work on a new one with new target companies.
End Of Part 2
So there you have it, the complete strategy revealed. Again, you can see part one here, you’ll need that to get an overview of how the full strategy will work together.
I hope you’ve found it useful, and hope it’s opened your eyes to some outside-the-box thinking in terms of how you can get your music out there.
Be sure to check the section below and put into practice the steps needed to make this strategy work. Good luck. 🙂
What To Do Now
- Make your first song targeted at one or more companies. While you’re making this song, bare in mind the above mentioned things (don’t put copyrighted brand names in your title, how much you should focus the song on your subject matter etc).
- Approach one or more companies with the song as applicable. Ideally in person, but if not via phone, email, or social sites. Be sure to ask them when you’ll hear back from them if they don’t give you a result on the day.
- Chase any company who you haven’t heard back from in the arranged amount of time.
- Rinse and repeat. Regardless of whether your first song gets used by a company or not, make another song once the current project is finished, and approach more companies with that song. The more you do it, the better the chance you’ll get your name out there quicker. You’ll also likely reap more rewards.