In our new Music Biz 101 interview series, we’ll be connecting with key industry professionals to get the best tips and knowledge allowing you to grow your brand and learn the in’s and outs from the experts.
One of our favorites conferences to attend to get the latest insights is A2IM’s Indie Week in NYC. If you are not a A2IM member you should definitely consider it, as they are a great resource for artists and record labels to network and learn more on the latest. Make sure to check out their offerings here.
This past year we had the pleasure of attending and listen in to the workshop hosted by Sneak Attack Media Founder and President, Marni Wandner. She was able to give some great insight and knowledge on past campaigns they have worked on and best social media practices.
Sneak Attack Media is a boutique digital marketing and creative services agency based in New York City. Since its inception in 2006, Sneak Attack has been dedicated to promoting entertainment and lifestyle brands through innovative digital strategy. Their clients include bands and musicians, record labels, books, films, apps, tech companies, lifestyle brands, and more. Check out our exclusive interview with her, allowing us to get the scoop on best practices when connecting with fans.
Tell us about Sneak Attack and what made you start it?
Sneak Attack is a New York-based boutique digital marketing and creative services agency. We work primarily with entertainment and lifestyle brands, mostly in music, and we specialize in social media, marketing strategy and partnerships and online PR.
I started Sneak Attack in 2006 because I wanted to work with bands and musicians to market their music in interesting and innovative ways. I wanted to focus on the digital side of things because at that time it was becoming an increasingly bigger part of overall marketing campaigns, but I was seeing that I still had to convince people to get on board with my weird “new media” ideas. So I saw an opportunity to be the company that did things a little differently.
How did you get started in the music and entertainment industry?
I was actually an actor when I first moved to NY, but music was always a huge passion of mine. I had wanted to explore the business side of entertainment so I decide to take a detour into the music industry. I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at a music management company who worked with acts like Tracy Bonham, Sunny Day Real Estate (which became The Fire Theft) and Local H and I learned an insane amount about promotion, PR, marketing, how the business worked, and what I liked about it. From there I went to a small label group where I helped launch a new rock label alongside an already established dance music label, and ran all of the marketing and PR for both. I also co-managed one of the bands on the rock label.
What tips do you have for connecting with those superfans in genuine and effective ways that maximize their fan experience and your income?
I think it always come down to authenticity and taking the time to make your fans (especially your superfans) feel special – this can be responding to fans on social media, making your newsletter feel more intimate and personal – it’s all about finding what allows you to be genuine, consistently, but making sure it’s sustainable so you can keep it going.
Offering VIP experiences and merch packages to fans and giving them sneak peeks of music before the general public can be really rewarding. I also love when bands set up subscription services for their superfans and then deliver exclusive content to their subscribers.
Sometimes the first step is actually identifying who your superfans are so you can super-serve them. I also want to see how many times I can say “super” while answering this question.
How important is a band’s pitch and what makes a good one?
A good PR pitch is very important – it needs to be short and to the point, while also being informative and engaging. Make sure the pitch includes one link to the content you’re pitching, a link to your website or one social media account, and a clear “ask” (ie: is this an exclusive you’re offering or are you looking for a review of your album?)
Most important is doing your research. Does that outlet even review albums? Who are you pitching to, do they generally write about the type of music you play? It’s always good to personalize and take great care with each pitch.
In your opinion, what are vital elements to developing a brand’s social voice?
Again, authenticity comes into play when developing your social “voice.” We guide our clients through a process where we help them figure out what their primary content themes should be so we can create a framework. The goal with social media content is to keep it consistent yet varied. Like I mentioned before, it’s about making sure it’s sustainable, all the while staying true to your “brand” as well as your mission and vision. That’s what will allow you to connect to your fans, and keep people engaged.
What tips do you recommend for getting to know your audience and be able to predict the type of content you should be creating?
I think it actually starts by working the other way – determining your own brand identity and the content themes that represent you as an artist, as a band, as a human being. From there, you can try out different types of content and strategies, and constantly look at your analytics to assess what’s connecting. If it’s not working, it’s time to try something different. If it is, start incorporating variations of that content on a regular basis until you know what it is about the post that’s connecting.
That said, it all needs to come from a place of authenticity so it’s not calculated. And I know that sounds like crazy talk so I’ve put together a free webinar that goes through the process we use at Sneak Attack so you can learn how to 1) define your voice, 2) identify your tribe, 2) create engaging content for them. The webinar itself digs into how to use these tactics to build an audience of real people who love your music.
What the latest in the Sneak Attack Media camp?
Sneak Attack Media has just launched their Reboot Program – an offering that aims to put the keys to the marketing and promotion car back into the hands of musicians. The program starts with a deep dive audit of the artist’s social media and online presence and then the artist is walked through a customized marketing plan that guides them through detailed optimization, strategy, best practices, content suggestions, tips and tricks for low cost advertising and more. You can set up a free strategy call with Sneak Attack to talk about your marketing goals here.
Sign up for Sneak Attack’s free webinar: How to Build an Engaged Fanbase (who actually listens to your music) Without Going Broke + Losing Your Mind