In the music industry, or any creative industry, a huge key to success is ‘who you know’.
It is crucial you know the right people, and in order to do so, you must first master the art of networking. These relationships will help to cultivate your brand, and introduce you to other connections who have made a difference in your field.
Here are a few tips that will help you make the best out of networking so that over time, with a bit of practice, you will become a more confident networker.
First off, you need to find the right people to network this.
A great place to start is with LinkedIn. If you assumed the music industry and LinkedIn do not mix, you are wrong. In fact, most times this platform will contain the only professional contact you are able to find of the person you want to connect with. LinkedIn is the only networking website that professionals are actively using right now, so make sure your presence on that site is clean and up to date. That means you should go through your profile at least once a month and make sure it is current.
LinkedIn, like any community, thrives off of engagement. Create thoughtful and genuine content, and most importantly, communicate and engage with your audience/mentors so that they may recognize you online before you meet in person. You will soon start to notice specific names and job positions pop up of the people you need to connect with. At this point it is crucial you start a list so that you can manage your contacts.
Keep track of information such as their name, contact (or link to the best social channel to contact them, the last date you reached out, the next time you want to reach out, and any additional notes you need to remember about that person. Finally, go through your list on a weekly basis to make sure it is up to date, and that you have not forgotten to connect or reconnect with anyone.
The next rule is a big one: do your research.
Find out who you should know, and try to learn everything you can about them. Know what they look like so that if you run into them at a networking or industry event (or even on the street), you are able to introduce yourself. Furthermore, find something that they are passionate about, or better yet, something you have in common. This will show them they you genuinely care about what they are doing, and will make your conversation more memorable.
Finally, and most importantly, let them know what you can do to help them out. Many people have this confused, and are quick to talk about their own goals and aspirations. The truth is they do not need you as much as you need them. Think of any avenue that will help to further enhance their brand.
For example, if they are working on a new project, you could propose interviewing them about the project, and then share the interview via your own channels, or one that has a decent following. If you help them out without expecting anything in return, they will feel grateful, and will hopefully want to return the favor.
Those are just a few rules to help you kick off your networking journey. As mentioned, networking takes time and consistency. If you do not hear back the first time, follow up!
Persistence and patience are key.