So, today I thought I would talk about communicating with others in the creative industry. And I don’t mean sending a text a band member or artists you’re already familiar with. I’m talking about when you are reaching out to fellow industry professionals in a professional capacity.
I believe I have already talked about behaviour on social media, in Facebook groups, etc., but this is about directly contacting someone, particularly for the first time.
I get that things have changed over the decades and centuries. We are not as formal as we once were. There is no “Dearest Sir of the Highest Regard” anymore. But we are still trying to make connections and we are still trying to make an impression on the person we are reaching out to, or at least we should be.
Some of us have been doing this for decades and have become used to a certain level of etiquette. So when you send me an e-mail that says, ” S’up, check out my track…” I am not likely to pay attention to it, never mind provide an actual response. Your work may be brilliant but you have shown you don’t know how to properly introduce yourself to people and that immaturity will likely translate to your other interactions. Yes, it is possible these are scam e-mails but I know of artists etc. who actually think this is appropriate.
There is a way to insert a recipient’s name in a message, even if you’re doing a mass e-mailing. And even if you don’t do that, a proper greeting and a little explanation about yourself is necessary. Why are you contacting the person? (Make sure you know what you want to get out of the interaction and that your connection is actually relevant to both of you.) Who are you? What is your genre or style of art? Why should they engage further (open an attachment, go to a website) other than because you’re trying to tell them to?
Something to the effect of “Greetings, so-and-so (or just Greetings if it’s going to several people), I am a <artist type> from <location> with a focus on <genre or style>. Since you are involved in <related field> I wanted to reach out to introduce myself and my work to you for the purpose of <purpose>” etc., etc. might work. I’m sure there are better formats out there and templates that will be targeted to specific ends. But the point it to make your intention clear and to show you’re serious. And, honestly, with all the phishing and such going around, a generic blurb of an e-mail is less likely to get engaged with for safety purposes alone.
And know that there can be legitimate standards of conduct for different fields. Writers spend months preparing a query letter and book proposal in search of a publisher or agent, so if you just willy-nilly send an e-mail or a text to someone at Simon and Schuster with, “Yo, just wrote a book. Check it out.” miracles happen but it’s not likely going to go well.
And here’s another thing. If you’re not familiar with it already, there is something called Blind Carbon Copy – or BCC – in reference to e-mails. This allows you to hide the addresses of the people to whom you are sending a message. Essentially it’s just a matter of putting the addresses in the BCC box instead of the To box. Learn to use it.
I recently received a message – someone passing on a bunch of music tracks – and every recipient’s e-mail was laid out for all to see. There are times when one does send out a message to several people – we all understand that – and it is possible this was done accidentally, but such indiscretion is in no way professional and it exposed us all to potentially unwanted communication, or worse, in the future.
When you are calling someone, try to plan out why you’re calling and what you’re going to say before you dial. Maybe even have a little script in front of you for security. Learn a bit about the company or person you’re reaching out to so you aren’t calling an art gallery that focuses on portraits to pitch your collection of landscapes. Related but not related, I once had a parent call me to enquire about swimming lessons for their child, apparently not aware that Swimming Tigress Music is, in fact, a music company. Just because something’s on a list or in a directory that doesn’t mean it’s for you. 🙂
And, finally – this is not really direct communication as such – look at how you present yourself in online gatherings, like webinars. Webinars can be great places to learn new skills and gain new information, but some people think it is a good opportunity to promote themselves.
I was on a webinar recently where people were trying to draw on the host’s screen – not sure how that’s even possible – and the chat was filled with “Check out my site…” “New vid on my TikTok…” etc. even after the host had specifically expressed that self-promotion is not appreciate. Incredibly distracting.
As an observer, I see two things here. I see a) you don’t know how to be polite and follow the rules, and b) you aren’t there to learn and you don’t care that I might be there to learn. You just want to rack up views on your video, or whatever it happens to be. How likely do you think I am going to be to suddenly stop watching the educational webinar to follow up on those invitations and interact with you? You just look silly.
I don’t mean to criticize or be overbearing. I get it. We all want to get out there, have people experience out work and, hopefully, make good money at it. But in this insta-world in which we live, where we try to abbreviate everything and anything over 60-seconds is not considered worthy of our time, a thoughtful communication will make you look like you know what you’re doing and get you more attention.
In Swimming Tigress News,
Just a reminder that if you are a music teacher looking for new repertoire for the fall, I humbly invite you to check out my songbooks for young singers, Bad Moods and Seven Other Super Reasons to Sing a Silly Song and the follow up, Brain Freezes and Seven More Super Reasons to Sing a Silly Song. These books are filled with songs that you will love teaching as much as your students will love to sing. You can find them on Sheet Music Plus, Amazon, and at
And if you want inspiration to help keep you creative juices flowing, the audiobook version of my ebook, Idea Factory: 20 Tantalizing Tips to Turbocharge Your Creativity, narrated by yours truly, is now available on Amazon and Audible!
Have a great day and happy creating!