Hi and welcome to module three. Okay, so, in this essential materials that everybody needs, we've noted that resumes assemble facts, the bio and cover letter puts those facts into a narrative, right? And now we're going to start talking in this module about the visual elements, the media that you used to put that narrative into visual form, and to sort of bring it to life in ways that we can see and hear. So we're going to look at three main areas of content, okay? We're going to look at headshots, we're going to look at demo videos, and we're going to look at websites. And basically, we're going to talk about how to bring all of these things that we've been talking about so far, all of these things about your mission, your identity, your brand, and putting them together in the materials that are outward facing to the public. All right, so, no matter what we're talking about here, whether a it's a website or some other form of conveying your brand of marketing, one of those marketing channels that we've talked about. Here are some of the essential pieces of information that have to be there. Okay, so first of all, there has to be some kind of updated news, media coverage, events, things that are going on, stuff that's happened, whatever it might be. That's got to be somewhere, and it really, you have to be sure that it is kept up to date. That is critical, because we've all gone to websites that haven't been updated in a year or two years and we're like, well, have they stopped doing things or are they just stopped caring about whether or not we know? Okay, so essential content includes news, media coverage, events, upcoming events, past events or other offerings that you want to make sure people see that you're doing, it shows that you are active. There has to be some kind of bio or equivalent. So, again, as we talked about last time, the bio tells a story, right? So, you've got to have some kind of about you or about your group. If bio sounds a little bit too formal or regimented for your particular group, that's okay. But but we need some kind of about, some kind of story that draws us in and makes us interested in what you're doing. Next, you've got to have contact info and it's got to be easy to find. One of my greatest pet peeves, and you may have it as well, is when you go to our website or you go to somebody's, even in their social media, and you would like to contact them. You would like to send them an email or you would like to call and find out when tickets are available. You want to know where you can get more information and you can't find it. Oftentimes large organizations, I think want to keep it hard to find individual staff members and things like that because maybe they feel like the public will be too intrusive and bombard them with emails or phone calls or something? I'm not really quite sure the rationale behind it. But it should not be hard to find. It should be very easy to find out how to contact you. Maybe I'm contacting you because I want to purchase your product. Maybe I'm trying to contact you because I would like to be on your mailing list, okay? Those should be very, very easy transactions to happen. Do not make it difficult for your customers to support you. Okay, next. Do you need a business card? Yes, I know they may seem old fashioned. They're very analog. You've got your information on a piece, a card that you hand to somebody. But the truth is people still use them, and any time that I leave the house and I have forgotten to have a few in my pocket, it never fails. That's when somebody says, hey, do you have a business card that I can grab? Now if you want to feel a little bit more modern and up to date, you can put a QR code onto your business card and all somebody needs to do is scan it, it takes you right to their website, to your website rather. Sometimes I've seen ones that will take you to a digital download for a song or a sample of your work. And there are apps that are becoming more common where you can literally just hold your phones up next to each other and exchange contacts. So it's going to become a point where that technology is so ubiquitous that the printed business card is going to go the way of the dinosaurs, but we're not there yet. And the good news is that they're incredibly cheap to make, you can get 300 of them made for next to nothing, and any number of sites that will make them for you. And for the cost of postage and a handling fee, $10 and you've got 300 business cards. It will take you a little while to go through 300 business cards. So go ahead and get some made and just get in the habit of keeping them around you. You never know, it's less the situations that you are preparing for and the more the serendipitous things where you just start chatting with somebody while you're waiting in line at Starbucks. [LAUGH] And you have a conversation and then you get to the end of the line and someone says, hey, I'd like to stay in touch. Do you have a card you can, right? Happens over and over and over again. Just go ahead and get them. Now again, as we have been saying, at the risk of me becoming a broken string quartet record, the essential content is going to be visual images that convey your personality, your brand identity. And we use this example before, that the one on the left of the Emerson Quartet is much more true to form than the one on the right, okay? So part of that is being intentional about accumulating those pictures, okay? So these are obviously staged pictures and you don't have to get those made all the time. You can get a good set of stage pictures with maybe a variety of different settings and you can use them for at least a year and maybe a couple of years. And that's good because that is more effort. It may cost some money if you hire a photographer, and you want to be able to use those for a while, okay? But we all know for social media, it's also the every day, the behind the scenes, the informal things that you're shooting on your phone, the pictures of you in rehearsal or whatever. Things like these pictures here are taken from my beloved group, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, okay? So these are just either candids of us in rehearsal, pictures of us socializing. The top center there is one of our patrons after the premiere of the work that he supported. Upper right, there's us going to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, taken together, this forms a body of visual images, which tells people something about who we are. And the key to these images is just remembering to take them. [LAUGH] And if you are of the younger generation, you don't have any problem doing that, right? You're taking pictures all the time and posting to social media. It's just part of the way you think. If you are of a somewhat older generation like myself, you may have to really remember to do this, to be intentional, we should get a picture of this. And and make sure that your Instagram or wherever else you're posting these things, that it is a really active, there's constantly stuff going on. And I think that there's real value. I enjoy these kinds of pictures because again, it makes the formality of the performer, which is perhaps by definition distanced from our audience. And it helps us get a sense of the performers and the artists as people, people who love to have a good time. People who love what they're doing. People who are committed and professional and serious about their work, all of those kinds of things make me want to support their art. Also, essential content. You got to have samples of your work. Now I say, either audio or video. As we will talk about in a future lesson, video is becoming more and more simply mandatory. It didn't used to be the case. It used to be, audio was more important, but it's not so much anymore. So again, pick your platform, there are pros and cons to all of them. YouTube is of course the leading video, but if you want to do a program that you have to pay something, but people don't get ads, video might be a better choice. SoundCloud is a decent place for hosting sound files, but every year they say they're going out of business and they always manage to somehow stay alive. But wherever you want to store your audio files, you don't have to store them on your website and purchase a whole bunch of extra data. You can link to an external hosting site as long as they're reliable. And then you want to think about streaming platforms as well, whether we're talking about Spotify, or Bandcamp is nice because Bandcamp does a really good job of giving a reasonable share to its creators. And they are specifically for people creating new content. So that's a little plug for Bandcamp, but choose the one that works for you, but make sure you have all of that stuff lined up. And then have some ways to keep your audience engaged, some way to communicate with them in a more interactive way. So yes, there's social media posts, there's pictures, there's announcements, there's news, but it would be great if you had some other element to tell a more complete story. So perhaps it's a blog. That's why I've got the Wordpress there. MailChimp is a great way for sending newsletters out or sending periodic emails out to your mailing list. Apprising them of events, updating them on big news. There are things like TikTok, sort of the video equivalent of that Instagram, for the photographic version of that. Probably by the time this video gets produced, there'll be five new applications and sites out there that people are using. So as we talked about in the previous course, you choose these things based in part on who you're trying to reach because not all social media platforms are created equal and also to a degree what the function is, right? MailChimp is about sending emails and they're very, very good at doing that and you can customize the format and so forth. That's a very different purpose, different function than posting something on TikTok. So be clear about who you're trying to reach and what is it you want to accomplish with these engagement strategies and that will guide the platform that you use. Next time we're going to talk about the visual images of you, the headshot, the promotional shot of your group. And what makes a good headshot? What makes it not so good headshot? There are a lot of not so good headshots out there. So let's talk about that next time.