Be Inspired! / Business / Communication

When Your Worlds Collide…

Most of the time, I think of myself as having three quite distinct lives. It’s as though I was a set of triplets that somehow didn’t get separated at birth.

There’s my life as an artist, my life in health communications and marketing, and then there’s the life of being a big scout. Readers of the BSP know that, in the past few months, enormous attention has been paid to my life as a musician, but it also dawned on me at some point (D’oh) that there was considerable overlap between the release of the new record and several badge tasks.

As much as I tend to silo these lives, it might be time to give that up and just accept that you can’t always draw neat lines around your life, or pack things into nice little boxes. Indeed, I think my boxes overflow-eth. And today, to complete the recent series of posts on businesses and careers, I’m pulling all of my worlds together to talk about the marketing efforts that went into releasing the disc.


All three of these badges include tasks that asks scouts to think about communications, marketing, and public relations. For the communication badge, scouts are asked to consider what kinds of public relations efforts could promote a public event (like… say… a CD release show!). The Write All About It badge asks scouts to write a press release. The Business Wise badge asks scouts to dream up an advertising campaign they might implement for an “imaginary” business.

Of course, I was applying this to a “real” business (assuming you can call the music business “real”), but I’m guessing that’s okay.

To pull these tasks together, I’d like to offer a summary of the promotional efforts that went into the CD’s release, as well as some outcomes. If you were the only person who might’ve read the 37-page promotional strategy which I attached to the last post, then you’ve got an understanding of the goals and objectives behind the tactics I chose. But I’m gonna bet you had other things to do. At least I hope so.

It’s a bit of a challenge to organize this information (to me, at least), so I’m going to run this down as a chronological summary. And remember — I’m only covering those promotional activities specific to the CD’s release into the world (the badge tasks at hand); a whole lot more is in the strategy around complementary, but different, goals. I’m sure I’ll owe a greater explanation to the Virtual Troop Leaders when it comes time to justify my having earned these badge tasks, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 🙂

( Oh yeah — I forgot to add this — some DJs at a Wyoming station read about the CD release, grabbed the tracks they liked, played ’em and promoted the giveaway on air. That was pretty cool.)

I should add that the Business Wise badge task asks scouts to calculate how much money their campaign would cost. So let me break it down for you:

  • Facebook and Twitter posts, invitations, interactions, etc: Social media was probably the most effective tool used, and it doesn’t cost a dime (but it sure took a lot of time).
  • Website hosting: I pay $20/month to maintain the site. Because it’s the central hub for the music, I’d have maintained this regardless of the release, but if we want to attach those costs to the CD release, that’d come to $100 for five months.
  • Electronic press release: $50 for a one-time release to 80+ music sites. This was used only to promote the free digital pre-release.
  • Traditional media outreach: There were a lot of little costs that really add up when you go “real world” in your outreach. You have to print those press kits and press releases. You have to include that CD (which wasn’t free to make). You have to buy those padded envelopes. And then you have to mail ’em out.  I’ve calculated that each mailing ended up costing about $12, and those packets went out to 32 media contacts. That’s $384 for the tactic that provided no outcomes at all! Lesson learned. ‘Nuff said.

The CD may be released, but that’s just a beginning for any project or product or service. Now, it gets to grow, and it’s my job to help it find its legs and walk out in the world. It’s time to send it out for reviews, time to send it out for airplay. So this work is far from over, but I’d say that we’re done with posts on this subject, at least for the foreseeable future.

That doesn’t mean some worlds won’t keep colliding. In spite of my tendency to segment those worlds, maybe I should consider letting them get all gooey together. In fact, in the next post — on a completely different set of tasks altogether — I’ll share a really, really cool example of it. Scout’s honor.

And if you’ve gotten this far, here are two small treats. Two great friends were kind enough to bring their video cameras to the show last week, and now I’ve got two incredibly potent promotional tools that can help keep the event alive virtually.

First, thanks to Mo McMorrow for this really fun highlight reel — I think it’s going to be a great tool to use with club bookers:

And finally, here’s Josh Thelin’s beautiful and elegant video of the set’s final song, “Nothing But Love.” REALLY high quality audio and video.