Archive for March, 2012

27
Mar
12

Impulse PR Interview

So on Monday, March 26th, I got the opportunity to interview Nate Sirotta, the owner of both Impulse Management and Impulse PR. He told me about many different things about his job, like what he liked and didn’t like about it, and how he got his start in PR.

Impulse Artists Logo

*Warning: My audio-editing software, Audacity was malfunctioning. So I had to experiment with AVS. The problem is that it included an audible watermark, so it will be popping up every 10 seconds of the interview. So please bear with me. You could read a considerable chunk of the interview below*

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Nate Sirotta, and I work in artist management and development for a company that I founded called Impulse Artists. The company also has a publicity division called Impulse PR. So I’m both an artist manager as well as a publicist.

Nate Sirotta Twitter Portrait Shot

So how did you get to where you are now?

Well I definitely have quite a bit of ways to go before I could be totally content with what I’m doing, but as far as getting into music PR, I was a touring musician myself for about 5-6 years and an early part of college as well. I toured in a band called Down for the Count, and while I was doing that, I was the one handling all of the band’s business needs, as well as media outreach and press coordination and all of that kind of stuff. So, that’s pretty much where I got my start and built foundation for my network.

As far as clients go, who have you worked with? This would be through Impulse.

I’ve done different campaigns, big and small. I currently represent two record labels, one of them is called Siren Records and Anchor 84 Records, both are indie-labels. So I represent both of them and their entire roster as well. I’ve also worked with a few other bands, like the bands Culprit and MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER. Culprit is from LA and MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER is from Ohio.

I’ve also worked on some tours in the past as well, as that’s something we offer at Impulse PR, comprehensive tour press. I did the first ever Mind Equals Blown tour, which happened last November. And that featured Happy Body Slow Brain, which featured a couple of the ex-members of Taking Back Sunday, Culprit , the band I still work with, and a band called The Paper Melody. That was sponsored by the website mindequalsblown.net, and we handled all of the PR for that. We’ve done other tours as well, usually small indie tours. We are a boutique company, so we don’t handle top-tier clients as of yet. So we’re basically the affordable option for start-up bands and record labels that are looking to raise awareness and increase exposure.

Culprit Band Shot by Ian Flanigan

What is your typical work-day like?

Usually Monday through Friday, seeing as those are functioning business hours for most people, well at the least, the press. Typically, I get up around 8 in the morning or so, and since I work from home, I just make some coffee and something to eat, I just jump right into emails right around 8:30-9:00 in the morning. I put out any fires from the night before, especially on Mondays where I catch up on things from the weekends. Usually I start making phone calls like usually (in the) late morning, between 10 and noon, like between breakfast and lunch. Those are two fairly constant parts of my day. Those are staples that happen pretty much every day.

As for the rest of my afternoon, sometimes I’ll have a meeting to go to. And living in LA, things will take forever to get to because of traffic and because the city’s huge. So you know, meetings take up an entire afternoon and at least once or twice a week I’m at a show or having a drinks with a client or potential client. It’s sort of a non-traditional work environment, but I really enjoy constantly changing, it makes for a good learning experience. I feel like I’m learning new things every day from the people I’m interacting with and obviously handling things differently maybe than I did last week. There’s a lot of trial and error as well.

What’s your favorite thing about music publicity?

I’m always in the corner of the underdog, you know? Clients that nobody else would take on, or bands that are sort of forgotten, have lost their way, or need a sense of direction? It’s really exciting for me when we that first piece published. It’s really exciting to see how the client is about having their music exposed to the masses. Because if you’re talking about a mainstream band, or somebody that everybody already knows, like The Used or Blink-182. If The Used’s or Blink-182’s publicist, then good for you, you’re probably doing pretty f***-ing well for yourself. But at the same time, everybody already knows about those bands, and you can think of new and exciting ways to tell the same story I guess, but with bands that are like amazingly talented and hardworking who have not been noticed, it’s really rewarding for me to be able to do the dirty work, get my hands dirty, sink my teeth in, and really expose stuff that’s unknown, different, and nobody’s heard before. That’s how kind of how I’m trying to build my company, by being a trusted provider of solid-clientele that’s going to be creative and innovative on a project.

What’s your least favorite thing about your job?

Well you know, being a smaller company, as far as our “flow” goes, our cash flow and income goes for the company, it’s fairly small as like I said before, we’re trying to be an affordable option for a lot of start-ups and stuff like that, but sometimes the bills have to get paid and you have to take on projects that you don’t necessarily want. It’s basically like you’re advocating or trying to sell something that you really don’t believe in at all. It’s kind of an internal struggle, you know? It is, it’s lying, and it’s lying professionally. You’re basically a professional bulls**t-er. A lot of times when that comes along, it’s sort of demoralizing, you know? That’s the “dark-side” of PR, because everyone knows what it’s like to be super-excited about a project or client that you’re working with, and you’re both passionate about the music and you’re just flowing with ideas. You sort of have to take what you can get, and I don’t do that very often, but sometimes you gotta take a project that is going to pay.

 

You could reach out to Nate Sirotta through Impulse’s twitter.

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25
Mar
12

The Benefits of Social Bookmarking

So I started using Diigo earlier today, and I couldn’t help but thinking “wow, this is very addicting.”

"book club" by theloushe

I’ve noticed that the site makes it easy to gather your favorite things into one central place, so that you could access it from a variety of different places. I’m guessing that Pinterest was greatly influenced by these social bookmarking sites, as at the core, it is very similar in function.

What I like about Diigo (and other social bookmarking websites), is that it makes life easy for students and others that work in a setting where they need to use multiple web resources that need to be accessed at any given moment. But how does this help?

Social bookmarking helps you to compile a list of different websites through different devices. Sometimes you work from your own laptop, sometimes you work from the library, and sometimes you even work from the computer lab. The problem with this is that unless if you use some sort of cloud computing or even remote log in, you’re going to have trouble sharing important links with yourself. Also, have you ever thought about the possibility of having your laptop stolen? Social bookmarking helps you to protect yourself from disaster.

Social Bookmarking helps people to share their favorite webpages, and send it out to whoever you would like to see certain sites. Emails become clunk-y, and tweets can become buried underneath others easily. It can all be sent from one place directly into another. Now there’s no possibility for “missing” an important link since sharing links can be simplified with social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking helps you and others to see and collectively moderate a variety of web-resources to sort and categorize. Wouldn’t you love the idea of adding to or fixing others mistakes from the comfort of your own dorm room, house, or apartment, instead of from across the table at a Starbucks? We live in the 21st century, face-to-face interactions are a thing of the past.

18
Mar
12

What About Foursquare?

So there’s been this thing that’s been around for about 3 years (as of March 11th). It is called Foursquare and there’s a good chance you’ve probably heard of it by now.

VLA Very Large Array Radiotelescope, New Mexico 2008 by Gord McKenna

But in case if you haven’t heard of it, it is an online social networking application that allows users to “check-in” to literally any location through their smart phones. Foursquare makes this worthwhile through implementing badges and points to reward frequent “check-ins” and any other notable achievements. This is great, because foursquare is capable of connecting to your other social networking sites so that you could share your “check-ins” with your extended friends and followers.

You see, the beauty of this is that it motivates people to tell others about a place that they were at. In many cases, these places are businesses, so when one tells another about the place that they checked in at, it is similar to advertising. But in their heads, it is not, because Foursquare makes this fun.

But the potential trouble behind this is that Foursquare users often put themselves at risk by revealing where they are currently located through checking in at different spots. Would you really want others knowing where you are at? How about at all times? Did you keep strangers in mind? Yeah, it’s scary, isn’t it?

This shouldn’t be something to completely scare off potential users. I really just see this as something to be made aware of. As fun as it is to tell people that you are at someplace, do you really want people potentially finding you there? In other cases, what if you are revealing the location of a good friend’s house? That would totally violate their privacy, as I’m sure that they would not want the world seeing where they live.

What do you think about Foursquare? Do you use it? Why? Is it fun? What about privacy issues and the sort?

18
Mar
12

Foreign Outsourcing

For years, there’s been this ethical debate in the world of big business. Of course, I am talking about the problem with foreign outsourcing.

"Worker at Seagate tests drives" by Robert Scoble

In case if you don’t know what outsourcing is, or aren’t sure of what it really is, Dictionary.com defines outsourcing with these two definitions:

1. (Of a company or organization) to purchase (goods) or subcontract (services) from an outside supplier or source.

2.  To contract out (jobs, services, etc.): a small business that outsources bookkeeping to an accounting firm.

So there you have it, my personal definition of outsourcing is this: “To use outside sources to get things done.” This is great for cutting costs, and being efficient and productive, but what about the people you’re cutting costs from, your employees?

On a business standpoint, I’m all for outsourcing. You’re doing your job: you’re being efficient and saving money that would be lost. Isn’t the goal of a business to gain a profit anyways?

At least somebody is getting the jobs that are outsourced. These businesses are helping others that live in third world countries! To put this into a whole other perspective, what if it is God’s will for big businesses to assist those in greater need than ourselves?

04
Mar
12

Music Podcasts

Preface: This blog post is going to be re-worked, rewritten and reused for my upcoming “social media in music” website that will be opened in early April. If you know of any musicians that would like to learn a thing or two about using social media to engage fans, pass this on!

You would think that because iPods are commonly associated with music, podcasts would be too. But are podcasts really as popular as people expect them to be? Should bands really look into hopping on that train?

Here are some things to think about when it comes to podcasts created by mid-level and low-level bands:

Musicians:
Do you really listen to podcasts? What kind? When was the last time that you’ve actually listened to a podcast from beginning to end? What was in it that made it so special?

Do you think you could put something unique enough for them to dig into? How much of this would literally be created by you (as a band)? Would you be interested in developing any exclusive/first look content, like songs: (live recordings, covers, acoustic) or announcements: (upcoming tours, new album, sponsorships).

Fans:
The first four questions go out towards you too: Do you really listen to podcasts? What kind? When was the last time that you’ve actually listened to a podcast from beginning to end? What was in it that made it worth your time?

Would you rather listen to a podcast created by one of your favorite bands, featuring content from mostly your favorite band? Or would you rather listen to the same band showcase what their friends are currently digging?

 

Example:

Man Overboard, a pop-punk band based out of New Jersey had started this thing called the Defend Pop Punk Mixtape Series in the summer of 2010. Ever since then, the band has released mixtape after mixtape every summer and fall for download.

Press Pic of Man Overboard obtained from an Alter The Press! article

After listening through the very first podcast, I saw that it included an old demo from the band’s past, some commentary before a chunk of songs (similar to a radio show), and even songs by friends of the band. What I really like about this is that Man Overboard talks about others more than they talk about themselves. I think that this really works out, because I see the aim of the podcast series as a method of reaching current fans, not ones that don’t completely exist.

 

As great as all of this is, what would you create if your band were to ever start up a podcast series?

04
Mar
12

PR Research

On February 23rd, we talked about the concept of public relations research. I’m going to say it right off of the bat: I didn’t expect that to be such a thorough process on the end of PR workers. I know that it is such a big industry, but wow, that is some TEDIOUS work.

Dr Childs brought us through the process of creating a survey through Zoomerang/Survey Monkey, and he showed us the different things that he would recommend us doing if we were working on certain projects. He also showed us the different things that he had done with his past work for obtaining his latest degree and even that in and of itself seemed like so much!

We had looked at how there are different phases to different publicity campaigns, and research is used quite often before, during, and after to determine how effective the campaigns really are.

"4 Steps" taken from an in-class powerpoint by Dr Joe Childs

Dr Childs had also brought in some handouts that seemed really interesting. What made them really worth taking a closer look at was the fact that they were real world examples of internal communication pieces similar to the same pieces that many corporate PR workers develop regularly for whatever upcoming events are happening.

04
Mar
12

Wedding Planners and PR (Wait, What?)

So today in class we had Linda Marie Somersall, the owner of LMS Weddings come in for a mini-publicity consultation. To be totally honest, in some ways, it was pretty fun and interesting to do.

"Class w/ Linda Somersall" by Joe Childs

You see, Linda already had some prior knowledge of using social media to increase brand awareness. Yet at the same time, Linda didn’t know all too much about it to begin with, but I can’t totally blame her because she had started her career in wedding planning long before social media had really made any sort of an appearance into the common, every day world.

So all of us (the students) had to partner up in groups of two, and deliver a presentation to help her with a few things. We had to address the following topics in our presentations:

  • How Linda could draw in a greater readership in her blog.
  • How Linda could use social media to gain more attention & awareness.
  • How Linda could draw in more attention to her affiliate page on her website.

I partnered with my good friend, Cynthia Flynn to give a presentation, and I think we did a pretty good job with it. We mentioned a few good points throughout the presentation.

To sum up the major points, here’s what we talked about:

Guest posting on other blogs is a great idea for generating more attention to your blog. For this to go well, you need to aim to guest post on other blogs that are more known than yours. Also, linking to your own blog would be a good idea.

Twitter chat is a useful tool, not just for self promotion, but also for connecting you with other people within your field of interest. Connections are fundamental to anything, so why not get out there? You might just learn a thing or two.

Hashtags do have a point, you just need to learn how to use them effectively so you don’t look like an idiot. Learning to use the relevant hashtags to your field is key to getting anywhere with what you do.