You may have noticed that The New Rockstar Philosophy was a little sparse over the fall, that’s because I was working on a very interesting project; marketing a baby boomer country songwriter-singer named Cathy Graham.
Cathy is a 58 year-old full time Nurse. She’s been a nurse for over 25+ years, and has been writing songs since her teens although only pursued her career in the last decade. Cathy recorded a single in 2008 but wasn’t entirely satisfied with it, so in 2014 she decide to record her first album more professionally. She flew to Nashville and worked with former Toto member, Buddy Hyatt, and a host of other top quality session musicians.
She came to me after recording her album, asking where to go next. I told her to read The New Rockstar Philosophy for a better understanding of the modern music environment, but because Cathy still works 60+ hours a week she had no time to read.
She just wanted me to help her achieve her dreams. “What are your dreams?” I asked her. Cathy said, she wanted publicity for her album, radio play, and to take her career to the next level. I told her the likelihood of being played on the radio was slim but not impossible, press would need a story to write about and more likely an event to promote to get their attention. I suggested that I get a band together to play her songs live, that we make this event, the “Album Release” party, and we market her unique story to mainstream traditional media. We had a limited time frame but I was confident we could make it work.
Other than getting the band together my main job was to get Cathy publicity for the show. Normally I’d have the band I’m working with craft some sort of story from their personal experiences, tours, anything that they think would be an interesting hook for a journalist, but with Cathy the story was already there. She’s a full time nurse of over 25 years, who dared to take a chance on her dreams, recorded with a world-class producer, and was making a go of something that many people her age had decided to give up on years ago. In addition, Cathy wrote very personal songs about over coming abuse, life and death, and much more, I expected the press to jump on this story. Unfortunately it didn’t exactly happen as expected.
I got a few bites but the press response wasn’t overwhelming. Luckily the press I did get was quite broad in the sense that I tapped into news networks that spread the story across Canada. Also, because Cathy was from an older generation she valued physical press a lot more than internet press, so having her story across the front page of the arts section of the local paper was a lot more meaningful then then having it hit on a ton of blogs.
I sent out the press release two weeks before the show, set up interviews for the week after and the local paper released her feature article the day of the show. Cathy was thrilled to see her feature in the paper and it gave her a buzz that she’ll be running on for a long while. The other press came afterward in the form of a radio interview on the CBC network. Both pieces were important confidence boosters for Cathy to continue with her musical journey.
The biggest thing to remember when marketing anyone is to consider the client and the target market. What do they want to achieve? Who are they trying to connect with?
Cathy, being from the baby boomer generation, cared about mainstream press, as she and her audience primarily read mainstream news publications. The other aspect to consider is to keep the clients expectations in check. Cathy wanted radio play, but didn’t understand the aspects of what’s involved with that. I had to educate her almost as much as I worked to get her press. But in the end she was very happy with the outcome of not only the publicity but the quality of the band I got together and the other logistics I took care of. I kept her expectation in check and delivered a bigger experience than she hoped for. I think we’ll work together again in the future.