One of the best steps you can take to treat your acting career like a business is to market yourself on a consistent basis. But what happens when you’re between gigs with nothing new to report?
Should you just drop the ball, and wait until you book something big to reach out and connect with industry professionals? Hell no! In fact, falling off the radar is the worst thing you can do.
So how do you continue to market yourself when you feel like you have nothing to say?
Let me share two simple, yet powerful strategies to overcome the “nothing to say obstacle” every single time.
Somewhere in your career an industry professional has said to you,
“Keep in touch with me when you have something big to report.”
How often in your career do you have “something big” to report? And how do you land something big if you aren’t putting yourself out there to the people who can hire you?
It’s a major catch-22.
This type of advice also completely discounts what marketing is actually all about.
Marketing, simply defined, is about communication.
Communication is based on relationships.
The more effort you put into your relationships, the stronger they will be. If you only wait to reach out and communicate when you have “something big to report” you are letting that relationship go cold.
So here’s exactly how you can keep the relationship momentum going, even when you feel like you have nothing to say:
Make It About Them
Think for a minute about your close personal relationships.
It would be straight up rude of you to meet a friend for lunch and talk all about you, never bothering to ask your friend anything about themselves. You would know about what they have going in their life and talk about it, wouldn’t you?
Marketing to your industry professionals is not all that different.
Yes, your professional relationships have a different set of boundaries and topics that are appropriate. But the principle of knowing what’s up with the person you’re talking to is the same.
To truly create powerful, career-long relationships with people who can hire you, your best chance of success is to keep your list of people on the small side.
It’s a lot easier to connect with 20 people than 200.
First you want to choose industry professionals who are in alignment with your career goals.
Then it’s your job to be on the up and up about that person’s career.
Some great resources for this research are IMDB Pro, Deadline Hollywood, Casting About, Social Media Sites and plain old Google.
Once you know WHO you’re building relationships with, and WHAT is up in their career, here are two possible ways to “make it about them”
The Professional Congratulations
Let’s say a director you’ve worked with in the past wins an award on the festival circuit. Or an agent you’ve had your eye on leaves the agency to start their own management company.
Everyone in the entertainment industry wants to go to the next level, and acknowledging a big win for someone you admire and respect is a wonderful gesture.
It also keeps you on the radar without you having to land a major booking.
Although it may not always feel like it, industry professionals are in fact human beings, and everyone appreciates a heartfelt congratulations. Keep informed about the career progress of your professional relationships, and make a point to congratulate your peeps on their big wins.
Believe it or not, this does count as marketing. Remember, marketing is just about communication.
The Personal Connection
The people you have industry relationships with have an effect on you, just like the people in your personal life.
Use these connections to keep the relationship going.
Let’s say you took a class with a casting director who mentioned they grew up in Maine. You just went to Maine for vacation, and it reminded you of that casting director.
Write a letter that says something like, “Just got back from a great vacation in Maine and remembered you grew up there. What a beautiful place! ”
Congratulations, you’ve just marketed yourself to someone.
Here’s another example. Maybe you worked on set with a director who gave you some really helpful feedback that has stayed with you because it was so useful. Imagine what it would mean to that person to know what a positive impact they have had on you.
Tell them in a genuinely complimentary letter.
What industry professional is going to receive a note like that and say, “Well, they didn’t report anything big, so they shouldn’t have sent it”?
Nobody would, that’s who.
So these are just a few of the ways to market yourself, especially when you feel like you have nothing to say.
They are simple, easy to implement, and work to keep your industry relationships going.
And now for a little assignment!
Just knowing these strategies doesn’t cut it. You have to put them into action.
Pick 3 industry professionals you already have a relationship with.
Someone you’ve either:
And simply send them a personal note all about them.
No promoting, no business cards, no audition requests and no email.
Just a heartfelt personal note sent via snail mail.
Congratulations. You’ve just overcome the “nothing to say” conundrum.
Emily Grace helps actors get in the driver’s seat of their career with marketing plans that get results. She is an award-winning actress, a writer and producer. Want to hear more from Emily? Be sure to sign up for her weekly newsletter full of useful tools to navigate the entertainment industry at www.emilygrace.tv. Follow Emily on twitter or Facebook!