By Laurie Jakobsen
At Jaybird, we generally focus on “word-based” communications for our clients: press releases, social media posts, bylines, interviews, presentations, and the like. I recently attended Network! Network! event and met Garett Engel of Benhar Office, Rachel Levin of Rachel Levin Style, and Glenn Diehl of Skyline Genesis. Each had a story that underscored how important various non-verbal communications – from your office furniture, to your team’s attire, to your trade show set up – can either complement or undermine a company’s image, all before a word is exchanged.
Office Furniture: What do your potential clients and employees see when they come to your office space? Two beanbag chairs and a cast-off table may be OK for a startup, but at some point, the setup of an office needs to convey the company’s image while also making the staff productive and even contribute to their health and well-being.
by Laurie Jakobsen
Most people get understandably nervous about media interviews. It’s important to recognize that your body will probably have an adrenalized response – you will talk faster, and things around you will feel slower. So you need to remind yourself to breathe and slow yourself down, so you can better control your reactions (this is even more important for radio and TV). I always tell people that if they’ve been on a job interview or a first date, they already have a good sense of how to handle a media interaction – and here are my “nine plus bonus” rules to guide you.
First rule: an interview is a transactional conversation – not a friendly chat. Like any other negotiation, you want to reach a win-win with the journalist, but you need to have a specific focus on the key messages you want to get across. Remember that you are in control of what you say – you are not giving all control over to the reporter; this is not a deposition. You have something they want: a good story. That is what you need to deliver: on your terms, not theirs.
By Laurie Jakobsen
I’m almost finished reading Anita Elberse’s “Blockbusters,” and for everyone about to get on the plane for the Grammys, NAMM, Midem – download this book now. Elberse, a Harvard professor whose research debunked Chris Anderson’s “long tail” theory about consumer behavior and the internet, gives us a solid read on why the digital economy has amplified the big hits, making the overall entertainment industry – including sports – focus on the superstars. I had the book in my mind when I heard David Bakula of Nielsen give this stat on Music Biz’s “Common Ground” webinar last week: take away the top two albums of 2013, and sales of #3-200 would have been up a tiny bit, .8%. But because Justin Timberlake and Eminem’s albums did not sell as much as the top two in 2012 – Adele and Taylor Swift – overall sales were down 8.4%. That’s the power of the blockbuster.
By Laurie Jakobsen
I was recently asked what my most-recommended music industry books were, and thought I would also share them here. I’ll admit upfront I’ve had a personal connection to a few of these authors, but hopefully that does not make their work less brilliant:
The Mansion on the Hill and Fortune’s Fool by Fred Goodman acheive both page-turning readability with serious industry cred. This two-book series – the first chronicling the rise of the modern commercial record business through the careers of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and David Geffen, and the latter using the trajectory of Edgar Bronfman, Jr. to show how the industry floundered into the era of digital. Meaty stories with serious insider detail from a master journalist.
If you want more in the spirit of Mansion, then also check out Hit Men by Fredric Dannen, which was considered a major industry expose in 1990, and also The Label (History of Columbia Records) by Gary Mamorstein, and Exploding (History of Warner Music) by Stan Cornyn. While these label history books can start to feel like that part in the Bible that lists everyone who begat everyone else, they remind us that the music industry is a game of relationships, above all else. The story of Columbia essentially parallels the entire history of recorded music, and the Warner tale brings more of the development – and then conglomeration – of the independent labels.
By Laurie Jakobsen
I’ve been watching the various internship lawsuits progress, so was unsurprised by this announcement today by Condé Nast:
Two stories caught my attention yesterday from different sources, proving the same point: social media activity is driving material decisions for businesses. The Wall Street Journal found that VCs are looking at social media activity to decide on investments, and PR Daily, in reporting on an Advertising Week panel, noted that editors of celebrity-driven magazines are looking how engaged a potential cover subject is on social media to make their cover decisions. So if you were on the fence about social media, it’s time to jump in.
By Bill Greenwood
By Bill Greenwood and Laurie Jakobsen
Every month, we at Jaybird promote the NY Tech Meetup’s (NYTM) tech demo nights at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. To support this, we prepare a one-sheet for our press guests with contact information for every demoing company along with a one-sentence description describing their product. The companies provide their own descriptions for this sheet, and most of them do an excellent job. However, some people find it very challenging to distill their startup into one sentence, and so we reached out to several journalists who have attended past NYTMs to get their tips on how to craft a concise company description that catches the eye and scores some coverage.
1.) What do you provide and who do you serve?