Music Industry Networking: Creating An Effective Elevator Pitch For Your Brand

Posted: July 6, 2011 by Alison in Articles/Essays

What would you say if you were on an elevator with your music industry idol? How would you use this short window of time to convince them to hear your music? To seize this possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you must be ready with an effective elevator pitch.  An elevator pitch is a quick summary of a product/service, business, or idea that can be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride, usually 30-60 seconds.

As an independent recording artist, your elevator pitch should describe your brand, which includes your music, image, direction, and goals. Whether you are talking with a potential new fan or networking with record executives, you constantly need to sell your brand. A good elevator pitch should not only provide the listener with all of the pertinent information, but it should also be attention grabbing and memorable. You want the listener to walk away wanting to know more about you and your brand.

Though the pitch is less than a minute long, you want to take time to craft it, as first impressions are everything. You may never get a chance to meet with this person again, so choose your words wisely. While there is no template for the perfect elevator pitch, following these guidelines will help you create and deliver an effective one:

Be Concise. You want your pitch to be brief, but comprehensive. Use as few words as possible while still getting your point across. Avoid run-on sentences, flowery language, and repetition.

State Your Objectives. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to get someone to invest in your brand. You can ask for small investments such as a review of your album or large investments such as financing for your tour. Regardless of the size of the investment, do not waste your time or theirs by not explaining exactly what you want. Of course you should never be pushy, but you should be upfront about your objectives and how the person can help you. If you don’t say what you want, you can’t expect to get it!

Use Powerful Language to Describe Your Sound. Your sound is the foundation of your brand; never describe it as a broad genre such as “Hip-Hop”. Be creative and use colorful language that will create a lasting visual in your listener’s mind. Using other well-known artists for comparison is an easy way to get someone to understand your sound. Instead of “Hip-Hop” you can describe your sound as “The Beastie Boys meet De La Soul” or “Rock and Jazz Infused Hip-Hop”.

Separate Yourself From the Competition. Do you play multiple instruments and produce your own records? Does your stage show include innovative audiovisual elements? Think about what distinguishes you from other musicians in the same genre. Whatever your unique selling proposition is, make sure it is emphasized in your elevator pitch.

Highlight Your Accomplishments. An elevator pitch is the perfect time to brag about your achievements. Have you won a battle of the bands competition? Did your album get a great write-up on a popular industry website? Be sure to mention any awards, honors, or recognition you’ve received. Concentrate on the most recent and meaningful accomplishments.

End With Something Tangible. Once you are done with your elevator pitch and the conversation is over, do not just walk away and risk the chance of your new business contact moving on with his or her day and completely forgetting you. Give the person your business card, press kit, download card, demo, anything extra that he or she can take and share with others.

Prepare Different Versions. You never know who you could meet or how much time you will have that person. Make sure to have both short (10-30 seconds) and long (30-60 seconds) versions of your pitch ready. You also want to have several different versions in terms of content. Tailor the pitch to the type of connections you want to make. For example, an elevator pitch to a booking agent might focus more on press coverage and performance experience, while an elevator pitch to a retailer might focus more on sales numbers and promotions.

Practice Often. Once you’ve created your pitch, you need to rehearse your presentation. Time yourself to make sure you are talking at the right pace. Video record yourself so you can be aware of your body language and speech. Make sure you come off as natural. You don’t want to sound like a robot reading from a script. The more you rehearse, the more comfortable and confident you will be when it comes time to deliver. When you are ready, try out your pitch at networking functions. Many networking chapters, such as Business Networking International, meet weekly and often invite guests to be a part of their meetings, practice their pitches, and receive feedback if needed.

Keep It Updated. As you continue your career as a recording artist, your elevator pitch will need to be revised. Revamp it every few months or as needed with new information and objectives.

Use the above tips to create an elevator pitch that can open up doors for your recording career. For some inspiration, the following is a version of IXiiV’s elevator pitch:

IXiiV Records is a music consulting firm that is dedicated to empowering independent recording artists. With over 10 years of combined experience, we provide artists with the knowledge and resources needed to thrive in today’s consumer-driven digital landscape. We are currently seeking artists that need help and guidance with branding and marketing their music. Our services include intellectual property filing, press kits, marketing plans, and performance critiques. Offering do-it-yourself tools, individual consulting services, and deluxe consulting packages, we have solutions for every need and budget.  We believe artists can navigate their own successful path in the music industry, which is why our motto is Damn the Man. Play the Music.

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