As we roll — read: run — into 2016, plans, projections, forecasts, schedules and targets are being drawn up. Whilst I now sit here as part of Team Orchard, I’ve found myself on the label side on numerous occasions at this time of year. It’s invigorating and exciting, as well it should be. Whilst it’s tricky, nigh impossible, to create a plan that could be utilized across every artist or release, there are a couple of words I would always adhere to when putting together a release strategy: planning & communication.
This is the time that could form the backbone to your year. Whether you’re a user of Google Docs, Excel, whiteboards or note pads (everyone loves a list, right?), now is the time for you to start cementing timelines and ideas. Your release pencilled for Q3 becomes August; August becomes August 19th or 26th (release around Reading Festival!). Engage and share these developments with your promo, marketing, digital (and distribution!) teams. Make them aware of and get them behind your releases.
Check the calendars. Do your promo hires already have other priorities in place for that week/month? Is your release date clashing with a major event? (Can you use that to your benefit or will it just monopolize the media?) Have you left enough time to build out the release campaign fully? Can all the assets be delivered in time?
Once you have your dates, it’s time to start working backwards and consider the strategic aspects within your release campaign to build a solid timeline. There’s always lots to consider: from (if applicable) the more traditional models — singles being delivered to radio, national press, online promotion — to usage of assets (videos, lyric videos, static videos, remixes, play-throughs, covers, video messaging, artwork, photos and imagery, announcements and messaging) as well as instant grat tracks and streaming strategies.
Communicate your plans and ideas to wider teams and consider how might be best to utilize each and every asset. What, where, how, when? Which platform might be best to lead with? How are you going to draw attention, engage or re-engage fans (or potential fans), and which media partner might help support or announce for you? What’s the best timing: is something happening around which to tent-pole announcements? Look to maximise every option: Will the use of your assets help you gather data for marketing and re-marketing? Or will it go one better and push through those extra pre-orders or sales to help you hit your projections?
We all know that even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. Goalposts have to be moved for whatever reason but with the right planning, hopefully you’ll be in a position to adjust and adapt to the situation — just don’t forget to communicate changes!
As part of The Orchard’s Client Team I can say we’re here to help and want to be part of your team. So share your good news, successes and attainments as often as you can… (And even the bad, we can take it.)
Plan your work & work your plan. Here’s to success to you all in 2016.