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Yodelist 101 with John Nixon

Posted by Workbook on 09/26/2013 — Filed under:  EventsFeaturesHeadlineNew TalentThis Just In...Uncategorized
Workbook is pleased to announce the arrival of Yodelist!

The launch will happen in collaboration with a free evening seminar Yodelist: Up Close and Personal, hosted by Yodelist's very own John Nixon.

We caught up with John to get a little more insight into Yodelist and the free event.

First and foremost, what is Yodelist?

Yodelist is a brand-new marketing service for all members of the creative community—from photographers and illustrators to their representatives, members of the production community, and even the creatives at agencies looking to put together a shoot or maintain a database of artists they use. We have our own highly vetted database of information these people can access to create connections with one another and show off their work. Plus, Yodelist has tools to help you sift through information to find exactly what you're looking for and a built-in Emailer to design, send, and track your promotions.

How easy is the Yodelist interface to use?

I think it's pretty easy, but I'm biased. Basically, we intended Yodelist to function in a way that facilitates a lot of customization for your marketing, but without feeling like you're using high-level technology. As with anything, there's a little bit of a learning curve, but I don't think it's so steep that a novice would be unable to get the hang of it pretty quickly. We've had some less-than-tech-savvy users in there, and they have all made it work for them. It's designed to work with whatever skill level you have.

Can you give a short summary of what you'll be covering at the upcoming Yodelist event in Chicago?

Sure. Most people are unfamiliar with Yodelist at this point, as we are just coming out of our soft launch period. Plus, many people in the industry are already familiar with other similar companies and how they function. What we're trying to do is just give a brief overview of how Yodelist works and why we believe it is the best option available, so they can gain familiarity. But we also want to answer their questions in as personal a way as possible because we understand there is always hesitation in the face of something new.

What makes self-marketing so imperative in this day and age?

The economy has been bad, and competition for the limited number of creative opportunities out there is at an all-time high. The ideal is not just to market yourself; it is to do it in a way that sets your business above the rest. But no marketing at all is simply a death wish. There are very few in this industry who can rest on their laurels and expect that to keep paying the bills.

Do you have any predictions for the future of self-marketing as an artist or rep?

Well, predictions are notoriously unreliable, but I can say that I have seen artists put all their eggs in the email marketing basket, only to have everyone in the industry follow suit, leaving their marketing plan diluted. In other words, even if you think the next big thing in marketing is going to be successful forever (i.e., postcards, email, social media, etc.), you are shortsighted. The best thing to do is to use all available avenues to your benefit, which creates a very rounded marketing plan, since no one thing is really a golden ticket.

With the Internet so bogged down with self-proclaimed talent, how can someone stand out?

I think it goes back to how savvy someone is about using those different avenues. For example, say two photographers who shoot cars and have the same marketing budget are trying to find clients. One spends his money sending emails to all 10,000 art buyers he can find in the United States, no matter what kind of accounts those buyers are working on—doesn't even research, just believes that this volume will get results. The other researches and finds the 500 art buyers who are working specifically on auto accounts and spends her money on a more targeted emailing and then follows up with personalized postcards. She is going to see results, because of persistence, customization, and planning. It's not to say that volume CAN'T turn into clients, just that it is much harder to make your message stick when it is so impersonal. Creatives like something that suits their needs and makes their jobs easier, rather than just another email in the inbox to delete without opening.

Lastly, why Yodelist? Ricola fan?

As a singer in bands, I actually am a huge Ricola fan, but that had very little to do with the name. Our Director of Research and I came up with it. I had been fixated on the concept of Yodeling, since I liked the way it evokes a creative form of communication from one person on the mountaintop to the masses down below, and she jumped right in there with the “ist” to make it both a great company name and a fun word to say. When people ask, "Yodelist, like a person who yodels?" I tell them, no, that's a yodeler. Yodelist is its own thing, as unique and creative as the people who use it.

Yodelist: Up Close and Personal will take place Wednesday, October 9, 2013 from 6:00-8:30pm at Room 1520 (1520 W Fulton St., Chicago, IL).

John Nixon is Director of Operations and Marketing at Yodelist. He moonlights as an avant-rock musician in the back alleys and art galleries of Los Angeles.

Looking for a Rep? Consider these tips first. You never know, they might just work

Posted by Workbook on 05/02/2011 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineMarketing Intelligence
By Heather Elder

Image by Ron Berg

Last year, I wrote a very short blog post for The Workbook about a phone call I received from a photographer. In light of a flurry of recent calls, I thought it was a good time to resurrect the post and expand on it.

We receive calls and emails from emerging photographers looking for representation all the time. I am always amazed at how many of them start off the conversation, “ Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am looking for a rep. Are you adding talent to your roster?” If we are not adding talent at the time of the call, I immediately say no. It is an easy conversation and over quickly.

I always think it is unfortunate that he didn’t say something like, “Hi. I am Joe. I am looking for someone I can share my work with. I thought of you because I like the photographers you represent. Do you ever review photographer’s work that you don’t represent?” Indeed my answer would have varied based on how busy I was. But, at the very least I would have suggested to him to send his website. Who knows, I may have liked it and started to look out for his name and his work.

If you want to get our attention, we are sorry to say, it is long before the phone call. Here are a few tips on how to reach out to a rep and get noticed.

First and foremost, before an agent can seriously consider you for their roster, there is one criteria that is a given. Without it, a commercial photography agency will not be able to partner with you to increase your business.

The criteria is this: Your work must be marketable.

This is the most important step to getting through the door. We are commercial photography agents that show your work to top creative agencies, photo editors and designers. It is important that your work be creatively relevant. The majority of the time nude photos of your girlfriend are not commercially relevant. An image that a client can easily recognize their product or brand in is an image that will get our attention.

Now, assuming that your work is commercially relevant, the following tips (in no particular order) will help you to begin a relationship with a rep and ultimately partner with one.

#1) You need to be your own rep first.

There are 3 reasons that this is important:

The first is so that you understand what is required of a rep. You need to know how hard it is to get an appointment or to get someone to check out your website. And, you need to struggle a bit with the awkwardness of sales so that you can appreciate the effort required to build strong relationships.

The second reason is so that you hear first hand what people think about your work. You need to recognize that if you ask 10 people about your work you will get 12 different answers. Having these conversations on your own will help you to define what the common thread of your work is, see what isn’t working and ultimately develop a brand identity for your business.

The third reason is that it is no longer ok to think once you have a rep, you can cross marketing off of your to do list. Nowadays we require all of our photographers – no matter how successful they are – to get out there themselves to share what they have been up to lately. No rep can replace the power of the photographer connection.

#2) You need to be able to support yourself

We appreciate the photographer that comes to our group already working. This not only shows that clients trust them but it gives us some breathing room. It takes a long time to get a new photographer up and running. We like to set expectations and say that from the date your images are first up on our website, it takes a full year to get your work around the country. A photographer that already has some clients will be more patient with this process.

It is important to note that this source of work does not need to be commercial projects. We have represented photographers that have connections in the retail, editorial, stock, retouching and fine art worlds that have kept them going while their commercial careers got started.

#3) You need to have money to spend.

Any good rep will require you to market your work. Marketing your work will cost money. Source books, websites, portfolio renovations, direct mail and emailers all cost money. If you cannot afford to market yourself on a high end level than it may still be time to market yourself.

#4) You need to do your homework

Please do not send us a basic email asking us to represent you. The web makes it very easy now to get to know an agent, see how they market, learn the type of work that appeals to them. When you contact us, please show us that you did your homework and explain why we should look at your work and why you would be a good fit for us. We cant expect someone to hire one of our photographers just because I sent them an email blast. That would be nice but it rarely happens. We need to do the necessary leg work for them to get to know our photographers first.

#5) You need to be patient.

It will take time to find a rep that is the right fit for you. Timing is everything so spend your time wisely. Know that any time invested in getting to know a rep and having a rep get to know you will pay off in dividends later. Maybe they will represent you, maybe they will refer you to another rep. Regardless of the outcome, if you are able to connect with a rep my guess is there will be advice, friendship and partnership that will help you all along the way.

It is rare when we make changes in our group but when we do, the first people we consider are the ones we have had a relationship with over the years.

#6) Be creative

We still have promos from photographers that we thought were well done and stood out amongst the others. While we are not representing them, we have referred them for a job or two. When a solicitation stands out to us, we feel compelled to connect. We try our hardest to respond to those promos that are well thought out, relevant and creative. If someone spent the time to get to know us and target us specifically, we want to make sure they know they were heard.

#7) Be a good person

This really should be #1 or even up there with the Marketing Relevancy criteria. And, it really should go without saying. Be nice, be respectful and be a good person. And, we hope you would expect the same from us.

#8) You need to tailor your marketing to reps

We are neither art buyers nor an art directors. We are neither clients nor photo editors. We are a agents. For us it is not about just about the image or even the story behind the image. For us, it is all about the above points. If you are going to reach out to us, please take into account all that we will take into account when considering you and your work. Address all of our questions up front and sell us on why we should consider you. Recognize that we may have a need in our group and offer a way to fill it.

We recently received a promo from a photographer that included a bullet point note that outlined everything he was doing for his marketing, who his current clients were and which clients he would like to work for some day. This letter showed us that he had a handle on how we worked. His work conflicted with another one of our photographers and we are not currently looking BUT we still reached out and let him know we were impressed. We now know his name and will keep an eye open for his work. You just never know.

Heather Elder Represents

Heather Elder's Blog