HomeAsk Deke: How does a new group get their name out there?

DekeSharon's picture

Q: My group is still pretty new. What tips do you have for us to get our name out there?

Thanks a lot,

A: Hi Tyler,

Welcome to the family! I say this because in many ways a cappella is like a giant family, and as such your first steps should involve your family. Visit any a cappella performance near you, get to know the local groups near you and perhaps put on a joint concert once you’re ready. Travel to festivals in the area, get to know local arrangers, coaches, directors and the like. Maintain a presence in local as well as general (national/international) facebook groups and other social media watering holes.

Your question assumes that your primary goal should be to make sure everyone knows about you, but as a new group your bigger goal should be to know about them. Why? Because they’re better than you: more established, knowledgable, experienced. When a first-time Broadway performer shows up at his/her first rehearsal, their job isn’t to network madly, it’s to sit down and listen. Learn the ropes, the patterns, the expectations, the cycles. Understand how they fit into the larger picture, and how their contribution is valuable. You should meet people, but your meeting them shouldn’t feel like a sales pitch, as frankly they don’t need what you’re selling. You need them.

The worst posts in the CASA facebook group come from people who never post and all of a sudden need something. There’s a general feeling of “who are you, and why should I drop everything to help you?” even though this is an extremely supportive community of people who are more than glad to give. And there’s the problem: an obvious taker surrounded by givers. It’s a mismatch. Any initial moves you make to sell yourselves as a new group will likely land about the same way.

Instead of posting your first video with a “check this out, we’re available for hire" consider asking for feedback or ideas for future videos. A little humility goes a long way, and helps establish relationships that you’ll find last a very long time. Word will spread, your name will become known, and you’ll find yourself with offers and opportunities. Our community always needs and supports new sounds, new styles, new groups.

I hope this makes sense, and I look forward to crossing paths with you and your group many times at upcoming events and festivals.