Marketing for Dancers: Find Your Strengths
There are many elements of good marketing. Most companies think about their print, social media, Google ads and product placement, just to name a few. How does all of this translate to dancers?
Does it feel a little overwhelming?
Let’s begin by defining the question of how marketing relates to dancers in a different way.
For good marketing all the gurus out there talk about having in-depth knowledge of your product (in the case of a dancer, that’s you) and who your target audience or ‘ideal customer’ is.
Today, let’s take some time to explore the first part of the equation: knowing who you are. As dancers we often live in a world of negative comments, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘she’s so much better than I am’ – the constant stream of daily corrections and judgment.
Please take that hat off now. Right now. Sure, those can be productive conversations to have, within context, to drive you forward and achieve your goals. However, those kinds of conversations do not serve you 100% of the time and now is one of those times. Put that little man on your shoulder to rest right now, you do not need his whisperings here.
Dancer: Sophia Bovet, Photo: Rachel Neville
Sit down and write a list of your strengths, all of them. Personality traits, dancing strengths, cool things you are interested in, quirky or unique characteristics, why your friends love you, why you are in love with beetle bugs… whatever it is, put it all down.
Now, sit with this for a day or so. Come back again with fresh eyes and really see who you are on paper.
What are the areas that light you up?
What do you love?
What are the types of pictures, comments, articles, hangout places, cookies, performances, companies, that interest you and motivate you?
These are the things that help your audience get to know you. Through your dance marketing, you will set up your ‘locker wall’ – your presence.
Think about the right time to start marketing yourself as a dancer. There are some schools of thought that it’s better for young dancers to focus on their craft, to have life experiences and wait until they are older and really have something to say before making themselves heard and putting themselves out there.
Dancer: Mikayla McKean, Photo: Rachel Neville
There are other thoughts that run the exact opposite, that one should start super early. Indeed we have all seen the Instagram accounts run by ‘mom’, with run-of-the-mill posts that don’t have the voice of the dancer.
I don’t have all the answers here. I do know that dancers on a pre-professional tract need to start their personal marketing when they are a couple of years away from getting a job. I’m also a mom of two young girls and I cringe at seeing kids under twelve on social media, particularly with questionable pictures of backbends and crotch shots.
But I certainly don’t think, in the world we are living in, that you want to wait until you are a soloist in a company before you start sharing your voice, and your value.
Do you want to distract from your training and life by becoming obsessed with your marketing? Certainly not. Please do not take these marketing tips as an excuse to take foot selfies between classes.
Dancer: Georgina Pazcoguin, Photo: Rachel Neville
Do what feels right, a little bit at a time. And do consider the added value to your company when you are hired if you have a following that will buy tickets to come see you.
Do think about the workshops or classes that might add to your income in your off season if you have a number of followers. We are here to disband the myth of the starving dancer, right?
Read the first post in our Marketing for Dancers Series.