Good conversations, masses of announcements and creative campaign planning…

#weeknotes S02 EP03 – week ending 27 January 2019

This week has been a busy one and I’m going to split it by area to keep it all straight in my head.

Reckless Yes and the thrill of an expanding record label roster

This week was the one where we finally went public with what we’ve been cooking up the last few months and announced four new artists onto the roster. We push the news through our mailing list first and I’m really pleased with how this strategy is paying off for us – we’ve exceeded the monthly growth target for the list by 60% and we’ve got healthy engagement with an open rate of 72.1% and a click through rate of 14.8%. The follow up on social media yielded similar rewards as we saw growth across all our profiles and high reach and engagement as well as brilliant traffic through to our website. We kept everything organic and for these announcements at least that paid off (no pun intended).

It’s now onto production and campaign plans and I’m enjoying the variety even between the four artists – two debut EPs for different audiences, a solo album from a songwriter with an established audience but with a bit of a change of direction in sound, and reissues for a band that hasn’t been a band for 20 years. I’m finding the stretch within the work to plot out where we go with this from both PR and direct to fan marketing, and currently the flip between strategic and tactical is fun rather than frustrating.

It was also nice to hear the airing of a podcast I helped with over the summer. Music Patterns is a show created by Snug Recording Company I guided a conversation between Haiku Salut and Grawl!x about being a musician, and about DIY music. It was a very hot afternoon of recording but an absolute privilege to hear these wonderful people speak about their creativity and you can hear the show here if you missed it on Radio Free Matlock.

Speaking of Radio Free Matlock – we recorded our first show in a long time as Reckless Yes this week (again, thanks to Snug Recording Co for the use of their studio) ahead of getting The Rumble back on air from next week. Tune in at 9p Thursday to hear us stumble over saying our own names and some amazing underground and DIY music from around the world.

Doing digital better in the public sector

This week was started and finished with in-person catch ups (with two people from my #100people list) about doing digital better in the public sector. I talked comms and digital strategy with Darren Caveney at the start of the week, and social media and challenges in comms with Dan Slee at the end of the week.

Both were brilliant and thought-provoking conversations and got me thinking about the breadth of my experience in content strategy and digital, as well as ways I could share some of that usefully with the sector again. And both conversations reminded and reinforced with me how important in-person catch ups are. Could I have had these conversations over the phone or online? Yes, of course. But it was lovely and productive to sit and connect over a coffee, and let a conversation flow.

Being an author, being a writer, and being a reader

The week started for me with a big long chat with Chris Baldwin and Rob Gillespie for the Circularity podcast about my novel The Winter Passing. We talked about some of the themes in the book – memory and identity, music as a trigger to memory – and also about the subtle treasure hunts hidden beneath the plot line. It’s the longest I’ve spent with the characters and the story in a few weeks and it was a real pleasure to be able to speak at length about them.

I’ve also had a fair amount of music writing to do this week – a great interview with bis about their new album Slight Disconnects as well as album reviews for Louder Than War magazine, Loud & Quiet, Drowned in Sound, and Echoes and Dust.

But as a reader it is long form music journalism I am hungry for at the moment. I have found my own rhythm for discovery of music and feel pretty settled in that area, but I feel I’m lacking longer pieces which are thoughtful and contextual (and are more investigation than opinion). Having recently rediscovered the joy of conversation and connection on Twitter I asked there where others found this stuff. Suggestions came back – Q, Drowned in Sound, Electronic Sound, Gold Flake Paint, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Zine, Various Small Flames, Aquarium Drunkard. Perhaps most helpful was the flagging of Longform, bringing together exactly the sort of writing I was looking for and across more topics than music.

I’ve picked up copies of Q, Record Collector, and Rolling Stone and have found things to enjoy in all of them but I’ve also started musing on how I can scratch this itch for myself. So, this week also sees a repurposing of a domain I brought a while back and some tentative moves toward a new project.

What’s next?

This week has plenty of head down work in it across a number of different areas – all those records we announced are headed into production and their campaigns need planning, the actions from last week’s conversations need picking up, there’s a coaching session with Matt Essam, and some bits to get into shape for further into the diary. And we’ll be back on air with The Rumble on Thursday night too (tune in at 9pm to Radio Free Matlock).