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September 2, 2010

Follow these 6 Steps to define your goalsDreams and Goals and Plans, Oh My!

So far I’ve covered What Social Networking Is, What is isn’t and the 3 ‘C-Words’, Online Etiquette, and The Secrets of Developing an Online Brand (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).

Now let’s harness all that knowledge and the online social networking revolution for the benefit of your creative success as an artist. In this blog we will establish your goals and write an effective, personalized plan of action.

I never did do my homework at school, and I rarely have time for ‘exercises’ in books, but I want to ask you to take the next couple of minutes (about 30 of them will suffice) to work through answering this next set of questions. They will help you become crystal clear about what your specific goals are.

Step 1. What do I want?

What you must first decide is what YOUR specific goals are. Responding to this questions with: “To achieve success.” is broad and unfocused. Happiness, lots of money, fame, blah, blah, blah – these are all very general goals too. Your goals must be very clear, or how will you know when you actually achieve them?  It’s not enough to say you want to be a working actor, as I’ve never met an actor who didn’t want to be working.

You may know immediately what ‘success’ means to you or you may need to do some intense soul-searching to find the answers. What are the exact events, times, thoughts that have most made your heart flutter with excitement?  Is is writing your own material/script, was it the Improv workshop you did last week, maybe it was being on the set of a popular TV series, even as an extra you knew you wanted more?  This is actually a really fun exercise – dare yourself to spend the next 30 minutes to describe your dreams. In an ideal, perfect world, what would you like to achieve in your career in 6 months and then where would you like to be in 12 months?  If you’re feeling really daring – where will you be in 24 months!? Complete the following:

What would I like to be doing in:

  1. 6 months
  2. 12 months?

Example: In 6 months I will have signed with a top 20 agent in my city, for my type.  In 12 months time I will have a series regular role in a episodic medical drama on a major network.

Step 2. Who am I talking to?

Here’s a hint: the wrong answer is anyone that will listen.  This is another area (like branding) where specificity is key to your success. You have just defined very clearly your goals; now define the people whose assistance you will need to achieve your goals – the people your online marketing is aimed at. In Marketing this is often described as defining your ‘demographic’.  Your demographic is the people that you identify that have the highest potential to buy (or buy into) your project.  This list might contain people already within your network, or could be a wish list of people you will need to source over time. This is your ‘audience’.  Your audience might be your existing fans and potential fans, or film producers, TV writers or agents, peers, or directors – be specific!

Example:

If your 12 month goal is to submit your indie film to festivals, win awards and an Oscar for your performance (always dream big!), your demographic might include critics who can offer a review, or Indie film fans to generate buzz and get attention. Can you associate yourself with an existing community online, associated with the festivals you’re planning to enter?  Who do you already know who will help either directly or offer advice about next steps, which services will you need to source?

Step 3. Where am I saying it?

Where you tell your story depends on where your intended audience ‘lives’. Do your research in the online behavior of the people you are talking to.

If you’re created a short list of Agents that have a history of working with actors of your type, what online destinations do they frequent?  Do they have LinkedIn profiles or Facebook profiles that they update regularly, or perhaps they are avid Tweeters?

If your goal is to work in independent film, you should research which blogs, forums and sites indie writers, producers and directors communicate.

If you’re developed your own web series and you know that your primary audience is high school students in Western Europe, you’ll need to consider which sites your demo is most active on. Which social sites are the most popular for teens in Germany? What shows are similar to yours, where are their fans interacting and communicating online?

Step 4. What am I saying?

This is where our brand work in the previous blog articles (here) will start to pay off.  What is your unique message and how does it relate to your goals? How am I different to my competition? How am I better?  Be specific, be authentic!  In the marketing dictionary of lingo, they call this the ‘CTA’, the Call To Action. Don’t ignore the ‘action’ part, your message should really grab people’s attention. Think of it as rousing the troops!  You won’t use this exact message literally every time you communicate, but the general intention should be at the heart of all of your outreach

.

Example:

If your 6-month goal is to get a guest star gig in a popular police drama, your message is “[enter your name here] is a perfect candidate for Law & Order, as he/she oozes professional public servant, with great command of text-heavy scenes, with classical training and a natural talent for delivering dry wit and a lot of ‘next-big-thing’ buzz.”

Step 5. How am I saying in?

Just like in everyday conversation, every person you know has a very unique way they express themselves and a particular tone and style in which they communicate. In the branding work you defined your tone and style. Don’t forget to apply this!  You defined what you want, who you need to reach to get it, and what to tell them, now you need to make sure that you’re saying it authentically.  Any outreach you attempt needs to feel like it came from your own hand – it needs to ‘sound’ like your brand, don’t discard your personal style in an effort to appear more professional, or try to mimic someone else’s because you think they’re cooler than you! Your message should be the unique story that only you can tell!

Step 6. What’s stopping me?

What are the top three things stopping you from going after your goals right now? You know what you’re aiming for specifically, but you also need to define what your hurdles are too. Write a list of the blocks currently in the way of your 6 and 12-month goals.  It is a good fear-reducing exercise to do this regularly. Seeing the ‘monster’ in full view and in broad daylight is much less scary!  Now you can devise a plan to actively reduce or eradicate each of these hurdles too.

If your 12 month goal is to score a leading role in a Broadway Musical, but your vocal capabilities aren’t up to scratch, then your solution is to find a great coach and practice every day.

Don’t give ‘them’ any opportunity to say no, instead make it almost impossible not to say yes!

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the three activities that should make up the framework for your daily social networking, and look at how to divide your time to get optimum results.

Until then – Keep sharing!

“When we share – that is poetry in the prose of life.”

Sigmund Freud

Image by feijeriemersma via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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