Are You Next?

The link below shows how our President has overseen the execution of an American Citizen without due process. His legal reasoning remains a secret. My question is: Who’s Next?

I’d be glad to hear your opinion.

http://tinyurl.com/6zumpld

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Building a Mailing List

Computers are supposed to save time, right?  That applies to using a mailing list that you already have.  But how do you get one?  According to Ariel Hyatt, author of “Music Success in Nine Weeks” www.musicsuccessinnineweeks.com it is done mostly the old fashioned way – with human contact.

The Internet gives us a lot of freedom, but there are some rules we need to follow.  One such rule is not to send unrequested ads or newsletters to anyone, even friends.  This is referred to as spam.  So it is necessary to get the agreement of each person before you add them to your list.

You could send a blanket request to your entire email address book, asking the recipients if they’d like to join your mailing list.  But what impression does that leave them with?  Chances are most of the people in your address book list have not heard from you in a while, so some catching up is in order.  By sending a PERSONALIZED email to each correspondent, you have a better chance of getting positive responses.  Your chances are increased further by including some free music (or whatever you have to offer) as an incentive for signing up.

Be sure to also include in each invitation a notice (this part’s automatic – you can copy and paste) that states something along the lines of “I will never give out your email address to anybody and you can opt out of receiving the newsletter at any time.”  By including this notice on every copy of the newsletter that you send, you will add to the trust factor that allows your contacts to become and remain fans.

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The Newsletter

This edition is about the art of newslettering. First rule is not to use an unusual or made-up word in the first sentence of your newsletter. (Save that for your blog.)

As you may know, I am engaged in blogging about my experiences with Ariel Hyatt’s book “Music Success in Nine Weeks.” http://www.musicsuccessinnineweeks.com
From the chapter’s description of benefits, it seems I should have started newslettering long ago. The main elements to include are some personal data (on you as a person), some professional data (what you are doing lately with your art or business) and finally a call to action.

My first edition is below. Please read on and let me know how you think I did. I’m interested in your feedback. And you, the reader of this blog, are welcome to also join the fan list.

Steve Dockendorf’s Newsletter

August, 2010

What’s the deal?

This monthly newsletter is intended for fans and you are receiving it as an invitation to check it out and become a fan. Reply with a request to join my fan list and I will award you a free mp3 of a song of your choice from my website http://www.stevedockendorf.com.

What to expect on the website?

A singer/songwriter specializing in positive American music with flavors of Pop, Rock, Country, and Other. You can stream or download the music and also check out some Polka, Reggae and Zydeco. You will be amazed that this whole range of music was created by one person. (I’m still getting used to it myself.) You can find interesting tidbits to share with your friends.

Feedback is always welcome.

I love to hear from my listeners. Here’s an example by Louise Rose from http://signs-of-spirit.com/content/inspiration

This is so funny in the best meaning of the word! I listened to just two songs from Steve D’s CD and I’m shaking my head with wonder at the similarity of one spirit’s feelings with another. I’ve always believed my feelings were so quirky that no one else could have them as strongly as I do. The two songs are, “I love my car”, and “Too much rain”.
All of my friends know my feelings about keeping “Baby”, my 1992 gas guzzling suburban which has carried our grown family of 5 plus friends over mountain passes, through hideous storms, and to ski slopes in complete safety and comfort. NOBODY disses Baby. And she’s not for sale. Enough said.
And about all that rain in Seattle, I was just today whining STRONGLY about it on Facebook. I got lots of sunny support from my CA family and friends.
At times like these I tend to wonder about that word, “coincidence’. Is there really such a thing?

Latest Happenings – Airplay, CD, Live Performances

I have a Country song on KIST FM. If you go to the link below and listen to the song, that will help it advance in the ratings. The song is I Made Love to an Angel. It’s a pretty much true story about how Marilyn (aka Mrs. Dockendorf) and I got hooked up. If you like the song, please tell your friends. That can really make a difference. http://www.kistfm.com/new2/artists/i/83067

Speaking of I Made Love to an Angel, it made the Top 100 for the year on http://www.musictampabay.com.

Some casual inquiries made by Marilyn resulted in airplay of my Polka songs, Gerolsteiner and Early Morning Polka on ten stations. Honk if you like Polka!

My CD Good Roads and Good Weather is now available to ship to your door or as a download. Retail locations for the CD are listed on the website.

Good Roads and Good Weather is now available on iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/good-roads-and-good-weather/id364918411

For the last year or so I have been hosting a monthly open mic called Arts Alive. It happens on the third Sunday of each month at Pangea Café, 34 N. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater, FL. 6:00 – 8:30 PM. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, drop by and get on the list to perform (we welcome artists of all types) or just sit back and enjoy some fine coffee with the many talented acts. It’s family-friendly and admission is free.

New this summer is my Intimate Concert series. I team up with some musical friends on the fourth Friday of each month. Sometimes you’ll hear Classical, sometimes Jazz, often spontaneous, but always something magical. Artists in Action Gallery, 617 Cleveland St., Clearwater, FL. 7:00 – 9:30 PM. Again, family-friendly and free admission.

I recently performed before some filmmakers. Plans are to resume writing music for themes and soundtracks. Stay tuned.

I want you to have a good time.

Don’t forget to reply and join my fan list for a complete experience. Your information is safe as I will never sell or give it to anyone. If for any reason you do not want to receive this newsletter, let me know and your email will be removed.

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What I Did and Why Should You Know

This week’s focus is on blogs.  Many bloggers write a personal diary and make it public in their blog.  What better way to start a global conversation than to talk about your interests and make friends with similar interests.

This blog’s purpose, “Help for the independent-minded” breaks down into two main areas of interest.  The first is the broad subject of how to live responsibly in a free society.  The second, and narrower, focus is do-it-yourself music production/promotion, including how these ideas can be translated to other businesses.

This weekend I attended a networking meeting that had an unusual twist.  I have to give Al Alvarez of Tampa, FL credit for a move of real genius.  He brought together two organizations – one of songwriters and one of filmmakers – into one meeting and the result was breathtaking, to say the least.  The songwriter group was Just Plain Folks www.justplainfolks.org (Mr. Alvarez is a co-coordinator of the Tampa chapter) and the filmmaker group was the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association http://www.filmmusic.net/.

We songwriters are always on the lookout for new outlets for our music.  And the filmmakers need music for their projects.  Thus a perfect marriage.

When I first moved to Florida I searched for “songwriter organizations” and found Just Plain Folks.  It’s free to join and has tremendous information and support resources on its huge site.  Similarly, I have searched for local producers of films and located other allied groups in that field.  If you are in need of new communication lines for clients, employees or other relationships, a little searching with Google will surely turn up some helpful doors to open.

Next week I continue with the next chapter in Ariel Hyatt’s book Music Success in Nine Weeks by covering TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR PUBLIC.

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Making a Splash Online

In these modern times we are surrounded (and especially when we are online) by messages. More messages than we have time or inclination to pursue in any depth. Much of the time it seems we are sorting out what we don’t want to see and that takes more time from looking at what we do want to see.

If you are a business owner or artist, as I am, then you will want to get your message into the mix, elbowing for position in the minds of web surfers worldwide. If positioning is a new concept to you, then I recommend a book of that name by Al Ries and Jack Trout http://www.amazon.com/Positioning-Battle-Your-Al-Ries/dp/0071373586
My positioning involves, among other things, who I sound like. I welcome any comments from you, the reader.

This week my focus has been on website optimization and effectively using social media. I am trying out an app that you can try yourself. http://tinyurl.com/ReverbFreeBribe. Ideally, you would see the invitation below to join my fan club and receive a free download, a humorous song about the ongoing demise of the English language in the United States. Apparently it has not shown up as yet.  Perhaps it will appear later on.  The app is available for those who use http://www.reverbnation.com/.

BlankBand website hosting
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The Pitch

Now we come to the pitch.

The word could mean several things, but in this case it is a short intro that gives someone you meet an idea of where you are coming from and what to expect from you. Like you meet someone at a party and you say your name and what you do. This establishes an identity for him to hang your name on other than just your physical appearance. Would you rather be known as “a website developer specializing in post-flash technology” or “that tall guy with the crooked nose”?

Well, I do have a crooked nose, but that’s not how I want to be known. I want to get my version of who I am into his thinking before he has a chance to form one of his own.

Fair enough?

There is a website http://www.15secondpitch.com that can help you create a useful wording that describes YOU. Once you have it fine tuned you can say it to people you meet in elevators, on the phone and, of course, you can add it to your website. The site walks you through the process of creating something that uniquely says who you are and why someone should remember and be associated with you. The service is free to use.

I used it recently and came up with this:

My name is Steve Dockendorf and I write positive songs with unforgettable melodies that you’ll want to hear again. My natural optimism shows in all my music. People say my sound is between John Denver and Jimmy Buffet.
Become a fan and get a free download. Hear music and get started at http://www.stevedockendorf.com.

Now I’d like to get your reaction to my 15 second pitch. And if you hear my music, who do YOU think I sound like?

And by the way, the free download offer is for real.

For more information on the program I am following, go to http://www.musicsuccessinnineweeks.com

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The Rules

What do Seinfeld, Pawn Stars and the Godfather movies have in common? Well, it’s something that has contributed to their popularity, at least in my opinion, and that element seems to be increasingly scarce in our current society, thus the appeal. I submit that the common element is morals. And by “morals” I mean the rules of the game.

Let’s start with Seinfeld. It was stated to be a show about nothing. But was it really? Every episode I saw had something to do with customs or manners or some sort of do’s and don’ts. If it wasn’t the Soup Nazi’s strict requirements of how you were expected to order soup, then it was how many dates you had to have had before you can break up with the person. Double dipping with the same chip? Eating out of the kitchen trash? You get the idea. Someone would eventually debate the pros and cons of these common suppositions that everybody is “supposed” to know.

Pawn Stars is fairly new on the scene and for those who are not familiar, it’s a reality show set in an actual pawn shop in Las Vegas. Incidentally and ironically, Las Vegas has for its slogan: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” How’s that for a rule about no rules? But Pawn Stars definitely has rules. For instance, a client brings in merchandise and expects to get market price for it. Then one of the staff has to explain that the shop has to sell it at market and so must buy it low enough to make a profit on the item. And any time the staff themselves break a rule, there are definite consequences from the shop’s management.

Which brings us to the Godfather. Despite the criminal nature of the enterprise, it was all done in the context of agreed-upon and predictably enforced rules. And said enforcement was just as certain as a trip to the woodshed used to be when one talked back to his parent.

In the Sixties, when I was still coming of age, someone started a slogan circulating, “If it feels good, do it,” which has since been shortened to “Just do it.” Just yesterday I saw a recent sitcom in which a teenage daughter responded to her father with, “Come on, Dad. Get real!” As you might imagine, the father did nothing to correct the daughter on her sassy mouth. So times have changed.

There is something reassuring about having rules. Even if you don’t like them, as long as you know what they are, you know where you stand. It’s when the rules get vague that one can lose his or her way. For instance, Dancing With the Stars fails to entertain me only when there are disagreements about the rules. And by the way, have any other baseball fans besides me noticed an increase in bad calls by the umpires in the last season or so? One thing hasn’t changed, though. Arguing with the ump still will not get a revision of the call.

Last week I discussed goal-setting. Goals lend a purpose to one’s activity. Writing a goal down has been shown to increase the chance of accomplishing it. But then one also needs rules. Steps and methods and guidelines with which to conduct one’s progress. As I looked over my notes on the http://www.musicsuccessinnineweeks.com program, I saw that I had listed out some intermediate goals and had even surpassed one of them during my hiatus. So now it’s time to focus on actions and standards of behavior and exercise the discipline necessary to reach all the targets.

The goal voiced by Madonna early in her career was to “rule the world.” My overall goal is a little tamer – worldwide acceptance of my music and an improved society as a result.

My areas of focus involve:

1. Branding – A workable 15-second pitch. See http://www.15secondpitch.com.
2. Marketing – Learn more basics of social media.
3. Performance – I run an open mic, but I need additional performance opportunities.
4. Recording – I have rough demos of a couple of songs, need to make them presentable.
5. Delegation – My wife can help with some duties, need to settle on which.
6. Manufacture – CD stocks are empty, need to make another batch.

You see I am taking baby steps, but this certainly beats wishing and wondering. My rule for myself (tying back to the title of this blog entry) is to do something each day to move forward toward my overall goal, via the intermediate goals.

Now that feels better. I think I’ll do it.

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