Co-working in Norwood, MA?

I was recently in Norwood, Massachusetts, where the Norwood Record, its community newspaper, had a cover story on the number of open storefronts in downtown Norwood. I sent along the following idea, which was published by the Norwood Record on their letters to the editor page in the May 22, 2014 edition.

A thought: How about using some of the empty stores for co-working spaces?

The shift in the world of work is going from companies keeping people on staff (and in their offices) to consulting, freelancing, contingent, and contracting. Some reports are now that a third of all US workers fall into these categories…

…hence, all those people you see at coffee shops, libraries, etc. on their laptops, working from wherever they choose.

But, as humans we don’t like to be alone all that much (and working from home can be filled with distractions for many), so we’ve had the rise of co-working spaces around the world.

As you know, Norwood now has some of the fastest internet in the Commonwealth, thanks to Norwood Light.

This is great for residents and businesses, but I think there’s an opportunity here for you to draw people to the downtown area by having a co-working space in one of the empty stores.

The trick is that for freelancers, you can’t rent an office; they’re too expensive and, in this current economy, the work can be unpredictable, but the idea of coming to a space that has fiber internet speeds where you can work without having to buy a coffee or a meal is very, very appealing.

I live in Jamaica Plain, but honestly with the arrival of Norwood Light Broadband I’m tempted to move here because given most of the work I do, I’m online all day long. A slow internet connection is utterly frustrating and you realize how much faster you could get your work done with fiber optic speeds.

There are co-working spaces all around Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville now, but I don’t know of any is the Norwood area.

It wouldn’t take much to physically set it up: some tables and chairs is all you need (maybe Woodstuff could share some and get promotion from it!). People could also bring in their own if they like. Give the space a coat of paint and mellow lighting, and the fastest Norwood Light internet possible, and you’re all set. Best part is that when the store gets rented by someone, you can move the co-working space to another vacant spot (or it may be profitable enough that they can stay).

Ideally, it would be a space where people could rent by the month. You can also have a price for drop-in visits. That is the model most of the co-working spaces have.

My suggestion would be to do a little research in Norwood and surrounding towns to find out how much demand there might be. I’m fairly sure you would draw from some distance around the co-working space. The co-working spaces in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville are all quite busy, but surely there are freelancers in Norwood, Dedham, Canton, Needham, Sharon, Newton, etc. who are also faced with this conundrum. I bet you would even draw people out from Boston who want/need the speed.

A brief online survey about such an idea would get around quickly…people who are consulting, etc. tend to be pretty connected via social media, plus some outreach to local news outlets.

Bringing all these people into downtown Norwood means they’ll want breakfast, lunch, dinner, and will do some shopping while they’re here. The only difficulty might be parking, since a good percentage of them would want to park for the full work day, but perhaps there is a solution for that nearby.

Just wanted to offer up the idea…happy to discuss further if you’re interested!


Pay walls…we don’t need no stinkin’ pay walls!

I’m working with my client The Arts Fuse on a reader fundraiser…details from the campaign below:

Pay walls…we don’t need no stinkin’ pay walls! We know The Arts Fuse readers love what we do…and now it’s time to show your love—and make that year-end, tax-deductible donation for your 2013 tax return!

Remember in Spring 2013 when The Arts Fuse wanted to run a taxi-top advertising campaign? You, our generous readers, stepped up, we raised more than $4,000, and launched a campaign to help more Bostonians discover The Arts Fuse. A photo from one of the more than 35 taxis that drove around Boston for May/June is above. How cool is that?

For the past six years, Bill Marx and The Arts Fuse’s team of more than 60 expert writers and critics has brought incredible arts journalism to Greater Boston and the world as arts coverage from mainstream media outlets has dramatically declined.

The Arts Fuse is dedicated to creating an online space for thoughtful criticism and commentary as well as to spark conversation and greater participation in the arts and entertainment in Boston. We now have more than 60 expert writers and critics contributing, including:

• Harvey Blume
• Jonathan Blumhofer
• Daniel Bosch
• Richard Bunbury
• J. R. Carroll
• Debra Cash
• Maryann Corbett
• Vincent Czyz
• David D’Arcy
• Nora Delaney
• Maureen Dezell
• Franklin Einspruch
• Adam Ellsworth
• Steve Elman
• Helen Epstein
• Iris Fanger
• Jon Gorelick
• Joann Green Breuer
• Justin Grosslight
• Alyssa Hall
• Kevin Hong
• Tim Jackson
• Marcia Karp
• Jim Kates
• Tess Lewis
• Blake Maddux
• Bill Marx
• Grace Dane Mazur
• Charles McEnerney
• David Mehegan
• Susan Miron
• Steve Mossberg
• Christopher M. Ohge
• Melanie O’Neill
• Gerald Peary
• Troy Pozirekides
• Glenn Rifkin
• Evelyn Rosenthal
• Jason Rubin
• Gary Schwartz
• George Scialabba
• Roberta Silman
• Sally Levitt Steinberg
• Ian Thal
• Brigitte Tournier
• Anthony Wallace
• Austen R. Walsh

Why do they all write for The Arts Fuse? Watch our short video to see some of our writers and some of the reasons they feel The Arts Fuse is important! receives more than 25,000 visits per month…and it’s growing each month. now has more than 2,000 articles, more than 1,300 followers on Twitter, and more than 5,300 fans on Facebook! We also now our first year-long underwriting with The Celebrity Series of Boston! We are honored to have them.

Unlike traditional media, The Arts Fuse doesn’t have printing presses, delivery trucks, TV or radio studios or satellite dishes, a central office, or all the costs that go with them. Our revenue comes from reader donations, underwriting/advertising, grants, and major gifts and all our income can go directly to paying our writers and growing our readership. Unlike traditional media, The Arts Fuse is very lean and efficient with even more perspectives and points of view than any traditional media outlet can offer.

Your donation will go directly to help us continue paying our writers for all their brilliant work! You will know you responsible for helping Boston’s arts journalism offerings evolve into the 21st century.

Your donation is tax deductible and you will receive an email immediately after donating with a receipt for your tax records.

What’s quality arts journalism worth to you? $1 or $2 a month? Donate $12 or $24! Do you read The Arts Fuse every week and think its worth $1 or $2 a week? Donate $52 or $104! Find yourself reading The Arts Fuse every day? Donate $31 (never mind that pesky February) or $365!

Bill Marx is also turning 60 this December. Want to help support Bill’s dream of more arts coverage for Greater Boston? Donate $60 and say Happy Birthday with good old fashioned cash!

Donate today!

Help Boston Discover The Arts Fuse

My client The Arts Fuse is about to launch its first large advertising campaign in Boston, with banner ads running on taxicab tops during May and June.

We’re using the Boston-based fundraising platform and so far we’ve raised 29% of our goal, with 22 days to go.

With the sad and sudden loss of The Boston Phoenix, Editor in Chief Bill Marx (WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix) and The Arts Fuse are stepping up to fill the void for arts coverage with its online arts magazine, which celebrates its 6th anniversary in 2013.

The Arts Fuse covers dance, film, food, literature, music, television, theater, video games, and visual arts. Because we are online, our readers are both local and global, helping to reinforce Boston as a cultural hub.
The Arts Fuse has 60+ expert writers and critics, 1,500+ articles online for free, 4,000+ Facebook fans, and 25,000+ web visits every month.
With The Boston Globe for sale and its arts coverage uncertain, Boston’s arts coverage has devolved into mostly complimentary coverage that does nothing to challenge readers. Once the public discussion of creativity degenerates into ever more ingenious forms of publicity—dedicated to selling tickets, pushing product, or generating gossip—the arts will have become a ‘prestige’ economic pastime rather than an indispensable realm of imaginative possibility.
Our goal is for The Arts Fuse to re-invigorate in-depth, thoughtful discussion of the arts.
The Arts Fuse has launched a crowd funding fundraiser with the Boston-based company to run an advertising campaign on 50 Boston-area taxicabs to help more people discover The Arts Fuse this May and June.

Future of Music Summit 2012

On Tuesday, November 13th, the Future of Music Coalition will hold its 11th annual Summit in Washington, DC, this year at the New America Foundation from 9 AM-6 PM EST / 6 AM-3 PM PDT.  This year’s event is now at capacity and sold out!

As you may know, the Future of Music Coalition is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in June 2000 by musicians, artist advocates, technologists, and legal experts, the Future of Music Coalition works to ensure that musicians have a voice in the issues that affect their livelihood. FMC’s activities are rooted in real-world experiences and ambitions of working musicians, whose perspectives are often overlooked in policy debates.

Over the years, FMC has provided an important forum for discussion about issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy, and law.

I’ve known about the Future of Music Coalition since 2001 and interviewed two of its co-founders, Jenny Toomey and Michael Bracy for my podcast, Well-Rounded Radio, an interview series featuring musicians and music industry thought leaders.

In 2011 I helped FMC with their Artist Revenue Streams research project, where we asked the question, “How are today’s musician’s earning money?” More than 5,000 US musicians and composers took the survey and the final results have been presented at dozens of music conferences around the world to help people understand changes and trends in how to make a living when making music.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with George Capalbo and Paul Kamp of Backbone Internet Radio on the JP Music Festival, a music festival in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood featuring more than 25 artists. The goal of the festival was to put some of our favorite local musical talent in front of a larger audience, The festival, just in its second year and attracting 1,500 people, was heard by more than 9,000 people over the course of one September day with Backbone’s help.

Working with Boston colleges Emmanuel College Radio and Simmons College Radio and their radio stations to broadcast the concert live, it was also distributed through theIntercollegiate Broadcasting System and TuneIn to reach music fans around the world.

For a tiny, new festival to have this reach was extremely exciting for the festival organizers as well as all the musicians who performed and had the opportunity to reach new ears and fans. It helped get the festival’s brand to a global audience and gave all the participating artists another way to reach potential fans. The webcast also gave our sponsors and underwriters exposure through both the live broadcast and post-event plays.

Given the Future of Music Coalition’s mission “that works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want,” we wanted to look at new ways to reach people working in the music industry with this daylong event. Streaming audio from the Summit with Backbone Internet Radio is a terrific way for FMC to do that.

Backbone will help with FMCs streaming the event on November 13th, but they’ve also set up a preview station broadcasting now, which features highlights from past Future of Music Summits to give listeners a sneak preview of the kinds of subjects and ideas to be discussed this year. It was quick and simple to set up the station, using Backbone’s OnAirStudio and OnAirDisplay software.

Ultimately, the Future of Music Coalition is going to reach many more people across the US and through this audio stream, helping the organization to accomplish its mission and goals by educating and inspiring musicians.

The speakers and panels at the Summit will tackle big-picture issues like:

    • new ideas about how musicians are making a living
    • federal policies that impact musicians
    • insights and strategies from music industry insiders

View the full event’s schedule.

It’s a great event for musicians, entrepreneurs, academics, legal professionals, technologists, and media personnel.

Everyone listening to the event from around the US and world can ask questions of our live speakers and panelists via social media, as well via:

Need a reminder? RSVP for the E-Summit on Facebook or sign up for an email reminderfrom FMC.


Song Sparrow Research takes off…

A couple of years ago I interviewed Song Sparrow Research, a band from Seattle that I thought was truly amazing, for my music interview podcast series, Well-Rounded Radio.

Their first album was great…recorded in a giant metal-working warehouse in Seattle, the moody and dramatic album made me recall great artists like Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, Brian Wilson, and Neil Young.

Song Sparrow Research incorporates elements of rock, jazz, classical, folk, and experimental with guitar, cello, upright bass, electric bass, glockenspiel, drums, synth, percussion and assorted instrumentation.

The band name comes from a research project that lead singer and guitarist Hamilton Boyce was involved in while studying for his degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Washington.

Among my current Layers Marketing clients is Song Sparrow Research, whose second album just came out.

And guess what?

It’s even better than the first.

Recent reviewers have been raving  and citing bands like Beach House, Beirut, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Travis, as well.

Song Sparrow Research is playing a live set today, Wednesday, September 26th at 3 PM EST / 12 PM PDT on KEXP, the Seattle nonprofit radio station that is heard around the world and is one of the most influential “radio” stations in the world.

This is a big deal for an unsigned band who have recorded, produced, and released their album themselves.

Perhaps the playing field is actually flattened.

You can hear the new album and their debut.

Tune-in online if you are able; KEXP will stream the set live.

RSVP to our “online listening party” event on Facebook if you are so inclined and help us spread the word!

Second annual JP Music Festival

The JP Music Festival is back for its second year and will happen on Saturday, September 8, 2012. The festival features musicians who live or work in Jamaica Plain. This year’s amazing line-up at the JP Music Festival is as diverse as JP, with genres including funk, jazz, Mexican, classical, hip-hop, rock, Americana, folk, dance, punk, pop, and metal.

A 75-minute mix tape featuring most of the performers can be heard on Soundcloud.

The 2012 line-up features:

Almost Righteous
Rick Berlin with the Nickel & Dime Band
• Eamonn Bonner
Bob Bradshaw
Dennis Brennan
• Select Members of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra
Coyote Kolb
Lauren DeRose
Amelia Emmet & Thick Wild
The Fully Celebrated
Gracious Calamity
Jamaica Plain Symphony Orchestra
The Late Greats
Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One
Pepe Gutierrez ‘El Tapatio’ y Mariachi Mexamerica
Morris and the East Coast
The Needy Visions
Riding Shotgun
Rocky Nook
Streight Angular
The Whiskey Boys

We’ll also have food trucks on-site available as of 11 AM, activities for kids, music merchandise, and a bike rack for anyone who would like to lock up.

Kids activities include…
• an instrument petting zoo with violin, electric bass electric, guitar, trombone, clarinet, and more!

Food vendors + trucks will include…
BBQ Smith
City Feed
Staff Meal
…plus carts selling cupcakes and popsicles!

Last year we had more than 1,200 people attend!

With car parking extremely limited, we encourage everyone to carpool, walk, bike, or take mass transit: best T options include the Orange Line’s Stonybrook stop or the number 39 bus, exiting at South Huntington Avenue at Perkins Street. Bike racks will be provided.

Teaching “Generating The Publicity Buzz” at Emerson College

Over the last two years I’ve been teaching “Marketing and The Internet” at Emerson College as part of their Professional Studies Certificate Program for Marketing and Branding. I just finished up the Spring 2012 semester and it was terrific. The class is a mix of Emerson Students and working professionals who want to learn more about e-marketing. This past semester included participants working on projects for Balance Spa, Cambridge Systematics, CAPLAWGloria Asselta, Draganfire, Kroc Center, ScooziVeryst Engineering, and Xcitex and it was a terrific semester.

This summer at Emerson I’ll be teaching “Generating the Publicity Buzz,” a course about public relations and help participants learn about public relations and refine their PR skills.

As the course catalog says…

“Participants will learn to promote products and ideas by setting objectives, choosing appropriate messages, selecting effective publicity vehicles, and creating public relations plans. With emphasis on the practical, participants will learn to build public relations contacts, draft media advisories and news releases, set up news conferences, pitch stories and profiles, write opinion pieces, develop media relations with reporters, handle crisis communications, and use the Internet and other new media to generate publicity. Individuals will build a public relations plan for their brands to generate buzz among employees, customers, and the media.”

We’ll use the text book, “The Practice of Public Relations” by Fraser P. Seitel, which is a terrific book. In addition, we’ll have a variety of online readings.

We’re coming up on the deadline for signing up for the course this Thursday, May 17th, so wanted to spread the news in case you’d like to take the class. The class costs $650 for 10 classes, starting June 4th and running until August 6th.

Find out more about the program and sign up before Thursday!

Any questions, please let me know at! -Charlie

15 Steps to Starting a Local Music Festival (in a bad economy)

Last year I had the good fortune to get pulled in to help out with marketing for the first-ever JP Music Festival in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Put together by Rick Berlin, Shamus Moynihan, and Randace Moore, it was created because they and others recognized that Jamaica Plain has a vibrant music scene that was kind of hiding under the covers. The neighborhood has lots of musicians who lived and work here and we have several other neighborhood festivals, but we all wanted a festival that was all about the local music to bring it to the front and bring together the ‘hood.

The first festival took place on Saturday, August 20, 2011 and was an unqualified success. More than 20 artists and bands performed over six hours to at least 1,200 people. It was a hot summer day, but I, for one, was amazed at how smoothly everything went and what a great time people had.

Afterward, a number of people asked us how we put the event on, especially given how bad the economy is/was, so we’ve put together a two-page pdf document that we want to share with others who want to put on local music festivals around the US and around the world.

We call it “15 Steps to Starting a Local Music Festival (in a bad economy” and we hope others can learn from what the team behind the JP Music Festival have learned and bring more live music to their community!

- Charlie

Working with The Arts Fuse and Over My Shoulder Foundation

Excited to be working with several new clients including Bill Marx’s The Arts Fuse and Dawn Carroll’s Over My Shoulder Foundation. Very different in what they are doing, but both great non-profits working in the Boston area!

Many of you in Boston will remember Bill Marx as the theater critic at WBUR for well as regularly writing for The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix. As arts writers and critics have decreased at traditional print, television, and radio outlets, Marx has been bringing writers from across New England together into The Arts Fuse with well over 50 contributors who have helped fill a void in arts criticism. I’m helping The Arts Fuse out with a mix of marketing including brand development, SEO, social media marketing, advertising, and email marketing.

Dawn Carroll is an award-winning stone designer who currently works for CUMAR Marble and Granite in Everett, but is also the co-founder of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, which helps inspire people to mentor others. With every January being National Mentoring Month (started by Harvard’s School of Public Health, among others), I’m working with the Over My Shoulder Foundation on an event this week (featuring the foundation’s co-founder, Grammy® Award-winner Patti Austin and a variety of marketing including media relations, branding, and social media marketing.

To find out more about these two Boston organizations, visit The Arts Fuse and Over My Shoulder Foundation.

More news to share soon…

Teaching “Marketing and The Internet” at Emerson College this spring

Last winter and spring I taught “Marketing and The Internet” at Emerson College for the first time and it was great fun.

I’ve taught seminars and workshops about marketing and social media over the last few years, for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, when I worked at ArtsBoston to arts organizations in Greater Boston, at Boston University, for Future of Music Coalition, at Stone Hill College, and for various Chamber of Commerce associations, so I was excited to have the chance to teach a full semester at Emerson College as part of their Professional Studies & Special Programs.

The 10-week long course focuses on digital marketing…
* building your marketing strategy
* affiliate marketing
* search engine optimization (SEO)
* pay per click advertising
* Twitter
* Facebook
* social media marketing
* viral marketing
* online reputation management
* web public relations
* web development and design
* online copywriting
* web analytics
* mobile marketing
* customer relationship management
* market research
* online surveys

We talk a lot about strategy throughout the semester and, at the end of the course, each student presents their marketing plan for their project, either based on an actual product or service or perhaps based on a product or service you’d like to use as an example.

I really wanted the final result of the course to be a marketing plan that you can use to implement over the coming months and see the tangible results and benefits. The course is very practical in its approach.

Last spring, the students were a mix of people working at small businesses (and strategizing about how to stretch their marketing dollars and their own time) and students working at larger corporations (where some digital marketing practices can be slow to gain traction, as they often do at big organizations!) get them solid results. These included brands like Holly Caldwell, Pearson Higher Ed, Susan Piver, and Theta Nu Xi, so the projects and services the students were working on really ran the gamut.

Using some excellent teaching materials from Quirk, including a free textbook and additional web readings and video that I selected, I found the class really demystified much of digital marketing and helped the students to make smarter decisions about where to put their time and efforts in order to show solid results.

The class costs $650.00 and, since all the readings are online, there is no textbook to purchase. Classes are held on Emerson’s campus, across from Boston Common.

You can register on Emerson College’s site, let me know if you have any questions at charlie(at)layers or leave a comment below and I’ll answer.