So, you (or your band) have a finished work or, at least, have a plan to get to that point. But what are you going to do with that? In this article you’ll understand how music promotion can help, using music marketing strategies – from actions without the need for investment, to those in which some resources are necessary. After all, why not thinking in terms of gradual growth, right?
Even though the term “music promotion” is usual in the business, it may sound strange for the artist. But let’s begin by saying that there is nothing wrong in thinking that way. On the contrary, this way of working will sustain your career.
Therefore, follow this line of thought: a band is a brand and the songs are the products of that brand. The brand can only survive by selling its products, so it has to be structured like a company or a business. Thinking like this is primordial for music promotion, and that will be clear in the next paragraphs.
First step of music promotion: artist branding
If your job as an artist is a brand, you will need a “face” for that brand. Even though not every artist is familiar with marketing terms, “branding” is one of the most used words of this sector.
In the music business. branding can help you understand several characteristics of your own work, like how subtle is your music (more rock or more folk, for example), what social class is it focused on, in which venues can it be played, to which playlists it belongs, and so many other factors.
Music promotion can absolutely use many of the tools that are commonly utilized in marketing by companies of other sectors. And that includes some tools that help with branding. Some more complex ones – like empathy maps and archetype mandala – to something more basic – like the creation of a persona.
Let’s go for an example of persona formation. In order to do that, answer the following questions:
- What is the person, inclined to listen to your music, generally like?
- Will this person listen to your music in the car or in headphones riding the bus home from work.
- Would this person follow a playlist that has your music on it?
- Does this person prefer romantic lyrics or something that talks about day-to-day stuff?
- If he or she was an artist, who would he or she be?
Obviously, it is difficult to list here all the possible questions, but the idea must be this: to raise questions that help you understand who your audience is. And you can go really deep in to that profiling, approeaching many topics: places the person goes to, the food he or she prefers, the favorite show and so on. With a created profile, your brand has a face to match the audience’s.
Is branding important for music promotion?
Branding not only is important, it is fundamental. Your audience needs it to have something to relate to, to know who you are and where you can take them. It’s an important topic, envolving the journey in which your music will take the listener, including places of affective memory. And that represents a very effective marketing strategy.
Look at the images to understand better:
The image on the left reminds us, clearly, of country music. The image on the right, however, makes us thing of jazz. But notice that are not only the elements in the images that are telling us that, but also the lighting and many other factors. To the left we have something more natural, like real daylight. To the right, a more intimate lighting, warm and artificial, like at a jazz club.
Now imagine, for example, that you are starting the music promotion on Instagram of your jazz project. Which image would you use? The answer is clear.
Applying artist branding
The definitions you get from artist branding, will even help you understand how to make a band logo. Because only that way you can know what colors to use, what’s the better font for you, if you will need a slogan next to your logo and many other things.
In a more confined scenery, you can also think of segmentations connected to your branding. Remember that we talked about your band being like a company and your music being the product? Now think that all your music are a whole line of products (an album) and that line of products is directed to the identity the company. But with some slight diferences that point to that specific segmentation of your work. All that will help you with album cover designs.
Think strategically. You create your own identity. Meaning that you possess the rhetorical resourses that will lead the audience to recognize you. But now you are in a battle field. You have been recognized so you need to defend your identity. The good part is that the audience won’t suspect you – the artist can only lose credibility by doing or saying something wrong. So that is the principle of battle: the audience has recognized you and is now open to everything you show them. What you need now are resources to reinforce who you are and what your mission is.
You will need material.
Now you know who your audience is and how they see you. This is great for music promotion! You have enough material to go on with the developing of your actions, in other words, your marketing planning. We’ll see next some resources you need to create, before moving on to promotion.
What is an elevator picth?
The meaning of this expression is to sell an idea in a quick way. Like an elevator going up. It means you have a short period of time to get your listener’s attention to your work, or even to get the listener to consider having a conversation with you.
This concept is clear, for example, in TrueView In-Stream advertising videos on YouTube. Those that we can skip after five seconds. Even though the time of this example is shorter that the time in the elevator pitch concept (30 to 60 seconds), the idea is the same: to draw and catch the audience’s attention, so you can later on pass the information.
Elevator pitch can also be used in a form of a short text, in which the goal is to make the reader listen to your music. Depending on the platform you are using, the text can change in lenght. But the main idea is to create curiosity in a direct and quick form.
That means that after you difined your audience or your persona, write a short text inviting the reader to experience your product. Which characteristics of your music can create curiosity and an interesting experience to live? What’s the difference from your band to other bands in the same genre? And from bands with the same target audience as you? Besides, which information, contained in your band’s history or in your music, you can pass on quickly to make them more interested in your material?
Create your own argument and save it. You will need it to guide your music promotion actions and also to create some of the following material.
Before you know how to do it, first you have to understand what a press kit is. It consists of the material to go along your press release and is sent to the press. That will help you to get organic social media – in other words, unpaid promotion – something not very present in music promotion strategies.
To elaborate this material, besides making a really nice release, respect your branding and use the elevator pitch to get atention. Keep in mind that the people who receive your material, might get many others just like it, so you must stand out. It can be by making it personal – with the name of the receiver – or with some sort of gift that comes with the kit. Obviously, you will need some investment to make your press kit, but you can get to something viable with creativity.
A press kit is, in the end, a gathering of specific material created based on your band. A few pictures of a great live performance. Some posters of concert in famous venues. A video of one of your songs. An essay telling the band’s history or your music career. A compilation of interviews. A collection of album and single covers. Think about all the material you can gather and make a reduced version of that: that’s your press kit. The release must be in there too, so when you get contacted by the press, with that material in hand, they can choose what to promote about your band.
Internet: the greatest stage for music promotion
Independent music has certainly gain a lot from the growth of the internet. Before that, all the music business was centralized on record companies and there was not enough room for everyone. Nowadays, besides freely promote your work, you can also make your music available in the same platforms used by mainstream artists. That is, with little to no investment, your music can be on Spotify, Deezer and similar streaming services. It can even be in the same playlist as better known similar artists.
The internet can make your music available to the audience and it is a fundamental tool for music promotion, consequently, the internet can also make possible for you to sell your music on those platforms. With a high number of “plays” of your music, you will not only monetize your work, but also increase your chances of being in official playlists liked by your audience. Check out next, some of the areas where you can act in that respect.
Organic social media
This is a very important item for any artist who is willing to work on their music promotion. It consists of a unpaid form of reaching your audience. It is a point so important that even the artists that are investing in paid advertisement, need to have good results in organic social media as well.
One way of increasing organic social media is learning how to work with SEO for musicians. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is a set of rules based on Google algorithms, to determine in which position your website or your posts appear when people look something up that is related to your work. The rules go way beyond: they can help in good ratings of your actions and even in social media. A good idea is to check out the SEO guide offered by Google.
In your studies to increase your position in organic social media, you must include keywords and how to use those keywords in your posts and your website; writing in short paragraphs and using transition words. Is one of the most complex phases in the process of creating your image on the internet, but rememeber: if you are not online, basically you don’t exist.
YouTube for Artists
YouTube is such an incredible tool for artists that the platform created YouTube For Artists, a platform developped specially for artists with help and tips for a good performance and results in your channel.
The platform can be used in many ways: to upload video clips, to create sketches and live stream performances. However, is important to analyze your audience and think outside the box, like making a lyric video, for example. Which is nothing more than a clip with one of your songs in the background. While something happens on screen (illustrations or any other element) with the lyrics synched to the song. A lyric video can help the audience to be familiar with your songs, learn the lyrics and how to sing it.
Now look: with the steps above, you have created a journey to the listener and that journey represents the engagement of the listener with your career. That is priceless for your music promotion. Oh! And don’t forget to check the chat and comment boxes of your on-demand videos and live streams. This is where you connect with the audience individually.
Music promotion in social media must be focused on attention to the audience. Of course you’ll need to feed your Facebook, Instagram – or any other tool important to your public (like TikTok, Kwai, etc.) – with relevant material that is aligned with your artist branding. However, the focus cannot be only that, in any way.
Keep in mind that is in the social media that your listenet will look for information about who you are and what you do. So, besides your image, you also have to care about them, answering questions and taking requests. All of that will bring the audience closer to you and, in this case, the word of mouth marketing and the online sharing will work in your favour, promoting your work.
Don’t forget that lately, social media has also worked as a sales platform. Every good salesman keeps an updated contact with his or her clients, so both parts get to know each other better. What your audience really wants is your product. To know about your life is only important in some specific circumstances, that might enrich their listener experience.
Post something on a daily basis, of varied content. Share personal information as long as it is directly related to your music. Remember the elevator picth: your goal is not to make your audience consume your product on social media. In fact, you want them to get out of there. You want them to come to the show, to your online store, to the streaming platforms or watch your live stream performance. Summon the audience to interact.
Another important thing: posting is never enough, for social media. Only a small amount of your followers receive your content. Don’t be afraid of being “annoying”. You are only annoying to those who don’t like you, but you are not selling to them, are you? Build an audience with daily content and those interested in your music will be organic followers, creating lots of different virtual interactions. Pay attention only to them, care about them – the people that buy your music.
The roadmap of music promotion
There’s a lot of stuff, right? But don’t worry. You just have to create a marketing plan. If you need help with that, that are a lot of music promotion services with some very interesting and helpful material that you can use in your career too. Between all this planing, remember your goals in short, mid and long terms. Trace achievable goals, like the amount of followers or “plays” on Spotify you want to have. Always be realistic.
Many actions mentioned in this article can be done without any investment and others with very little money. But it is possible as well to spend some money in paid advertising and Google Adwors campaigns. And keep in mind that even if you have almost no funds, you can count on those music promotion services to help you with any difficulty you may have found here.