You’ve spent countless hours and an even more countless amount of blood, sweat, and tears making your first album. Now, it is time to release it to the world so that hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people can hear it. So, what’s the secret to getting all those listeners? The truth is the musicians who get those kinds of results put the same blood, sweat, and tears into marketing their music and their personal brand as they did into making the album.
For the longest time, musicians have thought of their work in these terms: “If I just make great music, the people will come.” That’s not true though. In 2020, the market is so incredibly saturated with millions of artists that cutting through the noise is near impossible for everyone except a select few. That is why the smartest musicians can – and should – invest in their personal brand online.
Here are three tips and tricks on how you can use brand marketing to get more listeners to your first album.
Get Your Social Media Right
It is not enough anymore to simply be on social media. You need to be using social media correctly in order to gain more listeners. This means being on the right platform, being active, posting consistent and relevant material, and engaging with both current fans and potential new listeners.
It is a huge job. It is why the biggest musicians in the world have entire social media teams that work for them. The payoff is, when you do social media right, you create a community around your music. This community, once developed, will not only support you and listen to your new music but also help you spread the word about your music for you.
There are lots of ways to build a community around your music. You can use paid ads to draw more people to your page or post using popular hashtags that similar artists use. You can create contests and do album or merch giveaways or make deals with other emerging artists to promote each other’s work on your respective pages.
No matter how you go about it, keep in mind the goal is to create that community of supporters and future marketers of your music. People all around the world are looking to support indie musicians now more than ever and your social media presence should, above all else, provide an opportunity for them to do that.
Run A Publicity Campaign
You are just one musician or, at most, just one band. There are only so many new fans you can reach on your own through your website, social media, and other platforms. The best way to reach the masses is to get the music media to do stories and create reviews about your music. The best way to get press about your music is with PR.
There are several good reasons for you to hire a PR company to rep your music if you can afford it. These people are the professionals and will give you the best chance of having your music discussed in writing, on social media, in videos, or on podcasts. However, if you can’t afford PR representation, that’s ok too.
Doing your own PR is easier than you think. What you need to do your own PR is an electronic press kit (EPK). This is a packet you can send out to media – blogs, podcasts, websites, magazines, radio stations, etc. – that has all the information they need to create media about your music.
You can find plenty of free examples and templates online to help guide you about what should be in your EPK but the main points are your bio, professional pictures, and links to your music, websites, and social media pages. Think of it as a digital resume for your music that you send to people who may be able to help expose your music to new listeners.
Curate an Email List
Social media and PR strategies might be sexier and more exciting but don’t underestimate the value of a good, old fashioned email list. It is still an incredibly effective marketing tool and can be utilized in a number of ways to help get you more listeners.
You can use standard email marketing to engage your current fan base, develop a more devoted ad active community, and entice new listeners. Emails about upcoming music releases, shows, appearances, discount codes, giveaways, behind the scenes content, or any other type of “special offers” are and always will be an incredibly valuable form of marketing.
Musicians can leverage a robust email list in different ways as well. When trying to book gigs, get added to playlists, or have your music featured in the press, a hearty email list can be a big carrot to get people to help you. If these people know that their venue, playlist, or outlet will also be exposed to a large group of new people, your selling process will become a lot easier.
You can manage your email list by hand, keep a spreadsheet and send out bcc’d emails but that is time-consuming and ultimately less effective than using an email list service. By using a service like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, or a host of other services, you can keep track of things like open rates, see what types of email do best and when, and allow people to easily unsubscribe if they want.
Marketing yourself and your music can be difficult and time-consuming but it will be worth it in the end with the new listeners it brings. If you are still confused about how to market your music, or you’re not sure you have the time to do it, there are companies in every city and town that can help. For my first album, I found help in my hometown of Chicago from an article on Cool Things Chicago that had a list of companies that can help grow a personal brands’ image online. And that little help made all the difference.