Musicians can – and should invest – in their personal brand online. In addition to creating amazing music, they need to take the time and ensure they have a great website, social media platforms etc.
For the longest time, musicians thought of their work in these terms: “I make great music and people will come.” That’s not true though. In a market that’s super saturated with millions of artists, cutting through the noise is near impossible for everyone except a select few.
Here are 5 things every musician should know about growing a brand online.
1. Your Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Your EPK is the hub for all of your assets, such as your music files, bio, images, etc, that the media can access. Ensure it includes:
- A bio that includes some crucial elements about you
- A link to your professional headshot
- Press quotes if you’ve been featured anywhere online
- Links to your music on Spotify/Apple Music/Soundcloud
- Links to your social media accounts
- Recent news such as an upcoming EP or album
2. Your Social Media
Social media is really important for a musician to grow a brand online. Fans are at least a little active across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc so as you build your career, you’ll find that social media is great for staying connected.
You can use it to:
- Define your brand
- Engage with other brands, potential venues for shows, fans and more
- See engagement levels through analytics
- Promotion through ads and sponsored posts
One subtle but key factor to consider is the platform you use – your fans may prefer to hang out on one more than another. You will then begin to understand what content works best too. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the content you publish. After all, that’s what being an artist is all about, right? Have fun with it
3. Your Email List
Email was revolutionary at the beginning of the digital age, but it’s rapidly becoming considered as an “old school” marketing technique. Nevertheless, your email list can be really useful as an artist looking to grow a brand online.
Sure, it’s really easy to tweet an update to your fans, but fans are still people – they are going to check their email as well. Further, email has a much higher engagement rate per post. It’s more likely they’ll read your email compared to a social media post buried within a sea of other posts.
In fact, it’s a similar process to this guide by Digital Authority Partners on how you would market a product to a consumer.
So, how do you leverage your email list to your advantage?
Well, if you don’t have one, first you need to actually build it. Offer incentives for obtaining their email addresses or create a signup sheet at your merch shop. Give them access to exclusive content or free merch at a show/on your website or great exchanges that fans won’t mind giving their email away for.
Once you’ve started building it out – don’t worry if it’s small – you need to start providing them with content, whether it’s to just say hello to your fans every once in a while saying you’re thinking of them, or let them know in advance about an upcoming tour or music video.
Remember, those that read your emails are your most engaged fans. Give them a reason to open it and future emails. It’s really important you think through the content.
Similar to your social media activity, create a “voice” that fans can enjoy and relate to. Stick to a schedule so you never miss sending an update and leaving anything important out.
We mentioned earlier that email had higher engagement compared to social media posts. Use this to your advantage and set some sales goals to measure your growth. That said, you don’t want to seem too salesy – fans may be loyal but they aren’t stupid!
4. Your Pitches
So you’ve released an awesome single or album, but that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone is going to know about it. You can send all the emails and social media posts in the world, release it on your website and share links to it on streaming platforms, but don’t be fooled into thinking that that’s where your marketing efforts come to an end.
You must pitch your music if you want to be a successful musician and be featured in all sorts of playlists all over the world. There may be a time in the future when your publicist can do this work for you, but right now, you need to take a more DIY approach.
There are a few things to consider when pitching your music:
- Knowing your story
- Cover art
- Who to actually target for the pitch
Tip: don’t be spammy and don’t expect a response every time.
Avoid hyping yourself as the next best thing. While you may be, the people who you’re pitching to have heard this a million times before.
5. Your Playlists
Streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify curate playlists that fans of that genre love or they know they’ll get to love when they listen. Even live streaming platforms like Twitch are great for musicians right now. This is why streaming has become the main source of music discovery – independent artists don’t get cast aside for the mainstream.
As an aspiring new musician looking to grow a brand online, there are few things you can do to get your music in some of these playlists.
First, make sure you’re verified on sites where you can build out your profile. This includes your website, social media platforms, etc.
Next, you should also be sharing links to your music on such streaming platforms. Again, use your website, your socials, emails – you’re basically reminding your fans where they can find you so they can add your music to their playlists.
Another subtle tactic is pitching your music to lesser-know playlists. For example, everyone knows about the “Throwback Thursday” playlists, but there are plenty of other ‘unofficial’ curators with decent followers that will be happy to hear your pitch. Contact them through social media, why you love their playlist and why your music would be a good fit for it.
Let us know what tricks and tips work for you. If there is a specific sticking point you are having a problem with, get in touch. We are always happy to try and help out.