Listen up: 10 tips on how to promote yourself & your music online
When you’re taking your career in to your own hands it’s important to create a strong strategy and then form a team around to you make it happen. Alongside eventually trying to find a badass manager and agent (if you choose) your music needs to find its way in to the hands of people who not only love it but can help to share it with the world. Initially, finding a PR company can be expensive so in this DIY era, we have put together ten tips to ensure that everyone gets to know your name:
1) Know your story
Who are you? Where have you come from? Why do you do what you do? What makes your different? Having a clear and authentic message is essential. People like to know what is behind the music that they are listening to. If you can make it come alive by intriguing stories of how the music was made and who has inspired your creativity, not only does it give journalists something to write about it lets people in to your world.
2) Make a plan
This is more important that more musicians realise. Blagging things can only take you so far. Decide how you would like to release your music and then make a plan on how to get your music promoted. Are you going to release a body of work all at once, an EP or a simple single? What do the visuals look like? Are you going to drop a video or come up with something that is super creative that nom one else has ever done before. Make a step-by-step daily, weekly and monthly plan for music promotion ideas and stick to them.
3) Be honest
With the online world moving so quickly things can be searched and uncovered on the Internet within seconds. The music world is smaller than you realise and people talk. Be honest with your story, your vision and with who you are. Originality is important but so is authenticity. Don’t lie, be straight and transparent and be proud to share your music and your craft.
4) Have an opinion
Within reason and limits make sure that you have your own opinion. Time and time again in interviews you will be asked to comment on global issues or peers within your scene. It’s ok to think differently and important to speak about the things that matter to you. Be aware that once your opinion is printed in any form, it can be difficult to go back on so think before you speak and value every word.
5) Be quotable
When you are talking about your career, be smart with what you talk about and the words that you use. In many cases you will be quoted word for word. Once your following starts to increase, remember that people look up to you and value your advice and the things that you say. What is your message and how can you portray that in the best way possible? If you find interviews tricky then ask for the questions in advance and prepare your answers. If it means that you get a friend or family member to run through them with you, then do that. Have confidence in what you are talking about and believe your answers.
Who are your audience? Which publications would you like to be in? Which platforms fit who you are as an artist? Who loves the music that you make? In every field there are specific people who will get where you are at and are waiting to discover new music so that they can back you from the start. Sometimes it can take time to find out the best sites to promote your music. Google, LinkedIn and Twitter are all invaluable. Find the people that your would like to get in contact with, follow them and find their contact details.
7) Who are you targeting?
Once you have decided where you would like to be positioned finding the right person to speak to in an organisation is essential. So many emails can be sent to the wrong people and you can hit a dead end quickly. Politely call the main switchboard, ask friends within the industry and look online to track down the exact person you need to contact. Before anything else, prepare how you would like to approach them and decide how you can stand out. Are you going to email them, send them something in the post or arrange to be at an event they may be at? Sometimes you only get one chance to make an impression so make sure you stand out (and for the right reasons).
Timing is key. Sometimes it can take time for people to notice you and it doesn’t always happen over night. Update your social networks, website and streaming platforms with your latest material, pictures and videos and when you have anything that stands out email it to your newly forming network. Not everyone makes decisions instantly and they like to see consistency. Longevity is key and building trust and relationships takes time. People want to know that you are in it for the long haul and aren’t going to get over night success to quickly disappear because your foundations aren’t set.
9) Gentle persistence & follow up
The music industry is fast paced. A lot of the people that you will be contacting work hard and don’t always sleep a lot. Stay in touch with them about your project so that they remember you when making decisions. There is a very fine line between persistence and annoyance so be gentle with the way that you follow things up. Don’t hound people on Twitter, get annoyed if they don’t reply straight away or bombard their DM’s. Let the music and your talent speak louder than you do.
10) Do what you say you’re going to do
Along the way you will be asked to send over material, complete interviews and share private links to your music. Stick to deadlines, reply when you need to and always remember to do what you say that you’re going to. Sometimes your break is closer than you realise but it can be down to you to make the leap. Open doors can be hidden behind things that you don’t normally like doing so always push yourself and don’t be afraid to grow and learn.
Carly Wilford is a DJ and Presenter and creator of IAmMusic & bass collective SISTER. She manages artists and has helped to break some of the musicians that you hear in the charts today.