Promoting your music successfully is a long haul. It’s not just about promoting for a month before and after your latest release. Every successful musician promotes every day for years on end until the world has heard so much from them that they’re tired of it. Then they can finally take a few months off. If you’re planning to build a fanbase, you need to be thinking of promotional ideas many months ahead of time, not for just a few weeks around a big event. It never stops. Coming up with ideas that keep raising awareness of your music is one of the most crucial elements that go into building a fanbase.
Why Would Your Fans Tell Their Friends About This Promotion?
Whenever you are thinking of a new promotion to do for your music, make sure to ask yourself, “Why would my fans tell their friends about this promotion?” Give them something worth talking about that is eventful and interesting enough to want to tell their friends who don’t know about your music and you will see tons of listeners checking you out.
Do Something Weekly And Something Eventful Every Month
Apple Music’s Ian Rogers is a big evangelist for a theory that many publicists have been suggesting for years. If you want potential fans to discover your music, bring it up again and again. This will get your name seen constantly by potential fans, inviting curiosity and eventually getting them to listen to your music. If you release an EP with six songs and one single this year, you’ll see a good amount of coverage once during the whole year. But if you’re putting out a song every couple of months, you have the potential for writers to be writing about you every time you put out a single. This also means fans won’t only hear about your progress as a musician once a year, but that you can keep winning over fans as you get better and better.
When you hear about a marketing plan, this is a lot of it. You should have ideas for eventful promotions you can announce every week for months to come. The smaller events can be YouTube updates, a big show, a cover song you recorded, some cool new merch, a DJ mix or whatever clever idea you can think of that will excite your fans. The big events are a new single, album, video, tour or special event. Figuring out how to place these events in your calendar can keep your momentum going and keep your fanbase growing. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do, the rest of this book is riddled with them. Coming up with eventful promotions you feel will work for your music is the most important part of building your event calendar.
Make It A Calendar
When I work with a band, we have a Google Calendar titled “Press.” Every entry on it lasts a week and it says what we’re doing each week to promote the band’s music. For that week we focus on promoting one event, that we hope will excite fans and continue to get the word spread. Once a month (sometimes every three to five weeks), we do a big promotion: Release a record, video, tour or announce huge news like a new record label signing, etc. We may promote that event for more than a month at time, but in between you’ll be doing other promotions every week that help keep your name in the news cycle. These events should help raise awareness by making them the type of events both fans and press write about. An example of a calendar is below:
- Week 1 Big Announcement: We started recording our new album. We send out this announcement to press and tell fans.
- Week 2: In-studio video update–posted to social networks.
- Week 3: Announce a contest to come to the studio.
- Week 4: Announce winner of contest and post video of them there.
- Week 5 Big Announcement: New album is done. We’re going out on tour to promote this record. Here are the dates–sent out to everyone.
- Week 6: Post another video from the studio.
- Week 7: Hold a chat with fans about new record.
- Week 8: Announce pre-order, track listing and album art.
- Week 9: Big Announcement: Pre-Order is up, release first song from new record.
- Week 10: Release lyric video of first single.
- Week 11: Post to YouTube a behind the scenes video for the record.
- Week 12: Release acoustic video of a song from the record to a blog where you trade a download for a download.
- Week 13: Big Announcement: Record is now out. Post single frame videos of every song from the record on YouTube.
- Week 14: Play record release show, start tour.
- Week 15: Post all the awesome interviews and reviews you have done.
- Week 16: Tour update video.
- Week 17 Big Announcement: Music video for first single is out.
- Week 18: Announce contest to come to your lead singer’s family reunion as his date.
- Week 19: Release remix of first single.
- Week 20: Tour ends, release another video update from it including a sneak preview of a new song you played one night.
- Week 21 Big Announcement: Post full concert video from last tour. Announce your new tour and post video from your last tour, showing fans why they don’t want to miss this one.
- Week 22: Post lyric video of all of the songs from your new album on YouTube.
- Week 23: Post video of you doing a new, alternate version of a song from the record.
- Week 24: Announce DJ set you’ll be broadcasting to the web and then have the recording of it posted to a blog for download.
- Week 25 Big Announcement: Announce giveaway of new single in conjunction with the release of the music video for it.
Creating all of this press takes a lot of time and effort and in all likelihood you’ll have to re-arrange the order of events. Every musician will do this a little differently. The first week of your campaign may even start two months before you start a crowdfunding campaign. Many of these announcements may not work for you, but with some time and imagination you can make a similar calendar of your own that’s effective in keeping you in the news, gaining new fans and raising awareness.
But I Have No Fans, Press Contacts Or Means Of Touring? – You should still follow this pattern. Instead, make a big deal out of your local shows. Make live videos from your sets, record cover videos–create as much content as you can for potential fans to dig into. Release a new song once a month, so that you have the chance for new fans to hear about you as often as possible and begin accumulating material for potential fans to dig into when they find you. It’s hard for you to become someone’s favorite musician if you only have two songs. You’ll then have reason to keep trying your hand at getting written about on the blogs you target. Getting material out early–in a steady schedule–can help keep you in the news cycle.
Jesse Cannon is a Brooklyn based producer, mixer and mastering engineer. He has authored two of the highest rated books on music on Amazon, Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With. He is also the co-founder of Noise Creators a service that connects musicians with the best producers and other creatives in music today, as well as hosting the podcast of the same name.