Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Whether you just started producing music or have been releasing music for years, promoting your music as a brand is a never-ending task. Based on my experience owning a music blog, My Wedding Songs, and having been in the digital marketing space for several decades, I’ve learned a few tips that can help musicians be more successful in promoting their music and brand. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.
Build Your Brand First
Before deciding if you should promote using your real name or band name, take a look on Google first to see how much competition you will have for the search. If your name is James Taylor, for instance, you may consider using your middle name or a family name instead.
Next, capture all your social media profiles. This includes TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Fans will be looking for you everywhere. Try to keep your profile usernames consistent to create less confusion. Then, be active on your favorite social platforms to connect with fans.
Lastly is the website. You don’t have to be a web developer to create a website. Many website builders like Squarespace and Wix are easy to navigate. Your website should include a bio page, music page with your song videos, up-to-date tour page and contact page for press and bookings. Depending on your agreements, have a shop area too for fans to purchase merchandise to help spread the word. Be sure to link out to all of your social media and music profiles too. Keep it up-to-date with the latest releases and happenings.
Spotify is one of the main music streaming services that’s popular today. With the benefit of user-created playlists, some playlists have been extremely successful by gaining millions of followers and playlist likes.
Consider reaching out to Spotify influencers who have more than 1,000 playlist likes in your genre. However, the playlists must be updated frequently. If you have a playlist with one hundred thousand likes but has not been updated since 2016, then that playlist would be one to track in a spreadsheet to return to at a later date but skip for immediate outreach.
Try to be creative when searching for playlists. Don’t just stick to your genre as many music fans search by tempo, mood, seasons, events and more. As an example, if you produce a romantic love song, search for love playlists and wedding playlists.
YouTube is not only for sharing your music video — this platform has playlists with hundreds of thousands of views — sometimes reaching into the millions. As an example, if you are looking for twerk songs, you might find the YouTube channel playlist titled “Best Twerk Hip Hop Rap Mix 2021” that has more than 400,000 views. That’s a far reach. Consider how you can capitalize on YouTube playlists to reach a wider audience.
Bonus Tip: Before releasing your song, have a video ready with the official audio at a minimum. You can always have an official video release party at a later date. In my experience, it’s best to also have a video with the official lyrics. Music lovers are always searching for lyrics. Don’t give YouTube the opportunity to create a generic video for your song without you reaping the benefits.
This is one of the most underutilized ways to promote yourself that I see. Many music blogs have millions of readers each year. Even though you may have never heard of them, they could be wildly popular.
Find blogs that are in your genre or a sub-genre. If you are a rock band, then search for sub-genres like alternative rock blogs, indie rock blogs, soft rock blogs, rock concert blogs or grunge blogs. There is a blog for everyone and every style of music. You just need to seek and find.
Once you have found a blog you want to reach out to, be sure to personalize your message to an actual author of the blog. Don’t just send an email to the blog’s business name. Then, tell your story. Why would the blog write about you? Unfortunately, blogs only care about how you can benefit them. Offer the option for an interview too. This will add credibility to your pitch.
How do you know if a blog is worth the effort? One way to detect if a blog or website is popular is to use the website Alexa.com. I’d also recommend navigating this process by using the tool Ubersuggest. This tool will tell you what the average number of website visitors is for a website. I would not target any blog or website with less than 50,000 monthly visitors. However, don’t limit yourself by focusing solely on high-traffic websites as they will most likely be the hardest to contact. Monthly traffic estimates between 50,000 and 500,000 are a great place to start.
Growing your fan following is more than creating great music. You must live where your audience lives. That means being active on music sites, social media and creating legitimacy of your brand online. You got this!