Rattling The Cage: How to Effectively Promote Your Music (Panel Recap)

We had such an informative panel last week, thank you all for coming out! If you missed it, we’ve got the recap right here with insights from: Tyler CannonGina ChavezCarter DelloroTommy BlankJesse Atwell and AMF’s Executive Director, Kellie Goldstein.

Good promotion takes lead-time

In the beginning stages of your next big single, album, tour, etc., you’ll want to come up with a strategic plan for promotion. The first thing our panelists agreed on was that being flexible with your deadline is important. As excited as you may be that you just recorded a new album, there’s no reason to rush things just to get it out there if you aren’t ready. Putting in your due diligence and doing it right is worth extending the release date, rather than just putting it out there with no promotion (unless you’re Beyoncé).

When pitching, be genuine

Panelist Carter Delloro of Ovrld.com explained how important a good artist bio is, as well as the right way to reach out to bloggers. You have to come across genuinely and thoughtfully to get someone to press play on your music and ultimately, give you favorable press. In terms of your approach, personalization and attention to detail will pay off. Show the person you are pitching that you know who you’re talking to by referencing the ‘about’ section of the outlet or even a recent article they wrote. Sending the same email to 100 bloggers will reap low rewards, so treat different people and outlets differently. Another thing, be sure to follow up regularly. Bloggers are overwhelmed with emails and usually can’t get to them all, but if they recognize your name and notice your tenacity, they’ll eventually get around to listening to what you have to say. A memorable and/or catchy subject line will also help you stand out among hundreds of other emails. If you get press out of it, don’t forget to say thank you!!

Find another artist you admire

In order to really delve into your target market and identify outlets more prone to covering you – find someone with a similar sound to yours that is doing well and imitate their marketing efforts and/or pitch where they get coverage. Another way of identifying the people really digging your music is to simply notice those in the audience coming back again and again to your shows and tapping their feet at your performances. Interact with your fans and take note of the demographic you’re speaking to so you can tailor your message online.

Be smart about where you’re touring

Gina Chavez spoke about the importance of developing new markets wisely. Meaning, don’t tour everywhere just because, but really gain a fan base one market at a time and develop a presence before you move on to the next state. If you plan on taking on a new area, be sure to take note of the places that had a good vibe and good crowd and then go back again and again so you can create a really strong community.

Everywhere, everything, all the time is not a strategy

Just like with touring, you shouldn’t utilize every online marketing tool and social media outlet out there just because it exists. Don’t struggle to keep up with 3 social media outlets or feel pressured to have more than you have time for. Pick those that are doing exceptionally well or are growing and get really good at just a couple to get started. There’s nothing worse than posting just to post. Say something to your fans like you are talking to your friend, meaning post when you’ve got something important to say and be genuine about it. No one wants to follow someone who posts every day at 2pm just because they feel like they have to.

You have to write your own rulebook

Quiet Company’s Tommy Blank expanded upon their free hugs campaign, proving that thinking outside of the box and hitting the pavement usually works. On that note, find what works for you depending on where you are in your career. When asked what they would do if they only had $500 to spend promoting their music, our panelists had different thoughts that were all great. Ideas ranged from hiring someone to write your bio to taking a boom box playing your music to the streets with some flyers.

Don’t hire a publicist if…

If you’re just barely getting shows and struggling to gather a crowd, now is not the time for a publicist. If you are building momentum and getting great feedback, make sure you like the publicist, and that they LOVE your music. If they aren’t excited about it, then don’t give them your money. Trust your gut and talk to a lot of publicists before you choose one. This is your baby and you are the boss. If they don’t reply to your emails then they obviously aren’t that excited to have you. If you do take on a publicist, be ready for interviews and hone in on those communication skills.

When talking to fans, be transparent

Email marketing is a fantastic and sustainable way to speak directly to your fans. You never know when Facebook will become extinct like MySpace, but growing and nurturing a solid email list that you own will never go out of style. The key is to let fans opt-in and use it sparingly. No one likes to be tricked into signing up for a newsletter, so always be upfront. On that note, sweepstakes and giveaways are great ways to grow that email list so long as they have the option to sign up for your newsletter. One newsletter/month is the most we would recommend to avoid unsubscribes.

If you need more help or have questions, that’s what AMF is here for! Feel free to schedule a consultation by calling our office at (512) 542-0077 or send an email to info@austinmusicfoundation.org.

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