Self-promotion is one of the most important (and difficult) processes that musicians and entrepreneurs experience. As a musician and songwriter, it is challenging sometimes to even get the confidence to put yourself out there in the first place. Once you establish that you are ready, where is the best place to start?
The internet contains a wealth of information about a lot of different things; sometimes helpful, sometimes confusing and conflicting. The good news? You don’t need a huge knowledge of the internet or mobile applications to make a big impact and start your internet presence. In fact, spending an afternoon setting everything up can lead to a big payoff in the future.
Here is a list of some basic places to start that process, both internet websites and mobile applications. While this is a very basic list, it is a great place to get started and might lead you to other ways of promotion. Grab a pen and paper (and an electronic device) and let’s take the next step in your promotion process!
This one might sound obvious, but it is really important. A website for your professional music career is the first contact that you might be making with a potential professional contact or just a fan. If you are singing online or even at a venue, the first thing that often happens is that people Google you… a beautiful and professional-looking website can make a favorable impression when it matters the most.
The logistics of actually building a website have been made much easier over the years. Many of the various templates are a good place to start, and they can be easily customized to reflect your creative brand. The most important piece is the domain, which should include your name or the name of your band. For more information about how to build your website, I would recommend check out this blog.
Once you get the actual website running, make sure to include information about yourself and your work, including recordings, photos, and upcoming events. You should also consider including your social media links to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Streaming Services (Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud):
Have some recordings you want to put out there for public streaming? Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud are some of the most popular and accessible platforms. Simply create an account and put your music out there.
YouTube is a wonderful way to promote yourself, because you never know who might find your video! Starting your own video channel is an easy way to promote your new work, and video content is a powerful way to grow your following.
Facebook is a great place to reach audiences that may not be on other social channels. Additionally, Facebook often has a lot of professional contacts. While not everyone has a Facebook account, it is a common platform, especially for professionals in the music industry.
It would be smart to make sure that you have a professional Facebook separate from your personal Facebook. Make sure that you make that separation clear because having a personal boundary is still important – even if you want to feel accessible to your fans. When you want to keep in touch with a professional contact, you can connect with them on Facebook easily. That’s the beauty of social media!
Facebook allows you to utilize groups. These can be great for gathering information, and also networking. Join local groups in your area to get started to meet other music professionals, connect with audiences, and find out about performance opportunities. Start by searching “your city musicians” or “your city songwriters” and see what comes up. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Instagram is a great place to share photos on both your feed and story. Stories are a great place to show life’s everyday moments and “behind the scenes” content.
Your audience will feel connected to you and will be able to interact, and build a sense of connection outside of simply sharing your music content. However, fans will also be able to connect with your music, which is a double-win.
Twitter is another wonderful platform to communicate with your fans and promote yourself at the same time. The Twitter audience is different than other social media, and can often connect us to an international audience.
Post photos or tweet about what you’ve been up to in order to grow your audience.
If part of your personal brand is being an advocate in the industry, or if there is any aspect of your personal life or your songwriting process that you wish to share with your audience directly, a blog is a great place to start.
There are musicians who advocate for issues that they are passionate about, or simply have a blog where they share their travels or favorite vegetarian recipes. There are also lots of musicians who blog about their creative process and draw audiences behind the scenes using their blog articles.
This is totally optional, but can help with audience engagement and keep people interested in your artistry, since they feel a personal connection.
While it’s not technically “virtual” sometimes an old-fashioned business card makes a great impression. You can even get a virtual business card using a site like Mobilo.
While some of this may seem overwhelming, remember that you can take these steps one day at a time. And remind yourself why you are doing it. You will never regret promoting yourself, even if it is challenging and sometimes there are periods of doubt, frustration, and waiting.
Good luck, and remember you are worth it! You have nothing to prove and everything to share.