Marketing Yourself Online
Many times I see artists and producers miss crucial steps in building a connection with their fans and/or potential fans.
I’ve done many of these things I’m about to tell you. That’s why I can say they don’t work well in the long run.
So below I’m going to go over the top 3 ways that can hurt your intentions of living your dream.
1. You’re Force Feeding
To tag or not to tag? There are times when you would want to tag someone in your work, but that is only if they have asked. Have you ever been tagged in a video or post on Facebook along with 99+ others?
Every time someone likes or comments you get a notification. Sounds annoying right? Well, that’s exactly how your fans feel. If you tell someone you are going to call them back you wouldn’t want them to blow up your phone every two minutes.
People want to feel like they’ve discovered something. They want to feel connected with person and their story. So really, creating the music is only have the battle. You also have to know how to engage with your audience on an authentic level.
Here are some ways:
- Get Active On Social Media
This sounds basic, but if fans don’t know who you are they’re less likely to trust you. You should use the social media for what it was intended for hence the word “social”. For example, Instagram is a video and picture sharing app.
Whether you share funny videos, pictures of your life, memes, etc. Make sure that your page has a human feeling. Nobody wants to come to a page that only has videos of your music.
Sprinkle in some regular photos, quotes, inspirations for your music, etc. This way it gives them more of who you actually are and why you are doing what you want to do.
- Build An Email List
This step is crucial. It’s fine to have a lot of followers on these social media platforms. In fact, it could be the very reason someone found your content, but if you want to have an everlasting impression on them you would need to be able to follow up with them outside of social media on a personal level.
Whether that’s sharing your process, your background, free exclusive music, and so forth. There are many email marketing software out there, but the two most common are Mailchimp and Aweber. I personally use Mailchimp. Not that it’s any better, but they allow you to sign up for free with up to 2,000 subscribers before it becomes a paid subscription.
This is a great way if you want to test the waters first. With these you can have your fans opt in to go behind the scenes. You can offer your fans exclusive content that they wouldn’t have gotten before.
- Stay Consistent
I’ve battled with this a lot. I often thought I was Dr. Dre or Frank Ocean where I could fall off the face of the earth then come back like I never left. Only certain people can do that. In this day and age music is consumed so fast that if they don’t hear from you in a month some people will forget you even existed.
That’s why it’s always wise to set up a schedule. If you are comfortable releasing once a month that’s fine as long as you’re consistent with it. Treat your brand like a TV show. After you watch the first episode you can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Also, don’t release all of your material at one time. It gives you no room to grow, and most people won’t be able to consume it all at one time.
2. Uploading Half Finished Work
There’s one thing to ask for feedback for something you’re working, but don’t let it blur the line of pure laziness. When you go in for a job interview you want to show the best side of you to guarantee you a job right? The music world isn’t so different. You can argue that the quality standards have went down over the years, but who’s to say that their first song was that way?
I know this may sound confusing as music can be, but think about this for a second. In the beginning stages of the relationship everything is perfect and happy. Over time things get stale, so you need to figure out a way to spice it up again. What happened? Complacency. After a while you’re use to the initial reaction so it causes you not to work as hard. You became fine with “good enough”. Fans can sense that, and most of the time they don’t appreciate it (like in most relationships). So how can you continue to keep your fans excited to hear your new material?
Here are some ways:
- Upload Quality
This seems like a no brainer. If you’re constantly uploading songs that are not sonically pleasing (mixed and mastered), only have an idea for a verse, and no visual graphics people will begin to look at you as mediocre. If you are just beginning there’s is nothing wrong with your songs not sounding great now, but don’t get comfortable with not learning.
Take time to study your craft, and if you can afford it hire someone who is better at it than you. The name of the game is stand out. You want your fans to hear your music, and believe you’re already successful (don’t lie about it though).
- Make Goals
Set a goal to finish a project from beginning to end. Whether you’re writing or making beats. Make a goal to finish one song from start to finish. What will happen is you will gain a sense of confidence which means you’ll produce better music.
Make short feasible goals that you can accomplish with no problem so when you finish you can move on to the next task.
- Have Fun
The better you feel the better music you will make. The opposite can be said for anger, but what ever you do make sure you convey the same message of the song with the emotion of the song. Creating art should feel uplifting not a job.
So take time to cater to yourself, clear your mind, and just have fun. I guarantee you will come back with a fresh mind and overcome writer’s/beat block.
Taking your mind off the stress can really open your eyes to what’s missing. Plenty of times I walked away from a song frustrated, because I couldn’t find the right lead or hook. After I stepped away and did something else a light bulb came on. When I got back I was a step closer. So give your mind a break sometimes.
3. Not Collaborating
Last, but not least, you don’t collaborate with anybody. Now you may think this has nothing to do with marketing, but it does in it’s own way. Collaborating may be the very thing you need to do to market yourself.
There many reasons why you would want/need to collaborate:
- Creative Process
Every musician’s approach to music is different. As a producer I tend to start with melody first and then drums. Others may start with drums. As a writer I start with the verse to give ideas for a chorus and sometimes the other way around. Everybody is different and have different strengths and weaknesses.
So, for example, say there’s an artist that is better at creating melodies, but you’re better at song structure. Or for producers, another producer is better at creating 808 patterns, and your strongest skill is playing the piano. Both or all artists will learn from each other and make the song better than what it could’ve been.
- Fan Reach
We all know DJ Khalid is notorious for collaborating, but look at the many collaborations that became huge. There are plenty from Lil Wayne and Eminem, Chris Brown and Usher, and the list goes on. These artists are not in a group yet they come in to make amazing songs together. Which also brings a wider fan reach. Fans of Lil Wayne are now (if not before) fans of Eminem, and vice versa.
I have never heard of Wale until I heard his verse on “No Hands” with Waka Flocka and Rosco Dash. If you want a bigger audience start becoming an asset to other artists/producers. Start featuring on their songs, have them feature on yours, write a hook for someone, etc.
Of course with all of this split sheets need to come into play to determine who gets credit for what, and how much percentage of the royalties are due on the back end, but that’s another discussion.
You never know who you can meet if you’re spreading the love, and creating music with people you want to work with. You’ll find close friends outside of the music, a person may know someone who could get you more work, or people will just recognize you for your talents.
Example, you do a song with another artist, that person shares it with his/her friend. Now that friend shares it with another, and somehow it falls in the hand of a DJ that you never met. Now the DJ reaches out to meet the creators, and there goes another connection.
This industry is a lot of “who you know” if you haven’t heard that enough. All I’m saying is have fun when making music, but also know the business side of things too.
At the end of the day it’s your music. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to just for recognition. If you feel you don’t want to have a lot of features then don’t. Some of the biggest artists have few features on their projects. Marketing plays a big role in how your music is perceived to the masses.
If you go into anything open minded you’re a step ahead of most of your competitors. Be genuine with what you do, and people will recognize that you’re truly passionate about what you do. Positive energy is contagious so spread as much of it as you can.
I appreciate you for taking the time to read this. Share this with your friends, comment any information I might have missed, and join the mailing list to get notified when I post an article. Have a blessed day!