|Great ways to promote your band|
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:00Written by E.D. Cameron
The secret to getting shows, selling CDs, and gaining an audience is a simple, and as difficult as promotion. What separates the platinum albums from the millions of other "unknowns" is the amount of time, money, and energy that has been spent promoting. But fortunately, in the digital age it has become easier, more affordable, and less time consuming for an independent band, record label, or publicist to promote indie bands.
Like most products, it's important first to correctly identify your target audience and spend some time thinking about how folks may identify with your product (ie your band or CD). Obviously, jazz trios are going to have a completely different draw than punk rockers. In a quick brainstorm session with band mates, or others, try to think of five adjectives to describe your band, five adjectives to describe most likely fans, and five ways those fans learn about new music. Whatever genre best describes your band, it is likely you too are a fan...so a lot of the work is thinking about how you (as a fan) learn about new music.
Once you have identified your target audience, you can develop a multi-level strategy for promoting to those folks keeping in mind the five avenues of access you have developed. The important thing to remember is that you can't put all your eggs in one basket: diversity is the key with successful promotion.
Here is a general list of different promotion techniques available to you at low to no cost:
1. social networking sites (myspace, facebook, twitter, etc). Did you know that the vast majority of myspace users are now 35 and over? Learning a few demographic facts about these online communities will help you unlock which avenues to attack.
2. free radio/music streaming sites (ourstage, last.fm, jam base). Great for proactive fans who like to be on the cutting edge of new music.
3. list-serves, google groups, and more. Check out your local community boards or ask around to find like-minded folks who will be excited to learn of upcoming shows, releases, and music news.
4. develop a press release and distribute through a free service.
5. build a great website. Blog, offer promotional gear, and have an easy to use e-mail sign up list.
6. produce your own promo materials. Podcast, make a music video, and in general create a variety of promotional assets or resources that can be "given away" to help brand and create new fans.
7. get some merchandise. Not only will it help subsidize touring (if you don't go overboard) a clear logo or bold face band name on a t-shirt will promote you ever time someone wears it. Free stickers, buttons, and other swag are great giveaways and another avenue for breaking into a fan's network. One way to keep cost down is consider contacting a local artist (check out etsy.com, for example) and see if they will give you a deal in exchange for free advertising.
8. find free places to promote shows. Save a couple of trees and instead send out targeted e-mails to online calendars and local blogs about shows. Produce a limit number of flyers and post only at strategic locations.
9. develop a killer press kit and send out to publications. Make sure your press kit is professional and easy to understand. For some great advice check out: http://www.nocturnalmovements.net/offline/onesheet.html. Check out this affordable database for press and venue contacts here: http://theunionrecords.net/index.php/DIY-Database.html
10. think about buying ads in speciality blogs or website.
And when all else fails, try again.
Promotion is both the easiest and hardest thing you can do to help promote your band. But eventually, knocking on all those doors will produce results.