How can I promote my music band

PR and marketing strategies that are good for your band too

Some advertising and marketing tricks can also help your band position themselves better.

As a PR consultant and responsible for content marketing, I was able to pick up a lot of tricks that were later useful to me for my own band and the bands whose PR and tour management I support.

1. Surround yourself with a story - or several

In the PR industry that is Storytelling a key concept. Stories can be very many things for a company: the story of the company, its vision or mission, or they tell the story of a specific product. Or the story doesn't have much to do with the company at all, but it picks up an audience that later remembers the brand.

Good examples are the current Beck’s campaign with the mysterious door or the "World Record Free Fall" story for Red Bull. Your band can also use this tactic for itself. Stories stay in your audience's mind, they generate virality and interaction, trigger emotions.

So first think about what makes your band special:

  • a special political message?
  • a very unusual band history?
  • deep roots in the genre?

Use these stories that your music and lyrics or the members of your band can tell and base your band on them as a brand.

A lot of bands managed to become a popular brand before their music really had any status. I am thinking, for example, of Feine Sahne Fischfilet: a strong protagonist, a clear, sometimes polarizing statement and the visuals are also right. I first read about FSF, saw them, noticed their logos and stories on social media before I even heard a song. Still, I was curious about this band.

2. Do press work

As a smaller DIY band, you probably can't afford to hire a PR agency for your releases. There are cheaper variants, for example freelancers like me (* wink *), but with a little hard work you can already be your own agency, which at least at the beginning can bring you one or two clipping (an entry in the press):

  • Write a good press release about your release, tour or big news. The press release should be written without errors and include logos and all important information (answering the W questions).
  • Press releases are to be written briefly and with the most important information first. Journalists are less interested in a long bio at first, but rather in what makes your band and the piece of music to be reviewed unique.
  • Uses an email address that does not end up in the spam folder of a music journalist. The best thing to do is to get a free domain from one of the larger providers and create your own band mail.
  • Be clear about your target group. A press showcase concert in your hometown is more interesting for the local press in the city and the surrounding area than for general music magazines. An album release should go to as many music magazines, blogs, etc that offer album reviews. Also take a look at the respective genres that the magazines serve.
  • Create a list of all media that are relevant to you. Journalists and PR people like to use tools for this, but they are not free. If you want to invest time but save money, you just have to google your fingers.
  • Send your album in CD form by post and as a download by e-mail. In terms of sound, the CD must be the end product of your album, but the cover can be simpler. For example, if you released your album as a digipack, a simple paper sleeve with the cover as a review copy is sufficient. Photos should then make it clear what the retail version looks like.
  • Maintain contact with the journalists who have written something positive about you!

3. Have good designs in all relevant formats

Always up to date with your logos and photos. Be ready to send them in JPG, PNG and other formats at any time. In general, the optics should be right: people like things that are easy on the eye, even when it comes to music.

4. Let yourself be pulled up

Small businesses looking to increase their profile often do affiliate marketing. That means the company advertises itself on another platform and of course paid for it. Others, in turn, increase their awareness through guest posts in the blogs of other, larger companies. Or they let celebrities advertise themselves. As a band, you should also benefit as much as possible from having contacts with people with a greater reach.

A popular strategy in business is currently so-called influencer marketing. It's about finding people with high reach on social channels who recommend you. To do this, they must become aware of you and have an incentive to share or mention your band. Many do that with your merchandise or your record, many ask for money. It is important that the influencers correspond to your target group.

5. Don't be afraid of ads

Thanks to the GDPR, the Facebook Ads marketing tool has become an often discussed issue. Nevertheless, a well-placed advertisement can bring you a lot and operating a Facebook page and advertising is also GDPR-compliant if you pay attention to the essentials.

You don't have to pump hundreds of euros into your promo. It is more important that you narrow down your target group. If you are a rock band and enter "rock" as the target group interest, such a huge mass will be displayed that your ads will ultimately reach too few of them in percentage terms. It is better to change the interest groups and also the location. As a metal band, for example, check whether your ads are better received by people between 30 and 40 who like Metal and Wacken Open Air and who live in Germany than people between 20 and 30.

Facebook Business offers you all kinds of diagrams to quickly determine who your target group is. I was always surprised by my bands, but I was able to deliver content that appealed to people who actually want to hear and buy my music and not just click randomly on "Like".

There are also hurdles. Some of the ones addressed in this older article are still relevant to this day. It is good to keep these issues in mind.

6. Make yourself popular

Social actions like appeals for donations are a great way to get shared quickly. Messages that move a lot of people in your target audience tend to be shared more often. Here, too, bands that position themselves politically, with strong statements and a good video that people like to share, are always on the A-list of newsfeeds.

Of course, this also works with less weighty topics.

7. Be Findable: SEO

Use all channels relevant to your target group. Example: If your listeners tend to be older, websites, YouTube and Facebook are worthwhile, but Instagram is less. With younger audiences, Instagram and even Snapchat are the best choices right now, and Facebook should run alongside. Your video content will then be viewed more often there than on YouTube. You should still use YT, because concert promoters like to take a look here.

Also think about search engine optimization. Your homepage (a medium that can form the basis of your online marketing) should have external links and should contain enough keywords that your target audience would type in to search for you.

It gets tricky when you've named your band after something that already exists: a line of text, a film, a book. Then you should really think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)! Then there should be enough keywords in the landing pages of your site that people would google next to your band name: band, rock, music or whatever. If you want your band name to be found when people are actually looking for the film you are named after, for example, you have to find out their catchphrases.

8. Also relies on video content

Videos are pushed on many social media - the platform operators want to compete with YouTube. When scrolling through the feed, people tend to enjoy watching a good short (!) Video. A live stream may also be an option for you.

9. Create meaningful content

In order to be present, you should generally provide interesting content with added value for your fans and potential new fans. Post regularly. Encourage your followers to interact with your posts. Insignificant posts (even worse without visual support!) Neither liked nor commented. An algorithm like the one on Facebook then quickly considers your page to be irrelevant. To prevent this from happening, your fans should always be interested in your contributions. Do you have a message for your fans, better make a short video. If you have a more important message that you want to publish in text form, then make your fans aware to read carefully. Encourages them to comment and share.

But refrains from "mark a friend" and the like, as Facebook now punishes such click-bait content. External shares no longer work so well, so you should, for example, create your own Facebook events again for your concerts. You can find more tips on how you can use social media to become better known and maintain contact with your fans here.

Which measures have you had good experience with so far? Share your tips in the comments!

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