From things as basic as choosing your band’s name to designing and delivering campaigns of all kinds or taking care of booking; having to constantly think of all aspects of your brand is a true pain in the ass if you don’t plan, think ahead and, most importantly, have a system to control it all. That’s why being organised is one of the most helpful skills that you can teach yourself as a DIY musician (yes, everyone! can learn that).
Have a look at some of the things that we think could help you with that. And we’ve mentioned it a million times already and will do once again – the most important aspect of all this is consistency. No matter which elements of this complicated puzzle you’ll decide to permanently introduce to your day, it is crucial to keep doing it until you see results (good or bad ones) that will motivate you to change and improve things.
Not everyone will mention and link to your social media profiles when talking about your music online. Make sure to just… Google yourself once in a while. Go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and search for your name there, too. It is recommended to do it daily all throughout the duration of a promotional campaign; however, if you’re just starting to work on your music brand’s reputation and feel like doing it once per day is too much, do it once a week – but always approach it with passion and make the occasional lack of results motivate you. In the end, you’re here to make people want to listen to your music and talk about you, it’s not likely for that to happen without hard work on your side.
Reply to comments and emails, engage with your fans, take care of your listeners and you will get their loyalty and attention, which is exactly what you need. The fan base that you have, no matter how small, should also be motivated by your actions in order to get involved with everything you do. Most of the times, replying to a single comment won’t take you more than a minute and thanks to that you will be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you’ve been consistent with nurturing the relationship between you and your fans.
Research your targeted artists and see which writers and outlets covered their recent releases – it’s also a great conversation starter when you want to pitch your music to the same people. We always, always recommend having a list of acts that inspire you both artistically and business-wise and/or ones that appeal to similar audiences but are noticeably more experienced or popular. A while ago we explained how to target other artists’ audiences for plugging campaigns, but this can be easily applied to any digital PR strategy of your choice.
If you’re an upcoming artist, most contacts on your mailing list are probably hobbyist bloggers and music curators whose idea to start a blog was born out of pure passion influenced by the need to discover more new music and share those discoveries with the world. And then, there are professional writers who either freelance or are associated with one bigger publication – either way, those people’s career paths usually change as their experience grows. You should keep up with all the music blog updates, be aware of those that have been deactivated, ones that are on hiatus or changing their profile (from a new music blog to stories and interviews only, for example), and update your mailing list accordingly. Doing this once a month will help you make sure you’re not wasting your time and/or valuable Mailchimp space on people who are never going to open your emails and newsletters.
Other than keeping your mailing list organised and updated, one of the things that will make life easier for your future self is to be aware of new contributors writing for sites like Billboard – their staff seems to be changing constantly and that aspect of how the online magazine works can be extremely beneficial for you if used properly. On the magazine of your choice, go to the music section and look for the latest news and premieres – chances are that you’re going to come across new writers who have only a handful of features posted under their name. Check when their first article got published and if they’re relatively new, get their email, introduce yourself, ask how long they’ve been writing for the site, mention one of the articles that made you notice their work.
BEFORE EACH RELEASE CYCLE:
Being a DIY artist isn’t necessarily the same as having your releases scheduled by an experienced team from a well-established record label. It requires continuous effort and one thing that helps to show that is being involved with numerous projects of different kinds and sizes as well as collaborating with or supporting other musicians on their journey. It’s important to point out what you’ve been up to recently in your bios, as well as update your press quotes section by including any new, notable mentions in your kit.
You need to remember that, usually, the style of your press kit is the first thing that writers and bloggers see when they open your emails. So try getting it right every time – the colour scheme, usually based on your upcoming release’s artwork, topped with a consistent choice of fonts and templates. We recommend designing your press release template in advance and using it all throughout one release cycle to make things quicker and to ensure more consistency within your brand’s promotional efforts during that time.
You will need them for everything that you do online – your website, social media, press releases and kits, all the streaming services, you even should have some exclusive ones for when you decide to secure a premiere for your single (some outlets ask for exclusive photos that haven’t appeared anywhere yet to go with the premiered content). The good thing is, other than keeping it high quality and trying to make them reflect your brand, there are no guidelines as to how your press photos should look like, so you can just go with whatever your imagination is telling you to do.
And remember, have fun during the process. Your journey should be a learning path – which sounds terribly boring – but it can also bring you so much joy and make you feel accomplished if approached in the right, organised way!