You put your heart and soul into recording your project. You spent tons of time trying to get the sound right. You’re excited to finally release it, and then BOOM, you’re disappointed because after a few weeks, you only have a few hundred listens, views, and downloads. You’re definitely not alone in this; there are many others in this same situation. But why? Let us clear it up for you.
Typical indie artists release way too much music. The main reason is because when they release, they don’t get enough traction or “buzz,” so they feel like they have to release another song or another video. A year or so goes by, and they have released three projects and countless videos, and still haven’t built up a substantial buzz. This is a reoccurring situation for many artists.
There are many possible reasons why you’re not able to build up enough buzz. The first thing that comes to mind is the music just isn’t that great. Either it doesn’t have enough commercial appeal or the mix just isn’t good. So, overall, it’s just not “marketable.” Or, your marketing materials didn’t catch people’s eyes. For instance, your cover art wasn’t that great, you don’t have a website or electronic press kit (EPK) so that people can search you, and/or your social media names are either all different or they don’t match your artist name. These are just a few examples. There are TONS of possible reasons. HOWEVER, if you’re one of those artists that’s thinking, “But I have all of that, and I’m still not seeing the results I want,” then this might be the perfect article for you.
Usually you would hire a publicist (or a few publicists) to help with the promotion of your upcoming project. However, even if you do have a PR team, there’s still a lot that you should be doing on your own. You might not have the budget for a full-blown PR campaign yet, since you’re putting your all into this project. So, we’ve compiled a list of things that you need to be doing to build up the anticipation for your project with or without a publicist on board:
- Document your recording process – A big part of promoting yourself as an artist is being able to document your journey. Photos and videos of you in the recording studio are great content to promote your project via social media. You can sit in the studio with a song playing in the background and take a video for Instagram. Take video of people in the studio listening to your music and get their reaction. You can even record the whole process and create a mini documentary, release it in clips, and promote via social media.
- Get feedback behind the scenes – A great way to add to the promotion of your next project is to let people hear some of your music before it’s released. You can invite people to your studio sessions (and not just your boys; as a matter of fact, keep them home) and record their reactions to your music. Maybe even get them to take a photo or video of you while they are in your session and post to their social media. Do this with 20 people and you have 20 people spreading the word about you already.
- Utilize your mailing list – Send out an email announcing the release, and ask people to reply if they want to hear a sneak peak. Leak a single to those that want to hear it. Give special invites to your release event. Closer to your release date (a few weeks before), leak the cover to your list, and ask them to share on their social media channels. Keep your mailing list in the loop and get used to collecting email addresses and being in direct contact with people. This will allow you to measure how many fans you have, and market right to them.
- Plan the release around a mini tour – Putting on a great show is a huge part of promotion and a great way to tell everyone about the release while also selling merch at the same time to put more money into your project. Set up shows in your area. Even if you have to book your own venue and throw your own shows, make sure you’re actively performing around your release date.
- Update your contact list and start reaching out to fill them in on your upcoming release – Once your project is mixed and mastered, start reaching out to people that have blogs, radio shows, etc. See if they want to hear it, and maybe even write a review. Remember, most blogs want to have your music before it’s released, not after. You might even want to reach out to a few blogs to see if they would be willing to premiere your video or project on their website.
- Offer an incentive to your fans – Whether you want people to share your cover art on their social channels, or buy your album in advance, give them an incentive to do so. This even works in other ways, too. For instance, if your fans request to listen to your new single before it’s released, have them share your cover art before you send them a download link (or set up a pay-with-a-tweet campaign).
- Network with DJs – Do some research. Find out what type of gigs they play. See if their audience would benefit from your music. Let them know you have a few records for them. (Or, even ask about giving them an exclusive record, meaning they get it first.)
- Craft a professional press release to get people excited – Once you have a release date, write a press release announcing it and explain some further details. Send this press release to your list of contacts and share it on social media. If you have a publicist, they would handle the writing of the release, as well as distributing it.
- Set specific goals – Keep track of your stats. Make note of how many followers you have on all of your social networks. Use google analytics to see how much traffic is going to your website, how many downloads your last project received, how many average views you get on your videos, etc. Once you can see that information, you’ll be able to set realistic goals for yourself in order to measure the success of your campaign. You can also set goals for your pre-release campaign to make sure you’re not jumping the gun and releasing too early. For instance, I’ve seen artists tell their fans, “I’ll release the new video once 100 people share my album cover,” or something of that sort.
- Create a timeline – Put a timeline together in written form so that you can really see the bigger picture. Include shows, when you’ll send email blasts and what they are about, and include special dates like when you’ll release the cover, etc.
- Set up a pre-release – Set up a pre-release via iTunes or your website and encourage people to purchase in advance. Maybe even give them an incentive, such as whoever gets it in advance gets a sticker or a pin or a ticket to your private release party.
- Use artwork to build anticipation – This is where having a great graphic designer comes into play. Some artists get their cover art and do a countdown 10-15 days before the release. Each day closer to the date, they’ll post the graphic to their Instagram and other social media accounts with something like “10 more days,” then “9 more days,” etc.
Overall, you really want to build the anticipation for your music as much as possible before you officially release it. This takes time, so don’t try to rush it. Start planning your release a few months in advance. We know that you’re eager to release your amazing music to the world, but that’s only an even better reason to take your time with it and make sure that you’re going to get the results you deserve.
Having trouble? Want us to help you with your pre-release plan? Contact us here.