Oakland, CA — If you’re a new artist and feel your work isn’t getting the exposure it should, it’s probably because you suck at promoting yourself. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your music sucks — you just haven’t tapped into the secrets of the current music industry landscape to help optimize your audience engagement. It's important to know all the tools you need to become a successful artist.
Now artists can easily upload their music to streaming platforms thanks to widely accessible services like DistroKid or Tunecore. Additionally, by strategically harnessing the power of social media you can promote yourself, build a strong brand and even make money from your music without having a label’s support. Getting your music out to the world is probably the easiest part of being an artist, as long as you figure out how to make people pay attention. In this article, I’ll be putting you on game with some essential tips to help promote yourself. Apply these self-promotion tips and tricks, and you’re sure to see your engagement grow and numbers go up.
How can artists promote themselves and build a following if they don’t have any work to show for themselves yet? Content comes in many forms including graphics, music, collaborations, performances and more. One of the best ways to promote yourself is to consistently put out content. Be actively visible. Each time you put out content that is either showcasing your work or is related to your work, you are continuing to build your platform and grab the attention of new people. Even if you aren’t ready to share your final project or piece of art in whatever form it may be, you can get creative with the types of content you are posting to continue to build engagement.
Working with other artists is another strategic way to develop a solid foundation and promote yourself. It also helps you reach audiences that you might not reach on your own. If you and another artist have slightly different fan bases, collabing would allow both of you to gain a mixture of your supporters. It's a win-win situation. A developing artist can also gain another level of exposure when they collab with an artist with an even bigger fan base. This type of co-sign exposure has been happening in the music industry for years. Have you ever heard a song by one of your favorite artists and noticed that it featured someone that lightweight slaps that you haven’t heard before? Then you go to their page and check out their music? This is what I’m talking about. Collaborating with other artists can be one of the quickest ways to get more organic exposure. If you’ve never collaborated with an artist, be sure to check out our in-depth article that breaks it down.
As an artist, you should be as active on social media as possible because it can be an easy way to promote yourself and your brand. You should be actively posting on your social media so the fan base you’re building up has something to consume. It may seem like an easy task but in reality, for some, it can be pretty hard to post content every single day. But if you can get into a routine of engaging your followers on social media in a way that feels natural to your brand, you’ll gain new followers and create a platform that your audience wants to visit on a daily basis. Using social media in a creative way is just as important, taking advantage of features like the Instagram Stories questions sticker, for example, allows you to engage with your followers, conduct voting polls and even post full music videos and interviews to your profile with Instagram TV.
Social media can also be used as a strategic business tool in helping you promote your brand and track your promotional progress. A business profile means people can contact you through email, and phone for more professional inquiries, but you also unlock Instagram Insights. This allows you to track your fan engagement, promote with ads, impressions, audience demographics and more. These are all features that will help improve your social media presence.
Because it takes time to build a strong and engaged fan base as a new artist, it can be difficult for new artists to book shows when starting out. However, performances are a great way to gain more exposure, so as an up-and-coming artist, it is your job to hustle and build relationships to get those placements. A good way to start this process is to network, tap in with people like local DJ’s, bloggers and photographers — let them know what you got going on, and reciprocate the love and support that they show you. Promoting yourself is a lot about the connections you make and the impressions you leave, so put your best foot forward.
Every successful artist should have a great graphic designer on deck and strong graphics to support their brand. In the current music market, visuals can be just as important as the music itself. If it’s for events, projects, singles, etc., make sure it looks good! Artists should be selective when using a graphic artist — make sure they are a good creative fit. It’s usually the first impression a listener gets when scrolling on a streaming platform or social media. Cover art should tell the listener a story of what they are about to hear or reel them in to check out your music. This also goes for promotional material. If you’re performing at an event or headlining your own show, the flyer should look captivating. Graphic designers can help set you apart by creating logos for you, this will take your artistry to the next level. A clear unique aesthetic is important for the development of your artist brand, which will also help with self-promotion. When fans see that specific logo and aesthetic they’ll know who is behind it and that is how branding works. The more people that see your logo the more they’ll remember you.