Never leave promotion to someone else. You always must be actively involved in at least an oversight level to be sure that not only are you getting promoted, but that it’s something that’s beneficial to your image as an artist. This even includes having a publicist, since she takes the cues from you. Especially don’t depend upon a record label, particularly in these days where so few people do so many jobs. It’s up to you to develop the strategy or it might not get developed at all.
That being said, here are a number of very low-cost M30 ideas that you can do to get your promotion started.
1) Set up both a MySpace and Facebook page, then be sure to stay active. It won’t do you much good if you just set it up and never update it. The only way it’s worth your fans visiting is if you remain keep the updates coming as often as possible.
2) Every time a friend request is exchanged between yourself and another MySpace or Facebook user, send them a note back thanking them and ask if you can include them in your group of friends outside of MySpace or Facebook. Ask them to “Please reply with your email address if that’s OK.” This is a great way to build your tribe, but make sure they can easily opt-out if it’s not their cup of tea. It’s not too beneficial to have all those MySpace and Facebook friends if you can’t contact them outside of those sites.
3) Always have a “Press” section on your website that contains:
* high resolution color and black and white photos
* quotes from the media
* links to any interviews
* scans of just 3 or 4 of your best press clippings
* scan of a promo flyer and poster
* web ready graphics and banners
Having any of these tools easily available will increase the chances of getting media coverage. It’s a fact that the easier you can make it for a writer or an editor, the more likely you’ll get covered.
4) Backlinks are important. Anytime you are mentioned in a club listing, on the site of a band you’re playing with, or anything else, make sure that it links back to your site. People won’t do this automatically, so make it standard operating procedure to ask.
5) Encourage fans to tag you and your content on sites like Flickr, blogs, Digg and Stubleupon, then make that data available on your site.
6) Even though you may have a presence on MySpace and Facebook, you still need a website. It’s still the best place to gather your tribe and communicate with them. Make sure that you follow Figure 4.7 for the best website experience for your fans.
7) Engage your fans. Ask them questions. Polls and surveys are free (that magic word again) and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy and Surveymonkey.
8) Develop a press release mailing list of music writers and editors from any local and regional newspaper, magazines, specialty papers, radio stations, on-line radio station, music blogs (especially) that covers the type of music that you play (later you can do national and international when you grow into it). Remember that it doesn’t do you much good to send something to a magazine that specializes in metal if you’re a folk singer so don’t even think about anything out of your genre. Once the list is complete, send out a short email for any major gig, event, or song release, but don’t make it too frequent or you won’t be covered - ever. Include links to your website and an offer for a free press pass to a show. About once a month is a good frequency. If you get a mention, be sure to send an email or even a hand-written note to say thank you.
9) Create your own YouTube channel. Make sure to post new videos frequently and encourage fans to post as well.
10) Create a special “Insider” email list for a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and like to tell others.
There are a more excellent tips on marketing, promotion and sales in the Music 3.0 guidebook.
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.
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