(Excerpts from this post are from an original post on David Santisteven's blog)
Last May, I released an EP called “Come and Drink“. A friend of mine, David Santisteven, was kind enough to conduct an interview abut marketing your indie record.
He had seen my record reviewed on a few other blogs and also had seen my name in his Twitter feed through the online worship community. He asked me to write a music marketing blog post – a “how-to” on getting your music heard as an indie artist.
At first, I was extremely hesitant. Marketing can have quite a negative stigma attached to it, especially when it comes to worship music and even Christian music for that matter. I mean, who wants to toot their own horn?
But let’s face it.
Hopefully, God has given you life changing music, and it is worth sharing. Here are my behind-the-scenes tips on what I did to market and spread the word about my record. This is the "deluxe" version of that original post. ;)
Here are some tips I used in promoting my album:
1. Use Twitter and Facebook, But Don’t Be Stupid
Make a list of every close friend or family member you have on Twitter/Facebook that you know that you could ask to help spread the word about your project. If you are DM’ing every twitter follower, you’ll be “blacklisted” quickly and lose friends.
Here are some options:
1. DM or message your friends with a suggested tweet for them to post
2. Ask for a retweet or re-post.
Make it easy for people to RT. Don’t take up all the characters allowed. If someone likes your tunes, give them space to express.
2. Reach Out to Bloggers
Search Twitter for worship based accounts and blogs. Ask for a tweet or review on their blog. Offer your record to these people for FREE. For most blog writers they will need a bio, album description, album artwork, artist photo and link for them to download your album.
This is one of the best things you can do as it will help you spread your music faster.
3. Help Others
If you expect someone to tweet for you, help them by promoting something they are passionate about. Retweets and mentions go a long way on Twitter. If all you do is promote yourself, you will quickly lose respect online.
Promote those you want to promote you.
4. Give Something Away For Free
Think of your first record as an investment (labels don’t even expect to recoup on a debut release). Give a song away for free or even your whole record for that matter. I know this is hard to do, but it’s more than worth it.
If you go to my Facebook profile, you will see an opportunity to get a free song for “liking” my page. I actually stole this idea from the major labels and hired a coder to help me do this. It’s basically a landing page around “Crash This Place” with video content and the free download.
There are many tools including Noisetrade to help your give your song away in a widget format that give you code to copy and paste
Trust me, “free” is your best marketing strategy.
5. Partner With A Non-Profit
This will help spread the word about a good cause and good music too! The most important element is to help promote a good cause, you will receive some benefit, but the focus should be on the organization's mission. Consider giving away your song for free on a non-profit’s website to help spread awareness around their cause. Most non-profits have a solid web team and can help with the strategy and web platform.
6. Email Blast
Send out an announcement about your record through email form. Be sure to include links for people to connect with you on social media. Give people easy instructions on how to help spread the word. If you work at a church or lead worship, ask your pastor to send out an email on your behalf.
Email is still the most effective, intimate form of online marketing. Don’t ignore it.
Another option is to give away a song for an email address. Check out this helpful blog post on some of these services.
7. Use Video
People who are on the internet love video. One of the best ways you can spread your music is to create music videos, tutorials, and EPK's for your record.
Create a trailer for your upcoming album. Create a music video for your best song (here’s my video for “Crash this Place“). Create tutorial videos on how to play the song. Do an interview about the story behind the song. Whatever you do, make sure video is part of your marketing strategy.
This is far from an exhaustive list. I would love to hear what you have tried or heard others do.
8. Paid Advertising - Music Websites
If you have a marketing budget, it would be good to look at some paid advertising. I usually contact FrontGate Media to help with some of my paid advertising. They have partnerships with websites such as NewReleaseTuesday.com, HearItFirst.com and some other helpful music sites. They can help point you in the right direction. Talk to Kyle, tell her I sent you. ;)
I personally like the free downloads and artist features of the week on both of the above mentioned sites.
9. Paid Advertising - Blog Ads
I absolute love advertising on blogs. I think it's a great way to partner with real people. I love giving away free music. I am a huge fan of it as an artist and a fan. I usually like to give away a song or album using blog ads. I usually use the Beacon Ad Network to purchase ads.
Some of the blog sites I would recommend advertising on are robrash.us, www.davidsantistevan.com, worshiprelease.com, allaboutworship.com, theworshipcommunity.com, etc.
10. Album Reviews
This is so incredibly important when trying to gain some traction in getting the word out about your album. What it also does, is give you honest feedback and critique for you to make a better record the next time! Your mom may love your record, but some honest feedback goes a long way. I believe having your album reviewed on blogs or music review websites is worth the effort. Even having your friend's blog write a review on your album is worth it.
I like to think of the traditional sites to get your worship album reviewed like AllAboutWorship.com, TheWorshipCommunity.com, CMAddict.com, jesusfreakhideout.com, undertheradarmag.com, etc. Not all of these sites take indie records but it's worth a try! Why not?!
Question: What marketing ideas would you add to the list? Do you have any questions about any on this list?