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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
Join Now
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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
Join Now
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How Do I Get My Music Out There? 6 Effective Ways to Promote Your Music

Based on the content of Episode 29, The Magic of Songwriting with Francesca de Valence

What do I do after releasing a song? How can I promote my music by myself? How do I attract listeners to my music? How do I increase the number of streams on Spotify?

If you’re asking these questions, listen in as we offer up ways that you can take a professional approach to your music business. Get tips to promote and market your brand and music so that you can optimize your reach and grow your audience, and do it in a way that allows your time, energy and financial resources to be sustainable.

Are you an artist who struggles with marketing and promoting your music? You are not alone. Marketing is complex, multi-dimensional and ever-changing, so no wonder artists struggle with this.

The promotion and amplification of an artist brand and their music to an audience was traditionally taken care of by record labels. But with more independent artists than ever before, and arguably less labels than before, artists are left to do their own marketing. Given this, how can we simplify and make this process more achievable and sustainable?

1. Create a strategic marketing plan

After recording an album, the next step some artists take is to submit their music to digital streaming platforms. This does not set an artist up to have the best chance of success. It’d be like writing a book and wanting the world to read it, but putting it on a shelf in a library and hoping that people will come across it. It’ll just be collecting dust for years to come.

Often when asked what their biggest goals are for their music, emerging artists say, “I want my music to reach millions of people”. Then when asked what their biggest problem is around achieving that, they say, “I don’t know how to market myself or how to get myself out there”. And so they can end up going around in circles trying things once, twice, getting frustrated, changing tactics, throwing money at ads, hiring people, firing people, then maybe even going back to what they set out to achieve in the first place.

Artists need a strategic marketing plan based around clear and realistic goals for their music releases. And they need to be keeping up with marketing best practices in this ever-changing digital landscape.

2. Ask smarter questions

In our mentoring program, when artists ask “how do I get my music out there?” we invite them to ask more specific sub-questions which ultimately helps us to create strategic goals together. Breaking down the question allows us to focus on different aspects of marketing so that we set clear goals, can grow skills, networks, results and confidence in these areas.

What are you really asking?

  • How do I get my music onto playlists, or onto radio stations?
  • How do I build an audience?
  • How can people discover my music?
  • How do I get on stages around the world in front of my audience?
  • How can I get other people talking about my music?
  • What do I post on social media?

Breaking down the question allows us to focus on different aspects of marketing so that we set clear goals, can grow skills, networks, results and confidence in these areas.

3. Understand the different marketing pathways

Before launching into creating a strategic marketing plan, get clear on the different marketing pathways and media channels.

There are 3 main marketing pathways:

  • How your audience finds or discovers you (like a playlist or radio station),
  • How your audience can get to know and learn about you (like your website), and,
  • How your audience can stay engaged with you so that you can grow your business (like social media and your email list).

There are a variety of media channels including:

  • Your own media channels (including your email marketing list, your website and your social media channels),
  • Other people’s media channels (like playlists, blogs and radio stations), and
  • Paid media channels (like paid advertising).

4. Set simple and realistic marketing goals that you can measure and amplify

We recommend you don’t try to do everything when you’re starting out. Keep your goals simple and realistic. If your goal is to reach a million people, then further clarify what this means, does this mean 1 million streams on Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music?

If so, then reflect if this is a realistic goal based on where you’re at. Do you already have an audience? For example, people that come to your shows, that are on your mailing list, following you on socials, and on streaming platforms? And have you achieved results like this before?

If not, then we recommend making your goal much more achievable. If you’ve never developed an audience before, perhaps you might have a goal to get 1000 streams in the first week of your debut single, then 2000 streams in the first week of the second single release, then 4000 for the next single, then 8,000 for the album release, in its first week.

Hopefully you can surpass these targets, but at least these goals will allow you to take specific strategic marketing actions, and then you can look at the data to know what works, and what doesn’t, and how you can amplify the results that you want.

Example of a Strategic Marketing Plan

Once you understand your marketing goals, and they are realistic, then you’ll be able to create a marketing strategy to achieve those goals using the various media channels and marketing pathways. Based on the streaming goals above, you might create a plan as such:

Own media channels:

  • Website – your homepage might point people to you preferred streaming platforms
  • Mailing List – encourage people on your mailing list to create their own playlists and include your song
  • Social Media – create a social media campaign targeted to get people to listen to your song; and use your song in your reels.

Other media channels:

  • Playlists – pitch your release to different playlists either directly, via a pay to play service, or even through your distributor.
  • Your Fans’ Channels – With the new playlists created by your audience via your email list (above), get them to share those playlists with their friends

Paid media channels:

  • Ads –  create a social media ad campaign or boost a popular post that has a clear call to action for people to listen to your song and where they can do that

Be consistent in taking action, measure the data regularly so you know what’s giving you a good result and what can be tweaked, and then you can put more energy and effort into what is working.

5. Be prepared to up skill

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just focus on making great music and let a team of people around you do the rest? Including the marketing?

There are a heap of businesses and individuals around the world, who offer label services for a fee or a share of royalties, including independent labels, distributors, PR agents, people who do social media, pitching, and plugging. Working with these businesses can be amazing in allowing you to focus on making great music, however, when the costs range between $2000-4000 per release, unless you have a business plan to make that investment back, then we highly recommend you commit to up-skilling in order to have a sustainable career.

We’re 100% on board with hiring people, especially if it will take someone who is much more skilled at this half the time to do it than it would take you, and with better results. So if you can earn better money elsewhere in your business, then pay someone. But if you don’t have a plan to make better money, you better make a plan to learn to grow your skills.

You’ll be a beginner the first few times you do this, but you will get better at it, it will get easier and you’ll start to build momentum, especially if you do a few releases in fairly quick succession.

6. Take the sustainable approach

Like any business starting out, you want to ensure that over time your costs don’t outweigh your income. Otherwise, your business just won’t last.  You’ll likely need some upfront investment – recording costs, creating assets, educational costs, and maybe even marketing expenses. Marketing expenses can really suck you dry if not used in a strategic way.  Without a plan to recoup or make your money back, then that just isn’t sustainable.

If you were to Google ‘how do I get my music out there’, you likely find hundreds of different approaches shared in a multitude of ways online – videos, blogs, courses, conferences, articles, podcast episodes and more. Wading through all these resources, and trying all the different approaches can be overwhelming and can keep holding you back from moving forward.

Rather than doing this, and keeping going around in circles, make the most of a professional development mentor to guide and support you to grow. If you’d like our support, check out Level Up Club.

Episode Show Notes:

Get your creativity, confidence, and songwriting output flowing. Join The Club and receive the support and structure to write 10 songs in 10 weeks and get feedback from a private peer community. This is THE essential writing practice that has changed the careers and lives of 1000s of songwriters worldwide.

Just getting started on your songwriting journey and need more hands-on support? Establish a firm foundation and develop your musical and lyric skills with our Beginner Songwriting Courses. They are the perfect place to begin and cover everything you need to know to write your first songs. You’ll receive lessons from Francesca directly!

Don’t struggle to write your next album – write an album a year with ease! Watch our Free Songwriting Masterclass.

Want more for your songwriting but don’t know where to go from here? Take the I Heart Songwriting Club Quiz to discover your next steps and inspire your way to writing better songs.

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Podcast theme song: “Put One Foot In Front Of The Other One” music and lyrics by Francesca de Valence

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By |2023-06-08T09:04:19+10:00June 8th, 2023|0 Comments
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