I’m pretty stoked about this post. I’ve researched a lot and I’ve put together a list of what I’ve found to be the seventeen most effective, fresh marketing strategies for music artists. I’ve really tried to avoid the fluff here, and I genuinely want you to succeed (and hopefully have a few aha! moments).
The strategies in this post are the same things I’m using for my own music and brand growth (or they’re at least on my radar to try eventually). I’ve also provided helpful links for further reading on each strategy, should you find one that resonates with you.
Ultimately however, there’s a good chance you’ll want to mix and match a few of these – and some of them you’ve likely tried already or are currently doing. So I’ll try to keep things “fresh” and present a unique angle on any broken record tips.
Alright, enough small talk – let’s say we get it!
1. Find Content Gaps On Music Blogs + Reach Out
Often times, bloggers are craving new, fresh content ideas, so let’s tap into this opportunity.
Basically, if you can offer a fresh angle (AND a relevant keyword for them to write a blog post on), then you’ll be adding a ton of awesome value for them, making it way more likely that they’ll want to create content and hype for you.
So let’s look at how to do this. The process involves two core steps:
- Find music blogs and do quick a site: search to uncover gaps in their content
- Go to Google and type “site:(website name).com” or “site:blog.(website name).com“
- Enter a space and type in the topic or keyword you want to search the site for
- If the website or blog has covered the topic, it will show up
- Look for the topics or keywords that a site has not yet covered
- Do keyword research to offer competitive keywords
- You can learn how to do quick and simple keyword research here
- *This step is optional, but will definitely help you stand out even more
Ultimately, this will help us find untapped opportunities which you can suggest as a new music blog, featuring you and your music (not just a cold message saying “hey I’m a musician, you should write about me”).
2. Try Social Media Ads (*With Retargeting)
Social media advertising can be incredibly effective – if done correctly.
Social media marketing is essentially interruption marketing. That is, you’re interrupting people in their feed with an advertisement, and they’re not in a buyer’s mindset, shopping for something to buy or looking for new music.
Compare this to Google or Pinterest, where people are searching for answers to questions, solutions to problems, inspiration, things to potentially buy or content to consume.
This is why retargeting is essential to run effective social media ads. The first ad sent out to a cold audience will rarely give results, sales or impressive streams – so we need to retarget people based on their initial engagement.
Basically, we want to push our target audience further along and closer to some conversion point.
3. Create Short Films + Storytelling Videos (for Free)
Create a short film? Seriously?
OK I know, this sounds like a bit much – but it’s actually pretty simple (and potentially free). Here’s how to make short films and music videos for free.
We can create free videos by using stock video footage on filmmaking platforms like Wave.video or Renderforest. These are professional video clips and b-roll footage that you can use, copyright free.
The great thing about these softwares is they generally have a free membership option (or a free trial to test things out).
So you could try creating a short story, or video project that uses your music in the background (possibly even blending in your own original camera phone footage). The possibilities here are endless (and really exciting).
So have some fun with this one. At the very least, it’s worth trying out and seeing if you can come up with something cool.
4. Try Music Placement Platforms (Like SYNCR)
The purpose of this strategy is to get your music into commercials, shows or even movies. As we’re well into the 21st century now, these opportunities have amazingly become more and more available (and without the traditional gatekeepers).
One popular platform for this strategy is SYNCR. Here, you can create a profile and submit your music for different projects, including (but not limited to): films, television, playlists, media and live events.
Pretty sweet, am I right?
Another lesser-known option you could also check out is Music Xray, which uses advanced algorithms to analyze (or scan) uploaded songs and recommend them to producers and industry professionals based on style, genre and popular music trends.
5. Try Networking
Ahh, good old-fashioned networking – it never gets old. And you can reach out in a variety of ways and for many different purposes.
A few options worth trying include podcasts, magazines, LinkedIn and industry professionals. The key here is to have something of value to offer. Focus on what you can give them and their audience.
If you come in with a take-first, me-first mentality, you’ll likely get a cold shoulder or a digital door in the face. So be professional and polite with this strategy and build bridges (not burn them).
6. Use TikTok + Create Consistent Content
TikTok. Enough said?
In all seriousness, this remains to be one of the best platforms for organic reach and growth. It’s incredible and still has a lot of opportunity for musicians as we start off 2022.
The operative word for this strategy is consistency. Although it is possible to have one of your first videos “go viral”, it’s more likely that you’ll have to put in the work and increase your chances of going viral through good old statistics.
That is, put more eggs in the basket.
(And make good videos – although they don’t need to be perfect, and they’ll get better with time)
7. Try Tutorials + Educating
People love to learn things online. And what better way to grow your brand and gain exposure than by teaching your craft. You could even provide a step-by-step tutorial for how to play one of your songs (especially if there’s something unique or particularly difficult about it).
People spend a lot of money in online education. And if you create an online course as a digital asset, this could also be a recurring source of passive income for you. Just another perk.
8. Try Collaborations
Collaborations work. You can increase your exposure by sharing audiences. It’s like a shortcut where both parties can piggyback off each other’s audiences. No shame here.
It’s also a great way to network and build relationships. After all, who knows where we’ll all be in a few years. And that one Instagrammer you collabed with (who had a small following) could end becoming an important connection.
One thing’s for sure, collaborations will remain as one of the most popular marketing strategies for musicians.
9. Run Contests
Another great marketing strategy to promote your music is running a competition. This is particularly great because of the inherently high engagement (especially if you attach money or personalize the offer in some way).
For example, you could run a contest to people in your ideal target market, offering a cash prize to whoever creates the best dance video to (a part of) your song.
Or, you could offer to write a fully personalized song for a contest winner (this one would be best if you have an existing fan base who would see the value in this).
Either way, setting up contests can be a fun way to increase your exposure and engagement.
10. Try Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a bit of a buzzword, but it works. This lets you essentially borrow someone elses audience. The influencer has put in the work to create an engaged community who trusts them.
So you can tap into that trust through influencer marketing.
It’s important to note however that you should only work with relevant influencers. For example, if you play indie pop music, it probably wouldn’t make sense to work with someone who’s audience falls more in the K-Pop audience.
11. Create YouTube Content
What list would be complete without mentioning YouTube? Honestly, it’s a consistently popular and powerful platform for creators of all kinds.
This can especially be a great strategy if you’re comfortable in front of a camera, have an impressive style to your playing or enjoy creating videos (because let’s be honest, creating YouTube videos is hard work and takes a lot of time).
So it’s probably not something that will give huge returns if you’re just dabbling in it. But if you can commit and set up a branded channel around your music, well then the sky’s the limit.
12. Join Contests + Challenges
There are all sorts of songwriting contests and social media challenges to try. These can get you some great exposure and lead to opportunities that you would have otherwise not had.
TikTok is probably the first place that comes to mind with challenges. But this can be a great way to get more eyeballs on you and your music. Try to choose challenges where you can somehow use your music or brand.
As for musician contests, these always pop up throughout the year, from a variety of businesses and industry groups. So keep an eye (or do a quick Google search) to see if there are any upcoming competitions.
13. Document the Journey (Authentically)
It’s all about the process, not the result – right?
That’s the main idea here – and it’s also just good, healthy advice. We live in a society where perfection, accuracy and greatness are put on pedestals. At the same time, we live in the dichotomy of embracing failure and never giving up.
So let’s lean into the latter.
The idea here is to not pretend you’ve already “made it”. People generally see through that. And besides, your audience will resonate with you way more if you show your honest, human side. People want a story…and authenticity…truth…honor!
But in all seriousness, if you’re starting from scratch or don’t have a huge following, then this strategy is perfect for you.
14. Explore NFTs (*Done Right)
There’s an NFT bubble, and 90% of the projects will likely fail. The good news is, most of these will fail because they’re quick cash-grabs and inherently flawed. That is, they don’t focus on creating something meaningful and valuable.
This is the nature of new technology and strategies – we’re all still getting used to it and establishing best practices and “rules”. But we have learned a lot on the subject over the past year or so (as I write this in early 2022).
One of the biggest takeaways I can mention (for musicians especially), is to attach real, tangible value to your NFT. For example, your NFT owners will have exclusive access to VIP tickets, customized songs or an ongoing share in your profits as you grow in popularity.
15. Repackage Your Music In Unique Ways
This strategy sort of combines some of the tips above – but it’s a little more expansive. So what do I mean by repackaging your music?
Basically, any piece of content, asset or thing that uses music could be an opportunity.
For example, you could create your song in multiple genre and send an ad to people, asking to take a vote or react or guess the original (people love to participate).
Or, you could team up with a local clothing brand and create an exclusive clothing collection for some cause that is important to you and your audience – using your music as a key aspect for promotion.
16. Create A More Niche Brand to Stand Out
Your brand is everything. And you’ve probably already have this dialed in. But, if you’re still experimenting (or if you’re not leaning into your brand enough yet), then consider your differentiation.
Differentiating yourself is a passive form of marketing and give you an immediate leg up. To find your differentiation, you could try layering your interests or hobbies.
For example, I use travel and capture live audio of the places i go. I combine art and travel with my personal music brand, which helps me stand out as a creator.
17. Market to Filmmakers
I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with filmmaking and travel videography for a couple years now, and I can tell you one thing: we need amazing music!
For me, the solution was pretty obvious. I would make films and video projects, and simply write my own music (rather than opting for the stock music platforms which most videographers end up using out of convenience).
This post has provided you with a collection of fresh marketing strategies to help promote your music and brand as a musician. I’ve included many trends and classics (with a twist).
Ultimately, the strategy you choose will depend on your preferences, goals, audience and budget.
Still, you’re very likely to mix and match a few of the options above.
Either way, I hope you find success with at least one of the strategies above – and please let me know if you try one and how it worked out for you!
Thanks for stopping by today! Let me know in the comments: what’s the biggest hurdle you’ve found in promoting your music?