The early stages of a band’s life are usually the most precarious. For most young musical notes, the key focus is writing and finding their craft; but soon enough the reality will hit that there is a whole lot more to it.
Thinking about how to promote your band can be fairly daunting to the uninitiated musician. For some, this might appear within the ‘business’ side of the creative realm, but the truth is that every budding musician will have to thinking long and hard about this at some point.
Of course, there are countless ‘how to promote your band’ guides, dating back decades. A quick search on the Net will leave you snowed under with vague, dispensable articles on basic marketing techniques that could be applied to almost any creative venture.
We think this is entirely unhelpful, so we decided to reach out to those who know the most about how to promote your band in those early stages — publicists — to share some of their wisdom (pro-bono).
Photo by Brooke Tunbridge VIVIENNE MELLISH — MUCHO BRAVADO BE ORGANISED
It’s one thing to make great music, but if you wanna get recognised EVERYTHING else needs to hold it up and be ready to go before your song is released into the world. This includes making a timeline for your release, planning when and where you want to do shows, getting a good band bio together, making a plan for what you’re going to post on your social media, making sure you get professional press photos taken etc.
This will help you manage you and your band’s expectations. Know where you fit, where you’re at and set achievable goals. You’re probably not going to get a #1 single straight away, you might not even get radio play straight away. It’s a hard and long road for most bands — sometimes it takes years to cut through, so be prepared to put in some hard work. Don’t get discouraged as you’ll get a LOT of no‘s across your career but the times you get a yesmake it all worthwhile.GET OUT THERE
If you’re totally fresh and you’ve never released a recorded song before, it could be good to just test the waters and see where you fit in the media, and industry landscape. Play shows to get your live chops up and send your track around to a few industry peeps, radio stations and blogs that you like first to get their feedback. Include as much information as you can about your band.
DO include private streaming links. DON’T attach big audio files to emailsGET A PUBLICIST
I know right… a publicist saying you should hire a publicist…but it’s true! Choose a PR company that works with artists that you like and choose a publicist that’s as passionate about the project as you are. Yes, it does cost money but it means you’ve got an extra person (or people) vouching for your music who already have strong relationships with the people you want to get it to. A publicist will be able to help you roll out your release professionally instead of just throwing a track up on Soundcloud/Spotify and help shape you and/or your band’s story.SAMMIE ANSCHAU — BEEHIVE PR THE MUSIC COMES FIRST
Don’t put out something just for the sake of it — make sure you are happy with your work and it reflects your sound now and moving forward. Don’t make music for a specific audience — make music you love and are proud of — if it translates — great! If it doesn’t then you have still have an awesome body of work to be proud of.HAVE A PLAN
You have worked hard to get here — make sure you get the most out of your music. To do this you need to have your shit together — make sure everything is sending the same message, from socials to website to art, get everything ready before you push the button. Plan not only for this release but the next and have annual goals.GET INTO THE SCENE
Don’t be backwards in coming forwards. Don’t be shy to put yourself out there when it comes to supports, media, and collaborations. People are often stoked to hear from the artist and if it doesn’t work out first time it might later down the track but either way you have started to build a relationship. Have your elevator pitch ready!FIONA PEACOCK — ON THE MAP SOCIAL MEDIA
The easiest way to reach fans and for you to share details about yourself, your music and upcoming shows/releases. Be sure to ‘like’ other artist pages so that your fans can get an idea of what your music is like and who your influences are. Post engaging content, made up of a mixture of personal things and music type posts, fans want to be able to relate to you and like a good gossip magazine, like to know who the people are behind the music.
Be sure to post often, but don’t go overkill, one post every two days is usually engaging enough to keep people interested and not too often that you’re going to get on peoples nerves. Try to mix up the time of day you post also, one day post at midday for the lunchtime readers, the next post at 8pm for the evening scrollers, next post at 8am for the early risers, you’re bound to reach a broader audience this way.TOOLS AND ASSETS
If you’re releasing a single/EP/album or have a few gigs coming up, make sure you have all your “tools/assets” ready to go. There’s no point reaching out to media unless you have music that has been mixed and mastered (Soudcloud links), decent promotional images, a logo, tour dates with ticketing information, artwork, social media links, website link and a bio or press release, this is a great start.MAKE A MEDIA LIST
Create a list of what sites/blogs/street press/print media you would ideally like to see yourself in, search their sites for their contact information and reach out. Familiarise yourself with their content and pitch your music uniquely either on the phone or over e-mail. Show your personality in your e-mail and don’t send the same pitch to all media, it’s lazy and obvious, if you’re not taking the time to e-mail them uniquely, then why should they take the time to listen to your music and write editorial about it?