When you’re tackling studying and exams, it is hard to find the time for other things. But, musicians have a great advantage compared to other students – they have music on their side. They can use it for motivation and inspiration, to keep themselves happy and self-assured.
But in the midst of all this chaos, where do you fit in music promotion? Your time is already limited given that you’re a student, so how do you decide how to promote music while in college?
You’ll only burn out if you throw everything against the wall, hoping it will lead to results. Your grades could suffer, and you probably won’t see any results from your effort.
Your best bet is to set your sights on key targets. Further, you can save a bit of money by focusing on free music promotion.
1. Expose Your Message on Social Media
The best place to learn about your target audience is on social media.
Using social media to promote music is an excellent idea, crucial if you want to get your music out there – and fast. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to post your videos, lyrics, audio, and more. It’s a great way to communicate with your fans for free.
Ads on social media are really affordable today, and based on how well you create your social media content strategy, you can reach thousands, if not millions of people by taking advantage of paid ads.
But trying to build a presence on every network is a fool’s errand. Choose your platforms wisely, create a tailored content marketing plan for each, and build connections to increase your visibility.
2. Take Ownership
Social media is a great starting place for creating communities and interacting online. The challenge is that success is not guaranteed. You could do everything right, but because of the sheer volume of competition out there, you might find it very difficult to break through.
That’s one of the reasons you need to build your assets. The other is to create a more centrally organized and strategically configured online space where people can come to listen to your music, read your bio, check out your latest press photos, and more.
There are two critical pieces to this. Let’s look at each:
Website / Blog
Most artists start their website as their online brochure and electronic press kit (EPK). But it should be a living, dynamic, constantly breathing creature that’s full of activity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re really busy or the activity is manufactured. The key is to demonstrate and create the impression of busyness, because that automatically makes you more attractive to fans, venues, and journalists alike.
Developing your own website and blog also gives your audience a landing place. A place they can go to find and learn everything about you. A place they can go to sign up for additional, private, exclusive updates and messages from you, and to purchase merch, tickets, and other worthwhile opportunities from you.
Your blog is your top activity, update, and discovery tool. Here’s how that looks:
- Activity. When you post frequently to your blog, it’s a sign of busyness, and business is attracted to busyness. You will generate more opportunity to you by virtue of showing up and staying top of mind with your audience. It’s reassuring when people come to your website and see there was something new added within the last week, versus last decade.
- Update. Whether it’s a new show, new release, new merch, new interview, concert journal or post mortem, vlog, or otherwise, there is always something to share with your audience. Something as small as a new website menu design is more than enough to warrant an update, for virtue of showing up more frequently and demonstrating activity.
- Discovery. More content means more opportunities to be discovered by your audience, whether in search engines, social media, email campaigns, or wherever you distribute and syndicate your content to. Opportunity doesn’t show up daily, but it does show up when you’re consistent, and if you can establish a regular schedule of producing and publishing valuable content, it will contribute to traffic, discovery, and increased exposure for your music.
Creating and maintaining a blog can be a lot of work. This is where your writing experience for school comes in handy. Who said you’d never need to write essays in the real world? With a couple of tips for students on essay writing and a bit of persistence, you can create a great website or blog your fans will follow.
Bottom line, you need a list or customer database you own. A singular reliance on digital marketing to the exclusion of other, physical, hard copy lists is unwise, but it’s at least a start. A good objective for every artist is to send traffic from social media and other online destinations to sign up for their email list, as it’s an asset you own and control.
Email is how you’re going to create a private and exclusive ecosystem your fans want to be a part of. This means people not on your email list will miss out on some things, and that’s exactly what you want. This is but the first layer of exclusivity, as you should consider going at least a layer deeper with fan clubs or memberships.
Additionally, social media channels use algorithms to determine the content that will reach your target audience. They also require you to be online to comment and post. Email lists and scheduled email marketing strategies simply go into the fans’ inboxes and keep them updated of your latest music, events, and news.
These and other key risk mitigation advantages make email a bottom line essential.
3. Create Content, Get Traffic & Expose Your Music
The first step to growing your fan list is to get exposure for your music. You need to get it heard. People can’t like what they’ve haven’t heard. And they won’t buy what they don’t already like.
Social media is a great source of traffic, and so is YouTube. Traffic is already out there, it doesn’t need to be generated. You simply need to find a way to tap into the existing streams, especially sites people frequent often – Google, YouTube, Quora, Amazon, Apple, and others. Where there’s a will, there is absolutely a way.Traffic is already out there, it doesn't need to be generated. Click To Tweet
The need for audio and video content is a foregone conclusion. This is how you’re going to hook prospects and listeners. Taking advantage of a digital distribution service like Ditto Music is going to increase visibility by putting your music in places like TIDAL, Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora.
Content is step one. Digital distribution is step two. But that’s not going to be enough to get exposure. If you tell no one where your music is, no one is going to put any importance on finding it. Songwhip will automatically compile all your music links and create a page you can send your fans to. That’s a good start, but again, just a start and nothing more.
So, take advantage of the following tools and resources to grow your reach:
- Coaching. Contact David for more information on hiring him as your coach.
- Social media schedulers. There are plenty of great solutions, be it Buffer, Hootsuite, or Meet Edgar that let you manage your social media and schedule posts in advance.
- Dropbox. Cloud storage is a practical necessity and Dropbox’ premium packages are affordable while providing plenty of disk space for sharing your files among team members, journalists and media, venue and event organizers, and plenty more.
The Bottom Line: Promote Your Music While Attending College
No matter the condition or circumstance you’re facing in life or at college, you can make music and get it out to a larger audience. It will require a commitment on your part, but if it’s something you’re excited to tackle, you should never run out of motivation.
The next step would be to take advantage of the services and products mentioned here. You don’t want to run out of inspiration, and even with everything you’ve learned here, not all your bases will be covered. You’ve got to continually explore and identify new opportunities to keep your creative well replenished with fun promotional and marketing activities.
If in doubt, our library is a good place to start.
- Top 6 Sites for DIY Music Education in 2023 - November 16, 2022
- 3 Effective Ways to Promote Your Music in College in 2023 - November 14, 2022
- Music Business for Students: 4 Important Things to Know - January 17, 2020