By Cari Cole
It’s not enough to have good music. In order to get that music heard, you’ve got to be an expert at the “launch” – like it or not. The good news, is that artists don’t have to wait around for 1-2 years while they write and record a whole album of material before they can get out there. Today, artists “launch as they create.” Putting out 1-2 singles as you work on the remainder of the EP or LP is the way to go. It allows you to be present more. Matter of fact, the more often you launch, the more you are in people’s minds and ears and the more momentum you gain.
But, the music won’t speak for itself. You have to speak for it. And it’s a bit tricky to understand how to do that without coming across salesy or too promotional. Or worse, to under promote, and no one even knows you’ve got a new song out.
Instead of thinking of it like “promoting”, think of it like an opportunity to bring your babies to the world and share your music. Don’t you want everyone under the sun to hear it? Thought so.
Here are my 7 Secrets to a Successful Launch of Your Music:
1. Plan Out Your Launch Ahead of Time
The most important thing you do is plan ahead. You don’t want to be creating posts or thinking of what to say last minute. A successful launch is well thought out and planned ahead. Then during the launch you can focus on engaging with people and additional posts and strategies. You want to have your hands free to respond and
2. Launch for Longer Than You Think
Independent artists have less marketing muscle (and moula) than the big boys. So you’ve got to market for longer cycles to get results. Market your video/single for 10-12 weeks to get a larger reach.
3. Create a Theme That Hits People Where They Live
Create a theme around your song and build out weekly topics/posts that reinforce that theme. People respond to things that they relate to. Hit them where they live. If you’re wondering how, where do you live? What matters to you? What keeps you up at night? You are your fan. Be authentic and transparent.
4. Prep Your Graphics Before-hand
Build your graphics quite a bit before you launch to leave time during launch to be present. Prep meme’s and materials to post including inspirational posts that relate to what your song subject overcomes (people love them.) Make sure to use a palette of colors that match your promo photos and match your vibe. Don’t use florescents or harsh colors. Look at current brands to get an idea what they are doing. Instagram in particular has to look good. And profiles that do are rewarded in followers. Remember, your brand is your music at first glance.
5. Write Compelling Deep Dive Posts
Plan to spend some time digging into the subject matter and emotions of your song. This is what people will respond to the most. Music hits us where we live. In our emotions. In order to resonate with people, you want to reach them there. Feel free to journal to get the juices flowing ;).
Then plan out 2-3 weekly posts to use during your launch campaign (mainly on FB where you can post longer posts.) Start a conversation and then continue it every 2-3 days, picking up where you left off. Tag people that you want to read it. Start with good friends and super fans to get the conversation going. Don’t tag people you don’t personally know. Point to the posts in your newsletter so your fans know what’s happening and can jump in.
Remember, music is about emotion. Music hits people where they live. It helps people get by in their stressful lives. It helps them feel their emotions they have to stuff inside. Music heals. But if they don’t relate to you they won’t click play.
6. Prep Hashtags
Research hashtags related to you, to music and to your topic in order to reach a larger audience. Make a list of relevant theme related hashtags to use with your posts. And don’t forget to also jump on trending hashtags each day. When you jump on trending hashtags, don’t promote yourself, just jump in the conversation. This allows new people to like you (because you’re not selling something) and they’ll often check out your page as a result. Keep a pinned a post about your release so they can find out about it easily and in plain sight!
Tip: On Instagram, post hashtags in the comments, not the post itself.
7. Consider Paid Advertising
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all have paid advertising options. The music department at Twitter will work with artists who have small followings (1000+) and help them strategize their releases. Facebook will work with you if you spend $1500 per month etc. But regardless of their help, you can set up ads for your video or single release to attract new fans and followers. Plan to target audiences of similar artists. If you start with a video launch you’ll want to direct them to YT to rack up views, but have a pop up on your video to direct viewers to your website to opt in to your mailing list (with a juicy giveaway.)
And one more thing…
8. Don’t Stop Until It’s Over (and then still promote)
Most independent artists give up too soon. You’ve got to hit hard and heavy for the whole promotional cycle. Use Sprout Social or Hootsuite to program your posts ahead of time. And then jump in “live” during the launch. Remember, that comparatively to big artists, no one has really heard your music, so you have to keep shouting out until you’re blue in the face.