Have a new music release in the pipes? Then you should start preparing for your promo campaign long before it starts.
There are 5 things you just have to do before you even enter the starting blocks.
Re-engage with your fan base
Have you been a little out of touch between your latest shows and this new release? Busy in the studio or writing songs after that gut wrenching break up? That’s okay. Social media suck up a whole lot of time and being always on top of them isn’t always possible when you don’t have a team. While you should always do your best to stay in touch with your fan base, having a few months without much going on is totally fine. It’s actually quite natural for musicians.
But now that you know something’s about to happen, you have to get things in order again. Start tweeting more, start posting on Facebook regularly. Giving away a free song from a previous record via NoiseTrade can give you something to start with. When the time is right, announce the new music you’re making (without releasing the songs!). TALK to them.
Grow those Social Media
Talk. But say what? Twitter and Instagram have to be your (new) priorities if they haven’t been so far. If it’s already the case, great, you’re on top of your game.
But what should you talk about if there’s no big music updates? Here are some leads. Re-post past interviews or reviews. Be sure to tag the author to re-engage with them, promote their blog and talk about something relevant to fans who might have missed that one. Share unseen pictures of recent gigs. Speaking of gigs: share what you’re seeing live and cross-promote with other indie bands who will love you a lot for supporting them (and might also support your future release). Community matters!
You can talk about other things depending on what your tone of voice is – some bands discuss their political opinions, others don’t. If you do, make sure it’s not random and agressive.
Talking about your dog and what you ate is totally fine, especially on Instagram, but that shouldn’t take more than 10% or so of your feed. You have to be seen and identified as a musician in your fans’ feed. Share a live video, a Spotify playlist you made, an article about one of your musical heroes…there’s a lot to do without having to announce a new song or gig.
To avoid blanks and headaches, prepare an editorial calendar when you have some time or feel inspired. Prepare your posts in advance and even schedule them in Hootsuite.
Send a Newsletter or Two
Re-activating your newsletter is crucial BEFORE you start to ‘sell’ something. Managing your mailing list is tricky but really vital. For a long time, an artist mailing list was considered the most powerful promotional assets to directly engage with fans. I wouldn’t agree with this so much anymore but it remains high on the list for both major and indie musicians.
Plan up to 2 newsletters before you actually announce your new single or upcoming record. You could send “notes from the studio” or promote a free track you’re giving away on NoiseTrade or elsewhere. And by the way, giving something for free on NoiseTrade will help you add fresh blood to this mailing list of yours and is highly recommended.
Are you in the studio? Then shoot the hell out of it.
Studios are magical places that still make people dream. This is the place where it all happens. Tell your fans about what you’re doing, share the good times you’re having with your band and sound engineer. If possible, get proper professional looking shots to mix with your phone pics. Those will look great on your website, social media and could even be used for a booklet comes pressing time.
If you don’t have cool studio pics, you can talk about the songs you’re writing, share a verse or a line, tell an anecdote behind a track you’re working on or a song that inspired your new sound.
Don’t Share the Songs Before the Release
Embargo yourself. Do it. Don’t share your new music with anyone outside of your team. This is super hard to do but if you want to run a press campaign (with a publicist or by yourself) you will want the songs to be new and fresh because most bloggers will not want to cover something that has been around for months.
Plus, you’ll have more chances of landing Premieres. And when it comes to your fans it’ll be the same: they’ll be excited to finally hear these new songs you’ve been teasing them about when they’re actually out… allowing you to gently direct them towards your Bandcamp and iTunes profiles.
For an indie artist, it’s a whole lot of work, especially while you’re still in the studio or in the process of finishing your record. But you must invest the time, and sometimes the money (hello boosted posts), to put all the chances on your side.
This will not only get your fans re-engaged it will also help make your shop window ready for bloggers who’ll come and check you out to decide if they’ll cover your release or not.