Brand Your Band: 5 Marketing Tips for Aspiring Musicians

Brand Your Band: 5 Marketing Tips for Aspiring Musicians

Whatever the genre and however exciting the tunes, newcomers are rarely welcomed to the music scene. It’s not that the fans are uninterested in hearing something fresh; on the contrary, those devoted to underground beats will always be manifold, but it’s the industry that doesn’t allow much space for aspiring musicians to shine.

In order to get noticed, even the most promising of talents need to rely on nothing but their own will, creativity and devotion. Luckily, breakthrough possibilities are behind every corner, especially in the online universe – you only need to be clever and fast enough to catch them. Here’s what you need to work on if looking to brand and market your band.

  1. Turn Your Tones into Stories

If you’ve kept your focus solely on your art for the past couple of years, you’ve certainly missed a few things here and there, but the first concept you’ll have to get familiar and comfortable with is brandability.

Although we do speak of it in business terms, branding is a strategy that requires both marketing prowess and inexhaustible creativity, which gives you a clear advantage from the very start – while the first can be learned, the second is mostly reserved for storytellers, which is something you most certainly already are.

Express to Inspire. Now that you’ve finally succeeded in songwriting, and the only thing standing between you and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an oversaturated market, the moment is about right to revisit your humble beginnings. Think hard about what kindled your passion for music, who inspired you to play your first note and which were the circumstances that have urged you to artistically express yourself in the first place, and start building from there.

Use the same storytelling skills that helped you create your music to make a captivating, but authentic narrative that will reflect both your lyrics and yourself as a human being and a performer. And, despite what experts will tell you, don’t bother too much with uniqueness and personality building – instead, let your inner artist emerge and break the silence.

Take Pearl Jam, for instance. Existential pain, teenage angst and social activism were the central motifs they’ve built their story around, but what made them so different from the rest of the grunge bunch was the fact that we could see them reliving it every time they were playing live, giving an interview, or hanging out with their fans. For no other reason but honesty, they’ve managed to deliver an emotionally engaging story that still makes us tremble as when we were 17, but respect them all the more.

  1. Choose a Design to Illustrate your Story

Once you have a background story that explains your position in the artistic sky and a unique statement that makes you stand out from the crowd, you need to start thinking practically. Even though an art that doesn’t necessarily need to have a visual impact, music benefits from graphic presentation. In order to get heard, unfortunately, you’ll need to get noticed first. At this point, your branding strategy has to deliver an intriguing logo and an alluring website. asdf

Be Emblematic. Being a symbol that revokes your unique tone in the audience’s mind, a logo is the first prerequisite of successful branding. Learn more about what kind of message different colours, fonts and shapes can convey, but stay true to your aesthetics of choice. Remember Metallica’s clear reference to genre, the urban funkiness of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s red logo or Sex Pistol’s anti-establishment collage – whatever style fits best with your artistic manifesto, stick to it long enough to make it your own graphic identity.

A website, on the other hand, is going to be your main channel of communication with the audience, which makes it the most important aspect of branding. Aside from having to offer the design that should reflect the same aesthetics as your logo and be easy to navigate through, your landing page should simultaneously serve as a base of information and a virtual store.

Luckily, website builder software systems and tools are all around the internet for you to slightly refine them with your own creative notions. If in need of some inspiration, check out what Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, OneRepublic or Radiohead have done with theirs.

  1. Spread It Around

Opening social media accounts seems easy enough, but for your cross-channel coverage to be effective, you’ll need to do some market research beforehand. Networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offer plenty of advertising options for novice musicians, but only some of them are for free. If you want to avoid additional spending, you’ll have to analyse, target and share all by yourself.

Research & Mingle. Naturally, you can always start blasting your music across social networks without any prior marketing knowledge at all, but no one can promise you that your posts will reach those interested in what you have to offer. On the other hand, the rules for successful social media marketing are numerous and we can only mention some of them here, but what it really comes down to is careful research of your competition – simply choose an influential band from your niche, track down its social media accounts and start targeting their fan base.

Digital marketing can take many forms. For your specific niche and audience, it’s pretty unlikely that blogging will promise any significant progress, which is why sticking to social media campaigns and email blasts is a sure deal.

For aspiring musicians, YouTube is where the dreams come true, but without a proper social media coverage to drive traffic to your YouTube channel, it will be quite impossible for new fans to dig you out. If still not reinforced with professional music videos, publish your tunes with lyrics or cover art instead; until you get on your feet and start making up scenarios for shooting, these will be quite enough.

Consider bands like First Aid Kit, Grizzly Bear or Karmin – all of them started with posting their videos to YouTube, from where they quickly skyrocketed to other mediums, simply because they were unique and quirky enough to get noticed.

  1. Listen To Get Listened To

Whatever channels of communication you choose, consistent engagement is a branding rule that applies to all of them. These online platforms are developed for spontaneous social interaction, and aggressive advertisers are pretty unwelcomed in such environments. In order to use them for marketing purposes, you’ll need to blend in, which suggests being assertive but willing to listen, staying approachable but interesting and, above all else, keeping interaction alive at all times.

Engage & Interact. These guidelines are the very essence of social media marketing, and it’s encouraging to know that independent artists can adopt them more easily than big corporations – the only thing you’ll need to do is to stay your easy-going and uncorrupted self and approach people with an amiable attitude.

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When observed from this viewpoint, social media branding is not so hard at all – simply share your music with your target audience wherever they are, listen to what they have to say about it and respond to their comments with a kind “thank you” and an invitation for your next gig. If hooked, and they will be, your followers will quickly turn to your active listeners.

Another thing you should master, however, is the art of social media campaigning. Start with building a promo package that details your band bio and contact information and includes your demo track, and transform it into an engaging campaign.

For instance, you can offer a free ticket to you your show for the first listeners who like your Facebook band page or share your video on Twitter, or make a contest out of your album cover design. The primal goal of these campaigns is to make the initial touch point, a.k.a. the first interaction between a new fan and your band’s brand, and do so with as many people as possible.

  1. All It Needs Is A Little Patience

Whether a social media campaign, a ground-breaking website design or a distinctive logo, ambitious musicians need to leverage all available means to get their message across. It’s an adventurous feat really, and if someone tells you it’s going to be easy, know that you are being lied to. But, however hard and tumultuous, the branding process almost entirely relies on ingenuity and creativity, which is something that artists, yourself included, are never in shortage of.

Get Creative, Stay Consistent. Only when your music starts to spread around, reaching wider circles of audience with each day, you can start expanding your strategy to the offline world. Being the most popular of those, merchandize won’t sell until you’ve gained some recognition and a devoted fan base, but if you include special giveaways, logo tees and limited vinyl releases to your promo package as well, the name of your band will quickly get on the audience’s map.

Even if it all runs smoothly, never stop being consistent. Social mingling requires a lot of time, which is why you should definitely consider delegating a part of it to a good and dedicated friend – and every band has at least one of those – or reach out to automation for help.

There’s a lot of social media marketing tools on the market, with each of them equally efficient at managing your cross-channel shares. Be persistent but unobtrusive, nurture your relationship with fans and, every once in awhile, spice it all up with an engaging social push, an exclusive offer or a subtle brand redesign.

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Most importantly, stay focused on your art. Work hard, write more, and deliver constantly. At one point, your audience will get hungry for the next captivating tune, and the only way of rewarding their loyalty is by pushing the boundaries of music little by little each day.

Categories: Music

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