Sunday, March 16, 2014

5 Ways I Would Market Myself as a Musician

I co-run an Internet Marketing Roundtable (Club) each month at a community college in Detroit.  Some months, we will present specific topics, but more often than not we simply take a Question & Answer (Q&A) session.

Most of the months we do Q&A, someone in the audience (if not MORE than just one person) will ask us how we suggest they market themselves as a musician so people find them (and their music).

I am NOT a musician, but there are some marketing steps that I’m confident are smart to take.  Here is what I have to offer people who want to increase their chances of getting found, either singers or people who play instruments.

1. Create an Online Library
2. Take Advantage of YouTube Playlists
3. Build a Marketing Funnel to My Library
4. Find & Contact Influential People
5. Find People I Can Help

Let me explain each of my initial suggestions a little more thoroughly (if you’re interested):

1. Create an Online Library

If I want people to hear my music, I want to make sure they can hear it, whether they meet me or not.

There might be better places, but I would begin by uploading videos of my me singing or playing my music on YouTube.

Even if you don’t have access to fancy recording equipment, you can upload a video directly onto YouTube—FROM YOUR OWN WEBCAM.  That means anyone with a computer, an internet connection, a microphone, and a webcam can get in the game!

Here is another great tip…Besides being a place that holds videos, YouTube is a search engine, too.

What does that mean for you?  What does THAT have to do with anything?

That means that people can search for something similar to what you are offering and find YOUR video, even if they do NOT know who you are.

Since you probably made your music video for other people to find and discover you, you need to help those search engines (computers) help people find you.

…but HOW do you do that?

That could be an entire topic onto itself, but here are the basic things EVERY artist should do for EVERY video.

Keywords & Tags

Identify different words people might use to find the type of music you create.  These are called KEYWORDS.

Keywords are sort of a way to categorize what you do.

Here are the places I’d use my most important keywords:
Video Title
Video Description
Video Tags

Not only will people be able to find your video on YouTube, but people can find your video (sometimes) on OTHER search engines, especially Google.  Google owns YouTube and often lists videos within its search results.

That means that people can find your music video on YouTube WITHOUT BEING ON YOUTUBE!

That just gives people more chances to find you, and that’s always good news if that’s your goal.

Side Tip: I probably would embed each video on its own blog post, too.  (Yet, ANOTHER chance for people to find  you.)

2. Take Advantage of YouTube Playlists

YouTube has a great trick you can use, and it’s incredibly easy to use—and it’s FREE.

Besides people finding your video via typing in “the right words,” they might find you in other ways.

One of the most overlooked ways is within a YouTube Playlist, a sequenced list of videos that play in succession—one right after the other.

Many people who create YouTube Playlists make a big mistake, though.  They simply make EVERY video on the YouTube Playlist themselves, which is great…once people KNOW who they are…and like them (enough to watch several videos of them in a row.)

A BETTER IDEA is to create a YouTube Playlist that begins with a better known version of the type of music you make.

For example, if you play jazz with your saxophone, you might begin with a video from John Coltrane  FOLLOW that video with YOUR video that plays similar music.  Maybe the 3rd video returns to another better known saxophone jazz artist, like Charlie Parker or Grover Washington, Jr.

If your music is something that people looking for John Coltrane music would like, you might catch some new fans.  “Hey, I never heard of this guy, but WOW is he GOOD!”

It’s easy to create, and you might pick-up some extra viewers looking for more popular versions of your music.

YouTube Playlists are easy to create and a great opportunity to “associate” yourself with the “popular kids.”

3. Build a Marketing Funnel to My Library

Okay, we have a library full of our wonderful music.  However, outside of people typing in search words into Google, YouTube, or some other search engine, we need to find MORE ways to get people to see our music.

We need to build the top (wide) part of the funnel.

Marketing is simply going to places with traffic that might be a good fit for you and REDIRECTING these people your way.

What are some ways I would build a marketing funnel to MY online library?

Twitter: Twitter is awesome!  People’s attention spans are sho….oh, yeah…people’s attention spans are short.  Twitter is a GREAT place to make a quick statement…just enough to whet their appetite enough to click to see more.  Many of these Tweets would lead to my videos or YouTube Playlists.

Email Marketing: Try to gather names of people who MIGHT be interested in seeing your upcoming in-town performance.  Maybe you can let them know you just made another video…make it easy for them to watch it.

FaceBook: Anyone who has heard me talk in person knows that this suggestion kills me to make; I HATE FaceBook.  However, I respect how good of a marketing tool it is.  I would post my videos on FaceBook and ask for (honest) critiques.

Blog Posts: I would post my video on my blog, but I would also provide a little bit of insight.  Many people like reading, and it is easier for search engines to find text compared to “hearing” words on a video.  (It CAN be done, but it’s definitely a lot harder for that to happen.)  There are plenty of other benefits, too, but right now, I’m simply mentioning a few different ways to LEAD people to my online music videos.

4. Find & Contact Influential People

A lot of people—not just musicians—make this HUGE mistake…They want to get noticed by everyone, but they want to do everything themselves.

As a musician, I suggest you find influential people.

What do I mean by influential people?

In this context, influential people are well-known musicians, big names within the industry, or people who tend to make recommendations (or share your music) and tend to hold a lot of influence with their many followers.

Do things to make THEIR lives easier.  Find events they’re promoting, and help them promote those events.

If they want to find certain types of people, help them find these people.

Certainly, not everyone you help will be willing to help you.  Sometimes, they just have way too many people trying to contact them.  Other times, they just are not appreciative people.

However, as the sales motivational speaker Zig Zigler often said, if you help enough other people get what they want, eventually, you will get what you want.

Plus, this helps leverage your marketing.  Once you have people help promote you, you are getting the benefits of marketing without your specific marketing efforts.  (NOTE: Don’t take this as “permission” to stop marketing yourself.)

Essentially, you’re building your network.

5. Find People I Can Help
If I’m a musician, not only am I looking for people who can help me, but I’m looking for people I can help.

Why do I care about helping others?  I’m struggling enough; how can that help me?

Establish Expert Status: First of all, you position yourself as an expert.  Often, when we help someone learn something, we learn that lesson better ourselves.

Build Your Fan Base: We also provide RAVING fans.  Like I mentioned in the above section, not everyone is appreciative, but if you help enough people, it won’t be long before you start finding that some of these people refer to you as that expert.  Many of music fans become interested in the artists who influenced their favorite artists’ music.

Most people aren’t willing to help others, especially when they feel like they’re struggling themselves.  If you do this, it will be easier for people to notice you…and root for you.

If they like you, they’ll probably refer you to other people…with enthusiasm.  (We all know the difference between an obligatory “recommendation” and an excited endorsement.  Which would YOU rather have?)

Find people you can help…and that you don’t mind helping.

Bonus Tip: Prepare for When People Search Me

As usual, I believe in delivering MORE than I promise, and so here is the bonus tip.

When people search your name (or your band’s name) on Google, are you prepared?

Most people (and bands) are NOT.

So what are two (2) things I suggest every musician do?

Complete Online Profiles: I would register for as many different things online as I could.  Why does this matter?  FaceBook profile descriptions often show on the first page of people’s names.  (FaceBook Pages do for bands and companies, by the way.)  Register and complete descriptions for things like Twitter, Yelp, YouTube Channel, etc.

Write Press Releases: Either write press releases or have someone else write them for you.  If you’re playing somewhere, that’s an event that deserves a press release.  If you are doing some cool charity work or helping provide music tutoring, that’s an event that deserves a press release.  Make sure you include your name (or your band’s name) in the Title of that press release.

There are TONS more ways to market yourself as a musician, but I guarantee, if you do these steps (and your music is even decent—not necessarily even great), people will begin to notice you.

What are YOUR favorite ways to market yourself as a musician?

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