Updated: Apr 18, 2019
By Curtis Havynne
It’s not enough to have good music anymore. Sorry to burst your bubble but in order to get that music heard, you’ve got to be an expert at the “launch”. The good news, is that you don’t have to wait around for 1-2 years while you write and record a whole album of material before you can get out there. Today, artists with social media backing them up, “launch as they create.” Releasing 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. The more often you launch, the more you are in people’s minds, ears, playlists and the more momentum you gain.
Your music won’t speak for itself. You have to speak for it. It’s a bit tricky to understand how to do that without coming across salesy or too promotional.
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 Launching Your Music Successfully:
1. Plan Out Your Launch Ahead of Time
Planning ahead is the most important thing you can do. 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 or hands free of the dirty work.
2. Launch for Longer Than You Think
Independent artists have less marketing muscle and money than the big boys. Market your video/single for 10-12 weeks periods to get a larger reach and increased engagement.
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. Your Instagram pics in particular must look good and profiles that do are rewarded in followers increased engagement. 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 in our emotions. In order to resonate with people, you want to reach them there. I notice when I free write or journal is helps the creative process.
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.
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! THIS ALL EQUALS MORE ENGAGEMENT FOR YOU!
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 rise and grind the entire promotional cycle. 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.