Sadly this is where it ends with most rappers. Most rappers only want to make music but if you don’t market and promote your music the likely hood of you growing a fanbase is slim to none.
I discussed the reasons why most rappers don’t put enough focus on marketing and promotion in my previous article “Why Wack Rappers Are Getting Famous”. But just to recap, these are the main reasons.
- They are insecure and scared of rejection
- Prideful and have an entitled mindset because they think their talent means that success is owed to them
- They set unrealistic expectations and consequently get frustrated and give up rather quickly
- They don’t know how to properly market and promote themselves, to begin with.
For many, marketing and promotion are similar to what love is for a teenager in high-school. You know you want and need it but you’re not quite sure what it is.
Now the optimistic side of me would like to think that most rappers don’t promote and market themselves simply because they don’t know the what it is and how to do it. But the truth is, making music is the easy part and marketing and promotion is hard work that most people just aren’t willing to do.
But don’t be bummed out about most rappers falling short in this area. The fact that you’re reading this right now means you are wanting to learn which means you are much more likely to take action and put in the work needed to grow your fanbase.
Now it’s time to explain the difference between marketing and promotion and then we’ll look at one way you can start implementing them both today so you can begin building your own buzz.
When you hear the word “marketing” I want you to think “targeting”. Marketing is simply the act of determining the groups of people who are most likely to become fans of your music.
Once you have done this, you simply figure out how to reach them which leads us to what promotion is.
When you hear the word “promotion” I want you to think “awareness”. Promotion is simply the act of making someone aware of something. When you tell your friend about an awesome new restaurant you recently ate at your are essentially promoting that restaurant to your friend.
How To Find Your Market
Okay, at this point your likely wondering…
A. How can I figure out who my potential fans are? And…
B. How can I reach them?
C. Once I’ve reached them how can I promote to them?
[A] Your Potential Fans
Well, in order for you to figure out who your potential fans are you must first define what type of artist you are.
Now, most of us artists suck at doing this because we’re scared to death of being “put in a box”, so let me assist you and I promise I’ll let you back out. lol!
If you’re a rapper would you start going to country music concerts to promote your album? Probably not! That’s bad marketing! Yes, there will be people there who also enjoy rap music but everyone there won’t which decreases the likelihood of them enjoying your music.
If you rap, then you’re a rapper, which means you make rap music. BOOM! This means people who like rap music will likely enjoy your music.
But we need to get even a little more specific than that because there are lots of sub-genres within rap music that people like specifically. Now please make note of which of the following describes the music you make.
Which Describes You?
- Positive and conscious messages of peace, love, and unity.
- Activists for political, social and economic issues.
- Faith and or religious beliefs.
- Anti-government/ anti-establishment, corruption and or conspiracy theories.
- Gangster music themed around drugs, sex, and violence.
- Funny, humorous, parody.
- Depression, mental illness, personal problems. “venting”.
- Either fictional or nonfictional storytelling.
- Braggadocious, stunting, showing off, balling type music
- Party, club and dance music
Build A List
You will likely find that you fit into several of the descriptions provided above. Now to get you started I want you to create a list of at least 3 well-established artists that fit into your categories as well that have significant fanbases. (you should continue to add to this list as much as possible moving forward).
The fans of these 3 artists are highly likely to become fans of your music due to how specifically similar you both are. This doesn’t mean you both have to sound the same because your similarities are based upon your lyrical content. However, you should still keep in mind the style of music you both like to rap over and try to be somewhat similar there also if possible.
This technique solves the 1st part of your marketing strategy. Now let’s discuss how you can reach them.
[B] Reaching Your Potential Fans
Once you’ve built a list of artists that are similar to you, the next step is to start engaging with their fan base on a regular basis.
Social media is meant to be social which is a two-way conversation. However, it’s likely that the artists on your list can’t interact much 1 on 1 with their fanbase because it’s simply impossible for them to do so with their busy schedules.
And this problem creates a huge opportunity for you!
You should be following all of the social media accounts for the artists on your list. Once you have done so you need to start adding value to their fans who are commenting on their posts.
Here are a few ways you can add value.
- If they’re asking questions about something such as a tour date, the name of a song, or even the meaning of a song, try to answer it for them.
- Just responding back to someone in a kind and polite manner adds value to their fan because they left their comments because they wanted to be heard.
- You never know what a person is going through and your kindness could make their day.
- Everyone loves to laugh, so if you’re a jokester feel free to try and make them laugh.
- Make the conversation about them and the comment they made. Ask questions to keep the conversation rolling and don’t make it all about you. This shows them that you actually care about them.
[C] Promoting To Your Potential Fans
The Questions Everyone Are Asking
When you’re talking to people on social media they are going to wonder who you are and what you do which will entice them to check out your profile page. “Which you should make sure isn’t set to private!”.
Your profile should be set up to promote your music so that when people visit your page they also check out your music. This allows them to discover you instead of you spamming them and forcing your music down their throats like all the other thirsty artists do.
Be Ready Before You Engage
You should have the artwork for your social media banner and or profile picture which promotes the project or single you’re currently wanting to build awareness around. If possible pin a post on your timeline that says something like “Check out my new single “Name Of Song” http://linktoyoursong
If the person your speaking with hasn’t checked out your music before you finish the conversation then try ending the conversation with something like this.
It was cool speaking with you, Jason. I’m actually a rap artist as well and my music is similar to “the artists page your on”. If you get a moment, feel free to stop by my page and check out my new single. I think you will really enjoy it! I hope you have an awesome day man!.
And that my friend is one way you can realistically find, reach and promote to your target audience for free! This method is highly effective but as I said before, it is work!
The 1,000 True Fan Theory
Now let me ask you this. There are nearly 8 Billion people on this earth. Do you think it’s possible for there to be at least 1,000 people out there who could become a die-hard fan of your music?
Now if you’re not familiar with the 1,000 true fan theory, it goes a little something like this. If you have 1,000 die-hard fans that will buy pretty much everything you come out with and you sell $100 worth of product to them each year (deluxe edition of your album, autographed, with a t-shirt, hat, stickers, wristband, hoodie, etc..) then you would make $100,000.00 per year!
Now let’s do some numbers real quick.
If you use the method I laid out for you in this article and spoke and promoted to 50 highly targeted people per day for 5 days out of the week then you would have promoted to 250 that week.
That’s 1,000 people within a month and 12,000 people within a year!
Now everyone you talk to isn’t going to become a fan, but if only 10% of those 12,000 became a fan you would still have 1,200 fans!
Even if only 5% became fans you would still have 600 fans with the earning potential of 60k per year!
Also, keep in mind the example I used earlier about you promoting the restaurant to your friend. If someone becomes a fan of your music they are going to tell their friends about you and they will also brag about how they actually got to speak to you over the internet! So one fan you gain could turn into 5 or 10 new fans.
Getting Real Results
This isn’t some get rich quick scheme, it’s hard work but I’m telling you if you put the work in on a consistent basis you will start to see the results and you will get to know a lot of awesome people along the way which will also present more opportunities for you as well.
Planting A Tree
Growing a fan base can be like growing a tree. It’s not going to be 20 ft tall overnight, but if it’s getting what it needs to grow on a consistent basis then it will consistently grow year after year.
Playing The Lottery
However, in some rare cases, you will see artists release their first song and it just goes viral seemingly overnight. This does happen but it’s very rare and there’s a lot of luck involved in it. This could happen to you but it’s very unlikely and it shouldn’t be your primary marketing strategy. If this is your primary strategy you’re essentially that guy who goes to the convenience store every day to play the lottery in hopes of becoming rich one day.
The best part about this technique is it won’t cost you any money unless you need artwork for your single and for your social media pages to get you started. If you don’t already have a graphic designer, my wife actually specializes in all things related to website building and graphic design which you can check out here.
Just like I teach in my rapping tutorials, there are no rules only techniques. The same applies to marketing and promotion. What I’ve shared with you within this article is simply one technique that works and I will be sharing much more in the future so stay tuned!
Let me know what type of artist you categorized your self as and what artists you realized that you’re similar too in the comments section below! Feel free to report back with any success you’ve had with this method!
Im probobly an artist that speaks much of Positive and conscious messages of peace, love, and unity. 🙂
I would say the same for myself! Michael (and Cole), what artists would you say are at the top of that category at the moment?
That’s awesome Michael! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂 – Cole Mize
this topic is very good i like it.from Ethiopia.
currently studying in university and producing beats and rapping for my self.i hope i will go to studio to get my record done.
That’s awesome Isat! I’m wishing you the best on your musical journey! 🙂 – Cole Mize
I love how you broke it down into a math with the 50 a day example. Great article Deadly Holster Colester ??
Thanks Orb, glad you enjoyed this one as well! Much respect! 🙂 – Cole MIze
Aye Aye captain! Step 1: Infiltrate Bigger and similar artist’s fan base.
lol! There ya go man! It works! Give it a try! Captain Cole Signing Off! 🙂 – Cole Mize
This article has really helped open doors, I’ll definitely be tuned in to hear n take down notes on this shit.
Mad respect cuzzy – YoungVision
I would say I’m a “vent” artist. I didn’t know that was a category tbh. I just thought I was kinda conscious, but not always, so I couldn’t figure out a target market for the life of me.