Hopefully, all of the marketing and promotional techniques I’ve shared throughout this series have gotten your wheels turning on different creative techniques to build your fanbase. I’ve shared a lot of information in the past articles which I know can be overwhelming. Below you will find a quick recap of all the core takeaways from this series. Be sure to bookmark this article and come back when you need a refresher. LET’S GET IT!
Part 1: What Is Marketing And Promotion?
Marketing is the act of identifying who your “target” audience is. So when you promote your music you are sharing it with the people who will most likely enjoy it.
Promotion is simply the act of making someone aware of your music.
How To Find Your Market
 Define Yourself As An Artist
- What genre of music do you make? Example: Hip-Hop
- Now get more specific. What best describes the style of Hip-Hop music you make? Example: Trap, West-Coast, East-Coast/Boom-Bap, Dirty South, Pop/Electronic/Dance
- What best describes your lyrical content Examples: Party/Club, Conscience/Spiritual, Gangsta, Comedic
- After you’ve defined what categories you fit in, make a list of other established artists that fit into your categories as well.
 Reaching Your Potential Fans Directly
- Follow the social media pages of the artists that fit into your categories. Pay attention to which of their Social Media pages get the most engagement to focus your efforts.
- Start engaging with their fans by responding back to comments they make on the established artist’s page.
- Add value to their fans and don’t make it all about you
 Promoting To Your Potential Fans
- Before you start engaging with the established artist’s fans you should set up your social media profile to promote your single or project with a pinned post and banner/social media profile pic
- When you’re having conversations with your potential fans they will likely check out your profile to see who they’re talking to. This allows them to discover your music instead of being spammy.
- If they don’t mention that they checked out your music before you end the conversation be sure to mention your music on your page as an afterthought as you exit the conversation.
 1,000 True Fan Theory
- You don’t need a huge fanbase to make a good living with your music. If you only had 1,000 True Fans that you sold $100 worth of product to each year you would make $100,000.00
Part 2: Winning Over Influencers
Who Are Influencers?
Influencers are basically anyone who has an audience that’s made up of your target audience. This could be…
- Radio Stations, DJ’s, Music Directors, Radio Personalities, (Both Major and College Radio Stations).
- Youtube Channels
- Popular Social Media Pages. (Brands, Personalities, Entertainment, etc…)
- Creators or Admins of popular playlists on Spotify, iTunes etc,
- Celebrities, Athletes, Actors, Comedians, Rappers, Musicians, DJs, Singers, pretty much anyone who has an existing following.
- Influencers have to filter who they share their platform with since they are in high demand. You can get through the filter by adding value.
- Take some time to get familiar with the influencers by consuming their content via social media, website, etc..
- Instead of asking for a favor from them figure out a way to earn it. Favor is usually not given; it’s earned!
- Figure out a way to create a Win-Win situation by adding value to them so that they are benefiting from featuring you on their platform.
- Figure out their preferred method of communication such as E-mail, DM, and if they have a manager or assistant you need to go through.
- When corresponding with them, keep your e-mails short and to the point.
- If you win over one influencer you have the potential of gaining many more fans because of it.
Part 3: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a powerful technique where you create content such as videos and blog posts around a popular search term in order to gain free traffic to your content.
- Keep in mind your target audience when picking your keywords you’re hoping to rank for in search results
- Google and Youtube rank content not based on views but “Audience Retention” which is the amount of time people spend consuming your content. For example, if you create a Youtube video that’s 10 minutes in length but most people are clicking off of it within 30 seconds then that piece of content won’t rank high in the search results.
- With that being said don’t create misleading titles on your content just to get some clicks and make sure your content is delivering value to the viewer.
- Consider creating content that targets an artist’s fanbase that you’re similar to. Such as…
- reaction or review videos of their new music
- cover songs, parodies, or remixes to new or popular songs of theirs
- Create funny videos about the artist in general. This could be animations, video sketches, etc..
- Talk about news, drama, and rumors related to them
- If you’re also a producer you could create reproductions of instrumentals to their most popular songs
- If you’re skilled at video editing you could create your own music videos for their songs.
- You could create lyric videos to their songs which are quite popular as well
Part 4: Subcultures
What Are Subcultures?
Subcultures are different niche communities that you are a part of which are centered around different hobbies or interests of yours. For example, the Hip-Hop community is a subcommunity or subculture of the music community. And then there are even subcultures within the Hip-Hop community such as Horror Core, Underground, Battle Rap, Christian-Hip-Hop, Trap, Mumble, etc.
But when your marketing and promoting your music you don’t have to stay only within Music Subcultures. Check out this list of other Subcultures you may belong to.
Other Subcultures You Belong To
- Sports/E-Sports/Fantasy League/Gambling
- Cooking/Culinary Arts
- Games/Video Games/Card Games
- Tech/Gadgets/Computers/App and software development
- Health & Wellness/Fitness/Body Building
- Healing/Medicine/Natural Remedies/Drugs
- Comedy/Stand Up/Improve/Pranks/Jokes
- Guns/Knives/Compound Bow
- Grooming/Barbor/Hair Stylist/Makeup
- D.I.Y/Carpentry/Construction/Home Projects
- Cars/Racing/Customization/Speaker Systems
- Toys/Collectibles/R.C Cars, Helicopters etc..
- Magic/Card Tricks/Illusions/Sleight of Hand
- Painting/Drawing/Tatoo’s/Graphic Design/Animation
Tapping Into Your Other Sub Cultures
A great way to tap into your other subcultures is to use any of the marketing and promotional methods I’ve already shared and simply shift your target to your additional subcultures. For example…
- If you’re into MMA you could create songs themed around your favorite fighters, camps, media outlets/anchors, and of course share it with them after you publish it. This can A. Win over influencers within this subculture and B. Win over existing fans of the influencer and sport you are targeting.
- If you’re a movie buff you could create themed songs around a new movie that’s about to come out and take advantage of all the “SEO” traffic you could potentially get from the movie companies mass marketing campaign.
- If you’re into stand up comedy, create songs that pay homage to some of your favorite punchlines from your favorite comedians. And make the Comedians name the name of your song.
Remember that your music will never be for everyone. Everyone isn’t your target audience. And all of your songs don’t have to be about you. By embracing who you are and what other subcultures you’re a part of, it allows you to stick out from the rest of the pack while connecting with other people that share the same similar interests as you.
Remember you don’t have to pick just one of these methods. Feel free to try them all and double down on whatever works best for you.
Remember that making music is the easy part. The real work is marketing and promoting your music and the real reason most artists never succeed is that they neglect this entirely!
How Much Should You Promote?
Make sure you put a lot of time and effort into marketing and promotion. And I do mean A LOT! I’m not talking just a few days or even just a few weeks. This is something you need to be doing throughout your entire career!
You should always be building your fanbase! And if you do this well enough, one day you will be able to afford to pay others to help you do it as well. But when you’re first starting off you HAVE to do this yourself! And it’s hard work but it’s worth it if you truly want to have a successful music career.
Do The Math
With that being said, I’ll leave you with this. Most rappers that don’t have a fanbase spend nearly 90% of their musical efforts on making music and 10% on marketing and promotion. And I’m being very generous with that 10%. It’s likely more like 5% or 0%, to be honest, but I digress.
Instead, I think it would be more beneficial to spend 20% of your time making music and 80% marketing and promoting it.
For example, you could spend 2 months creating your Album, EP, or Mixtape and then spend 10 months marketing and promoting it.
Once the beginning of the next year comes around you can spend 2 more months creating a new project and spend the remaining 10 months promoting it as well.
This leads me to touch on Album Cycles which basically means your routine for releasing your projects.
You don’t have to release a new project every year, but if you’re putting in the work to market and promote your music then you will be growing your fanbase. And it’s a good idea to release music at least once a year so that your existing fanbase is being served.
With streaming subscription models such as Youtube Red, Spotify, and iTunes, it’s easy for your fans to forget about you if you don’t release anything for a while because they have so much new music available to them all the time. So if you can do at least an EP every year which is typically 4-8 songs, go for it. Or you could release a new song every month or so and just release singles all the time.
If It Aint Dope, Don’t Promote!
And just to clarify, this is for artists who have already developed and sharpened their rap skills. If you can’t write “good” songs then you’re not ready to start marketing and promoting your music yet and should focus on artist development first.
There you have it! Hopefully, this series has helped demystify the what and the how of marketing and promotion. As you can see, marketing and promotion require a lot of thought and planning. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about being intentional, strategic, and focused. Don’t overthink this stuff. Simply be mindful of who your music is for and then use these techniques to find and reach your audience!
Now, take your music career’s success into your own hands and go out into the digital and physical world and start building your fan base! I’m wishing you much success on your musical journey!