[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Rich Nardo.]
Press coverage has always played a pivotal role in launching the career of a new artist. From the early days of Rolling Stone Magazine to the “blog era”, getting a positive review from a respected tastemaker in a print or online outlet could be just what an act needed to get the attention of a record label or generate the sort of buzz to land them on tour.
Today, with the proliferation of sites and the increased number of artists that are covered, it has become a lot harder to break through the clutter, even with a solid presence in the world of press. Luckily, there are several other ways for an artist to market themselves online these days that can be just as effective when it comes to getting their music in front of potential fans.
Here are five of those digital marketing methods that you may not be currently implementing in your overall strategy.
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has become the most effective way of reaching fans directly on a digital platform. This could mean having influencers in relevant categories use your music in one of their videos or adding it to their Spotify playlists, being a guest in one of their posts or inviting the influencer out to see you live in exchange for posting from the show.
There are plenty of ways to get more creative with these partnerships as well, and the more outside-the-box you get, the better chance you have of creating a ‘moment’ that will resonate with fans.
2. Unofficial Playlisting
It’s no secret that official playlisting is a huge win for an artist. That being said, most people approach this in a difficult and ineffective way. Rather than going for the official playlist right off the bat, it might work better to build up your score in terms of the steaming platform’s algorithm.
The better your music is resonating with unofficial playlisting and the platform’s personalized playlists (i.e – ‘Discover Weekly’ or ‘Release Radar’), the better chance you’ll have at landing on one of the major official playlists. You can find these unoffocial playlists through brands, blogs and independent tastemakers who have developed a following.
It may take a bit of research to find the right contacts for these lists, but it will be well worth the effort if you’re able to land some placements. Similarly make sure your friends and fans are saving your track to increase its algorithmic performance.
3. Reaction Videos
Reaction videos have become almost like visual reviews and the top reactors rack up tons of views on their videos. If you can get a couple of these gatekeepers to cover your new song, it can get you the same sort of notoriety that an album review used to give you.
4. Brand Partnerships
There are several ways that an artist can partner with a brand, particularly a locally based one. In-store and Spotify playlisting is a great start and those things can lead to larger, paid opportunities. Social media ‘cross-promotional opportunities’ such as the creation of custom content, Instagram Takeovers or something more outside-the-box are great ways to increase visibility and fortify the relationship with a brand.
If you have a solid following already, sponsored posts or syncs that can provide access to new fans and potentially an additional income source. Even within the world of music, sponsorships and content creation scenarios with gear companies can be a great way to lower your own expenses and get your new music in front of dedicated music fans.
5. New Platforms like Tik Tok or Triller
Finally, newer sites like Tik Tok and Triller are great ways to reach younger fans that don’t pay attention to the more traditional methods of music discovery. (Ed. Note: TuneCore can get your music on TikTok!)
There is a stigma that this is only helpful for young pop artists, but there are a handful of other niches growing significantly on these platforms and it never hurts to be one of the first artists through the door when those audiences start to reach significant numbers.
I like to compare this opportunity to the scenario where bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance were able to initially develop sustainable fan bases on Myspace. The trick is to then be able to convert those online followers into concert-goers through engagement and calls to action.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself how press still means a lot to you, not to worry. If you find success through these methods, it builds a story that outlets will want to cover. After all, they want to cover what their readership is listening to.
If anything, the world of press is more like it was before the blog era. You have to be able to show there is genuine interest in you before an outlet will devote time to covering you, but they will put more effort into a meaningful editorial piece when they do that will do way more for you than a simple ‘content’ post.
So when you’re pursuing the five marketing methods above, think of them as simultaneously growing your fan base AND putting you in a better position to get the coverage you’ve always dreamed about!
Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the VP of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.