[Editor’s Note: this article was written by Hugh McIntyre.]
Promotion looks very different today than it did even just a few years ago in the music world. While traditional reviews and interviews at radio stations and on TV shows were once the only things that mattered, now social media, in-person events and so many more options have become vital to ensuring a song or album becomes a hit, or even just to introduce a new act to the masses.
That being said, when you’re just starting out in your musical career, every little bit of promotion helps. Whenever someone adds your tune to a playlist, writes about it for a blog, takes a picture of you for a magazine, or invites you to perform or speak on any type of media, you need to not only jump at that chance, but promote what it turns into.
This is a step I see so many artists skipping, but it’s one that doesn’t take much time at all—it took me longer to write this article than it will take you to share one about you—and it can help further your career even more.
Here are five ways to promote your latest feature, no matter what form it takes.
Share It On Social Media
I personally consider this the bare minimum when it comes to a musician finding a way to publicly thank someone for featuring them in some way, but it shockingly doesn’t happen very often.
If you are fortunate enough to be featured in an article, a playlist, a radio program or a video of some kind, your first instinct should be to share it with people who care about you and your art. You’re probably already doing so with family and friends, but if you’re not including your fans in that group, you’re missing out on perhaps the most important step.
Whenever the article/video/etc. is available, post it across your social channels and encourage those following you to tune in or give it a read. I personally suggest you share it on all of your platforms, as opposed to just one, but that depends on how you use these sites. Also, uploading a link once is good, but doing so several times is even better.
If you’ve been featured in some high-profile publication or if your latest single is now found on a very popular playlist, you may want to sit down and think of several interesting ways to get the news out to your fans and followers on social media. Instead of just posting a link one time and moving on, flex your copywriting muscles and craft some content for every site that will encourage everyone to check it out, while never annoying those who may see the announcement more than once.
This may be an exercise in social media managing you weren’t expecting, but when you’re just starting out as an artist in today’s all-online world, those skills can be invaluable when it comes to self-promotion.
Tag The Writer (And Others)
Just sharing an article is fine, but you can get so much more out of a simple post by including those who helped your feature come to life. If someone wrote about you and your music for a blog or magazine, make sure you find their accounts on social media (at least Twitter and Instagram, as Facebook is usually a bit more personal) and tag them as well. This both signals to the journalist that you appreciate their work specifically, as well as helps others find them and follow them…and who doesn’t want more followers?
Depending on what kind of “feature” you’re working with, you may also want to tag an editor, photographer, curator, etc. Essentially, if someone put in time and effort into spreading the word about you, it would be a lovely gesture to highlight their work as well.
Also, and this is perhaps very obvious, but you should also make sure to tag the actual outlet or platform that published/hosted your feature. This may encourage whoever is running their social channels to further promote your work, or possibly retweet/share your post, which both helps bring more eyes to the feature itself as well as to you.
Follow Those You Worked With
Okay, so you’ve tagged the person who wrote a story about you and your new album and even included some awesome photos on your Instagram, with proper credit given to the talented photographer. So, that’s it, right? Not quite.
As quickly as you find these people on Twitter and Instagram (and other platforms, depending on what you use and how well you got to know them while you were working with them), follow them! You want to keep in touch, if only on a peripheral level, and you’ll find it much easier to continue to form a relationship with these industry insiders if you can like and comment on what they post and on what’s happening in their world.
It’s common sense, but you want to follow and stay in touch with anybody who has exhibited a love of what you do, including writers, DJs, promoters, playlist makers, and so on.
Include It In Your Newsletter
You may be laughing right now if you don’t already have an email newsletter, but you shouldn’t be. In fact, this is one more reminder that while these lists may seem antiquated and the whole idea of an email newsletter may feel overdone at this point, they’re still effective. If you have always shrugged them off, it’s time to rethink this incorrect assumption.
With your email newsletter, you don’t have to promote a feature quite as hard as you would on social media, but it should be included! No matter the frequency with which you reach out to those who have identified themselves as fans, make sure you add an occasional small section for press and shout-outs. Do your best to show your subscribers your latest write-up or video interview as quickly as possible, though I wouldn’t say these features are worth a special, standalone email.
If you’ve been interviewed in a print publication or online, or if your single is now present on a major Apple Music or Spotify playlist, you don’t need to do much publicly until your fans can actually click something and engage with your feature, but there are other items that can be teased.
Your TV spot or radio interview may be scheduled for a specific time on a certain day, and if you can get your followers to tune in and interact with the content as it’s airing, those working at the company who created the feature will surely notice an uptick in eyeballs. We live in an attention economy these days, and there’s nothing better than helping out those who assisted you by giving them exactly what they want: viewers and listeners.