Part One of a two-piece article that aims to break down tools that independent artists can utilize in their digital marketing strategies – all available at their fingertips!
The hard truth about success in music is that the modern artist must be 51% marketer and 49% musician.
In today’s world, the overall difference between the thousands of up and coming artists and the millions of amateur artists trying to make a name for themselves isn’t talent, it’s marketing. Specifically, an artist’s ability to nail digital marketing.
If you can generate an income from music sales, gig bookings, and merchandise, then you’re ready to leap to the next level where people know you, find you, talk about you, and hire you on the regular.
If you’re an amateur that’s looking to take that next step and start marketing yourself more seriously, this guide will provide a list of actionable tools and resources to get started.
While only 1% of musicians blow up, surpassing the “tipping point” and becoming household names, the rest of us still have the opportunity to make a respectable career as professional artists. Digital marketing helps you do just that.
Build Your Own Website/Marketing Hub
If you don’t already have one, get yourself a website. At the heart of every digital marketing strategy is a website – one that you own and have full control over.
Your website sells you and your music in your sleep. It should showcase your bio, shows, events, and your latest and greatest tracks. A website with blog content is even better, as it radiates your expertise, lessons learned, and the niche you’re working to carve in the industry.
Putting all your eggs in someone else’s basket, ie. putting all your content only on sites like SoundCloud or Youtube, is a risk you shouldn’t bet your career on. Social networks that are the hottest thing today might not exist tomorrow. They could have a change of ownership or start charging you a fortune.
Yes, keep creating and promoting profiles on these sites. Just don’t make them the heart of your marketing strategy.
Put your website at the core of everything you do and any prominent social networks or apps second.
Creating a Site from Scratch on WordPress
You don’t need technical chops to build your own website these days. You can easily fire up a WordPress site with a decent managed host like Pressable or Flywheel. These run for about $15-25/month but are worth the investment.
There are cheaper options but managed hosting services provide better support, security, performance, and updates.
Next, choose a decent WordPress premium theme for musicians, bands, or DJs. Here’s a showcase to choose from.
Need some more in-depth help getting a WordPress site up and running? Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your website from WP Beginner.
Website Plugins for Musicians
Plugins add unique functions to your site without the need for any special coding. Plugins are lifehacks if you use them wisely.
Consider adding these plugins for musicians to your site to allow your visitors to play music, pay for music, book you for an event, and more:
- WooCommerce – set up shop and get paid for your music
- Audio Album – let visitors play songs and see your albums
- Calendar Event – show off your upcoming events
- Social Icons Widget – showcase social icons for your Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Spotify, Youtube, and other profiles
Here are a couple great lists of helpful plugins for you to consider adding to your site. Most of these plugins are free, but sometimes the developer might offer a paid version with additional features.
WordPress is built on open-source collaboration, which means it’s constantly being improved and new plugins are constantly rolled out to solve site owners’ challenges.
Pro tip: Plugins are tools, not toys. Don’t get caught up experimenting with so many plugins that you waste precious time you could be using to create new music or content.
Alternatives for Building Your Website
As simple as WordPress is, maybe you don’t want to spend your time and energy building a website from scratch.
A great alternative for building websites is Bandzoogle. You pay monthly, as low as $9, and in return you get a professional site, fan data, built-in mailing list functionality, and the ability to sell your music, merchandise, and tickets. Here’s the list of all the features covered.
How to Promote Your Website
Your website is a powerful branding tool. Try searching some of your favorite artists on Google and you’ll notice their website often ranks #1. This usually means that whenever they do interviews or promote upcoming events, journalists and bloggers are linking to their website.
Spread the word about your new site. Once you have a website, keep it updated with fresh content. Don’t limit your blog to news about your music, merchandise, or events. Use the blog to discuss happenings within your niche and build a following.
Encourage conversation, respond to comments, and listen to the audience for new insights. Share your posts on social media. Give shout-outs to others in your space, and maybe they’ll give you a shout-out too. These are all excellent ways to promote yourself and your website.
*[Raj Shah is the Senior SEO Manager at TakeLessons – a site dedicated to providing affordable and accessible options when it comes to learning instruments and languages. Check out Part Two of this article tomorrow!]