School of The Rock

 

Promotion Tips


Written by Paul D. Race for SchoolOfTheRock.comô

 

Self-promotion comes too easily to many people.  But it seldom comes easily to people who are serious about keeping their music in perspective to their spiritual life.

You may have already been told that self-promotion is a sin (see our article What the Bible Doesn’t Say About Gifts and Talents for more information), and that if you’re really “any good,” God will figure out how to “get the word out” on your behalf.  That’s bad theology, by the way, but if you’ve been indoctrinated this way, you’ll feel guilty every time you say anything about the thing that - aside from God and family - makes you “tick.”  If you’re naturally a shy person, that added guilt makes sharing who you are and what you’re about with strangers and even new friends even harder.

But there are risks.  I once heard a well-known Christian record producer warn a room full of wannabes that the constant need to self-promote just to stay alive in the industry gets even moral, well-meaning Christian musicians into trouble - either the conflict from trying to be humble and stay in the spotlight at the same time just wears them down, or they start “drinking their own Kool-Aid,” and imagining themselves to be better and more important than they really are. 

You are responsible for finding that balance.  If nothing else, it will help if you constantly remember to treat other people as you wish people would treat (or would have treated) you. 

All of that is sort of a disclaimer, warning, and prelude before we start discussing the best ways for you to promote your music.  Here is the high-level overview, and - to some extent - a list of things we’ll be addressing in future articles,

Understanding the Value of Relationships - In today’s market, “fan engagement” is one of the biggest drivers of success.  It helps if your songs are good, and you’re cute as a bunny, but it really helps if you can build relationships with people who feel you’re worth supporting as a person because you’re “there for them” in some way.  That is hard, maybe the hardest part of the whole process, but all of the other things on this page are only tools to help you achieve this. 

Developing your “image,” including:

  • Determining what aspects of your music and life you want to emphasize to reach your target audience. - you can’t just be another good-looking 20-something with a guitar or whatever.  What aspect of what you do will set you apart and help people remember you?
  • Determining a look, logo, etc. that suits your music and the target audience.  Many genres have their own iconography.  As an example, spurs, hatchets, crosses, and Celtic crosses each summon specific genres to mind.   Typefaces can summon up Old Western or Gothic themes, and much more.  Even color choice can point in certain directions.

All of those things can, and should evolve over time, as your audience grows and shifts and your music evolves.  But it helps if you can settle at least some of them before you start creating the graphic elements for your web pages, etc.

Developing your promotions, including:

  • Developing and maintaining your web presence
  • Developing a press kit and electronic press kit
  • Building a list of venues and opportunities to exploit
  • Developing contacts with other artists and potentially influential people

Engaging your fan base, including:

  • Mailing list
  • Social networking
  • Blogging or other frequent updates

All of these areas of responsibility are important to getting any kind of momentum as a independent musician.  Obviously if you are independently wealthy, or you have a friend who’s, say, a great web programmer, you can offload some of this stuff.  And other bits, like starting a web site are more work up front than they are ongoing.  Other bits, like the press kits, can be done for a time and revisited every so often. 

Resources So Far

Our first resource under this header is a page on “Your Online Presence.” 

Our PaulRaceMusic.com site also has a blog about not getting so involved with your promotional efforts that you lose site of your music - a very real danger, based on what we’ve seen. 

More are on the way.

As always, please contact me with corrections, complaints, clarifications, etc.  If your response is responsible, I'll try to include it in the "reader response" section below.

God bless,

Paul

SchoolOfTheRock.com

 


Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.A Note from Paul: Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

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