February 17, 2011

Week 22: Promotions One Oh One

Quick, name three songs you heard today.

Go ahead... Havoc from Behemoth is waiting.

Not so easy is it?

For the most part, it’s information overload out there. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed there’s something vying for your attention. Work, kids, television, radio, billboards, computer games, school, clubs, restaurants, traffic, newspapers, magazines, musicians, dancers, actors, people walking down the street…. It’s always something. In the midst of all of that noise, you’re trying to get the word out about something you so dearly believe in, your music.

Problem is, the person you’re trying to reach has the same things going in their life. Time is precious, so when you promote your band, don’t do it half-ass. Do it all the way.

And there’s a lot if different mediums you can use to promote your music. This may be an unpopular thought… but here’s what I think. Pick one promotional thing you can be good at and do THAT to promote your band.

If you are good at putting posters up all over town.. do that. Make a list of all of the places in town you can legally post things, and make sure every show you post something to promote the show.

Good because: You are establishing name recognition for your band in the REAL WORLD where people who actually go out and see live music tend to go.

Beware: The thing with print is, you need to be eye-catching… but don’t just be in-your-face without reference to what the show is about. If you’re a country act, don’t put a photo of a zombie eating brains, and if you’re a metal act, you don’t want to put a football player on the poster. Think before you create.

If you are good at writing, start a compelling blog about your band and make sure you gain readers. Engage people with things they can reply to, or links they can click on, or music they can listen to. The key here is getting repeat traffic while adding more readers. You’ll probably end up thinking up some crazy stuff to engage fans, and that’s OK. Just make sure at the end of the day you’re doing it all to promote your music.

Good because: If you’re a good writer, you’ll get people following you for your posts, which in turn leads them to your music.

Beware: If you are going to promote your music through the written word, you have to be there. You need to update your blog at least once a week. You need to run that Facebook page and respond to people when they post. You have to keep the content fresh and interesting. It’s harder than it looks.

If you are a talker, become the spokesperson for your band by calling media, radio stations, attending happy hours and tweetups while representing your band.

Good because: You’re putting a voice to your band. People listen t the radio, for the most part, when they are driving or doing some kind of activity that doesn’t require a lot of their attention, so they can listen to you.

Beware: You’re putting a voice to your band. Watch what you say. People will judge how you “perform” and assume your band is the same way. If you come off like an idiot or unprepared, you can get your butt handed to you pretty quick. Most people you’ll meet are nice and gracious but some folks are just waiting for fresh meat to skewer, then blog/tweet/Facebook all about their latest tirade.


I’ve talked in earlier blogs about a number of other ideas to promote your band… but I just chose three to spotlight here. Why these? Because these are kind of like Promotions 101. Postering, Blogging, and Speaking. For someone who is beginning to promote their band... do yourself a favor and start with one of these three.

Do one thing. And do it well. Use your skills at that one thing to gather a following. Get as much attention using that one aspect of promotion as you can before even considering going into another one.

And, for the sake that is good in the world, please have a worthy project/band that you’re promoting. No amount of good press can help a lousy band get more popular. I’ll talk about that subject next week.

Until then… cheers.

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - http://www.tinyurl.com/Claes52DIY. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/.

p.s. The photo is from when I shot Behemoth at Ozzfest in 2007. It worked for the question.. don't you think?

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