DO COOL STUFF, SHARE IT WITH YOUR FANS
Tell your story, control your narrative, maybe sell a few things
As an artist you can sit around and wait for a media outlet to do a cool feature on your project, or you can do it yourself, then share it directly with your fans.
Back in 2010 when I was running Noisecreep for AOL Music, we worked with The Devil Wears Prada to promote their upcoming video ‘Assistant to the Regional Manager,’ with this post ‘Behind the Scenes at the Devil Wears Prada’s ‘Almost Shocking’ Video Shoot.’
(DISCLAIMER: I work with Atom Splitter PR who is working their new album)
As you can see, the format would work well in an email newsletter; photo, text, photo, text.
We did it for the ad impressions. We kept the lights on with stories like this.
And you, fine reader, have my full blessing and support to copy this idea and use it to promote your own music and art and magic.
Look, you already have “behind the scenes” photos on your socials from three years ago that you posted once and never shared again.
And since that time three years ago you probably picked up more fans who have no clue about that old video, or that design collaboration you did, or that photo shoot you did for a magazine cover, or that art gallery opening.
Right now you have fans that don’t know everything you’ve done.
Hell, you have fans that don’t know what you did last month because not everyone sees your social media posts, and not everyone opens every single email you send.
Listen to what Tyler, The Creator says in this clip, about all the effort that goes into one song, and people post about it once, put it on their IG stories, and forget about it (watch from the 43:08 mark):
People, please - your art has LEGS, people. It is magic! Fans get tattoos of lyrics, of band names, of album art.
But I know, I get it… you’re an artist. You don’t want to come off too spammy, or promote your project like it’s a used-car.
Make some cool shit like that Devil Wears Prada post that we posted back in 2010.
Document your video shoot (or whatever the heck it is that you’re doing), and promote that. Promote your process, a “day in the life” of making an album, or setting up a photo studio.
You’re already posting these shots and clips on socials for a small subset of your fans to see. Get your fans on your email list, throw these goodies into a newsletter and send it direct the people who love you the most!
NOTE: this offering of “behind the scenes,” probably never seen before images and stories is a far better selling point than “sign up for updates” as you try to get people to sign up for your email list.
Then… shhh… I know (looks around for the ‘Scene Police’), we’re all artists here… you should include a link somewhere - not too big and flashy - to actually (ahem) BUY YOUR STUFF.
Give people something to click to pre-order an album, or book you for a session, or whatever it is that you do.
We’re all creative wizards here, and selling things is, “eww gross,” but I’m sure you like to pay rent and drink an iced coffee on occasion, so let people love you and support you.
Media outlets use those cool behind-the-scenes studio reports, and day in the life posts to sell ads and pay their rent, so make sure you’re sharing direct with your fans so you can keep paying your rent.
This piece (‘‘‘People love to feel part of the process’: how the TikTok teaser turbo-charged the song of the summer race”) focuses on TikTok (of course), but I think it can be applied to other channels, too (SoundCloud, YouTube, Twitch, your newsletter, etc). Oh, and TikTok joined forces with TicketMaster, too.
Bandcamp’s ‘Best Metal for July’ round up includes Ashenspire, Wormrot, In Nothingness, and more, while Loudwire’s ‘Best New Rock + Metal Songs of July’ round up includes Architects, Bring Me the Horizon, Demon Hunter, Lorna Shore, and tons more.
“Someone reading your email on a screen reader would have no way of knowing what the link is or why they should click here,” which is a good reason (among others) to not hyperlink "click here” in your emails. I’m so guilty of this.
“One thing that COVID demonstrated was that you could stay home, stream everything and not go out,” said show promoter Peter Shapiro, '‘but in the end a lot of people realized how important the live experience really is.”
“I want to continue to show others that you can craft an income, a hobby, a passion project, a business, an art career, without any social media or social capital or twitter or a footprint that feels out of alignment with your values,” Marlee Grace
Social media rewards you if you spend lots of time on each network, replying, commenting, sharing - all in the hopes that your posts will get seen by a few more people. Remember, “Social Media Manager” is a full time job at a lot of places with health benefits and a 401K - it’s a lot of work.
Hey wait a minute - aren’t bands supposed to just Tweet about their new release once and then disappear into a boggy swamp?! It takes a minute to hype your release a week later, a month later, six months out. Same for your music videos, press hits, and tour dates.
Are you gonna send that email to your fans this week?
Start an email list?
Ask your social media followers to subscribe?
It’s Monday - what are you working on?
Get in touch - reply to this email (email@example.com), or leave a comment below.