We live in exciting times. There have never been more ways to market your music for free, and every day there are new tools, resources, apps, and websites popping up!
The key to your success, then, is to figure out what works for you, and then keep doing that. Pursuing every single avenue could be a full-time job in itself, so unless you have a full-time marketing person on your team, or someone in your band that has a ton a free time, you’ll want to keep things simple and choose your channels wisely.
What follows is an epic guide on 14 free ways for you to market your music, whether online or off. And after if you want something a bit more in-depth regarding music promotion and marketing, check out this top guide. Ok, so let’s get into it!
1. Set Up A Free Website
In marketing your music, your website is one of the most important tools you will ever have. Unlike social media sites or other services, it will never go away, unless you choose to pull the plug on it.
I would suggest buying a domain and a hosting account instead of using free website services, but since we are talking about free ways to market your music, it’s nice to know that you can set up a website entirely for free with a platform like WIX. More advanced users might consider using their WIX website as a secondary website for the promotion of their music.
Blogging doesn’t cost you money, though it does require ongoing effort. With a blog, you can:
- Connect with your fans and audience on a regular, ongoing basis.
- Establish industry connections.
- Create content that can be shared on social media.
- Make your website more discoverable in search engines.
- Increase your email subscribers.
- Boost your music sales without hard selling.
Blogging is definitely a work-first, results-later strategy, but the results are predictably better with regular, ongoing publishing over the course of months and years.
3. Guest Blog
Guest blogging for known online publications can help you gain additional exposure for your music and boost traffic to your website. The key is to create great content that people actually want to read, and to be aware of who your target audience is. It doesn’t do you a whole lot of good to show up in front of people that already know you well, or those who would never be interested in your style of music in a thousand years.
4. Repurpose Content
Audio and video content can be turned into text content. Listicles can be turned into SlideShare presentations. Stats or tips can be turned into infographics. This is all pretty standard fare by now.
But there are some other interesting ways of getting more leverage out of the content you create. For example, blog posts can be turned into PDFs and eBooks using a tool like Zinepal. PDFs can then be uploaded to sites like Scribd and ISSUU. I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with this strategy, and it works decently.
5. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, ReverbNation, SoundCloud… there are a lot of social networks out there, and they each appeal to different audiences. In business and in music, I’ve found Facebook and Twitter to be the most valuable tools, but it could just be that this is what works best for my audience. I would suggest experimenting a bit.
6. Social Media Automation
Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer let you schedule posts so you can manage your monthly posting in a session or two instead of logging in to post every single day. We talked about it in this guide on music business promotion. Just remember to log in to your social accounts regularly to interact with those who message you or leave comments.
7. Social Bookmarking
You can submit posts and pages on your website to social bookmarking sites, and this can help them gain some additional traffic. Some of the more known sites include Diigo, Delicious, and StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon, in particular, can send a lot of traffic to your site. Just keep in mind that most of the traffic won’t be high quality. People will bounce right off of your website most of the time.
Not only is word-of-mouth free, it’s really one of the best ways of marketing anything. The key is to get people talking about you and your music. Create something that’s share-worthy, something you could imagine people talking about over a coffee.
Partnerships can take many different forms, and don’t even have to be formalized contracts. You could retweet another band’s content, and have them retweet everything you share too. You could ask a local coffee shop to see if they’d be willing to put up posters for all of your upcoming shows. You can have as many partnerships as you want so long as they don’t create a conflict of interest.
10. Email Marketing
MailChimp is a free email marketing tool, at least until you exceed a certain number of subscribers. Marketing directly to your fans is really the best way of getting some kind of response. Remember to keep growing your email list at all times.
11. Live Stream
Google Hangouts is free to use, and ConcertWindow is also a great tool for live streaming because it lets you ask for and receive tips while you are performing. You can also incentivize fans that tip a certain amount of money, like you would for a crowdfunding campaign, by offering merch packs. You could even do a small-scale live stream using Skype.
12. Audio Marketing
Podcasting is just one way to promote your music through the medium of audio. You could also record audio blogs and upload them to sites like SoundCloud, Clyp, Chirbit, and others. You could compile “best-of” moments of your latest album, and share that with your email subscribers. You’re a musician, so you should already have lots of great audio content to work with. Now get creative!
13. Video Marketing
YouTube is one of the most obvious places to upload your videos to. Here are just a few ideas of different types of content you can create for your channel:
- Music videos.
- Lyric videos.
- Rehearsal videos.
- Tour diaries.
- Goof-off sessions.
Again, while it requires time and effort, it doesn’t have to cost you a dime to make the videos (keeping in mind that you may want to increase production levels down the line).
14. Internet Radio
Signing up on Radio Airplay is free, and you can also get 10 free plays upon signup, and 10 additional plays every week. Internet radio is an often neglected channel, especially with the growth of streaming sites, but it can still prove effective for you, and is worth a look.
Free tools are amazing resources, and the results you get from putting your effort into them might surprise you. But don’t get so caught up in them that you ignore paid promotion altogether. There are fewer musician using paid marketing, which is why it represents a significant opportunity. Be willing to put money into your career to cut through the noise.