Most of my career and life, I would throw things against the wall from various different directions and they would stick. I made much of my career hustling and meeting the next person on to the next thing. I was never ever preparing for one specific thing, but I was always prepared to make the best out of the situation I was given.
When it comes down to release day, and your office is your parents' counter top with a laptop, you need to be prepared! Unfortunately after I was deathly ill for a week, I called my distro guy and said "hey, when is the song getting put up on iTunes?" He told me...June 11th. That's 5 days!
WIth only 5 days, I had some work cut out for myself.
I have devised a miraculous plan to help you soar in sales (or at least soar in promotion.) I'm not saying this is the only thing you should do, but these are 10 mandatory things you need to do to "push" a song, 5 days before the release! In this specific case, I did it for my single release of the song "Hangin' Out" (music video).
1. Be nice to people
Be prepared to lose your patience and be pissed because you want everyone to buy your song but not everyone is going to do it. The least you can do is be nice to people. This includes re-posting fellow artists' videos on your page, helping out your family members, leaving a tip wherever you eat this week. Why? No one wants to do anyone a favor except themselves so if you go out of your way to do nice things, people might actually do it for you when they need to!
2. Set up a Facebook event for your release
A virtual event of your song is a great way to make people aware that your song is going up for sale. I just put one up and use the "invite all codes". Be nice to enough of your Facebook friends and you'll get 20,000 invites. Not sure how much that does mean…but it does mean more than zero invites.
3. Get 30 ratings and 5 star comments from your friends/team
It doesn't sound like too much of a task, but remember you are asking for someone to do a "Yelp" review for your business. Since this is your business, private message people and ask them to show support by leaving the rating, commenting, and tweeting/facebooking the link to their networks.
4. Pay all of your debts whether small or big
No matter how you do this, make sure you do this. I think it's important that if someone wants to actually succeed in a project, it is necessary to have all ends tied and all dirty dishes cleaned before asking someone for help that solely benefits them. In the world of indie music, showing up for the other homies always helps out. When you do this, things naturally happen for the better.
5. Link your larger videos to your release
On a basic level of marketing, go back to your video where you perform this song and place your "buy link" in the video. For instance, my "Hangin' Out" video will now have a "buy link" in it which leaves people the option. Ideally, you want to release the song and video same day, for maximum exposure and income. I messed up in this case, but hey, learn from my mistakes!
6. Release a VLOG about your new project that is for sale
Nothing wrong with telling the world that your project is for sale. For instance you can make a video with your DOG and put text with your dog speaking about your project. Make it entertaining. All you have are empty pockets and an imagination. This is free marketing 101: use your imagination and make something funny so I can laugh and say "hey…that was funny, I'm going to buy you now for $1.29."
7. Mentor your young soldiers and prepare them for battle
My brother (@zevenesh) told me today that he has people who he mentors that make him special videos he is incapable of doing. People respect me for my work ethic and experience in getting things done with very little resources. Whatever your expertise is in, you should utilize that to help you get some awesome things in line.
For instance, @djsidereal, a 17 year old DJ/Producer from Minneapolis, work together on lots of things. He is savvy with the internet, makes beats, and has a deep understanding of youth because he is 17. When I am not around he can blast out invites to Facebook/YouTube/Twitter. I help him with things that many other people would pay me for and he helps me out with tedious things I need. When it comes down to release day, make sure your army of young soldiers is in line and ready to go to battle for a common goal. When he needs something, he has an open line to me.
8. Create a "clicktotweet" link
What an awesome way to get people to do something you want them to do, without them having to do anything to do it. "I want you to share this link. please click here:" http://clicktotweet.com/O0Q0r. In an instant they just shared your exact desire with one click. Imagine that! It's way easier than messaging people with a long lengthy message and telling them a huge story!
9. Get your email blasters ready
I have about 9000 people on my Mad Mimi mailer list ready to go. When it's release day, you need every email you ever had with a blast ready to go. You need to get the old ones from your AOL to the new ones in your GMAIL. Not only do I have it, but my digital label @diamondmedia360 has am email blaster, my management @supergoodmusic has one, and @diwon has one ready to go. All in all, that is like, lots of people who see my stuff at the same time. Include your "clicktotweet" link for fans and friends to click once and have it in the social media stream. Blogs will be ready to post and you gotta make sure you make it easy for 'em. If you have a publicist, make sure they are ready. @Audibletreats always does good press releases and kick ass pr. Check em out!
10. Go for your big people to give you a shout via Twitter
Say something clever here guys. Ask @MileyCyrus if she will twerk for your iTunes release. Ask @Rza if he will retweet your Wu-Tang inspired life with your link. Hashtag your link with #sxsw and see which bots with lots of followers retweets. You can Instagram the links and keep people excited with pics throughout the day. Throw a couple of these out there, and if one sticks, you might find yourself with a lil more buzz than you expected.
Extra Credit: Keep a list of people who are helping you here. These are your go to warriors that are down for your cause. Mark down who helps and who will help, and save it for the next time you have a release so you can be more properly prepared.
After you have done all of this in five days, you can probably find yourself panicking less than usual on a release day. After doing all of this for my release of "Hangin' Out", I am more prepared for sales day than normal. Follow these steps, and you won't feel like an ass when no one buys anything. At least this way if no one buys your album/single, you can at least say you hustled your ass off and got the word out!