While the wonders of technology have made it possible for every artist, big or small, to seek out and find an international audience, too often this potential leads band and performers to neglect their more accessible local audience.
Guest post by Chelsea G. Ira from the TuneCore blog
These days, no matter how big or small your fanbase, all musicians are international artists. Social media gives you the power to connect with music fans all over the world and reach people on the other side of the planet who may not even speak the same language as you. And really, that is so incredible!
That said, it’s easy to put your blinders up, focus on the international reach you have with social media and forget about that face-to-face connection you can build locally and offline.
But just because technology has improved, doesn’t mean the traditional backyard promotional methods are obsolete. In fact, there are a lot of great on-the-ground tactics you can use to tap into a local scene and speak directly to a targeted, local audience.
Let’s go through a few now.
Just like online promotion, local promotion is all about targeting. Just plastering flyers randomly over town won’t necessarily get you any results. You need to strategically put your messages in places your fans and ideal fans will see them.
Online you can utilize social networks and hashtags, but in the real world you need to think of physical places your fans are day-to-day.
What shops, restaurants, or coffee shops do your fans frequent? Where do they hangout in their free time? Do they spend most of their time on a college campus? Or are they working jobs? What do they do for fun?
Getting answers to these questions will give you a better idea of where you want to focus your local promotion.
If your fans are college kids, you may consider putting up flyers for your upcoming gig on campus or even working with the college radio station to do a promotion. Similarly, if you’re a band and know your fans always hangout at the beach on the weekend, think about what local beach bars you could work with on local promotions.
USE FLYERS IN DIFFERENT WAYS
The flyer was the bread-and-butter of music promotion in the pre-internet era. They still work to build up local hype of course, but today I want to talk about how you could put a little creative twist on the traditional flyer approach.
Typically flyers are a non-interactive thing. Fans see the flyer and they can’t interact with it like they could a Facebook or Twitter post. So here’s an idea…
If you’re promoting a local gig, try creating tear-off strips at the bottom of your flyers. Fans will be able to tear off the tokens and bring them to the gig to get a free download card of your new single (or a sticker, button or some other inexpensive merch item).
You see? The flyer is now something fans can engage with, AND it gives you a way to see just how effective your flyers are based on how many fans bring in the tear-off tokens.
HOST LOCAL EVENTS
Music promotion isn’t always about promoting a gig or a new album. It’s also about connecting with an audience, and there’s no better way to build a connection than with a face-to-face event.
For this point, I want you to think about what local businesses you could partner with to put on an event. Would a local music shop be interested in hosting a drum clinic with you? Would a local bar be interested in hosting an open mic night with you to bring local musicians together? Could you collaborate with other musicians and artists to create a multi-media arts fair in the park?
These fun events bring the community together, give you a chance to make connections with local businesses and creatives, give your fans a different way to interact with you and your music, and they get your name out there in a different way. Hosting local music events and giving back to your local music community can also lead to local press opportunities, which will only create more awareness for your music.
LOOK TO LOCAL PRESS OUTLETS
When we think of press and PR, huge magazines and news outlets usually come to mind. While those channels certainly have influence, many people still look to local news and press for information – especially if it has to do with their local community. So as a local musician, these outlets can be a great thing to tap into.
Do a little brainstorming and write down all the local news, press, and radio stations. Are there any college radios? What local or community news stations are there? Are there any local publications like magazines or newspapers? Start gathering any contact information you can find.
Once you have that list, you need to come up with a good story. Press – especially local press – is all about having a good story to tell. This is where knowing your narrative really comes in handy.
Are you a hometown-hero who is gaining national popularity? Are you using your voice and influence to give back to a cause? Did you overcome some obstacle holding you back? Is your new album different or unique in some way? If you can go to a press connection with a story like that, they’ll be much more inclined to work with you.
If you want to learn more about developing a story and narrative for your music, we’re hosting a free webinar that will take you step by step through crafting a compelling niche and narrative that your fans will latch onto – plus a ton of other marketing strategies. Click here to register – there are multiple dates and times available.
PARTNER WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES
Local businesses – even those outside of the music sphere – can be great partners.
Maybe you could partner with a local skate shop, rep their merch on stage, and in exchange, they could hand out download cards with purchases. The key is to find businesses that serve a customer base that overlaps with your audience and to find a way to work together in a way that’s mutually beneficial.
Here’s a fun example. One of our New Artist Model members actually partnered with a burrito shop right across the street from a venue they would frequent to give fans discounts. When the gigs let out fans could go across the street for a late-night snack. In exchange, the burrito shop would help them promote and give them some sponsorship money.
As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to promote your music within your local community.
The most successful artists find a balance between promoting online to a mass audience and developing a connection and sense of community with local fans. Here’s a free ebook that’s packed with tons of ideas to promote your music online and on social media. Use the strategies in this ebook with the tips we covered in this article and you’ll have a well-rounded music promotion strategy.
Chelsea Ira is the Director of Marketing for The New Artist Model.