Do you want to increase your music streams, sell more tour tickets and merchandise, and attract big endorsement deals? This guide to content marketing for musicians will show you 10 actionable steps that you can starting implement today to promote your music, grow a loyal fanbase, and make more money.
In the past, traditional music marketing methods focused on shouting out promo messages to as many people as possible and hope for the best. While this may still work today, it is no longer effective.
People have been jaded by advertisements and promotional messages that do not add value to them, so they ignore most of it.
One of the best approaches for promoting music and building a loyal fanbase is implementing a value-adding content marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and sharing storytelling content to connect with your existing fans and/or attract a new audience.
The goal of content marketing is to build strong relationships with your fans by putting out content that adds value to them. Value can be defined as anything that is important or worthy of your audience’s time and money.
Valuable content makes your target audience excited, smile, happy, sad, curious, dance, laugh, cry, etc. It evokes an emotional response from them.
Instead of spamming your fans with “buy my album” posts on social media, you can share valuable content that naturally makes your fans want to buy your album.
For instance, you can document the process of creating your album and turn it into a series of YouTube vlogs. This will get your fans emotionally invested in your journey and look forward to the release of your album.
Essentially, content marketing allows you to give value to your fans first, establishing a relationship and then ask for their contributions later. It is a sustainable method of making sure you keep your fans interested in you and your music.
Write Down the Goals that you Want to Achieve
First thing’s first, you need to clarify what goals you want to achieve, both in the short term and the long term. This will guide you to focus on creating content that helps you achieve your goals.
It will also help you communicate the right information to everyone who is involved in your career.
Every piece of content that you invest your time and money in creating must be aligned to fulfil your goals and brand values.
If one of your goals is to make the majority of your money from touring, you should create content that makes your audience excited about your live performances.
This could be filming your live performances, vlogging your tour experience, or recording feedback from your fans and sharing it online.
Define Your Target Audience
This is extremely important because your target audience is who sustains your music career and helps achieve your goals.
You need to know your target audience’s demographics and psychographics so you can tailor your content to them.
You can learn the demographics of your existing audience from your social media analytics, Spotify for artists, dashboard, or Google Analytics if you have it installed on your website.
Psychographics describes your target audience’s values, interests, and personality traits.
If you have an existing fanbase, you can interact with them, perform surveys/polls, use digital analytics tools, and read their social media posts and comments to learn their psychographics.
It is wise to organise the information from your research into fan personas that make it easy for you and your team to develop marketing strategies that target the right people.
Define Your Value that will Benefit Your Target Audience
What value do you want to add to your target audience’s lives? Do you want to make them dance, happy, laugh, smile, think or reminisce about their childhood memories?
From your research on step 2, you should have a good idea what is valuable to your audience. So you should make sure that you provide them with the value that they are interested in.
It is also wise to differentiate yourself from other musicians by offering value in ways that others are not. Instead of always jumping onto the bandwagons of other’s content, create something new and different.
People love stories that they can relate to, admire, or make them laugh. Everyone has their own unique story, so you could add value by telling your childhood story that will get your fans to relate to you and reminisce about their own childhood.
Plan Your Content Strategy
“A plan without action is a dream, action without a plan is a nightmare” – Japanese Proverb
You need to plan a strategy that details the content creation process and the journey that your target audience will take to discover and consume your content.
The strategy should clarify how one can go from not knowing about you to discovering your content, to consuming your content, to the actions they will take after enjoying your content.
A full content marketing strategy should also detail what content you plan to create, what value your audience will get, who will help you create it, what resources you need to create it, where will it be distributed, and what goal you want to achieve with it.
Create Content that Appeals to Your Target Audience
This is the exciting part where you create the content that you like and your target audience will enjoy. You must keep your audience in mind at all times when creating your content and make sure your audience will see the value in it.
It is also important that your content fits into your style and brand values. You should splash your personality all over your content and do not try to be something you are not.
People can easily sense when someone is not being authentic and that puts them off.
You should have a mixture of content in various forms like text, audio, images, and videos. Ideas could be a blog post, song covers, photos, behind the scenes footage of music video shoots, or live streaming performances.
You can also repurpose one piece of content into multiple pieces and distribute it on many different platforms. One blog post can be converted into images, video, and multiple social media posts.
Valuable content creates conversations and good conversations build strong relationships. Get your fans involved with your content by encouraging them to comment, share it, and/or take some form of action that benefits them.
Running competitions/giveaways is one of the best ways of getting people involved.
Great content shared consistently keeps you top of mind of your audience, so when you have new music, merchandise, or tours to promote, they’ll be a massive audience looking forward to it.
Add a Relevant Call-to-Action
Your content must have a purpose so that it helps you reach your goals while still appealing to your target audience. Whenever it fits, you should add call-to-actions to get your audience to take an action that leads to the desired goal.
A call-to-action may be asking people to subscribe to your newsletter to receive regular updates about you. It could be asking your Instagram followers to go and watch your new video on YouTube.
Or it could be asking them to buy your new merchandise or tour tickets.
Make sure your call-to-actions express what value your audience will benefit from when they take that action.
Simply saying “sign up to my mailing list” is not as effective as saying “join my mailing list to get exclusive updates about my new album”.
The former does not really give someone a reason or incentive to give out their email address. The latter explicitly explains what they will get.
Create Your Content Hub
You need an online platform that will host most of your content to make it easy for your fans to find it.
The best content hub should be your own website, where you have full control over what you can publish and how you want to design it.
When someone visits your website to watch one video, they are most likely to watch more videos and learn more about you.
And they are also likely to discover your tour page to purchase tickets or your online store to buy your merchandise.
Having a website should really be mandatory for musicians nowadays. It is a very powerful marketing tool and, unlike other social media platforms, you have full control over how you want to use it and what content to put.
Distribute and Promote Your Content
The next step is to get your amazing content seen by your target audience. You need to know which platforms your audiences use and spend most of their time on.
Distribute your content where your audience can easily discover and consume it.
Try to put most of your focus on promoting 3/4 online platforms that your audience use the most and make sure the content you post on each platform is relevant to that platform. Use the language they use and content formats that are popular.
At present, the best social media platforms for musicians include YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook (ideally for running ads).
There many other platforms that are not as popular but can help musicians to attract a new audience like Reddit, Tumblr, Quora, and Pinterest.
Before you start using any platform, you should first learn how it works and then figure out what content you can contribute that fits into their existing content.
When promoting your content, make sure you abide by each platform’s terms of service.
Track and Measure the Performance of Your Content
After investing your time and money into creating content, you need to know if it was worth it.
This is where you can implement tracking tools to monitor the performance of every piece of content you publish.
Tracking helps you measure whether your content is delivering value to your audience and achieving the goals that you established.
Don’t post your content and go into hibernation. Pay attention to how people are responding to your content, and respond to their comments.
Collect results like the number of views, impressions, clicks, comments, likes, followers, newsletter subscriptions, and sales. Then analyse the results carefully.
Improve and Innovative Your Content Strategy
After analysing the results of your content marketing campaign, you should have a clear idea of what is working and what is not.
The next step is to put more focus on improving the content that is performing well to amplify the results.
You can improve by creating more of the best performing content or by running ads on the good content to get it seen by more people.
Remember, what works today may not tomorrow, so be quick to adapt and create something new when results from your good content are backsliding.
Do not waste time on the content that is not generating good results.
If you are bold and creative, you can also go the extra mile and do something that has never been done before. It is risky but it could potentially yield amazing results.
Content marketing is all about sharing valuable messages to connect with fans and build a relationship with people who are genuinely interested in you and your music.
In a world where people have a short attention span, you can lose relevance if you stay dormant for a long time and new artists come up. Consistent content marketing helps you keep your fan’s attention longer.
You do not have to wait until you have a new album, tour, and/or merchandise to promote to start doing content marketing. Start doing it today so that when you have something to promote, you would have built an audience that is genuinely interested in you.