Learn How to Promote Your Music Online

A Few Key Moves Can Help Get Your Music Heard

Young man playing acoustic guitar
••• Compassionate Eye Foundation/Justin Pumfrey/Getty Images

You know you need to do online music promotion, but the number of options available to get the job done can be downright overwhelming. But it's clearly important to your success to set up an internet music promotion strategy that works for you. No single blueprint works for everyone, but following a few basic steps will help set you on the right path.

Prioritize Promotion

The kiss of death for online music promotion is the thought that all you need to do is throw up some social media profiles and wait for the fans to start pouring in. Decide up front that you're going to put some time into developing a strategy and that you're going to resist the urge to surf around on Facebook all day and pretend it's work.

Have a Website

Don't forget to create and maintain your own website. There's no substitute for having your own website. If you know you won't have the time to maintain it, it might be worth outsourcing that job to a web-savvy friend or family member, or when you start selling work, hiring an intern.

Find Your Fans 

With so many promotional tools out there, you can be sure your fans are not on all of them. Because you need your online music promotion work to be manageable, be selective about the sites you use. At the top of the list should be the sites where people like your fans congregate. Indie rockers needn't post their vids all over WorldStarHipHop and mainstream country artists shouldn't try and blow up on Pitchfork.

Not sure where your fans are? Well, where are you? Chances are, your own internet habits are a good guide.

One way to further engage your fans—and to gather more info about them so you can target your promotion strategy—is to give up some goods in exchange for the information. For instance, offer a free download in exchange for signing up for your newsletter. Depending on how you structure your newsletter sign-up, you can get email addresses, favorite websites, geographic locations; a veritable marketing info jackpot. Plus, your newsletter is one more tool to keep your fans in the loop.

Develop Strategies

When we talk about internet music promotion, we're really talking about two things—getting reviews and other coverage on blogs and internet magazines, and your own promotion work that involves interacting with your fans, usually using social media. You need a different plan for each.

Contrary to popular belief, getting actual coverage—reviews and interviews—for your music online is a bit easier than nailing down a newspaper or magazine write-up. You need some music, a press release, and a database of contacts.

Creating a contact database is the trickiest part if you've never done any promo before, but there's no mystery. Set aside an afternoon, make a list of sites or blogs you like, and create a spreadsheet that contains the contact info for each. Contact them to make a pitch and start the dialogue.

For interaction with fans, social media is a necessary jumping-off point. Give your fans something of value while social networking, let them in on the recording process, tell them when you're writing new songs and so on. They will enjoy hearing about your day-to-day life every once in a while, but remember to deliver the goods as well.

Make a Promo Routine

Set aside time each day or week to manage your online presence, just don't allow it to take up all your time. It can help with time management to use a post scheduler that posts on social media posts throughout a day or over several days. Then you can set a time to interact with the responses your fans will send.