Content Marketing for Musicians
It’s a sad fact, but for the last 15 years, music marketing strategies have become stagnant and ineffective. We are in an era where we can no longer look back at the bands that made it big and replicate those efforts. The industry has changed so much since the internet empowered indie artists to go it alone.
Most musicians rely on 3 basic types of marketing:
- Word of mouth (From current fans.)
- Shows (Yes, this is a type of marketing!)
- Radio airplay (Good luck with that.)
- Press Relations (Also, good luck with that.)
Stick a fork in it. it’s done.
Every musician is doing it, and it’s white noise at this point.
People aren’t going to show up to buy your album at your release show because they saw a friend like your event. You have to build relationships with fans over time not just when you need something. If your fans only hear from you when you want them to show up or buy something, you aren’t building a relationship.
So what should you be doing? Content marketing! Startups all over the world use it to grow fast without a lot of cash, and it works very well with music too. It’s such a new concept in the music industry that I bet this is the first time you’ve heard of it.
And that’s a good thing! It is a wide open territory.
Music content marketing is attracting and building a relationship with fans through content you create that is free or inexpensive with the goal of collecting their email addresses. Online marketing trends come and go but email is still king. Email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than all social media channels combined. With 91% of all U.S consumers using email daily it’s easy to see why email prompts three times more sales than social media. In 2016, GetResponse’s State of Email found that for every $1 invested in email marketing, people were generating an average return of $38.
So with an ROI of 3700% it’s obvious, you should be investing in email marketing. But you can’t really do that without an email list!
Another way to think about list building through content marketing is that you now have a captive audience. Have a show coming up? Going on tour? New merch online? You can reach them for free through your email.
So, let’s get started.
Getting Started with Content Marketing for Musicians
Having good content that will capture your fans and future fans attention is the most important aspect of content creation. When you are considering what content to offer your viewers keep in mind that you must toe the line between giving enough content to build value without giving away too much. The better you toe that line the more likely you are to capture emails.
What Types of Content Can You Make?
Let’s review different types of content you can create and when it’s most appropriate. Content can be separated into two main categories, public and gated.
Public content is 100% free and does not require the user to do anything to view the content. Public content is something like a blog post or a Facebook Live.
Gated content is also free but requires the user take an action, such as submit an email, to view. Gated content can be offered through a blog post, a specific landing page, through a pop-up and more.
Checklists, templates and numbered lists
Just as they sound they are short, interactive pieces of content that are directly related to the blog post they support. They can be free and embedded in your blog post or they can be used as a gated bonus downloaded.
- 5 Local Bands We Love (bands you often play with)
- 5 Best venues and why
Another type of content we can use is called upgraded content. It is tightly related to the blog post but is behind an email capture gate.
- Posting a new single on your blog and gating the lyrics
- Posting a new single on your blog and gating the tabs
A featured opt-in more of a general offer that can be utilized on many blog posts and throughout your website. A featured opt-in is often a discount code or a free download. They must be a very robust offer because they don’t always accompany a blog post to help intrigue the user.
- Free iTunes download with every CD or vinyl purchase
- Free cd with a purchase of a t-shirt
- 10% off your online merch store
Free Videos + Audio Recordings
These are free recordings of shows or special performances that can be pre-recorded and replayed or they can be conducted live. Not sure how to get started? Check out our guide on Facebook Live for Musicians here.
- Twice monthly Facebook lives
- Acoustic versions of songs that are normally a full band
- Free bandcamp codes for a digital ep
Invest Time in Planning
The most important thing you can do for your marketing is invest time in planning. The more consistent you can be the more value you will get. We aren’t going to be consistent if we don’t plan out content in advance and prepare assets in batches.
ACTION ITEM: Set a goal to brainstorm and plan your content marketing strategy for the next 90 days.
To make things easy I’ve created a free content marketing planning worksheet to help you get started. Enter your email here and I’ll send you a content marketing planning worksheet with samples already inside!
Once you submit the form doesn’t go away but it did submit the request to me! In about a minute you will get a link to confirm the email. Once it is confirmed I can invite you to the marketing planning document.
Content Creation Best Practices
Now we have some ideas on the types of content we can create, let’s discuss best practices for creating it.
Start with a working title and description
Say for example, your topic is “Seattle Bands” your title might be “My Favorite Bands to Play with in Seattle. ”
From there write a 150 character synopsis of what the reader will gain from the content. The example above might be, “These are consistently my favorite bands to share a stage with and the Seattle music scene wouldn’t be the same without them. Check out my favorite local seattle bands here on the blog.”
Overall blog length doesn’t matter too much once you’ve passed the 800 words threshold. We recommend 800 words because it helps the search algorithm know you are an authority on the topic since you can crank out 800 words on it. But, ultimately, at the end of the day, what really matters is the quality of the content.
Your blog posts should be fairly specific. You don’t want to make a blog post too dense and overwhelm the reader. You also don’t want to go too broad and not fully saturated the topic.
Being specific means also taking a stance. Don’t use passive language that leaves room for interpretation. Don’t be vanilla.
The Details Matter
We’ve said it a million times but quality matters. Proof your content multiple times and get as many people as you can to look it over. Grammar, spelling and typos will take away from the message of your content. If you have to, invest in a copy editor to review your work.
Include photos and graphics to support your topic. It helps break up the content for readability as well. It also works to reinforce your brand.
Include Compelling Call-to-Actions
Every piece of content should have compelling call-to-actions throughout the post. Whether it is asking them to leave a comment, share with their friends, click a link to a related content piece or enter their email to download you want to ask your visitors to engage with your content in some way. Make sure you don’t just ask at the end though, readers won’t always get there so you want to pepper them throughout.
Review for Readability
As you become more familiar with content writing you will begin to naturally format your content for readability. At first, it’s important to take a step to go through and make sure your content is easy to digest. Digestible content utilizes enough white space, section headers, bullets and numbered lists to easy chunk up the content. You don’t want to scare away your readers with dense paragraphs or tiny fonts. Nothing should be crammed together or feel overwhelming.
If you are utilizing your blog for content it’s wise to remove the publishing dates. When you do that, you make your content more evergreen. The term ‘evergreen’ refers to content that is always relevant.
Optimize your site for content
When you begin building your site you’ll want to follow some content best practices so folks can easily find you online. I don’t believe that a search engine optimization focus is necessary for musicians but many of the theories still apply for building a good website. If you aren’t familiar, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your site to attract people searching for content relevant. When users go online and search for a term the search engine will use “crawlers” to search all the web pages on the internet to bring them the most relevant results. SEO helps these crawlers understand what your pages are about and rank them based on authority and popularity.
Website best practices:
- Page Titles, URL and Meta Descriptions: For each page of your site and every blog you create use a long tail keyword as your page title, in the url (often referred to as the slug) and in the description. This would include your record name or song title.
- ex: NickfosterBand.com/fireside-ep
- Keyword Integration in Page Headers and Content: Make sure you use your key phrase once as a page header and once in the content. If you can get it to fit twice or more without changing the readability of the page you can do that as well.
- ex: Site header: Fireside EP
- Write Rich Content: You are a musician but you can’t just put a page up with a cd on it and call it good. Google needs something to read so write at least a description on every page.
ex: Excited to be releasing a small collection of acoustic songs that had been floating in the ether. The Fireside EP is the… etc.
- Image Alt text: Make sure your images are named “Keyphrase001.jpg” so Google knows to categorize your images under that phrase as well.
- Ex: “NickFosterFiresideEP.jpg
- Outbound Links: When appropriate link to trustworthy pillar sites such as the New York Times. This is most used in blogging when citing a source.
- Internal Links: When appropriate link to your other pages on your site. This is most used in blogging when citing a similar resource.
- I.e. Writing a blog post with lyrics to the ep link to the page where the ep is.
- Introduce Yourself to Search Engines: Once you have a few posts under your belt, submit your site to get ‘crawled’. Submitting your site means you’re openly inviting Google in to catalog your site. Google has an awesome resource on how to do this. It’s an important step that you should repeat every year.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes content marketing! It is a really fun technique for growing and engaging with your fans that is free to implement and highly effective. When done correctly, it doesn’t really even feel like you are marketing! If you are interested in a consultation on how we can help you with your content marketing send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.