Saturday, October 27, 2018

Music Promotion Paid or Organic Traffic

music promotion pain or organic traffic blog post

Being an indie artist can be an enlightening experience but sometimes delusional.  Click to Tweet

To succeed we definitely need real self belief. It takes a lot to put so much into a creation and then put it out there to be praised, criticized or worst of all ignored. I know when I release a track I want to see it reach the four corners of the world ( just a metaphor, round, flat, square earth is for another blog) . We all have a goal for our creative work that is not always reached, but one thing I try to remember as an indie is the following quote.

quote indie artist music promotion

However, in trying to meet that goal there are options when it comes to music promotion and in this blog post I will discuss some of these.

Music Promotion Paid or Organic Traffic

Paid (non-organic) or pure organic traffic what does this mean?

  • Paid traffic is when you have decided to pay for your creative work to be boosted (this may be to real or fake listeners) 
  • Paid organic traffic is when you have decided to pay for your creative work to be boosted and it becomes visible directly to potential fans who may then engage.
  • Organic traffic is where  consumers of music happen across your work on their usual platforms without any direct prompting which leads to some sort of engagement e.g. play, like, comment.

Which of these options you choose to pursue depends on your objectives and where you are on your marketing timeline. So let's take a look at some of these.

Early Plays and Likes

Personally, I have made a decision on this topic, which I'll come to below, due to my early experiences promoting my tracks. I remember for my early singles looking at the Soundcloud plays and not being happy with the numbers. Then thinking, I'll give the song a boost with some paid plays which then made the Soundcloud plays look better. But my objective was to grow real fans so I knew I was only deluding myself. I have read some blogs where they say having a base number of plays then helps organic growth, this may be true in some cases, but personally, I can't confirm this. In the end your stats become meaningless.

This is the same for non-organic paid likes, other than trying to give an impression of fan engagement to others, they offer no real insight.

However, there us definitely a place for boosting plays but, I now only use paid organic services. Then at least I can get some insight from any engagement and use this going forward. 

Increasing Reach 

music promotion visual

Paid Advertising Services

As you know there are many social media platforms out there enticing us to use their services and spend money advertising our product. I first used paid advertising on Google Ads, Facebook and Twitter Ads to generally try and increase brand awareness. For me, due to a limited budget, I didn't see any real gains. Now I use them for specific projects or events as I think this is the best use of my funds as the advertising is targeted. This is a matter of judgement and depends on your status, marketing budget and fanbase. 

Paying to gain reach, when you have a product to sell, is something that, I believe, is going to become standard on  many platforms. Facebook, in particular, has already changed it's algorithm to make it difficult  for 'pages' to have any worthwhile reach without 'boosting' a post. At the end of the day this something we cannot get away from unless we pursue pure organic traffic, which I will get to in a moment.

Engage Music Promotion Services

Depending on your expertise technically and / or in using music promotion apps or platforms, you may feel that it is more effective to engage marketing professionals. There are many music promotion services out there so do your research. They need to be offering something more than ' I have 1 million followers'. So what! None of them may like your music (worst case scenario 🙂). So here are some things to look out for:

  • Check out their websites ( if these don't look professional, need I say more)
  • What are the artist reviews saying, are there any independent reviews.
  • What are they offering other than tweeting, posting to their followers. For example, interviews, blog or magazine placement, playlisting etc.
  • Are any placements permanent.
  • What platforms will their music promotion cover
  • What is their reach, national or global and where is their main catchment/
  • Can they offer targeted promotion for your genre
  • Is the music promotion campaign organic (Important!)

These are all points you need answers to before you invest your hard earned cash. This will help maximize your return on investment (see the side bar for useful music promotion services or click this link Music Promotion

Radio Airplay

This is still an important outlet for our music and there is nothing quite like hearing your song on the radio. You can cold call radio stations or pay for airplay. You may want to read an earlier blog post specifically on radio airplay for more information on these options. Radio Airplay

Generating Organic Traffic

Social Media

This is something that is an ongoing learning experience as everyday, if you search the internet, there are tips on how best to generate organic traffic. The thing is, as I have stated before, we indies have to wear many hats, only one of which is the marketing hat. So there is only so much time we can spend on music promotion, no matter how important it is, so we have to make the best use of this time. Or get someone else to do it.

However, generating organic traffic is probably already part of your routine, the success of which, usually depends on how much effort you put in. There are some main areas of focus that seem to be aligned among commentators, including myself.

  • Identify Key Influencers in Your Niche. These tend to have many followers and this asset can be used to increase your own following. There are apps out there that enable you to follow the followers of your key influencers e.g. Tweetdeck. As you are in the same niche a percentage of these will follow you back and continue to engage.
  • Join Groups or Forums in Your Niche. If you are part of a larger group with the same interests, then it is likely that what you have to offer will be of interest to at least some members of the group.
  • Be Active on Social Media. In order for the actions taken in the above points to be effective you need to be active. By this I mean you need to comment and like on the posts of influencers and fellow group or forum members. Be seen and contribute, this raises your profile and standing.
  • Add Value.  This means giving value and quality. A comment to a video of 'Awesome' doesn't add value and can appear to be 'bot' driven. Give a meaningful contribution like ' I liked the way the vocals added a twist to the solid rhythm track. Great production'. Add value rather than sell. This will lead to curiosity about your channel, blog or website.
  • Call to Action. On your own platform, whether this be a Facebook page, blog or website, this is where you should shout out loud your call to action. As the saying goes 'Don't ask don't get'. Make sure visitors have and can see a clear request from you whether this is to buy your song, like the page, visit another of your sites. This also works well when adding value by, maybe, offering something free in exchange for taking the action.

The above points are activities that can be done without incurring any costs, all you need is time and resources. This can work just as well or even better than paid services.

The Personal Touch

The relationship between artist and listener / fan has changed over the last decade. Where once the main contribution of a fan to the artist was the purchase of singles and albums we all know that with the advent of streaming technology an artist can't just rely on these sales (I also cover this in another blog post Free downloads! Is this the future? ) . However, engaging more with your fanbase can add so much more to your music promotion campaign by getting music promotion free from your fans.

  • Competitions By creating a competition  around a song or album you create a buzz that will be shared between friends especially if you can make this based around an image or video. For example,  an image taken at gig with a caption competition or best photo with the band logo t-shirt or best fan cover version of your song. This is social media in action driven by your fans.
  • Engagement in the Songwriting or Production Process. This can be anything from naming the title of the song, including a line in the song provided by a fan, doing a couple of mixes and getting feedback on the most popular version. Fans like to share and the more they share the more buzz that is created.
  • Create an Event There are concert and event apps including Facebook where you can publicize upcoming gigs or an album launch. This gives you the chance to offer giveaways to top fans but also lets your fans start sharing the event and creating a buzz.

Obviously, the above depends on the size of your fanbase, but the personal touch is also a great way to increase your fanbase. In fact, a smaller fanbase allows you to spend more time offering your top fans the insight they are looking for.

Music promotion whether paid or purely organic has its biggest impact when the product, your creative work, is the best you can make it with the resources you have. So at the end of the day creativity has to come first and remain something you enjoy and are proud of. Otherwise, you won't have the drive for all the other stuff. 

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