You’ve worked for months on your new album. Now what? Unless you have a major label, experienced management or a generous amount of investor money behind you, the ability to promote your own album is crucial. Besides the talent to make great music, promotional skills are some of the most important skills you can have as an indie artist. When you don’t have the means to hire a PR firm to push the album for you, try these five steps and cover your bases. Although it is overwhelming, keep in mind that these actions are crucial to your success and the process takes the 3 Ps: planning, persistence, and patience.
1. Target the Right Audience – It is very important to know and understand who your audience is in every aspect. What age group are they? Where do most of them live? What kind of music do they like? If you pay attention to these details and come up with a list of people you want to contact, you can save a ton of time and money. Write out lists and target each relevant group.
2. Create a Press Kit/Promo Package – This process isn’t as intimidating as people assume. Think about what you need to include so that the media gets to see everything they need to know about you in a concise, yet detailed manner. For example, a press kit could include:
a. A press release about the new album
b. A succinct (one page) bio
c. The CD (be it a single, EP or full length)
d. Quotes pulled from press coverage you have had in the past, if any
e. Contact information
f. A color photo
g. Links to your websites (Myspace, Facebook, etc.)
Some people can get more creative, but the basics are all you really need at the end of the day.
3. Compile a Media List- Getting your contact list together is one of the most important things to do. You can write out a wish list of local and national press that you want to contact. Make sure to have emails, mailing addresses and phone and fax numbers-press contacts differ in how they want to be contacted. If you have more options, you have better odds of getting through for consideration.
4. Plan an Album Release Party- The event doesn’t need to be massive, but something needs to promote the new album. Find a cool venue that you’re comfortable at, plan a set, have merchandise available for sale and invite everyone you can-fans, media, family and friends. The bigger the crowd, the better. Invite the media to meet and greet the band, get a free CD and review the show if possible. Don’t push. If they say no, they may be willing to see a future show. Don’t press any buttons and respectfully accept any passes on coverage. Just getting your name out there does wonders anyhow.
5. Mailings- Compile a press list and send your CDs (with or without press kits, but do at least send a bio with contact information noted) to every contact. Make a note to follow up if you don’t hear back in a couple weeks. Don’t follow up if you do hear back and the journalist passes. You don’t want to be a pest, remember, there’s always later. If you come on too strong, the individual may permanently blow you off.