The biggest challenge many independent artists face is getting their music in front of the right people. It’s no longer enough just to create a good track or EP, to truly make waves in the music industry independent artists must market their audio and video content effectively. For the best results, it is key to approach each new release with a holistic strategy in place typically in the form of a music marketing plan. Here’s how to get started:

Step #1: Define Your Target Audience

Your audience plays a major role in your overall success as an independent artist, so the first step in creating a music marketing plan is to determine exactly who that audience is. Once defined, your target audience will set the tone to help you decide where and how you will market your content.

A great place to start is by looking at the built-in audience of your genre. For example, hip-hop fans have very different interests and habits than country fans. To ensure you’re reaching the right people, try to narrow this audience down even more by examining your sub-genre as well. Once you have a target audience in mind, you’ll want to dive a little deeper to gain a better understanding about what their interests are, where they hang out, and what is the best way to communicate with them. To do so, you should look at:

  • Your Competition: Research the top artists in your genre to see what they are doing to connect with their audiences. Find what works and what doesn’t work in terms of general marketing approach, messaging, branding.
  • Industry News & Blogs: What does your audience really care about? Search genre-specific publications (i.e. blogs, websites, magazines, newsletters, etc.) to learn more about the topics and content that really make your audience tick.
  • Social Media Demographics: Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have developed audience insight tools to steer your marketing efforts in the right direction. These tools provide valuable demographic information including the age, gender, and education of the audience you are trying to reach.

Step #2: Do Your Market Research

Now that your target audience is set, the next step in creating your music marketing plan is to determine where you fit within the market. To accurately assess this, you can perform a SWOT analysis to figure out what unique value your music offers to fans. As an independent artist, you may be limited in resources, so a SWOT analysis will also help you determine how to best designate your time and money. Here’s how it works:

  • Strengths: What skills you are already good at? Do you excel at creating content, editing videos, or managing social media? Defining your strengths will save you time and money because you will not have to outsource this work.
  • Weaknesses: Conversely, what areas can you improve on? While you may be a social media stud, you may struggle with analytics analysis. Your weaknesses will paint a clear picture of what areas you need to enlist help.
  • Opportunities: What opportunities have you found in the market to help fans discover your music? Whether it’s an open performance slot at an upcoming music festival or connection you have for playlisting, be sure to take advantage of these favorable circumstances when present.
  • Threats: Are there any potential threats that could potentially hurt your career? Are you working with an unreliable manager or is your marketing being outsourced to a company you can’t get in touch with? Strive to eliminate these threats as soon as possible to ensure your long-term success.

Step #3: Set A SMART Goal

Many music marketing plans fall apart when a clear goal is not set. Lofty and vague goals like “to become famous” or “to grow my presence on social media” are useless and will often amount to little or no progress. Instead, set SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Honing the SMART goal framework will help laser your focus, prioritize what matters most, and boil it down to one organized strategy. Check out our blog to learn how.

Step #4: Develop A Plan Of Action

Your goals are set and now it’s time to devise a plan that outlines how you are going to achieve them. When constructing your music marketing plan of action be sure to include the following components:

  • Distribution: Where are you going to deliver your content? Designate specific destinations for both your audio (i.e. Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc.) and video (i.e. YouTube, Vevo, etc.) and choose the right distributor, like Vydia, to do the work for you.
  • Social Media: How are you going to promote your new music online? Step up your social media strategy with our pro tips.
  • Email Newsletter: Do you have a mailing list prepared to inform your fans about new music releases? Build anticipation and reward your most loyal fans with regularly scheduled newsletters to promote upcoming music, show dates, merchandise and more.
  • Website: Is your website up-to-date with your new music release? Make sure your personal website is release-ready with these helpful hacks.
  • PR / Advertising: Looking for an additional marketing boost? Target specific industry or genre-specific publications to pitch your work to. You can also leverage digital advertising on websites like Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Bing to further expand reach.

Your plan of action should also include a basic outline of how you are going to approach these components on a monthly basis. You should also create a monthly budget and break down costs (both time and money) accordingly.

Step #5: Execute, execute, execute

Your music marketing plan is ready to go so the final step it to execute it. As an independent artist, there are many resources online to help you achieve the goals you have set. For example, the Vydia platform sets you up for success to easily distribute your audio and video content to the world’s leading audio and video destinations. Let Vydia do the work for you, so you can focus on your other marketing needs to propel your career to the next level.

For more tips and tricks about how to power your independent music career, check out our weekly blogs.