When you’re just getting started into the music business, it can be hard to establish your brand. It may feel like all that matters is just getting your music out – and booking any venue that will have you. But without a solid brand in place, you’re setting yourself up for issues along the way.
Your brand is your strongest communicator of who you are as a musician and what you offer to your listeners. Consider the following tips to develop a personal brand that is a good representation of your music and your unique qualities.
- Know your goals. Before you go down the path of promoting an album, going on tour, or jumping into the music industry full time, you should take the time needed to determine what your end goal is. Do you want to be famous, or just play music for fun? Do you want to tour nationally, internationally even, or would you prefer to just play local gigs? Decide what your goal is for your career and your talents. This will help you set your priorities and stay true to what you want to offer.
- Make time to network. Are there songwriting circles or music gatherings you could be a part of? Are there volunteer opportunities that would allow you to connect with other musicians, venues, etc.? Check what’s in your area and get connected. Keep record of who you meet and build those connections overtime by checking in with them occasionally. The industry truly is about who you know and two-way networking can go a long way. The more people you know, the better.
- Be an expert. What knowledge do you have about the industry or about music itself that sets you apart? Maybe it’s your musical style that makes you different, your music theory knowledge or your insight on industry trends. Share your knowledge on a personal website or through your social pages by publishing blogs or posting regularly about your day-to-day experiences.
- Be a continuous learner. What was true about the music industry just a few years ago is no longer true, nor will today’s industry be the same three years from now. Follow music industry publications and read, a lot.
- Don’t silo yourself or your music. It’s likely you already consider your music as adhering to a specific genre or taste, but be open to that changing over time. As you perform more, meet more people, and have more experiences, your music will likely change. Let yourself experiment with new instruments and genres, and bring new songs into the mix regularly, even if it’s covers. Your loyal fans will appreciate hearing something new at each show.
- Get social. Your social sites should be a reflection of your personal brand. It’s okay to use your social profiles to showcase your personality and share fun posts about your day-to-day happenings, but be sure to also use these profiles to communicate updates on shows, song releases and other things relating to your musical journey. Many artists choose to have both personal and professional social sites. However you plan to do it, make sure your fans know where to go to get updates.
- Let your fan base know the REAL you. Many musicians fear revealing too much of their personal life or their personality during their shows or on social, but this (along with your music) is what makes you stand out as a musician. Your personal brand should be a reflection of who you are, so identify what makes you unique and use that to promote your shows and your music.
- Earn your place. Last, but certainly not least – don’t expect things to fall into place right away. It can take years for new musicians to find their place in the music world and to develop a truly authentic brand. Continue working hard and consider each setback as a learning experience.
Need tips on building your brand or help with promoting your music? Jenna Marie is an independent music marketing and promotions consultant and can work with you on your specific needs. Contact her at email@example.com.