An introduction to content marketing for musicians

What are you currently doing to promote yourself as a musician?

If you’re relying on traditional marketing tactics such as social media ads and press coverage, you’re on the right track. But if that’s all you’re doing, then you’re missing out on a much more effective—not to mention, free—way to promote your music: content marketing.

Chances are you’re already doing content marketing in some way; if you’re active on social media, then you’re creating content to attract and nurture your audience.

But that’s not all there is to it—read on to find out what exactly content marketing is, why it works, and why every musician should consider the value of being a content creator in today’s industry. We’ll also share a few ideas for content you can create to effectively promote your music and your brand.

What is content marketing?

There’s a reason why social media influencers, bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters seem to be popping up everywhere these days (and finding so much success, too). Our world is driven by the internet, and the internet is driven by content.

Content marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on creating valuable, educational, entertaining, or inspiring content to attract and retain customers. While traditional marketing aims to push products and services in front of people, content marketing works by pulling them in.

In other words, rather than asking people to buy your music, concert tickets, merch, etc., you first gain their attention and trust by providing them a valuable piece of content. With repeated exposure, they start to build a relationship with you. Then, when you do eventually ask them to buy something, they’ll be much more likely to do so.

Reasons to use content marketing to promote your music

Content marketing works incredibly well for musicians, artists, and online entrepreneurs. After all, fans are rarely interested in your music alone. Today, more than ever before, they expect to see your personality, your creative process, your values, and your opinions.

When you share this kind of content online, you develop a personal brand, and this is exactly what makes you stand out from other musicians.

Apart from that, there are a few other great reasons to create content:

1. Let people get to know you

Your music helps you attract fans; there’s no doubt about that. But your music alone may not always turn them into life-long superfans. For that, people often want to get to know you—not just who you are as a musician, but who you are as a person.

Let your fans feel like your closest friends by sharing content about your life, letting them in behind-the-scenes, offering advice, and getting them involved. This creates opportunities for them to learn something about you that they admire or can relate to—this, in turn, will make them much more likely to keep following your journey and listening to your music.

2. Build relationships

Relationships are a two-way street, which is why interacting with your audience is key to growing and nurturing a dedicated fanbase. Sharing content online creates the perfect vehicle for these interactions.

When you publish content online, you create an opportunity for conversation and relationship building. You can chat with people in the comments, direct messages, or livestreams. You can gather feedback, questions, or ideas that you can then turn into more content. You can even get your followers involved and post content that they’ve helped create.

3. Help fans feel invested

When you consistently share content with your audience, people become invested in your life, career, and success. The more you publish, the more time they spend consuming your content, and the more they care.

Consider these two scenarios:

  • Your new single comes out today, so you publish a social media post about it and ask people to stream it.
  • Your new single comes out today, so every day for the past month, you’ve been posting about it on social media. You’ve shared sneak peeks, bits of lyrics, a promotional video, the story of how you came up with the song, the story of how it was made, the behind-the-scenes of the cover photoshoot, and tons of other content related to your single.

Which of these two scenarios do you think results in more streams?

In the latter scenario, your audience has been exposed to so much content about your new single that they can’t help but care. By now, they’ve invested so much time looking at bits and pieces that they’re dying to know how they all fit together. You probably don’t even have to explicitly ask them to go stream it—they’ll go listen just to see how it turned out.

4. Attract new fans

Getting your songs added to playlists, getting sync placements, and playing live shows are all amazing ways to attract new fans. But don’t underestimate the power of content marketing for this, either.

When people see something they like online, they often send it to their friends or post about it on their social media, exposing you to new potential fans. The algorithm of the platform you use will likely take note as well, and push your content out to even more people.

When you create valuable content consistently, there’s no limit to how many people could potentially see it and become fans.

5. Solidify your personal brand

If you’re serious about a career in music, you need to develop a personal brand—this is who you are, what makes you unique, what you value, what you care about, and what you offer the world.

Your fans aside, your personal brand should be known to people in the industry who you’re hoping to work with (media contacts, music supervisors, sponsors, etc). When deciding whether or not to work with you, they should be able to Google your name and, within a few minutes, get a good sense of who you are and what you represent.

Getting to this point means consistently publishing high-quality content that portrays who you are and helps convey your personal brand.

Content ideas

You may already be posting about your new releases on social media. While that’s a great place to start, it’s not exactly content marketing.

In order to create content strategically, you need to be sharing much more than just your music, and doing it consistently (i.e. not just before a new release). Below are a few ideas for content to create and platforms to use.

1. Social media

Use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter to share photos, graphics, and short videos. They can be entertaining, educational, inspiring, or anything in between.

With each of these platforms, use the space you have available to you. For example, rather than sharing a photo on Instagram and putting a few emojis in the caption, use the caption as a micro-blog—this is your opportunity to let people get to know your personality, your interests, and your values.

2. Blogging

If you have more to say than what will fit into an Instagram caption, consider writing a blog post.

Not sure if anyone will read it? You’d be surprised by the number of people who would love to get the inside scoop on your life and journey as a musician. We’re all curious about how other people think, what they do, and how they live their lives. When that content comes from our favorite artist, that’s even better!

3. Vlogging

Don’t enjoy writing? Consider vlogging instead. The idea is the same, but many people find it easier to film and edit videos, rather than write blogs.

The quality of your videos doesn’t have to be amazing, either. The rise in the number of casual vloggers these days has made it completely acceptable to publish raw videos filmed on your phone.

4. Podcasting

Do you feel like you have the best conversations with your friends about life, music, and being a musician? Your fans would love to hear them, too!

Podcasting is a great way to share content because it’s easy to create (no writing or filming and editing) and easy to consume. People love listening to podcasts because they can do it while doing other things like walking, doing the dishes, or even working.

5. Teaching an online course

As a musician, you’ve probably picked up a number of skills over the years. Why not teach these skills to other aspiring musicians through an online course?

There are tons of learning platforms out there—some even meant specifically for musicians—that make it easy to set up your course and start sharing your wisdom.

What will you create?

Hopefully, this article got you thinking about how creating content online can help you market yourself and your music.

While it may sound like a lot of work to be a content creator in addition to your role as a musician, it doesn’t have to be! Instead of feeling like you have to do it all and be active everywhere, choose one or two platforms that you like and enjoy creating content for. The key to staying consistent is to have fun doing it.

Which platform will you use and what kind of content will you create? Let us know in the comments below!


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August 16, 2021

Sayana Sayana is a contemporary R&B singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. When she's not making music, she creates content on personal development and navigating life as a musician. Learn more about her at https://www.sayanamusic.com/.