If you’re a budding musician, the thought of having a publicist to manage a release campaign for you could be a dream come true. However, without realising it, there’s a good chance that you have the necessary skills to create and manage a campaign yourself. All you need is a little bit of patience and practice, and you’ll have your publicity and promotional skills down to a tee when it comes time to release your music.
This may go without saying, but before you start planning your release, it is absolutely vital that you are confident in the quality of your music. You may have a killer publicity campaign, but the proof is in the pudding! You could have an amazing song, but if the necessary work hasn’t gone creating the right sound during your recording processes, there’s a chance it could slip under the radar. If you’re in the mixing or mastering stages of creating your music, it’s best to hold off on planning your release until you’ve heard the final version. This will allow for any hiccups, especially if you’re trusting someone else with the production, mixing and mastering of your music. One thing you don’t want is to publicise the release of your music, only to find it won’t be ready on time or that you aren’t happy with how something sounds.
The easiest way to start planning your campaign is to map out your milestones. The most important date to set is your release date. It’s best to plan this at least 8 weeks in advance, so that you can work backwards and begin to plan out the rest of your content. You may want to create enough content to be releasing social media posts 2-3 times a week in the lead up to release day. Posting this frequently works particularly well if you already have an engaged audience across your social media platforms. You don’t need to use every social media platform, but at least using Instagram and Facebook to engage with your audience is a good start (I hear TikTok is pretty popular these days too…). If you don’t have an engaged audience, it may be best to hold off on planning your release until you do. You could begin by creating a few posts on your different accounts and engaging with other local artists on social media. If you’re all set and ready to plan, putting the dates that you want to post on social media onto a calendar is a great way to start your release plan.
When you begin creating your content, it’s generally the easiest to do it in bulk if you can. This includes photoshoots, digital content creation, graphic design, videos and a range of other media types. If you can create a significant amount of content in a short amount of time, scheduling this content (using free tools, such as this one and this one) to go out according to your planned calendar will mean that you can sit back and relax while your campaign kicks off. Using a scheduling tool is great because you can plug in all of your content and create posts in one sitting, simply selecting a date and time for each post. Remember to keep up with engagement on your page if you’re using an automated scheduling tool, especially if people are commenting on your posts in real time.
A press kit is an online folder (Dropbox, Google Drive etc.) containing any relevant information about your release. It should contain some press shots, a media release (learn how to write one here), links to your music and any other relevant info you’d like to share. Contacting industry people, magazines, blogs and music organisations may get you no where if you don’t include this information, as no one will want to have to chase you up for something as simple as a high-resolution photo. Media outlets such as Pilerats (here in Perth) are always looking for new music to shine a spotlight on; contacting them and others with an introduction, a bit about your music and a press kit which is ready to go will maximise your chances at having your content and music shared. Don’t forget that if you’re planning a launch party for your new music, a lot of these media outlets promote gig guides, so don’t forget to request for your date to be added when reaching out.
This may not help your campaign specifically, but it will definitely (albeit slowly) increase your audience size. Going to gigs regularly and supporting other local musicians will often see the favour returned. If you make a point of try to get to know other musos, you’ll make new friends and new fans. We’re very lucky that in WA, we have a very close-knit and supportive music community (there have even been articles written about it like this one). Take advantage of this; lift others up, tell them about your music, and listen to theirs.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these tips and that they may give some guidance the next time you’re planning a release!