Words by Matt Bacon
So here’s my grand theory of music promotion for DIY bands. If you have under 10,000 or so monthly listeners, then you are in the early adopter phase. If you are in the early adopter phase, then most of your fans are going to be musicians and music nerds. So then the question becomes – how do you take advantage of that?
There are three core pieces of content I think you can be pushing with this in mind. This is shouting out bands you love, talking about your instruments, and talking about your songwriting/creative process in general. All of these things sound basic, but they work remarkably well in getting some penetration into the scene.
Shouting Out Bands You Love
This is a really easy way to relate to people. You know what music nerds love? Music. So you know what connects with them? Talking about music. I know it sounds basic, but it’s really that simple. Some of the most successful posts we had on the Necrot campaign, for example, were just posts were the band members each posted some of their favorite album covers and talked about what the records meant to them.
Seriously – that’s all you need to do. You just need to go and talk about the things you love, realizing that if you dig them, your peers probably will too. And don’t worry about your interests being too niche or too basic. I am routinely surprised at my followers knowing both about some of the weirdest stuff I work with as well as embracing some of the corniest stuff I love. People are people. They aren’t there to judge you.
Talking About Your Instruments
Musicians love gear talk. Hell – it seems to be one of the most common conversations at shows. What gear are you using, and why do you use it? It really can be that simple if the picture is good. Seriously. Don’t sweat it.
My guys in Fostermother recently posted a picture of a bass with a reasonable caption about how they dug it. Out of the blue, they had seven hundred likes. Not bad for a band with under a thousand followers at the time! Gear talk works, simple as that.
Talking About Your Creative Process
This is perhaps the hardest one because it feels so invasive, but it’s also one that seems to be to do a great job of really getting people to engage with you. Think about how popular VH1’s Behind the Music series is. Why not go and do that sort of stuff on your own?
When you let people into your creative process, you are bringing them closer to the band and giving them something deeply personal to relate too. Once you give them something to connect too, then they are that much more likely to connect with your story and want to be a fan of your band over the long term.
So as you can see – it really doesn’t need to be a nightmare if you’re trying to engage with musicians and music nerds. You just need to realize that these early adopters want to know what kind of music you love, hear about your gear and learn about your creative process. Think about it as interviewing yourself and then go from there.