– Difference between Marketing and Promotion: Marketing is what you pay for, Promotion is what you can do for free. (Graham Ashton)
– A starting out band can use plenty of Online and free tools. Things like Sonicbids, Reverbnation, Bandcamp, Digital Distribution through services like Valleyarm, Tunecore, CD Baby and more – all very easy to set up and are accessible to all.
– At most basic a band should have: Bio, Photos, Web (Blog, myspace, facebook, twitter, bandcamp, YouTube/Vimeo, Triple J Unearthed). If you don’t know how to do these things – LEARN. Really fast. It’s not even really that practical to find a friend who can do these things. Take the time to learn. Seriously. You will find time to do this AND be creative. It’s worth it.
– All online portals should be as consistent and as up to date as possible. If they are themed, they should all be themed similarly – colours etc.
– Digital Press Releases to go to street press and community radio for major gigs, single, EP or album releases (digital or physical), tours, awards or grants. Keep in mind Street Press will only go for major coverage of a band once every 6 months. Don’t waste it.
– Keep a database of press/radio/industry people to send press releases to.
– Facebook event for every event you do. ONLY invite people from the area that the gig is in. Try to at least know who you are inviting and what their interests are. If you know that they have children and unlikely to attend, or are overseas, or have moved, DON’T INVITE THEM.
– Don’t invite other venue or venue bookers to gigs at other venues. As if they will come!
– Poster for every gig you do. Is there someone in the band who can do this?
– Think outside the box with what you have. As you don’t have million-dollar budgets, the prize will always go to creativity and ingenuity for promotion. Use YouTube innovatively (see Blame Ringo’s A Day in the life of Abbey Road or Domino’s NZ Youtube Choose your own adventure game.)
– Be Genuine. Answer EVERY message you receive and talk to everyone who interacts with your band or page somehow. Be interested in what they have to say and genuinely want to meet them at your shows.
– Don’t take these people for granted. Don’t expect that they will be at every gig, nor should you put any pressure on them to be.
– Every gig is an opportunity. Work hard to promote it, even if you are working with a promoter to put on the gig. Don’t expect anyone else to work as hard as you do on your project in the early days.
– When you book a gig, YOU ARE THE PROMOTER. Choose your bands for the lineup wisely. When you have been networking for a little while you will have a fair network to work with. Think like a businessperson and think about who will pull numbers to the gig as well as suit the lineup. You don’t have to headline every gig you book. In fact, shoot to be the support for a number of gigs to begin with. It is rare that a band can come out of the blocks as a worthwhile headline act.
– Be edgy and don’t take the path most trodden with your promotion.
– If you are a band, part of your promotion is the visual appeal of the band. Agree on a visual palette …colours, images, ideas and fonts that you will use to promote your band.
– When the time is right, you can put money into publicity and marketing – paying for poster runs, advertising online and in street press and paying a publicist to press release your announcements and tours and singles etc. These are well worth the spend, but not worth your time unless you ensure that you pay for the followup etc.
– Online tip: ensure you are tagging all of your posts on your blog to ensure that search engines are associating your blog with your band.
– Get Google Alerts so that it tells you when your band is mentioned online.
– Use Twitter’s search function to see when people tweet about you.