The hard truth is, in the fiercely competitive world of radio, “being good” simply isn’t enough. For maximum success on the air, it just isn’t sufficient to submit your materials and leave it at that. In addition to sending in the music itself for radio consideration, musicians need to be as proactive as possible when it comes to promotion.
The bad news is, promotion can get expensive. The good news is, it doesn’t have to. Depending on what stage of your career you have reached – and how much you’re willing and able to spend – there’s a wide array of promotional tactics and solutions to explore, from small-scale DIY promotion, to large-scale professional promotion. Whichever route you decide to travel, the importance of promotion is inescapable – so embrace it!
If funds are limited, or you simply aren’t comfortable reaching out to professional promoters until you understand how promotion works a little better on your own, then DIY promotion could be perfect for you. Not only is DIY promotion comparably inexpensive, it will give you a glimpse into the sorts of actions and efforts that go into a successful large-scale promotional campaign.
Before you embark on your do-it-yourself promotional mission, it’s important to know that part of promotion is being aggressive. No, that doesn’t mean harassing people or “not taking no for an answer” – it simply means you have to be extremely proactive about reaching out. With that in mind, here are some of the best DIY strategies.
Compile Compact Information
Depending on how big a radio station is, the staffing situation can get messy. There are lots of people, paperwork, and CDs constantly piling up and filing in and out of major (and even not-so-major) stations. That means sometimes, communication can fall by the wayside in the frenzy of work to complete and submissions to review. For that reason, you need to make sure you cover all your bases. Compile contact information, be specific in who you address, and do the research to make sure you send your inquiries and materials to the appropriate people.
Pick Up The Pace
Radio is not an industry where up-and-comers can afford to drift along at a leisurely pace. Radio stations are generally not interested in music that is “old” and has been languishing for years. Your music is at its “hottest” when it’s new – ideally no more than a few months past its initial release. Because of this, the time surrounding the release should be especially frenetic with activity. Put extra promotional energy into that time period, because that’s when you’re most appealing to radio stations.
Radio is often as much about who you know as what you know and what you do. Networking with people at all levels of the music community is only going to help you promote yourself as an artist. Music events like concerts or festivals are particularly rich ground for networking, as they tend to be densely populated by musicians, music journalists and reviewers, and radio station and record label staff. You never know when striking up a friendly conversation could lead to coverage in a blog or magazine.
Whether you decide to go DIY, hire a professional promoter, or blend both strategies, the importance of promotion is a factor that simply can’t go ignored. Good promotion can make the difference between remaining unheard, and eventually becoming the Next Big Thing.