Local Bands and the Art of Self-Promotion

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone better at self-promotion than a local musician. With tight budgets and probably not a whole lot of public relations experience, it’s interesting to see the ways artists have found to promote themselves. Having worked closely with local bands as a music journalist for a little over a year, I’ve come up with a short list of the most effective and cost-efficient methods I’ve seen bands use.

1. Utilize Social Media Effectively

This one’s kind of a given. Social media is a great way to let people know about upcoming shows or new singles but it needs to be used effectively. Being interactive on social media is a great way to keep up with fans. One good tool I’ve seen used is Facebook’s event feature. This allows users to register as “going” to an event or “interested.” Friends of people who respond to the event often get a notification about it. It’s a great way to get new people out to a show and therefore new fans.

2. Get Some Airtime

Last year I interviewed two guys from one of the nearby radio stations who host a weekly show that features local artists. During the interview, I asked them what the process was for artists who were trying to get their song played on the show. They said it was easy: e-mail them a good quality recording of a song and if they like it, they’ll play it. I was surprised by how simple it was and how many people I knew who weren’t taking advantage of it.

3. Find a Journalist

Here’s my area of expertise. Do not wait around for the press to find you. Go to them. A lot of the stories on our website have been picked by the editor. On several occasions, however, I’ve been asked to write a story for someone who sent us a press request. Depending on the timeframe and what the person wants covered, we usually just do a phone question and answer session and then it’s up on the website the next morning. It’s quick, easy and free, and posting a link to the story is a great way to stay active on social media platforms.

There are more than just three ways to self-promote (I’m personally still a sucker for a good old-fashioned poster) but these are just a few examples of the most impactful and cost-efficient methods I’ve seen bands use.

Rachel Parrish is a junior public relations and broadcast journalism major at Samford University where she works for the sports broadcasting department and as a writer for Magic City Bands.

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