Christmas songs are a lot of fun to record. You can put a new spin on an old classic, or write your own holiday-themed tune. Either way, it’s a pretty good bet that fans will eat it up, especially because the holidays (and your holiday single) give you the chance to emphasize what your audience already loves about you: silliness, sadness, cynicism, whatever.
[Curious which popular Christmas songs you can cover without paying a publishing royalty? Check out our free PDF, “Christmas Songs in the Public Domain (and those that aren’t).”]
Then, of course, there’s the discoverability factor. Music sales skyrocket during the last two months of the year. So many people are searching for Christmas songs during the holidays. If they dig your song, they might check out your other music too.
But there’s a LOT of Christmas music out there. How do you get people to hear YOUR song?
1. Get your song featured in a holiday playlist
Playlisting has become a huge part of how people find new music these days. And holiday playlists take things into overdrive, since the collection of songs can span genres and generations.
Check out our tips on how to get your music in a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.
2. Advertise on Facebook
With Facebook’s targeted advertising tools, you can get your music in front of just the right listeners. And since the window for a holiday single is relatively short (just before Thanksgiving through late December), you can make a big impact promoting your posts for just a couple dollars a day.
Check out our tips on Facebook advertising for musicians.
3. Make a video — and let your fans use the song in their videos too
Facebook favors video when considering what content to display in your followers’ feeds (as long as that video is housed on Facebook, as opposed to a YouTube link). So shoot a video or your holiday single! And post it on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
If you don’t have a big production budget, you can create a simple Art Track video, or do a low-budget lip-sync video in your living room (maybe with a Christmas tree in the background and a fire in the fireplace).
Also, remember that YouTube becomes an even more powerful platform when you let other people spread your music too. Make sure to tell your fans that they’re free to use your new single in their own holiday videos and home movies. When they do, you earn money.
Check out these 6 ways to earn more money from YouTube this holiday season.
4. Go local!
You might be overlooking a number of promotional opportunities right in your own backyard. Contact the local TV news programs, radio stations (especially community and college radio), and papers and weeklies. You might be able to get some coverage and radio play for you holiday music.
And if you partner with a local charity or non-profit (by donating a portion of the proceeds from your song), the launch of your Christmas single will be even more newsworthy. Plus you’ll have the help of that organization when it comes to extra promotion.
5. Book a holiday tour (without leaving town)
Every year my friends in Moody Little Sister book a holiday tour. Sometimes it extends to regional cities that are a few hours away, but most of the Christmas shows they set up are never more than a half hour’s drive from home.
They can do this because a holiday show is a unique experience, and one where they can team up with different kinds of venues (house concerts, libraries, wineries, etc.) to play to a different audience each time. In other words, they’re not depending on their own “draw” to make these shows a success.
Think about your favorite local or regional businesses, churches, restaurants, parks, tree-lighting ceremonies, skating rinks, or other public spaces, and see if any of them are interested in hosting a holiday party with music! Then make sure, once you get the gig, to use your holiday single and video as part of the online promotion.
Once you’re at the gig, be sure to have CDs, download cards, and an email signup form ready to go.
How have you promoted your holiday music? Got any tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.