Marketing and promoting your music is a task every musician has to face throughout their career. But it’s also the one thing many musicians wish they never had to do again. With all the noise out there it can really feel like no one’s even listening to you.

So how do you stand out and get heard? The best thing you can do is change your approach – instead of pushing your music out in front of people, you need to pull them in with enticing and interesting content. Make them want to hear from you.

So let’s talk about what content marketing actually is, why it’s such an important tool to have in your music promotion arsenal, and how you can use this approach to authentically promote your music and grow a powerful fanbase.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is exactly what it sounds like – you’re using valuable and interesting content to draw your audience in. It’s a form of pull marketing wherein you get your fans interested and emotionally invested in what you do.

So that means instead of posting “check out my new song,” you release a short video telling your fans about what the lyrics mean and include a link to purchase. Instead of relentlessly posting announcements about your new album, create a blog series or a vlog series on YouTube documenting the album creation process with easy links to pre-order.

The Problem With Traditional Marketing

In the past, marketing was all about pushing out messages with big money to get it in front of as big an audience as possible and hoping some would bite. Label artists could thrive because they had the big bucks to promote.

But in today’s social media-dominated world, this shouting out a message for all to hear tactic just doesn’t work as effectively. It’s so crowded you just can’t shout loud enough to be heard anymore – especially as an indie.

Now, don’t get me wrong – announcements and push marketing style promotions will always have a place in your marketing mix, but the problem arises when you base your entire strategy on shouting at your fans. Turn it into a conversation, draw them in, and they will be much more interested. It’s not about reaching more people – the name of the game is reaching the right people and nurturing those relationships.

Why Content Marketing Works So Well

Think about it like this – would you be more likely to purchase an album from an artist you follow if you just saw one or two announcements about it’s release? Or if you had been following a weekly vlog series documenting the creation process that went into creating the album for a month?

You see? It’s presented like entertainment – who wouldn’t be interested to see what goes on in the studio? But after spending all that time watching that series, the fan is invested in your project – both from a time perspective as well as emotionally.

Start Before You’re Ready

The key to effective content marketing is to start before you’re ready. Don’t wait until you have something to promote (like a new album, tour, gig, or song) to start building an audience. Start NOW. Begin creating a fanbase around what you’re already doing everyday. Remember, the process can be just as valuable to you from a promotion standpoint as the finished product. Then, by the time you’re ready to release, you have a captivated audience just waiting to see what you have in store for them next.

Tie in Subtle Calls to Action

Now I know it can seem counter-intuitive to use content to promote, but the key to successful content marketing is adding relevant calls to action. Try to make the content you release have a purpose. Maybe you want your fans to vote on a merch design, pre-order your album, pre-order a ticket to a show, support you on Pledge Music, or sign up for your email list.

So you could post a picture of you and a fan who won a merch bundle for pre-ordering a ticket to your recent show and let your fans know that they could be entered to win free merch too if they pre-order instead of buying tickets at the door for the upcoming show on Saturday. You could share a short video montage on Facebook of your last email-subscriber-exclusive Google Hangout and give your fans a link to subscribe to get in on the next one.

I hope you’re starting to see just how valuable an asset content marketing is to your overall music marketing plan. As you go forward, try to use a good mix of push and pull marketing as you post to social media or email your list. If you want to learn more content marketing ideas, I’ve created a free ebook that outlines a content marketing plan for musicians with three checklist of social media post and email ideas you can use to get your ideas flowing. Click here to download the free ebook.