Whether you’re an independent hip-hop artist grinding or a major label rapper with the backing of a corporation, one thing remains clear: touring will most likely be your biggest and most dependable revenue stream.
Like we outlined in our article about why touring is so important for artists, for independent rappers, it is especially crucial that you get your live show game on point as quickly as possible.
Your music most likely won’t be appearing on the radio anytime soon and getting exposed to millions of people around the country, but you can work hard on building up a strong fanbase and focusing on hitting the road as soon as possible to make consistent income.
To be successful with touring, you’re going need consistent promotion and marketing for all your live shows.
Here are 4 ways for independent hip-hop artists to promote their live shows across all marketing channels.
Promote it online
If you’re looking to perform live consistently, then hopefully you already have your own website. If not, make sure that’s the priority before hitting the road. You need your own platform that you control and manage, providing fans with music updates, tour schedules, post-show videos and plenty more.
You can also promote yourself online by going down the guest blogging route. From guest-writing a thought provoking article on a popular blog that deals with the kind of topics you rap about to doing a YouTube interview to talk about your music and your upcoming gigs, you can find that getting your name out there online is the most efficient way these days.
Never underestimate the power of the web – you might be performing locally, but unless you live in the middle of nowhere your local community will be using the internet, too.
Share it on social media
This one’s a given. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, there are plenty of social media channels out there that you can use to engage fans and let them:
- Listen to your music in the first place.
- Promote for you by sharing the gig listing.
- Buy tickets to come to the gig itself.
This means that using social media in such a fashion is very important, as it can help you build up a nice chain of promotion without even meaning it. By turning to the online world you can talk conversationally about your upcoming gig, making it easier than ever to hit the right spot in terms of exposure.
Social media also lets you be yourself, ask fans questions, give them answers and make a bit of a name for yourself. It allows you to break away from the idea that you are high and mighty or that you are above those you want to come and see your music. Many people feel artists are dehumanized today; well, you can change that immediately.
Secure media coverage
The most common and old-school way to get yourself hits and notice is to go to the press. We’ve spoken in the past about media lists, sending out press releases, building relationships with the press and how important a role this can play in your music development. Well, it also helps to boost your profile and make you seem more accessible to the world as a whole.
The press is therefore arguably your best avenue for strong promotion and getting your gigs advertised. Why? Because as good as the web can be, you are still counting on the right people being online at the right time to get wind of what you are offering. This is simply waiting for too many good things to fall in place for some people – the press, though, is something everyone still uses.
People who read the paper, the editorials, the magazines etc. will get wind of what you are spitting about thanks to the press. However, this takes a bit of personality and a lot of research.
From building up a media list who can shoot out your latest developments to their reader’s right through to building up a strong relationship with the local blogging community, you can find that getting press assistance is not quite the challenge it may have once sounded.
You will, though, need to get used to being in an interview kind of format. You’ll have to open up about yourself a bit more in the press as they don’t like to promote robots – they like to promote people who can make their paper sound great, who can give the paper a good write-up basically.
So, when you go to work with the press for promotion, remember that it’s a two-way street.
Engage with fans face to face
The most normal way of promoting yourself, though, is face-to-face. Getting out there with flyers and posters to help make sure you are spotted is a good idea. Not a designer? Then turn to a website like Fiverr. For just $5 you can get someone to design a bad ass flyer or even write you a good article to send out there.
Get your flyers handed out around town by locals – you can usually pay a few kids to do this for you if they are out and about anyway – and then also try and get it advertised in bars and clubs.
By doing this you obviously boost the chance of others hearing of you and going to talk to other people about you. They’ll get their attention caught by a cool design in a flyer or something similar and give you a good write-up – the kind of write-up that you need. This is going to then help you improve your reputation just by being visible and being seen in bars, clubs and the like.
Of course, the best way to advertise yourself is to be good at live shows. When you get a chance to perform, go at it like it’s your final show. Give people the “real” you – don’t hold back. In the world of music people don’t want more wooden actors, pretending to stand for something or spit about something they know nothing of.
Give the crowd a bit of authenticity and they’ll respond with loyalty in spades. To promote yourself you have to be willing to get your hands dirty, but you need to be ready to showcase your skills when the moment arises.
So, what method should you use? All of them! Don’t just stick with one, use all of these ideas and you’ll find that promoting your skills and talents is no longer quite as far-fetched as it may have once seemed.