Musician Marketing: What Do You Need?

This is the second article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market yourself as a successful musician.

Once you've figured out how you're going to brand the music industry, it's time to think about how you'll get your message in front of your target audience: your fan base, venue hiring managers, producers, agents, studio executives and record labels. The following details what marketing materials you need to successfully market yourself as a musician and get the gigs, the plays, and the pay.

Must-have musician marketing materials

Band press kit - A band press kit - or musician press kit - is similar to a corporate identity package. It is what you will send to radio jockeys, music executives, the media and paying venues to try to get their attention. In a custom pocket folder you'll include a bio sheet, a set list flyer, press clippings, a CD, business cards, a poster and any other important information pertaining to your act.

Business cards - Think musicians shouldn't carry business cards? Think again. Unless you're Eric Clapton or Taylor Swift, assume that no one recognizes you. Not all musicians are headliners, and even most professional musicians play their instruments behind the scenes as the "star" performs. That's why you need a calling card. If you're a blues bassist, for example, your business card left in the hands of the right people can land you many great gigs that ultimately lead to your big break.

Postcards - There is no reason whatsoever that you should ignore the supreme power of direct-mail postcard marketing. Send postcards to likely fans (once you've identified the demographics of your fan base, which you should have done during the branding process) to introduce new albums, to announce that you're going to be playing a local venue, etc., so you can sell more albums/song downloads, tickets and licensed merchandise.

Posters - Many people like to put posters of their favorite artists on their walls: This leads to powerful third-party word-of-mouth marketing when their friends, family members and co-workers see your posters. Instead of simply doing a band photo in front of a brick wall or an artsy musician photo, try to be unique and creative within the likely environment. You might, for example, have a song about work that you can use as the theme for an office poster (think: "Take This Job and Shove It").

Club card flyers - One thing successful musicians learn at a very early stage is that your venue will not spend an exorbitant amount of money promoting you - at least, not until you've hit the big time. You can increase your clout, grow your fan base, and ultimately command more attention from industry execs and paying venues when you self-promote your shows using club card flyers.

Calendars - Everyone loves (and uses) free calendars. Showcase your musical talents via printed poster and you'll market your target audience 365 days a year.

Website - It's hard enough to compete in the music industry today. Put up a website with music clips, videos, bios, etc., and make sure your URL is included on all of your printed marketing materials.