Some of the best and worst personal branding practitioners I know are musicians. The good ones promote the bejeezus out of themselves everywhere and anywhere they can. The bad ones book a gig, post something to Facebook (maybe), send a few posters to the venue, and leave it at that.

Here are five personal branding tips to help musicians promote their music, get more fans, and draw a bigger crowd at their next show.

  1. Post videos of your performances on YouTube and elsewhere. A lot of musicians don’t like putting up videos because they’re afraid it will take away from their live shows or music sales. But it’s quite the opposite. People will listen to your videos on a computer or mobile phone. Nothing compares to the live show or the CD or mp3 in the car. And this will give them a sample of new music you’re working on, or let them sample your work. Put up a couple of videos so people can see how you sound live, and they’ll want to come experience it.
  2. Build a mailing list. Set up a newsletter and encourage people to sign up for it on your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and at your live performances. Make sure you have a signup list at every show you do. Encourage people to sign it a few times during your performance.
  3. Build a Twitter and Facebook list. If you’re not on Twitter and Facebook yet, get on it. If you’re on it, beef it up. Use to find Twitter people in the cities where you’ll be playing. Upload your mailing list to Twitter and Facebook to add to those friends/followers as well.
  4. Swap features with another musician in your newsletter. Find another artist you think your fans would like. If you sing country, find another country artist. If you play jazz piano, find another jazz pianist. Feature them in your newsletter, and get them to feature you in theirs. After all, people like musical genres and several artists within it. So feature an artist in exchange for them featuring you. You both get exposed to a new audience, and can build new listeners, which makes it a win-win.
  5. Share mailing lists with another musician. This is a scary one for some musicians, because you’re trusting each other with your precious list. These are people who like you enough to give you permission to contact them again. And you hope the person you’re recommending will be acceptable to them as well. But if you can find someone you trust, send out an occasional joint newsletter. Contribute to it equally and share it with both email lists.

These last two points may seem especially odd for musicians, but this kind of thing happens in the entrepreneurial world all the time. And like it or not, musicians are entrepreneurs. You can have greater successes and reach a wider audience if you start thinking like one.


Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing. His wife is a jazz singer and is building her own audience.