If you're like most indie or DIY artists, you're doing this hustle on your own. You may have a small crew helping you out, but most of your work is self-invested, and self-hustled. It's also safe to say you're busting out a 9-5 job, while doing a bit of marketing and planning during your lunch break or on weekends.
But we all know that sometimes when we get back from the office, we're just too damn tired to contact media, book shows and perfect our social media channels. On the weekends, we might fair a bit better, but there's some days where we just simply can't follow an organized routine.
This is all common. Juggling tasks is simply part of our path. However - it's that extra 5% of effort that's going to separate you for the rest. 95% of this game is just showing up and having a good product - the extra 5% is all the little things that make you stand out. Like organized structure.
That being said, you don't have to wake up at 5am to work on your music before heading to work. You also don't have to come home and work on it vigilantly every single night. It won't hurt! But it's not necessary. Especially if you use the below tools that will make your life easier.
So, here's how to marketing smarter - not harder.
1) Get your pre-made media lists here!
In PR, your media list is your lifeline. A media list is a list of outlets that you're wanting to contact for song promotion or any form of news. It contains the names, information and email addresses for all the writers you're looking to contact. As you evolve, this list is going to be more of your close business partners, rather than just names on a sheet.
That being said, when getting your hands on a media list - send out individual messages that are directed towards the writer. Don't just blast an email to 1,000 writers blindly. Be personable and write a proper pitch.
A media list can be hard to develop. Professional publicists use expensive database software, and more established artists work from past coverage and previous relationships. One hack (for starting ground-up or adding onto your existing list) would be to simply check out the directory of resources below. It's a quick, small expense, but it gives you a campaigns worth of contacts.
Again, don't spam.
Check out some pre-made lists here: popup.wtylerconsulting.com
This is an initiative I started a few weeks ago to give tools to artists. Right now there's a few solid media lists and advertising guides, with new items being added weekly. The idea here is to empower artists to utilize affordable resources and build relationships with writers. Currently, a lot of artists rely on shady eblast deals or unpredictable PR campaigns. These eblasts may get you copy and pasted on a low-tier blog, but a resource like this allows you to build relationships with writers, from major outlets to indie focused. Check 'em out.
Other tools to build your own media list simply include: ZoomInfo, Google Sheets and... Google.
I recommend using ZoomInfo to find writers at certain outlets, and add them to a Google Sheet for organization. If you can't find them in ZoomInfo, you'd be surprised at how far a simple Google search will take you. Often you can find media contact on the outlet website, a writers Twitter bio, or even a portfolio.
Though again, go ahead and check out the above resource for a few solid lists for your work.
2) Use Boomerang to schedule your promo emails!
Here's the thing about pitching press - eblast services like Mailchimp are great for newsletters (because people have actively subscribed) but they don't work as well for cold-emailing press. They don't work because if a user isn't signed up for your list, it usually goes into junkmail - especially if there's multiple links.
So you have a few options - upgrading to a professional press service that costs a good chunk of change a month, BCCing everyone on your list in one messy email, or using the aforementioned newsletter service and just hoping for the best.
However, there's another option and it can be done straight from your Gmail account, and it's called Boomerang. Boomerang allows users to schedule their emails in advance. Therefore, you can schedule your pitches, as well as follow-up emails throughout the week.
I'd also recommend you segment your lists out so they're personal. For instance, find writers who have covered a specific artist you're similar to, so you can open up with, "I really loved your piece on _____, and I think you'd dig my work, too." Finding ways to personalize emails are key.
The program pairs perfectly with Gmail as a plug-in, and you can also partner this with other native Gmail features (which we will cover next). The program has free and paid tiers. The free tiers do have a cap on the number of emails sent, however for $5 a month you can send a larger amount. For $14 a month, you can send unlimited, and also utilize your business account, which might seem high but for around $180 a year, it's not too bad of an investment.
Of course, there's a free trial and the free tier you can play around with.
3) Try Gmails Canned Response feature instead of copy/paste!
You know what I love? Tools that you already have! If you have a gmail account, then you have this feature. Gmail has this cool little option called "canned responses". Canned responses are a templated response that you can access when writing an email.
The template was intended for quick replies that a person may make often. So maybe, "Thanks for the email! I'll look into this before Friday." Or, "Thanks for writing in, I'll be reviewing it with the team and be in touch ASAP."
However - these canned responses can be used for artists, too. By throwing in a template of your pitch, you don't have to copy and paste each time. You can also quickly edit sentences so they are more personalized for the outlet. For example, editing in information about the writers work, or how you love the outlet's content.
You can also use "trying you again.." emails in your canned responses. Which is simply an email that can say something along the lines of: "Hey! Just trying you again concerning my submission - hope you had the chance to check it out."
(Of course, add a bit more in there.)
Now that you have your pitches saved as canned responses for quick use, you can simple click a button - make some tweaks and then schedule via Boomerang and magically, you just created your own PR distribution process.
This can also be used for booking, or simple introductions, too.
Setting up is really as simple as: Clicking the gear icon > Settings > Labs > Search for Canned Responses in search bar > Click Enable.
Though below is a good resource to follow, too.
4) Use Buffer, Hootesuite, Anything!
Social media is your life-force. It's your window to fans, press and overall brand recognition. Down the line, it should also be your window for straight-up revenue. That being said, it's important. However, it's the easiest to lose track of. You need a proper content mix to ensure you're posting enough personal, branded and sales content to succeed.
You don't want fans forgetting you're an artist because you post so much Arthur memes, but you also don't want to post so much music you come off as a spammer.
I recommend utilizing Buffer (or other similar outlets) in any way that you can. These programs allow you to schedule content in advance - I tend to recommend you throw your promo and branded content on Buffer, and then manually spend some time posting your non-music related content. That way your promo and sales content is already taken care of.
Buffer is also great as it auto-posts during your peak times, and it also pulls images when sharing links - something similar programs don't do.
These are four fast ways to organize your pitching and social media. Got more tips? Link with me on Twitter at @WTylerAllen