As a freelance musician, you’re juggling a lot, and it can feel overwhelming to do what it takes to keep your music career moving forward.
We heard it from many of our clients, including one who said this:
“There’s a LOT to do! I want to redo my website, update my recordings, and update my headshots. I’m pretty overwhelmed.”
You’ve probably heard us say before that if you set aside time each day for marketing-related tasks, you’ll be able to reach your goals faster than you realize.
But you still have questions like:
What should I focus on first?
How do I break big projects down into manageable steps?
Where’s the most important place I should be spending my time?
That’s why we created the ultimate music marketing plan for musicians.
We spell out exactly what to do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly to keep yourself on track all year long.Wondering what you should be doing to market yourself as a musician? Grab this marketing checklist from @icadenza. Click To Tweet
Music Marketing Plan: A Daily, Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Marketing Checklist for Musicians
The biggest thing that holds musicians back when it comes to marketing and promotion is the question of where to start.
We created this checklist to help you know exactly what to do with your time, so you can confidently take action toward building your career every day.
Scroll down for more details about each task in the checklist.
- Respond to emails
- Respond to tags, comments, and inquiries on social media
- Reach out to an influencer on social media
- Respond to comments on your blog, guest blog post, or interview
- Email one person that you’d like to collaborate with
- Follow up with one person who hasn’t responded to your email
- Go through your Big Project to-do list
- Update and remove any outdated information from your website
- Plan ahead for networking events or meetings
- Research new promoters or venues
- Write down leads for cool opportunities
- Check your social stats and website traffic
- Send an email to your list of subscribers
- Research new marketing strategies
- Create a list of prospective blogs or podcasts to be featured on (if applicable)
- Create a Big Project to-do list
- Clean up your email inbox
Daily Music Marketing Plan (1 hour)
Respond to emails (20 minutes)
Use this time to reply to anyone who has emailed you and is awaiting a response. (Don’t use this time to craft new emails or make initial contact with someone!) This is simply your time to catch up with people who are waiting to hear back from you.
If you find that someone in your circle tends to email you back extremely quickly and it feels like a game of email ping-pong, try a tool like Boomerang or Streak for Gmail. Both allow you to write an email then schedule it to be sent at a later date and time.
If emails tend to be a time suck for you, practice replying to people in 5 sentences or less. You’d be surprised how much you can say quickly.
If you find you receive the same inquiries via email (e.g. booking inquiries, gig offers, requests to purchase merchandise, etc.), consider “canning” your most effective responses in your drafts or on a Word document to copy and paste for later use. Gmail has a Canned Response feature that’s especially useful.If emails tend to be a time suck for you, practice replying to people in 5 sentences or less. Click To Tweet
Respond to tags, comments, and inquiries on social media (20 minutes)
No need to write novels when you’re responding to people on social media. Keep your responses concise but helpful and friendly.
Be sure to thank people who have shared your stuff or mentioned you to their followers — a bit of graciousness goes a long way.
Pop into groups and provide helpful advice if you can.
Hint: If the “business” side social media is taking more than 20-30 minutes out of your day, you’re using it wrong. When you’re using social media to promote yourself, it’s vital that you go in with a plan.
Reach out to an influencer on social media (5 minutes)
Choose someone you admire in the industry and make contact with them. This could mean commenting on their post or sharing something they’ve written.
This is not about simply liking post. You must do something to engage with the person in a thoughtful, meaningful, and non-spammy way.
Respond to comments on your blog, guest blog post, or interview (15 minutes)
This is only applicable if you’ve been featured on another website. Do a quick sweep to look for any comments or shares, then take a few moments to respond.
Weekly Music Marketing Plan (1 hour)
Email one person that you’d like to collaborate with (15 minutes)
Choose someone from your potential collaborators list (more on that below), and write an email to that person.
Be creative — you can send a video or voice memo if you want to stand out. (Just make sure to keep it short, preferably under 3 minutes.)
Follow up with one person who hasn’t responded to your email (5 minutes)
If you reached out to a venue, presenter, or potential collaborator and haven’t heard back yet, now’s the time to follow up.
Don’t be afraid to give a quick nudge. You can say something like, “Hi NAME! Just checking in. Have you had a chance to think about XYZ? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!”
Boomerang and Streak both make it easy to keep track of emails that don’t get responses. You can simply “boomerang” or “snooze” the email back to the top of your inbox in one week, two weeks, or whenever you’d like to be reminded to follow up. We generally recommend that two weeks is a good amount of time to wait before following up again.
Go through your Big Project to-do list (35 minutes)
Refer to your Big Project to-do list and take a minute to update with any additional tasks. Then, complete as much on the list as you can in 35 minutes. Although it might not feel like much time, you’ll be surprised by how much you can get done when you’re focused on one thing.
The key to this is not to get distracted by emails, social media, or cleaning your living room. Stay on task for 35 minutes and knock out as much from your to-do list as you can.
Update and remove any outdated information from your website (10 minutes)
If it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your website, this might take you more than 10 minutes. But after you get into a rhythm of checking it once a week, it’ll be super quick.
This is something that can really make you stand out. Even if your website doesn’t look the way you want it to look, you can keep it fresh with updated content.
Monthly Music Marketing Plan (2 hours & 45 minutes)
Plan ahead for networking events or meetings (15 minutes)
Look to see what events, gigs, or opportunities are coming up and decide how you want to make the most out of them.
Make sure you have business cards ready, review our guide on networking, get a haircut — whatever you need to do to confidently tackle the important events that are coming up.
You can also use this time to think about who you might want to meet with in person. Has a potential collaborator been emailing you for awhile? Suggest meeting for lunch or dinner to talk face-to-face (your treat!).
Research new promoters or venues (2 hours)
We discuss this in depth in our free guide here.
Overall, take time to find new places that would be a good fit for your performance or project. Start a spreadsheet where you can track the people you want to reach out to (then refer to your list when you reach out to people weekly).
Write down leads for cool opportunities (15 minutes)
Did a friend tell you about her awesome project that she’s working on? Is one of your favorite musicians running a crowdfunding campaign?
Did someone you meet at a networking event tell you that they’ll be in town in a few months?
Write down all these amazing opportunities so that you can follow up with people down the road.
Check your social stats and website traffic (15 minutes)
Review your analytics for your social media accounts and website, so that you can get a good feel for what’s working for you and what’s not.
Remember to approach this information with an objective point of view. It doesn’t mean that you suck at marketing if no one is visiting your site. (In fact, that’s perfectly normal for most musicians!)
If you find that fewer people are engaging with your website and social media than you would like, ask yourself what purpose you are providing for people to visit.
Is there information relevant to those booking you for gigs? Do you sell CDs or other merchandise? Is there a blog?
The more clarity you can have around what information you want a person to walk away with when they visit your site, the easier it will be to set that information up and draw them in.
Send an email to your list of subscribers (2 hours)
If you have a list of people who have signed up to get updates from you, be sure to email them at least once a month.
Your emails don’t have to be long or overly flashy. Just give them a taste of what you’ve been up to, offer helpful advice if applicable, and keep it friendly.
Quarterly Music Marketing Plan
Research new marketing strategies
Take time every few months to educate yourself on marketing trends. There are so many experts out there who are testing ways of getting their names out there — take advantage of what they learn and apply it to your own career.
Create a list of prospective blogs or podcasts to be featured on (if applicable)
Finding the right blogs and podcasts is half the battle when it comes to getting featured.
To start, search for places that are popular in your industry and have an engaged fan base. (Hint: many of these are the people you have probably been following for years!) Track the names of all the people you’d like to reach out to for an interview or guest post. And while you’re there, take note of who they reference and follow too!
Create a Big Project to-do list
Remember that you don’t have to tackle every project all at once. Instead, focus on one thing and get it done well.
Some things you can focus on for three months at a time might be: planning a promotion around your new album; updating your website; updating your press kit materials; getting your email list set up; refreshing your brand; starting a new music project.
Pick something to focus on for the next three months, and write down everything you need to do to make it happen.
Clean up your email inbox
Go through your emails and archive those that are no longer relevant. Unsubscribe from newsletters or companies that aren’t of interest. And catch up with anyone you might have missed when going through your daily or weekly to-do list.
Are you up to the challenge?
Success comes when you have a steady, clear focus on what you want and you take steps every day to move toward it.
Are you ready to commit yourself to doing the things on this checklist?
If so, leave a comment below and share your biggest takeaway from today’s post.
This post was originally published in January 2017. It was updated in June 2018 for accuracy.