1. Comment on related SoundCloud tracks
Connecting with other SoundCloud artists within your niche is an effective way to build a network for attracting more followers. Commenting on their tracks is one of the easiest ways to do this. It also makes you more visible to other artists’ listeners, drawing them to your tracks.
The key to making this strategy effective is leaving high-quality comments that would lead to a conversation between you and the track’s owner and fans. Feel free to comment about their track’s technical aspects or other topics that would be of interest to them. Do it in a constructive manner to leave a positive impression and encourage them to respond.
2. Connect with bloggers
Reaching out to music bloggers can increase the visibility of your music outside of SoundCloud and attract new followers. There are plenty of blogs out there that cater to your specific genre. These blogs are often on the lookout for new acts to feature, giving you a good opportunity to catch their attention. Talking to vloggers is just as important:
When submitting your music to blogs, prepare a good pitch for it. Talk about any interesting stories behind your tracks or aspects of your music in general. This will make you stand out from other submissions that the blogger is reviewing.
3. Post on music forums and Subreddits
While social media is the dominant online promotional channel for musicians nowadays, forums are still invaluable for drawing new SoundCloud followers. Reddit, in particular, remains a popular place for people to find new artists to follow. The site has dozens of active music subreddits, including one dedicated to SoundCloud.
Before submitting your tracks to any forum, familiarize yourself with their posting rules. You also don’t want your link posts to look spammy. Instead of just dropping your SoundCloud link, provide some context around it. You can talk about the inspirations behind the track or its technical aspects. This serves to pique readers’ interest and get them to click the link.
4. Share Your Music Publicly
SoundCloud was designed to be the simplest way to store your tracks in one place and “push them out” to social networks, blogs, etc. You can easily share single tracks or “sets” (a playlist of songs that all appear in one waveform player) to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more– or embed the SoundCloud player manually! Just click the “share” button on the player to get started sharing your music with the world.
When it comes to fan engagement, there are dozens of possibilities for sharing tracks and sets on SoundCloud: ask for feedback on alternate mixes, encourage your fans to create their own “perfect setlists,” post an untitled track and ask for fans to comment with their suggestions for the song name, etc.
5. Make it Easy for Bloggers to Access Your Tunes
SoundCloud makes it easier for you to do your own digital PR. Send your tracks to bloggers and journalists; you control whether they can download the tracks or simply stream them.
6. Share Your Works-in-progress Privately
Got some new material that you’d like to share with select fans? Are you collaborating with an artist across the country? The same private sharing feature that helps you manage your digital PR enables you to offer exclusive content and to solicit feedback from your producer, label, friends, or bandmates without having to “release” the tune to the world.
7. Create a Marketing Plan
In business, it’s common practice to start by stating your goal, identifying a target market, and then developing a product that fills the needs of that market to reach the goal. As a musician, this strategy is just as important for you as for any CEO.
Understand your ideal fans’ personalities as well as their habits. Do they go to clubs or music festivals? Are they more low-key and prefer to hang out at a rooftop bar, or enjoy listening to music with a few friends on a couch in the back room? Do they listen to music while working, working out, relaxing, or hanging out with friends? As a musician, chances are that how you consume your music is similar to how your potential fans like theirs. The important thing is to have these questions asked and answered, so you know how to best target people when you put your music out there.
There are lots of ways to get to know your potential fans:
- Attend shows by similar local artists, or look at the profiles of followers for those artists online.
- If you already have a small fan base, survey your listeners to find out more about them, and ask them how they found you.
- Look around on forums for people who like music like yours, and join the conversation.
- Explore YouTube videos of bands in your genre, and see what people say in the comments. Take a look at what other bands are associated with you, and then see if any of them are playing in your area anytime soon. Go mingle with their fans!
Ultimately, you should be able to create what is known as a marketing persona. This is simply a template which sums up the profile of your average listener. You always want to be as detailed as possible – to the point where if you can use your research to build yourself a fictional “average fan,” and give him or her a name, you’re golden.
8. Know Where Your Target Market Is
This leads to the next point: Where is your target market, both online and offline? Once you know more about who your potential listeners are and their habits and demographics, you can figure out where they are looking for music.
There are tons of places to find potential fans online. For example:
- SoundCloud (obviously)
The best part about looking online is that platforms are often social so you can not only see what your potential fans like, but also where they live, what activities they do, and how they interact with the web. Dig around for data, because the more you have, the better you can target.