Promotion of Songs in Nigeria is as easy as you think.
You really need to get your music out of your studio and into the ears of people on a large scale, and when you don’t have money to hire PR people to run media campaigns for you, it is up to make sure people know about the music you are making.
Listen up. If you are a young and upcoming artiste in the Nigerian setting, and you don’t have a major label money behind you, the ability to self-promote your music is one of the most important skills you can have.
You really need to get your music out of your studio and into the ears of people on a large scale, and when you don’t have money to hire PR people to run media campaigns for you, it is up to make sure people know about the music you are making. Getting started can be a little overwhelming, however. These steps will help you start out right, and make sure all of the right people are standing up and taking notice of you.
Identify Your Goals – When you set out to promote your music, don’t try to cover a lot of ground at once. Take a look at the way larger artists are promoted – they have specific campaigns that promote specific things, like a new album or a tour. Choose one thing to promote, like: A single, a show, a website.
Once you know what to promote, you will be able to make clear goals for yourself, i.e. if you want to promote a single, then your goal is to have that single downloaded and played. With these goals in mind, you’ll find it easier to come up with promotion ideas, and you’ll be better able to judge the success of your promotions.
Target the Right Audience – With your promotional goal in mind, find out who the right audience for your campaign is. If you have a show coming up, then the right audience for your promotion are the local print publications, popular internet platforms and radio stations in the town in which your show is happening.
If you have a single coming out, your primary audience is your band mailing list, plus the media. Going for the right audience is especially important if your pockets aren’t deep. Don’t waste time and money letting Lagos know about an upcoming show in Port Harcourt or a Genevieve magazine about your new club single.
Have a Standard Promo Package – Just like when you send a demo to a label, to self promote your music, you need a good promo package. Your package should have:
A press release detailing your news
A short (one page) bio
A CD (a demo recording is cool, or an advance copy of an upcoming release)
A package of any press coverage you have had so far – press coverage begets press coverage
Your contact information (make sure to include an email address – people may hesitate to call you)
A color photo, or a link to a site where a photo can be downloaded. The press is more likely to run a photo if they don’t have to go looking for it.
Find Your Niche – The sad truth is, every writer, radio station, website, or fan for that matter, you are trying to reach is likely being bombarded with info from other musicians. I get press releases everyday from thousands of people. You have to stand out.
Try to find something that will make people more curious about you – give them a reason to want to know more. Being wealthy has worked wonders for DJ Cuppy who is at the start of her career and people write about 2face Idibia for being, very productive in procreation. You don’t have to devise a huge, calculated persona, but giving people a reason to check out your show or your CD before the others really is a good thing.
Bribe People – Another way to stand out from the crowd is to give free goodies. Press people and label bosses love getting something for nothing, and you’ll whip them and your fans into a frenzy (and get new fans) by giving goodies away. Some ideas:
Put some money behind the bar at a show and give free drink passes to all the industry people who come to check you out.
Give people on your mailing list an exclusive download once a month (be it a new song or an alternate version of a song). I really love this part.
At gigs, raffle (for free) awesome CDs made by you – everyone who signs up to your mailing list at the show gets entered in the drawing.
Branding – Get your name out there. Make up some stickers, badges, posters, T-shirts (very common in Nigeria) or anything else you can think of that include your name. Then, leave the stuff anywhere you can. Pass them out at clubs, give them out during events and performances, and seize every chance you get to dump your stuff at places and offices.
Soon, your name will be familiar to people even if they don’t know why, and when they see your name on the internet advertising an upcoming show, the part of their brain that handles recognition will scream “I know that name, I have seen it somewhere”.
Keep Track of Your Contacts – As you go through all of these steps, chances are that you are going to pick up a lot of new contacts along the way. Some of these contacts will be industry people and some will be fans. Never lose track of a contact. Keep a database on your computer for the industry people you have met and another database of fan contacts. These databases should be your first port of call for your next promotional campaign – and these databases should always be growing. Don’t write anyone off, even if you don’t get much feedback from them. You never know who is going to give you the break you need.