“Um…I’m not touring. So, I don’t have anything to say.”
“You want me to send one HOW often?! What on earth would I write about?!”
“I’m not an artist. So, I don’t need a newsletter. Right?”
Whenever I start talking to my clients or students about sending a newsletter, I typically get one of two reactions:
1. a look of sheer terror
2. a totally blank stare.
Followed by a variation of one of the above comments.
For some reason, this particular task tends to stop many creatives in their tracks.
But a newsletter, and the email list that comes with it, is a critical element in your music marketing toolkit. And it’s NOT just for performing artists. Songwriters, composers, producers, musicians, music teachers, and other aspiring music moguls can ALL benefit from using a newsletter to communicate with their respective audiences.
The issue that seems to be the biggest stumbling block is WHAT TO WRITE.
So…off the top of my head…here’s a list of things you can write about and/or include in your newsletter:
- Gigs that are coming up – where they are, when they are, how your fans can get tickets, etc.
- Gigs that just happened – people you met, the great time you had, something special about the venue or that particular night, etc.
- Songs you’re currently working on – your own, your co-writes, your work-for-hires, etc.
- Projects you’re currently working on – CD projects for yourself, projects for music libraries, special performances or tours, industry or legislative advocacy projects, etc.
- Projects you’re currently playing on – for yourself, your co-writers, your clients, your friends, your band mates, or for an outside studio, producer, label, publisher, etc.
- Photos of you “working” – writing, recording, performing, practicing, etc.
- Photos of you “behind the scenes” – backstage, in the car/van, in your office, at a meeting, getting ready for a show, packing, buying gear, having lunch in your PJs, etc.
- Info on how someone can purchase your CDs and downloads – your website, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.
- Info on how someone can book you for a gig and/or house concert – who to contact, your availability, etc.
- Info on how someone can hire you to play on a session – instruments you play, email or phone contact, how you work, etc.
- Info on how someone can license your music – where they can listen, different types of licenses available, where your music fits well, who they should contact, etc.
- Info on how someone can book you and/or your studio for their recording – who to contact, what you need to know about the project, turnaround times, styles you specialize in, etc.
- Photos that your fans have taken at your gigs
- Photos that your clients have taken at your studio
- Links to your website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Notes from the road
- Notes from your studio
- Notes from your living room, garage, or wherever
- Song placements in film/TV – current, previous, upcoming, etc.
- Cuts you’ve had – major, indie, local, etc.
- Links to your music – on your website, on iTunes, on Amazon Music, on CD Baby, etc.
- Free download versions of your songs (or free download codes so they can download a song for free)
- Links to your own YouTube videos – of your own music or select cover songs
- YouTube links of anyone covering your songs
- Cool people you’re working with and/or writing with
- Your Kickstarter, Pledge Music, or other crowdfunding campaign
- Recordings you’re working on – which songs, how far along you are, what parts you’re working on, the expected release date, parts that clicked, parts that gave you trouble, etc.
- Music industry events you are attending – showcases, conferences, workshops, festivals, etc.
- Other music industry activities you participate in – teaching, volunteering, interviews, judging, etc.
- Radio or TV appearances – local, regional, web, national, etc.
- Podcast, blog, and other Internet appearances – live, recorded, streaming, etc.
- Contests you’ve entered and/or won
- Contests you’ve judged
- Press you’ve gotten – for gigs, recordings, etc.
- Honors or awards received – yes, include your Grammys, but also awards by songwriting organizations, community awards, educational honors, sponsorships & endorsements, etc.
- Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings – about the music business or life in general
- Personal news you want to share – weddings, babies, moving, birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, funny stories, etc.
- Trials and tribulations – creative, business, or personal struggles (note: Be careful with this one. You DON’T want to become complainy or whiny!)
- Politics and activism – IF this is part of your artistic persona. And IF this is something you WANT to be known for. Otherwise, leave it out.
- Stories behind the songs – where do the ideas come from?
- Your own story – your hometown, your musical background, where you went to school, your ancestry, places you’ve lived, etc.
- Songs that inspire or influence you
- Music you’re currently listening to
- Other artists that have inspired or influenced you
- Books, movies, places, people, activities, events, or other things that inspire or influence you
- Fan profiles and spotlights – shine a light on your biggest and best fans!
- Recommended products – music gear, travel-related, things you use that make life easier, etc.
- Recommended websites – quotes, organizations you support, music sites, other artists, just plain cool sites, etc.
- Recommended events – concerts, music conferences, social meetups, festivals, fairs, special sales, TED/TEDx, etc.
- Quote of the week/month – inspirational, funny, etc.
- Quotes and Testimonials from fans or clients – about your music, about seeing you at a gig, about a particular CD, about working with you, etc.
- Share requests – ask your subscribers to share your music with friends and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Questions for your audience/fans/clients – where they’d like to see you play, would they host a house concert for you, what’s their favorite song of yours, how do they describe your music to others, etc.
Seriously…these are just the ones that came to me as I was typing and editing. I’m sure there are a ton more.
Now that you’ve seen this list, what ideas do YOU have? Share them below in the comments.
And then…get writing that newsletter!