Music Business

Branding tips for Singer/Songwriters

Part of being an artist involves developing your own voice. But this not only applies to your actual singing voice or your songwriting style, but also touches on your Marketing efforts! In order to connect with your ideal audience, you need to “stand” for something! You need to define your artist identity, which will determine the content you post on social media and what you post and even how you post as well!

Think of Instagram for example…look at the profiles you yourself follow and think about why you keep coming back to those! Is the content engaging? Are the filters (applied to images) consistent and do they create a certain mood that´s inviting you into the artist´s world?

I´m sure you´ll discover that most successful Instagram profiles do indeed follow certain schemes!

Now, there are plenty of ways how to edit images and there are tons of free tutorials online, that elaborte on strategies concerning the algorithmns of the platforms of your choice. Go to those tutorials to find out how often you should post and what drives more followers to your profiles, if you like!

In this post however, we will go a step back and start developing a branding concept, which will be at the core of all your Marketing and Promotions efforts!

The first questions to ask yourself aim at the definition of “who you are” as an artist and will ultimately help you connect to likeminded peers.

So here are some questions, that I recommend taking enough time to answer:

1) How would you describe your songwriting style  (e.g. lyric driven, groovy,  upbeat….) and do you stay within a certain genre of music?

2) Which instrumentation do you use mostly? What defines your sound?

3) Are you outgoing or more introverted? Are you bold or shy? What´s your stage personality like?

4) What´s important to you as a songwriter? Is your focus on  self-expressing or much rather connecting with others or getting (social/political or inspirational) messages out?

5) Where do you draw inspiration from? List books, movies, animals, artists you admire and find out which topics interest you? E.g. historical events, nature, mysticism etc.

Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to define yourself in one sentence.

To illustrate this: If you were Shania Twain for example, this sentence could sound like this:

I am a bold singer with tons of pop-driven upbeat country songs, that aim to empower and inspire women of all ages. I draw inspiration from the struggles and issues women face in their day to day.

This definition of “who you are” will help you enourmously when posting content. Always check if your content matches your core identity.

The next set of questions will help you understand how to best communicate who you are:

1) Where and when do people (like yourself) consume music the most? E.g. Watching Youtube videos alone at night vs. in the car while commuting to work or in clubs on Friday night…You get the idea!

2) Which visuals represent who you are the most? Think of colours you wear, clothing styles, art pieces and the like.

These questions should allow you to define a signature look with regard to your fashion style, that is also applicable to your social media accounts.

Again, if you were Shania Twain you would want to wear intense colours, look into the camera directly, be sexy, but not cheap, spread positive vibes, and independence. You would post a lot of close-ups and power poses and promote feminism. People would listen to your music in the morning before work and after work, till late at night and dance to it! So, your clothes would combine this “all-put-together “style (from in the morning going to work) with a more lose after-work, cozy look and throwing in some sexy going out styles as well! You´d be allowing women to express all these different sides of themselves and radiating confidence in all of them! 😉

Last not least, you should also know your whys. Why are you communicating what you are communicating?

1) What do you believe in, and what do you want to spread in the world?

2) What is it that you love about music?

3) If music weren´t your job, what would you do instead?

These questions should help you discover where your intrinsical motivation is rooted (worth a lot, when you run low on energy every now and then). Make sure to keep this dear to heart and do check every post you publish with regard to whether it is aligned with your “why”- your reason to make music in the first place!.

Let´s summarize:

Once you have all your answers down, think of 5 words, that define who you are, then find 5 words to describe your style and at least 3 reasons you do what you do!

Keep these words on a vision board as a quick reminder, whenever you get lost!

Again if you were Shania, this could be a possible version:

Who you are:

bold woman, leader, flirtatious, fearless, inspiring

Style: red lips, pop colours, sexy tops and skirts, athletic

Reasons you do what you do:

empower, inspire, make girls feel good about themselves

Putting these concepts into action:

Social Media:

Think of which pictures and contents could represent these ideas and (!) keep your “why” in mind.

Being Shania, you would want to empower other women, so you would want to make sure to post powerful images, that still manage to make you look like a good friend, not an arrogant snob.

I´d advise you to interchange power poses with smiley close ups and fun “behind the scenes” peeks.

Playing gigs:

Also keep your “identity” and your “why” in mind when booking shows or attending events. Make sure the gigs you take on are always the right stage for you to transport your core messages as an artist.

Last not least, don´t forget to stay real!

Amidst all these definitions and rules, that we are using as references, we must not mask our true identity! Make sure always to be authentic and let some flaws come through as well! Less showreel, more you!

Hopefully these questions trigger something good! Let me know if this post was helpful to you!

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