Digital marketing ideas to try while working from home
Updated: Aug 4
Well… that escalated quickly! Working from home in self-isolation isn’t quite how I imagined this month would end. These are strange times for everyone, and if you are a musician or creator you're likely to be feeling the effects more than most. Lots of people have been talking about using the extra time at home to focus on a creative project… and I personally can't wait to hear what becomes of those demos gathering dust in a desolate corner of your MacBook. Or the t-shirt designs you’ve been sketching in your notebook for years.
Whether or not you unleash a burst of internet-breaking creativity, now that you can't leave the house you’ll need to be even more resourceful about ways to reach your audience. Increasing online engagement is probably something that's been on the radar for many of you anyway, and now seems the perfect time to give the issue a little more attention.
If you're looking to grow your audience, you need to approach this from two angles. Firstly, how do you keep your existing audience engaged; and secondly, how can you intrigue people who haven’t heard of you yet?
There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, but to give you some inspiration on how to stand out I’ve pulled together a few of my favourite marketing ideas.
Getting creative with existing material
Repurposing or adapting existing material (whether released or unreleased) can be a great way of getting people engaged. Involving your audience in the creative process can also work really well.
One example that stood out for me is an open source remix project from Battles for their Juice B Crypts album, created jointly with Warp Records. It's a really cool idea - visual, interactive and fun to play around with.
Another comes from Tame Impala, who released The Slow Rush In An Imaginary Place, a tongue-in-cheek immersive version of his latest album so fans can almost feel like they're at a show...
OK... so I appreciate these sorts of initiatives might be difficult for artists without a team around them. But anyone can find ways to interact with their audience.
Another nice idea is broadcasting a live session and asking followers to vote on how much they like certain elements of a track - a sort of crowdsourced creative process. Mark Gilyead has been doing this for his brand new project props, a great example of how you can get your audience involved from day 1. And artist Martha Hill has added a twist to an upcoming live set by asking fans to suggest a song for her to learn and play in pretty short order.
Virtual tours are becoming popular, with artists performing in hosted online 'venues'. It's an effective way to reach new people as the musician benefits from exposure to the venue's audience. I've noticed Italian-German artist JYLDA setting up a schedule of UK and German venues for an April tour, as well as announcing a joint live session with composer and producer Marino Arcaro. And Glasgow-based artist Asthmatic Harp has just finished a virtual tour as part of her ongoing album campaign, following release of single Bird of Paradise.
Online festivals are starting to pop up, many of which artists can apply to play. Check out The Takeover Festival, which offers artists amazing potential for exposure as it's free for viewers to watch (though audience members are encouraged to donate to music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins).
Another online festival for musicians to consider is Uncancelled Music Festival. Artists apply jointly with a music venue they know, and receive 45% of proceeds from each ‘stage’.
Online teaching and coaching
Online teaching and coaching is a great way to build a follower base. Singers John Lattimore and Sam Queen host daily live sessions over Instagram via London Singers Studio. Their joint live broadcasts with professional singers offer students a fab live masterclass where they can observe best singing practice and ask questions in real time.
Even members of Metronomy are getting involved, offering remote Ableton and Bass lessons on a 'pay what you can afford' basis.
Curated series of podcasts, playlists, blogs and reviews are a great way of giving your audience something to get their teeth into. Promoter Rockfeedback launched Lockdownfeedback, a new series “recommending the best music, film, TV and more” - keeping people engaged while shows are on hold - and London-based gig series Jam Sandwich have released a playlist comprising artists they have hosted over the last year or so.
On the funding side, Spotify are going to enable artists to fundraise from fans on their artist page. The company will also match donations up to $10m to organisations offering financial relief to the music community.
A fundraising campaign on a platform like gofundme or Patreon (like this one to support freelance route setters and coaches) can provide a lifeline for musicians, creators and freelancers. There has been an incredible sense of community lately, so don't be afraid to ask the people who love what you do - friends, family and fans - to offer their support.
A strategy for your own marketing ideas
The examples above are mainly music-specific, but the ideas translate well to other forms of creativity. When you’re coming up with your own ideas, here are a few key points to keep in mind:
Figure out how to showcase your work through interesting and engaging online content. It really does make a difference when you can see someone has put a lot of thought into what they’re doing and posting about.
Use social media either as the medium for this content, or to direct people to where it is based (a website, YouTube, Spotify etc.).
Use paid promotion to make sure people actually hear about your hard work (Feed can help you with that 😉)! Promoting your work helps you reach new audiences and - given the long-term decrease in organic reach on social media - also ensures your existing audience sees what you’re up to.
We’d love to hear from you if you have any other examples to share - or if you just want to chat about your own digital strategy. Find us @feed.hq or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.