Making a sustainable career from DJing relies on a lot more than just your mixing skills and track selection; you’ll also need to know how to promote yourself as a brand. Social media is one of the most important tools you can use to build your career and if you’re not getting yourself known you’re going to remain in the bedroom.
How will this help me?
You might think that all of this sounds a bit daunting; you’re a DJ after all, not a marketing expert. Think of it like this though: your brand is how you represent yourself – it’s the story you tell your audience about your music and who you are as a DJ.
For example, what do you think of when I say Sven Vath? Most of you will say ‘old German Techno God who owns Cocoon’ and the reason you’ll say that is because he’s been diligently building his brand since the 1980s. It’s made him one of the most successful and well-known DJs on the planet.
The masters of brand building are people like Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Disclosure and David Guetta. You might not like everything that they do, and some of them are outright cheesy but they make astronomical amounts of money because they’re very good at making sure their audience know who they are. As soon as you see a picture of them you instantly associate them with an image that has been built up in your mind over time from stories you’ve read about them in the media or through word of mouth.
You want your audience to recognise certain things about you as soon as they see your name on the flyer. I asked my good friend Luke Pompey what he wants people to associate his brand with and what tips he can give to DJs wanting to establish their brand…
“You want your audience to relate to your sound, your image, your personality and your professionalism when they see your photo or a link to your mix pop up on Facebook. I’m not suggesting you try and become an overnight celebrity but just change your thought process and don’t feel embarrassed to promote yourself. After all, you’re offering your amazing music skills to the world!”
The art of self-promotion:
So, we’ve established that self-promotion is a skill you need to learn, but how do you go about doing that?
As a DJ you are an artist and artists are well known for being terrible at marketing themselves. There are a couple of common fears amongst up and coming artists; you might wonder why anyone would want to listen to you or worry that you’re going to annoy people by pushing your gigs too hard. Well, the first thing you’re going to need to do is change that mind-set and start enjoying promoting yourself.
I’ve been inundated with thousands of mixes over the years and one of the first things that I look at is the presentation. It’s the main thing that jumps out before I even listen to the mix. Like most people, my time is precious and I’ve only got time to listen to mixes that are professionally presented with a quick description, links to social media profiles, a good-looking image and contact details. If a DJ can’t take the time to polish their image then I don’t have time to listen to their mix, simple! I think most promoters think this way…
3 Action steps to dramatically boost your brand:
To help you get started I’ve compiled a short list of action steps that you can easily implement to kick-start your brand and give yourself an edge over the competition. Try to set yourself a realistic goal to start doing all three within a week, for example.
This is a bit of a no-brainer. Soundcloud is the number one platform for sharing music online and if you’re not on there then you’re nowhere. They’ve had problems in recent years with DJs having their mixes taken down due to copyright infringements. In theory, they’d like you to have permission from every artist to use their track in your mix. However, due to the recent influx of subscription-based music sharing services most artists and labels are happy for you to use their music so long as you credit them in the track listing and provide links so that people can purchase the track. It’s free advertising after all. Mixes with no track listing are much more likely to be taken down and Soundcloud operate a ‘three strikes and you’re out rule’ after which they delete your account so please be aware of that when uploading.
As well as your personal profile on Facebook you should also have an artist page. This is essential for all DJs and producers because this is where you build up and engage with your fan base. It’s the best place to set up events pages, post mixes and news on upcoming gigs and generally stay in touch with your audience. Facebook has made it a little harder to engage with potential fans than it used to be and you’ll sometimes need to spend money on advertising and post boosting to hit the right people for essential posts. We’ll discuss Facebook advertising in a future blog though so don’t go spending any money just yet.
Having a Facebook page also helps make you more visible on Google and you may want to do a little bit of research on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to know which keywords to add to your bio. I’ll go also go in depth with this in the next few weeks so be sure to subscribe to my blog to be the first to get my free content.
A good set of promo posts will work wonders in setting you apart from the rest. You should have a variety of shots in different outfits and at different locations. These photos will play a major part in your brand’s image and you should use them on your website, your Facebook and Soundcloud profile and on any flyers for gigs you’ll be playing at. It’s worth spending a bit of time seeking out a good photographer who can advise you on how to go about this.
Some final thoughts:
By following these simple steps you’re putting yourself in a good position to be taken more seriously next time you send a mix to a promoter or enter a DJ competition. The way you present yourself online says a lot about your professionalism and dedication to furthering your career as a DJ. The main thing to remember is to always enjoy what you’re doing and never stop learning new strategies to build your skillset, whether than be on the decks, online or in person.
I’ll be going a lot more in-depth about all of these topics over the coming months so please make sure you’re the first in line to benefit from my free tips by clicking the ‘Subscribe’ button below.
Please feel free to leave a comment below on how I can help YOU improve your DJ career