Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017
You know how you get a street team to stand on corners and hand out CDs in order to gain you more exposure? Well, you may not have to do that as much, if you get venues and stores to do it for you. Just create a giveaway promo CD like this one…
…and ask the venue to set them out near the cashier or in a high traffic area. This especially works well if you have an upcoming show at the venue. But it can work even if you don’t, as long as you find cooperative venues.
Why this works?
To make this work best, you need to make it free. People really like it when things are free because they like taking free stuff no matter what it is. Depending on placement, it can be just as effective or even more effective than you standing on a street corner passing it out yourself. It’s an affordable and practical marketing tactic that can get you more exposure for your music in less time on a wider scale especially if you can find several venues to cooperate. It’s a great way to promote your music and gain new potential fans
Where can you put your Promo CDs?
You can place these babies in coffee shops, local record stores, novelty shops that fit your brand, clothing boutiques, artsy type shops, cafes (the ones where you have to go to the desk to pay), possibly even salons, non-profit centers, community centers, etc.
How to Make a Promo CD
Here is a list of supplies you’ll need:
- Pre Printed and Designed Postcards
- White CD Envelopes
- Light Colored Card Stock
- Sticker Paper
- Blank CDs
- CD Labels
- Duct Tape
Here is the equipment you’ll need:
- Computer with a Word Processor
- DVD Super Drive (one that burns stuff onto DVDs)
Here’s how I made my free promo giveaway CD to promote my music.
Step 1: The Postcard
I designed and printed up square postcards to use as an ‘album cover’. Here’s what mine looks like.
On it, I include my name, my genre and what type of music I do, a QR code linking to live video footage of me performing, my website, my tagline, and all the social media handles I could fit on it. Make sure the picture you choose is attractive and appealing. Use color. You can print lot of these up for really cheap at Got Print.
I can design one for you if necessary. Check out my list of services here.
Step 2: Other Materials to add to the ‘album cover’
While the postcard is being printed, you can work on a couple other things to make your promo CD stand out. I like to include a ‘FREE CD’ sticker so that they will know that it’s free and available for the taking. For the ‘FREE CD’ sticker, I just hand wrote the words “FREE CD” using a funky color ink. For the sticker I simply used some old mailing labels I had on hand.
If I’m trying to promote something specific like an upcoming show, I’ll add another sticker with the show details. I used cardstock to print up these and taped them onto the postcard. Here’s what that looks like….
It’s pretty basic. I included ‘Performing Live’ at the top. On the next line I include the venue along with the address following behind it on the next line. I also include the date, time, and what kind of show it is i.e. Free Show, Suggested Donation, Cover, Ticket info, etc.
Click here to download an editable template of this. It’s a Word Document. Once you fill it in, you will have to print it and do some cutting and taping.
Once you get the postcards printed and you have them in hand, attach the two stickers onto it and your ‘album cover’ is complete. Now the next step is to assemble your physical CDs.
Step 3: Assemble the Physical CDs
Select 3 to 6 of your best songs to go onto the album.
I recommend you go the extra mile and create a recording to introduce yourself to the listener. You can talk about what kind of music you do and where they can find you online. If you’re trying to promote an upcoming gig, this would be a great opportunity to talk a little about that. Here’s a sample of one of my intros…
Gather all of your audio files and burn them onto blank CDs.
Then design a label and print them out on CD/DVD label sheets. On my label I included my name, the names of the songs they will find on the CD, my logo, a picture, what I’m available for, my contact information, and logos from the various social media channels I can be found on. Here’s what my label looks like…
I designed my label in an adobe design software, but if you don’t have that, you might be able to do something similar in Word. Here is a site I found that offers CD/DVD label templates. I’ve never tried any of these label templates, so please let me know if you have any luck with them.
Step 4: Put it all together
Now that you’ve got your promo CDs burned and labeled, you can stick them into an envelope along with your business card if you have one, and attach your ‘album cover’ postcard to the front of it. I use duct tape because it’s pretty sturdy and won’t lose its adhesiveness as quickly as standard office tape would.
I usually make about 15 of these per venue. It can be a lot of work if you’re doing it all yourself. But it can be done. Plus, if you have some friends or family who are willing to help, you can assemble these together and have it done in less than 30 minutes. Rob and I took the pieces to a movie preview and assembled them while we sat on the floor waiting in line. In the process we met a lot of people asking us what we were doing. I passed out several business cards and got some leads to future gig opportunities.
I’ve been doing this for quite a while and I can tell you that it does work. Here are some of the results I’ve had doing this. I landed a radio interview, got people to come to shows, and I’ve gotten calls from people to do private gigs. Plus, when you do this to promote a show, you get bonus kudos from the venues. It makes you stand out, because not many artists are willing to go the extra mile and do this.
Put these everywhere that will allow it. Talk to managers and ask them if they can set them out. In my experience, I found that most managers are more than cooperative. You will find a few here and there that have a strict policy about setting out promo materials in their place so be sure to always speak to a manager first and get permission.
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