You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, and perhaps even years learning your craft in the bedroom as a DJ, and now feel it’s time to get club or event gigs.
But how can you promote yourself as a DJ? Not just online or in a particular music genre or industry, but also offline, perhaps in a local town or city?
In this guide, I will set out the everything you need to know in order to master DJ marketing, so you can promote yourself better and earn the DJ sets and gigs that your skills deserve.
It’s your essential guide to DJ promotion, and should mean you never go without a gig again.
Before we start though, why should you listen to me and take my advice?
Over the last couple of decades, I’ve worked as a DJ, put on successful club events and ran DJ agencies. I’ve booked hundreds of high profile DJs, local DJs, and have also helped propel their careers via my DJ agency. I believe that this gives me a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t.
I also run a successful online marketing agency which gives me a insight into the digital side of DJ promotion.
Putting all this experience and knowledge together has given me an in-depth knowledge of how digital marketing can work in tandem with DJ marketing and club promotion.
DJ Promotion & Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
This is my ultimate DJ marketing guide, with tips on how to promote yourself as a DJ online, and in a local or global market. It’s essential reading for not just bedroom DJs just starting out, but also more established DJs who want to take themselves to the next level.
This guide includes:
- Creating and Developing your DJ Brand
- Advertising & Promoting Yourself as a DJ
- Networking and Building Relationships
- And also… What Not to Do
Step 1: Creating and Developing Your DJ Brand
DJ promotion starts with your brand. Branding yourself as a DJ is the first step in the promotional process to building a long-lasting career.
You will need to:
- Create your DJ name
- Design a DJ logo
- Have DJ press shots and photography taken
- Write a good DJ bio
- Have DJ mixes available online
- Create your social media profiles
- Build a DJ website
- Create your DJ press pack for download
Think of yourself as a marketable business and asset. The best businesses in the world are the ones that have an instantly identifiable brand and logo that perfectly represents them. You also need one that will help promote you and your music.
To help with this, let me start off with a simple question which uses the popular elevator pitch idea.
“If you had just 2 minutes to tell someone about your identity, market, and how you are different to other DJs, what would you say?”
Most DJs won’t have a great answer to this question, which is essential if you are serious about building a DJ brand for yourself.
You should be able to give an answer that isn’t bland, doesn’t sound like every other DJ, and speaks volumes about who you are, what you bring to the party, and what people can expect from your music and performance.
Get this right, and it’s the successful first step you can take in building a DJ brand for yourself, as well as being something that you can adapt for your DJ bio to use in your promotional and marketing materials.
Once you have this aspect done, you can then start to take that brand identity over into the development of a logo and DJ name.
Create a DJ Name
You might already have one, but if you don’t it’s time to create a DJ name that will speak for you as a DJ, as well as representing you as a brand.
The secret to choosing a good DJ name is to come up with something that is instantly recognisable plus identifies you and your music style.
Think carefully about your DJ name. It’s not easy to start from scratch once you have an established DJ name that you are using in advertising materials.
Here are some tips on choosing a DJ name that can help you in choosing yours:
Option 1: Use Your Own Name
Some DJs will have a real name (or real-sounding name) that already sounds great and gives off a vibe. Think of DJs such as Calvin Harris, Armin Van Burren, and David Guetta – they just sound like great DJ names already.
What does your own real name sound like?
It might be that it will suit your DJ persona.
But you may want to keep your real-life from your DJ-life. Many part-time DJs who have other more mainstream careers like to keep the two things very separated un-related – for example, when people Google your real name do you want it to reveal that you also work as a DJ?
Option 2: Use a Variation on Your Name
It still means you keep things personal, but could just be an adjustment to your surname, a shortening of the name, or making it sound more foreign and exotic.
For example, some of the biggest trance music DJs in the world tend to have Germanic and Scandinavian sounding name, so you might want to change up your name to sound more like that.
Option 3: Use a Nickname
When I was at school I was called Yogi. Now unfortunately there is already a DJ Yogi out there so that was a non-starter. But perhaps, just perhaps, you have a nickname that is ideal as a DJ name.
One thing to remember is that certain music styles can tend to have certain DJ naming trends. I’ve already mentioned trance DJs, but similarly look at the dub-step scene.
The names of the top dub-step DJs tend to be very industrial sounding; names such as Skrillex, Major Lazer, Krewella, Nero, and Noisa – they don’t really sound like wedding DJs do they?
Other Things to Consider When Choosing Your DJ Name
Once you have settled on a DJ name, go and make sure that nobody else is already using it. This is simple enough to do, just Google it!
If you find that it’s not being used, then the next thing to do is to check that the website domain name is available as having a website will be a key part of your DJ branding and Dj marketing in the future.
The best place to check to see whether a domain name is already taken is on a website called Namecheap. Visit that website, type your DJ name in, and see if the .com version is available to purchase.
It might also be worth making secondary checks on Facebook and Twitter to see if the name is free and available to use.
If you need any additional inspiration go take a look at DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ list. Are there any DJs in there who play a similar style of music to you? If so, look for trends in DJ naming conventions and choose your own wisely!
Design a DJ Logo
Knowing how to design a DJ logo is an interesting aspect of your DJ promotion and marketing, as it will be the main identifying element to your brand that will appear on flyers, posters, websites, social media, business cards and even merchandise.
A well-designed DJ logo will embody you as an artist and be a key part of your marketing materials, press pack, and online presence.
I remember in the late 90s when dance music DJs were just starting to become celebrities in their own right. Back then I don’t really remember any of them having logos. It was only around the year 2000 this started to change.
These days every DJ needs or has a recognisable logo. It’s very common now for dance music events to simply have DJ logos listed, rather than DJ names – you can see an example in the poster below from the UK Creamfields festival.
But how do you design a DJ logo?
If you are not someone who can design, and don’t have any friends who are designers, then my recommendation would be the 48 Hours Logo website. Click that link and you can pay just $29 dollars for 20 of their designers to come up with different logo ideas which you can then choose from. The quality of the logo designs are always exceptional.
DJ Press Shots and Photography
Consider having professional DJ press photographs taken. These can be used on social media, flyers, websites, and promotional materials. Great photography will set you apart from the competition and is an essential aspect to how you can promote yourself with effective DJ marketing.
You will need a collection of hi-res photos that you can give to promotors and event organisers, as well as use on your own marketing materials.
It’s very easy to get this wrong though, as the Internet is littered with examples of appalling DJ press photographs. Here’s one of my personal favourites when DJ press shots can go bad – although I assume this image is tongue in cheek!
Deciding the style you choose to go for will depend on your music genre, so take a look at what the big DJs in your scene are using for press photography and try to mimic that.
As an example, it’s unlikely that a wedding DJ would have press shots of him or her looking moody in the back alleyway of an industrial city – perhaps a dub-step DJ would though?
Think carefully about the image you want to portray before having any photography done. It will also pay to have headshots, action shots, and various dimensions taken so they can be adapted for use by yourself and club promotors.
Write a DJ Biography
Your DJ bio comes next.
Like anything else in print, a well-written bio has good spelling, grammar and good flow. It should also have a structure as well.
When I managed DJs via my agency, I had a format I would follow for any well-written DJ bios. You can take the format I used which is developed using questions like this:
- Where you are from?
- How did you get started?
- What and who are your influences?
- What is your genre and style?
- What makes you different and unique?
- What are you latest achievements?
- Where can people hear your mixes?
- What are the links to your social media profiles and website?
- How can promotors book you?
Your DI bio should answer all of those questions above.
Things I recommend you avoid are bragging and boasting. Yes, you want to promote yourself better but nobody likes a big-head.
I also prefer DJ bios to not have any clichés in them.
Some of the worst DJ bios I have read include cliché statements such as “I discovered music in my mother’s womb, and have been destroying dancefloors ever since with banging tune selections” … sounds terrible eh?
If you cannot write to a good standard then get someone to do it for you – it might pay to revisit the elevator pitch idea I mentioned earlier in the guide to help form the content.
And don’t forget to make sure that the DJ bio is properly spell-checked and contains no grammatical errors.
I would also recommend that you update it regularly as I’ve lost count of how many DJ bios I read that might reference a year – for example saying something like “2002 is set to be a breakout year for DJ Unknown” – all that tells a promotor is that you lack an attention to detail and haven’t updated your profile in years.
DJ Mixes Available to Listen to Online
It’s unlikely that you will get booked as a DJ unless people are able to hear your skills on the decks. This is where having mixes available to stream and listen to online is essential. You should also put these links into your DJ bio and press pack.
There are plenty of websites where you can host DJ mixes for free including SoundCloud.com, MixCloud.com and YouTube.com.
All these platforms are simple and easy to use, and will help you to promote yourself as a DJ to a wider audience as well as providing somewhere for you to showcase your sound to event organizers.
Uploading a DJ mix to YouTube though will require a slightly different skill-set.
On YouTube, your mix upload will need to be in a video format, meaning you will need to create an artwork file to accompany it, and then export the whole file as video.
I’ve put together a very simple to follow guide on how you can upload your mixes to YouTube, including ways in which you can get more plays and listens. You might also want to read our recent guide to how DJs can use Spotify as a marketing tool.
We also had a guest contributor put together a guide on how to use artwork on a YouTube video – both tutorials will help you market yourself better, and are key for any DJ promotion.
Any mixes that you upload to YouTube can use your DJ brand and logo as you can use them in the video artwork.
Create Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is an essential DJ promotion tool which is free, accessible, letting you interact with fans and promotors in a place where pretty much anyone can find out more about you.
You will need a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Obviously.
I’ve previously written about how you can create a DJ Facebook fan page that rocks which I recommend reading if you want to get the most out of social media.
The key take-outs from that post talk about 5 essential tips to consider with a DJ Facebook fan page:
- Create a vanity URL such as facebook.com/yourdjname
- Publish your DJ bio and about information
- Upload your DJ logo and artwork
- Put your mixes on their to stream
- Keep things current and up to date
In simple terms, in the modern world, if you aren’t on social media then you may as well not exist. Harsh, but when it comes to the DJ world it’s true.
A word of warning though: social media can be an incredible time resource. It’s easy to get sucked into it and go down various rabbit holes.
Build a DJ Website
You can skip this if you want, and just opt to have social media pages… but the biggest DJs in the world will all have their own websites.
The benefits to having your own DJ website is that you can consolidate all of your DJ marketing assets in one place, you have control over it, and nobody can delete it or block you from using it which can happen with suspended social media accounts.
Example pages you might want to have on your DJ website would be:
- About Page (includes DJ Bio)
- Press Pack Download
- Events and Dates (list your upcoming gigs)
- Mix Downloads (embed your mixes from YouTube and Soundcloud)
- Email Newsletter Sign-Up
- Blog and News
- Gallery (photos)
- Booking Information
- Shop (sells merchandise)
If you know nothing about web design, then you can usually find someone locally who might be able to set something up for you on the cheap.
Search Google for freelance web designers in your area.
Create a Downloadable Press Pack
Now you have all of these elements, it’s time to put your press pack together – this is where you fuse together all of your DJ marketing materials into one place that can then be easily downloaded or sent via email.
But what is in a DJ press pack?
- DJ bio in Word or text file format
- Links to your social media profiles and website
- Links to your online mixes
- Hi-res press photography
- DJ logo in a hi-res transparent format
Place all of those files into a folder, and then use a program such as WinZip to compress it so that it’s then just one file you can send out.
In terms of hosting it, if you have your own website you can upload it so anybody can download it when they need it.
If you don’t want to waste bandwidth, or don’t have a website then simply keep the DJ press pack file on your computer in a zip folder, and send it out via email upon request.
Your press pack file might be quite large, and might not get through some email systems, so a good tip here would be to sign-up with a free account to a website like Hightail.
This lets you upload files securely, and then send emails to people from Hightail giving the recipient a download link. It can save a lot of time and worry!
Step 2. Advertising & Promoting Yourself as a DJ
The brand development side of things all adds into the mix of your self-promotion strategy. You can also pay to promote yourself too, with some advertising methods.
This section isn’t massive, but contains just a few tips and hints you could look at.
Learning How to Sell Yourself
Being a natural sales person can put a lot of people out of their comfort zone. I’ve worked as a wedding DJ in the past, and part of my sales strategy was to differentiate myself from the local competition.
In today’s market, it could be that you market and sell yourself as a wedding DJ who will also offer to work as an MC, or will organise party games as well as the music.
Those might be USPs you have, but then selling them into a potential client can require negotiation skills.
I talk about negotiating your DJ fee in this video below. It’s just spoken word audio, but will give you some great ideas on how you can sell yourself and demand higher fees.
Be Active Online and Social Media
Whenever you get an opportunity, make sure that your social media pages and website addresses are on any form of marketing materials – clearly listed and visible.
We’ve already extensively covered how you can create your own social media and website presence, but key is to use it wisely once you have it built and active.
The best DJs in the world actively post on social media, interact with their fan-base, and provide value to their followers.
Think of how you can do the same without over-doing it or being spammy.
Print Business Cards
Now you have all of your DJ marketing materials and assets developed, you could consider business cards.
Business cards are great for corporate and wedding DJs as they can be left at venues, with people you meet, and other business contacts.
Club DJs don’t tend to print them as much, but they are certainly a great branded marketing asset for many other types of DJ.
Assuming you already have your logo and website address sorted out, you can then use an online printing service such as VistaPrint which has an easy to use business card generator.
All you need to do is upload your logo and contact details, choose a template design, and then get some printed very cheaply.
I would also recommend that you buy a business card holder from Amazon so you can store your business cards safely without them being scuffed and ruined. The one I use is by Tapp Collections – see latest prices on Amazon.
Develop Your Own DJ Merchandise
DJ merchandise can work wonders for brand awareness.
Some DJs sell their own branded merchandise such as T-shirt and caps. You don’t have to always sell them though, you can even give merchandise away at gigs and events to help spread the word about you.
I’ve seen some DJs and record labels take things even further than this with their own branded baby gear, cooking utensils, and slip mats.
This might be something to consider to help promote your DJ name further down the line, but if you do decide to sell your own merchandise you can do via your social media channels and own website.
Advertise on Social Media Platforms
Not many DJs pay for advertising on social media, but it can work very well.
Using Facebook as an example, it’s possible to promote and sponsor your social media posts in front of people who could be interested in what you have to offer.
If we use wedding DJs as an example, using Facebook you can place ads in front of people who have their Facebook relationship statuses set to “engaged”.
If it’s a particular music type that you play, you could also promote your mix posts in front of people who like that particular genre of music. You can see an example where a DJ from the hard house genre has paid for a sponsored Facebook ad to promote a DJ mix.
The great thing about Facebook advertising is that the advertising costs can be very cheap, and your ads can go viral and get shared multiple times by people in your target demographic.
Facebook themselves have extensive tutorials on how you can set up ads. You will need a Facebook fan page in order to do so.
Build an Email List
Email marketing isn’t as popular as it once was due to the advent of social media, but it still works.
Gather email addresses at any opportunity and import them into a free email system such as MailChimp. With MailChimp you can have up to 2,000 email addresses and send 12,000 emails a month before they start charging you for sending, so should be fine for most working DJs.
My advice is to send out no more than 1 or 2 emails each month containing latest news, your mix downloads, updates or gig availability.
Unlike social media, nobody can ever take away your email list. You own it, you control it, and it’s a captive audience of people who are interested in what you have to say.
Many DJs fail to build an email list, but believe me when I say it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools a DJ can have.
Step 3: Networking and Building Relationships
One of the most important aspects to DJ marketing is networking and building long-lasting relationships that will help to accelerate your career.
In a nutshell, I am talking about:
- Connecting with DJs, promotors, event owners, fans, and businesses
- Attending events you might want to DJ at
- Supporting other DJs in your local scene or niche music scene
- Being active in the music scene you represent
Let’s take a look at each aspect a little closer.
Connecting with People
The obvious contacts that you would want to build up better relationships with would be club promotors, other DJs, record label owners, and venue owners.
But when it comes to networking, anybody you meet can become a great contact.
That clubber on the dancefloor who asked you for a song request, they might even be a source of new gig at some point in the future as they could be your greatest advocate, and a word of mouth promotion tool that can serve you extremely well.
The point here is to be friendly and forthcoming with everyone you meet, as you never know where the next gig or recommendation might come from.
Attend Events You Want to DJ At
If you aren’t a big-name DJ then you need to network and support the events in your local area. Most club promotors will give warm-up gigs and opportunities to the DJs that are actively supporting them.
I’ve previously written at length about how you can approach promotors, and that other guide contains some tips on what you can do to increase your chances of playing out.
Support Other DJs in Your Local Area or Scene
When I first started DJ’ing, my first ever gig came about when a DJ I knew had to drop out from a venue at the last minute. He recommended me after we had met in a local record store.
Over the years I lost count of the number of DJs who would act as my advocates as were an essential promotion and marketing tool for me.
Be Active in the Music Scene You Represent
Become a known face on the scene, either in person or online. Knowing how to promote yourself as a DJ online can be as simple as actively participating on social media threads and forums, but offline it can be trickier.
It might be that there are events around the country that are catered towards the music scene you want to play in. Examples off the top of my head would include the music conventions that happen each year in Amsterdam and Miami for EDM.
It’s one of the best ways in which you can raise awareness of your DJ name!
Step 4: What Not to Do When DJ Marketing Yourself
This ultimate guide on how to promote yourself as a DJ has included all the DJ marketing and promotion tips I have used over the last couple of decades as part of my DJ agency, own DJ career, and event promotion.
But, I will be honest, in that time, I have also done things wrong. Very wrong.
With that in mind, I also felt it was only fair that I also share with you some hints and tips on how to not promote yourself, and how to avoid marketing fails.
That advice is another blog post in itself, and you can read the article here titled how to fail at DJ marketing and promotion.
I hope that this advice has given you valuable insight into how you can promote yourself better and market yourself as a DJ. I will continue to update it with new hints and tips, and would also welcome any input from other DJs who have marketing advice to share.
Everything in this ultimate guide to DJ marketing can help to promote your career, get you better gigs, and earn you more money as a DJ. But it does miss out one simple element that will take you further than anything else, and that’s HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT. Only you can provide that.