Marketing yourself as a DJ is key to success, and can help you to form a long and rewarding career in the music world. But as with any form of marketing, you can get it wrong.
Where I so often see DJ’s failing at marketing and promotion is online.
So often, less is more.
I always tell DJs that they should treat themselves almost like a business, just like a brand name would.
You should work hard to protect and build your DJ brand at all times as it will be an effective way of ensuring you are always kept busy with gigs and booking dates in your calendar.
I am going to explain some scenarios you will need to consider if you don’t want to get your DJ marketing wrong and how not to promote yourself as a DJ online.
Don’t Harass Club Promotors Constantly
During my time as a club promotor I’ve had DJ, big and small names, clamouring to play at my events. Nothing turns me off more than desperation or spammers.
I’ve written before about how DJs can get promotors to listen to their mixes, which includes tips on how to approach club promotors to stand a better chance of getting a set.
Much of the advice I wrote in that post revolved around ensuring that you as a DJ thinks carefully about the music policy the event specializes in, the type of DJ they might be looking for currently and supporting the event itself.
Don’t be desperate. Don’t harass promotors. And don’t spam their social media feeds with links to your mixes or desperate requests for a gig.
Nothing will turn them off you more than spam, which leads nicely on to spammers.
Don’t Spam Internet Forums and Facebook Pages
Spammers. I hate them, as does everyone else.
There are a few different areas where I would recommend you don’t spam, including:
- Spamming your own Facebook page with constant updates
- Spamming other DJ’s Facebook pages with spam
- Tagging the whole world every time you post something
- Sending constant email spam
- Spamming internet forums with links your DJ mixes
Let me give you a few examples where I have seen DJs get their online marketing wrong.
Firstly, spamming your own Facebook page or social media channels.
I follow hundreds of DJs on Facebook. The ones that I follow, and remain following are the ones that engage me with their social media posts, and the ones that don’t constantly update me with what they had for breakfast, or continual links to the same mix every day.
I prefer to read social media posts that are from DJs in the first person, where it looks like it’s them actually posting the updates, and not an agency on their behalf, using a third person narrative.
Personal updates, which a touch humor here and there, with great photos tend to keep me engaged. Other stuff will just turn me off and make me click the “unfollow” or un-like the page.
Don’t Hijack Other DJs Facebook Posts
Another absolute no-no is where I see lesser-known DJs trying to promote themselves by hijacking a Facebook post or page of a more successful DJ with a link to their own profile or mix.
You just end up looking stupid, and can also damage the relationships you have with other DJs. As I mentioned, networking is such a core part of DJ marketing that you need to master.
Spamming other more successful DJ’s social media posts with your own crap is a sure-fire way to burn bridges and ruin your own credibility. Don’t do it.
Don’t Tag Everybody You Know Each Time You Post
I’ve also lost count of the amount of times I’ve been tagged on Facebook by a DJ each time they post on Facebook or announce a gig. It’s just plain irritating and just not good Internet etiquette.
To be fair, I see local club promotors doing this too, it’s not just something reserved for DJs.
The same goes for those massive Facebook messenger mails where a DJ will include everybody they know. It’s annoying and gets on people nerves when they are included in mass messages like this.
Don’t Send Email Spam or Constant Emails
If you’ve spent the time and resources in building up an email list of clubbers, fans, promotors, and record labels, then protect that list and consider it as an investment.
It’s a core part of your DJ marketing strategy, and is something that you should nurture and care for.
If you use it wrong, then it will backfire on you. The “less is more” mantra applies with email marketing more than most digital strategies.
People don’t want to receive daily emails from you, perhaps not even weekly.
Unless you’ve got something valuable to share, don’t click send.
If you do spam people over email with your constant updates you will not only have high unsubscribe rates, but the email software platform you use can blacklist you, as well as ISPs, meaning you won’t be able to send out anything again from your website domain or list.
Don’t Misuse Social Media or Post Controversially
Every year there seems to be another example where a DJ has badly failed at social media.
I’ve already published a few examples on The DJ Den where big-name DJs have sucked on social media, but here are just a few more highlights you can read on other websites.
Keep your political views to yourself is probably the best advice I can give you here, as your fans and potential fans could come from all sorts of political, racial, and social backgrounds, so it pays not to alienate yourself.
As you can see from the two examples I linked to above, it’s possible for DJs to not only lose gigs and alienate people, but also get themselves embroiled in social media shit-storms that can be hard to recover from.
This advice is also very valid for DJs who are just starting out, in particular younger DJs.
When you’re young, sometimes you can post things on the Internet and social media that can come back to haunt you in the future.
If you do become a popular and big-name DJ then there’s every chance that people could go back and look at what you posted in the past.
If you are still climbing the DJ career ladder, take a look at what you’ve said online in the past. It might be worth deleting some of that content if you feel it could harm your career.
Don’t Boast, Exaggerate or Make-Up Stuff Online
Nobody likes a big-head.
We’ve all got those annoying friends on social media who post constantly about how great their life is, and how good they are at everything.
It’s pretty transparent, and I am sure gets on your nerves, right?
The same applies to DJ marketing.
As a DJ, you should be rightly proud of your achievements but don’t gloat. It’s a bad personality trait, and will only lead to people mocking you and then switching off.
The same applies for exaggeration of your your achievements.
Whilst it might feel like a good idea to say you warmed up for Paul Van Dyk at Amnesia in Ibiza, in reality things like this are very easy for a promotor to fact-check if it’s not true.
Yes, it’s tempting to exaggerate your successes online, and it’s something that I often see in DJ biographies.
A classic example is where an up and coming DJ might write that they shared the stage with a big-name DJ. In reality were you just a warm-up DJ 5 hours beforehand, or playing room 2 at the event – either way, it looks silly so don’t do it.
Don’t Be Arrogant or Neglect to Interact with Your Fans
I remember a producer and DJ to whom I gave their first ever club gig. He was a relative unknown at the time, and was looking to get opportunities to play his music out.
He would interact and have fun with the clubbers during and after his set, and also respond to their comments and questions on Facebook whilst online.
After a couple of years he hit the big-time and became one of the most popular DJs in his particular dance music scene.
The person he is now is almost unrecognisable to the teenager and bedroom DJ that I knew, as it seems like the success has gone to his head.
He’s arrogant, he doesn’t interact with clubbers anymore, and has an agent responding coldly to people on his social media channels.
It saddens me, and whilst I can’t say it’s damaged his DJ career yet, as his DJ marketing is outstanding in every other area, I do see clubbers talking him negatively online now as a result.
Ultimately, I think he’s forgotten where he came from, how he got there, and who put him there – in other words the people who watch him play and buy his music.
Don’t be that DJ.
Don’t Criticize or Bad Mouth Other DJs
As a DJ you need a certain level of confidence, but don’t let that over-spill into being negative about other DJs in the scene.
Networking is such as important aspect to DJ marketing and promoting yourself, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that to get big time you need to act like an asshole.
There’s an old adage about being nice to people on the way up as you might meet them on your way down, and that can really apply in this world.
Many of the music scenes are very small and it makes sense to be on-side with all players in the industry – not just the promotors.
Have an Up to Date Social Media Presence & DJ Bio
Want to become a popular DJ? Want to get great gigs?
Then keep your social media presence and DJ bio up to date and current as any prospective people wanting to book you will be doing their online research.
Promotors want to see that the DJ they book will also be able to help market the event, so by having a Facebook page that you interact with and keep regularly updated for your followers will help you attract more bookings.
For more advice on writing an effective DJ biography as part of your marketing and promotion strategy, go take a look at how to write a DJ bio that isn’t a steaming pile of shit.
Fail to Have a Press Pack Ready
Any DJ worth his or her salt that is serious about getting the big gigs will need a press pack.
Once you are booked to play a club or event and contracts are signed, it’s going to be the first thing that a club promotor asks you for.
If you don’t have one, then it screams “unprofessional”.
Nothing is more frustrating for a promotor than booking a DJ and then having to trawl through the Internet to look for decent photography and a bio to use use on marketing materials.
What is a DJ press pack though?
Simply it just contains these elements:
- DJ biography
- Press shots in a hi-res format
- DJ logo in transparent format
- Links to websites and social media
- Examples mixes to download
Put all of your marketing assets into a zipped and compressed folder that a promotor can either download or you can email to them.
If you are serious about your DJ career then you should treat it as a business. The best companies in the world have recognisable brands that they work tirelessly to protect.
Being a successful DJ should be no different.
Your skills don’t just end at being able to play the best tunes at the best times. You need to be an effective marketer, networker, and creative mind.
By taking care of your DJ marketing and knowing how to promote yourself as a DJ you should have a long and successful career. For more advice on the steps you should be taking in order to market yourself as a DJ properly, please read the Ultimate Guide to DJ Marketing.
You might also be interested in some advice I wrote to help you earn more money as a DJ.