Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Don’t promote until people can take action

I often hear musicians say they want to do advance promotion — telling people about their new album before it’s available for purchase.

Though the plan may be to generate excitement, I think the opposite happens. Imagine the dialogue.

“Check out my new music!”

“Where is it? Can I buy it?”

“Not yet - but soon!”

“Why are you telling me now?”

“So you can be ready for the announcement!”

(Then two months pass.)

“Check out my new music! It’s ready!”

“I think I already heard of this. Not new. Delete.”

Instead, imagine this plan:

  1. Record your music.
  2. Start conversations with the people who promote music. Nothing to pitch them now. Just get to know them.
  3. Prepare your marketing plan, but don’t do it yet. Just get everything into place.
  4. Get your music distributed to all the usual outlets. Make sure it’s there, first, before you announce it. Even buy a copy, to make sure there were no mistakes.
  5. Finally, do your promotion, and tell everyone.

One of the nice things about crowd-funding is that for each project, there are two stages when people can take action, so you can repeat this cycle twice.

Just never promote something until people can take action, or that moment you catch their attention may be wasted.