Gaining a Following: A Marketing Plan (2023)

Ryan Rieg Gaining a Following: A Marketing Plan (1)

Ryan Rieg

Musician and Pop Music/Music Business Student at William Paterson University of New Jersey

Published Nov 15, 2021

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Gaining a Following: A Marketing Plan (2)

As I am an artist, my music takes on the traditional 4 piece Rock band that leans towards a Classic Rock Band sound which consists of the basic Guitar, Drums, Bass, and Vocals. The songs I have written tend to have social commentary on recent events. I play the role of lead guitar and vocals, and while I am making this band up right now, this is a potential marketing plan that I may use when a band is formed.


As of now, the first goal would be to establish a following and to get as much content out before focusing on trying to get streams. I think putting content out first such as covers for example along with living performances would get people into the door and expose people to what I do and bring interest that would lead to streams and more people coming to shows.


Right now, I would aim for a budget of $1,000 if each band member is able to throw in $250 each which can be used for marketing and production costs from working in the studio to merch. Realistically, we may not use all money as I am just trying to establish a following for now and we may be depending more on free resources such as social media/TikTok/Youtube, but you never know if we were to hire a publicist or if we want to produce a music video.


As I have a small following of under 200 on Instagram with a lack of posts, I should start by putting out content in order to start establishing a following. I would start by uploading covers of songs that I love from Led Zeppelin to Rush so people know what I am into along with videos of me jamming or soloing on the guitar to add to my vibe. These posts can take the form of regular Instagram posts to reels and Tiktoks. People who later visit my page will also see there is content that gives an impression that can lead to follows and streams. Once I gain a little following I can start making posts such as updates on music, or what I am currently doing in the recording studio to start engaging and connecting with the audience or simply anything. I can use the Instagram live feature for performances, but also to chat or engage with fans. If there is a way to do it live through Insta, even Jam sessions with fans or my band through the live feature. Maybe I can even start recording little skits that relate to my songs. I would rather stay a bit mysterious to fans, but then again I think it's also important to bring personality to my content where the audience can also relate. Later when I plan to release a single say next year, I would experiment with Ad campaigns with the best one probably being through Instagram stories, but I should also advertise through other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Then I would use the data taken from these campaigns to figure out what works best. should also establish a link tree along with swipe-up links for easy accessibility to my other content from DSPs, socials, Youtube, TikTok, or other blogs. An upcoming single should definitely have some art or publicity photos of the band too, but a music video would also be considered if the budget allows. Soon I would also like to work on pitching my song for a college radio station whether it's performing it live or playing it on the air and then doing an interview along with working and making deals to get my songs onto playlists. This would all come later, but the focus starts at gaining a following.

An idea that I learned from the book Supermensch that I would like to take advantage of would-be what Shep Gordon calls "Guilt By Association" where he would take an upcoming artist and put them together with someone who is famous which make the artist famous also. Now it would be pretty difficult right now to find a celebrity to take publicity photos with, then again it might not take long to go to NYC and run into someone famous to take shots with, but realistically this idea can still apply. First, I would wanna start putting myself out to the local scene which means reaching out to artists/bands that are already established and also sharing a similar vibe which also means reaching out to a potential audience. As I will most likely be working with a band, they can also use their connections from friends and family to further grow a potential audience. This also means billing my band on a slot with another band that also plays rock music. At shows, we'll probably start giving out stickers, but importantly we should always have business cards for potential connections that be lead to partnerships and deals. By associating myself with these groups, I am then gaining an audience from fans of those groups who may be interested in mine.

Gaining a Following: A Marketing Plan (3)

In addition, I would try to reach out to other influencers that are involved in the scene or also share a similar vibe or have an audience that may be interested in what I do. I lean toward having creators and other artists promote my music whether it is put on a TikTok that follows a new trend or simply someone putting the music over a post like an artist showing their work with the song playing in the background. I even remember the idea on TikTok such as a crowd-surfing filter which can go well with Rock songs. It doesn't have to be only influencers that share my vibe of Rock music. Since I have songs that have themes of social commentary and protest, I may want to reach out to local activists and political groups if they can use my song for their cause. If I have a song that talks against anti-vaxxers I can try to get a song to be used as a theme for a pro-vaccine campaign. Now my potential audience will grow to an even bigger amount as now the potential reach is beyond just fans of Rock Music. As everyone is affected by politics and social events, protest songs may speak out to everyone whether you are for or against the cause. A song that talks against anti-vaxxers also gets the attention of the anti-vax crowd too which is also a bonus. Maybe a song can be pitched for a possible synch deal for commercials for campaigns, especially for local elections. A lot of politicians have campaign themes which they play at their rallies. As of now, there are probably even more possibilities I am missing.

Right now, I am focusing less on trying to get streams and I think it starts with establishing an audience from friends which then turns into strangers. The plan is a bit simple and honestly, I would not even know where to really start besides putting as much content out as possible to become familiar with me and my work along with establishing those connections that are important to bring the audience back. Starting from square one, I look forward to using this plan to grow my projects into something bigger. As I am learning on the way and ideas become bigger and more complex, this plan will change.

Ryan Rieg is a songwriter/musician who is also currently a student at William Paterson studying Music with Popular Emphasis along with minors in Music & Entertainment Industries and Music Management. He plays guitar, bass, and sings, and has a passion for Rock n Roll and other old music. You can reach him at or on LinkedIn

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