As a modern day opera singer, it is not enough to simply be brilliant at singing. You also have to be brilliant at marketing yourself! In a world of social media, it’s important to be completely up-to-date digitally in order to present yourself in the best way possible.
There are many tools you can use to present yourself digitally and in print. High quality does NOT mean you have to spend a lot of money. Here are some of the necessities to market yourself as a singer:
As a singer, you need a website. Aside from it being a neat thing to have your own website, it is now asked for on many music applications for schools, young artist programs, and other general auditions.
Choose a domain name that is simple and straightforward. Many singers choose to use their own name as their domain name. If that option is already taken, you can add something like “singer” or “soprano” onto the end of your name. For example:
If you cannot afford a website designer, or wish to retain more control over your website, an easy and affordable option is to use a website builder like www.squarespace.com, www.weebly.com, or www.wix.com. (No, we are not sponsored by or affiliated with these websites… we just think they’re awesome!) These sites are user friendly, have many design options (including pre-made templates), and are affordable. When choosing your design and layout, keep it easy to follow and professional-looking.
Your website should include your bio, headshots, performance photos, a few videos, and a way to contact you at the very least. Some singers also choose to include a section with reviews or testimonials, CD’s for sale, and even their artistic resumé.
A Facebook Page
A fan page enables you to maintain a separate public and private life on Facebook. This way, you don’t have to spam all your friends with your concert ticket information and you don’t have to spam all your fans with photos of your dog. You can post everything from your performance photos and videos to your concert dates and ticket information. You can also share posts by other musicians or share news articles about opera. Your fanpage should stick to the topic of your craft, even if you aren’t talking about yourself in every post.
Facebook also lets you share all your basic ‘business’ information for your followers. You can include links to your social media and website, along with your bio on your page description. Plus, you can add all sorts of photo albums for followers to look at.
Although Facebook is a free platform, more of your fanbase will see your content if you “boost” your posts on your page. Simply click the “boost post” button, choose your target demographic, budget, and boost timeline. Then, your post is ready to become your very own Facebook ad! Along with that, you can choose to boost your page as a whole to gain likes instead of just boosting individual posts.
Instagram is the cool, new way musicians are connecting with their fans. It’s like Facebook, but only with pictures and captions. You can choose to make yourself a public Instagram for your fans with a private one for your friends, OR you can choose to use the same Instagram for both. Some singers choose to keep their only Instagram public so that fans can see them not just as singers, but as everyday humans too. To see good examples of this, check out the Instagram pages of Nadine Sierra and Anna Netrebko. Yes, they include short clips of their angelic unicorn voices, but they also snap pictures of their everyday life. It’s a good way to create a more personal connection with fans.
This one is fairly obvious. YouTube is a place for anyone to upload any video to share it with the world. Several preliminary auditions, especially for schools or YAPs, will request Youtube videos. It is an ideal central place to store your recorded audition videos and your live performances. Be careful though that all public content you share does not violate copyright infringement rules. Only post works that are in the public domain or you could be hit with a copyright strike. Just like baseball - three and you’re out!
YouTube is also fantastic because you can embed the video links on your website, in emails, or on your Facebook page. YouTube is a widely shared platform and therefore is easily accessible.
A non-obvious platform for singers is Twitter. The great thing about Twitter is it is commonplace to tweet multiple times a day. It’s also a way to communicate easily with people you don’t know. You could try to tweet your ‘fan-girl’ moments at your favorite opera celebrity and they might just respond. What a dream! This is also a great platform to share your upcoming performance dates and your day-to-day moments as an opera singer.
Another non-obvious, but useful, platform for singers is LinkedIn. Most people use their LinkedIn profile as a sort of extended resume. If you use LinkedIn correctly, it can be much more than that. Just like Facebook, it has a feed of posts from the people and industries you follow. You can share and create posts as well. If you are interested in not just the singing aspect of opera, but also the business side of opera, this is a great place to make connections with those in the music business industry and with those who may be interested in financially supporting opera.
Yeah, yeah, this one is an old way of networking, but it’s still the golden rule. ALWAYS carry your business card with you. You never know who you’re going to run into that will want your contact info - either for a gig, an audition, or just to follow you as a fan. It’s the easiest and most professional way to hand out your contact info on the spot. With your email and phone number, you should also include links to your website and social media pages.
Like a website, business cards also do not have to be an expensive purchase. If you have some design experience, you can design them on Photoshop or InDesign. If you are not design-savvy, you can still design them for yourself on www.canva.com, www.picmonkey.com, or www.vistaprint.com. If you choose to design them yourself in Photoshop, InDesign, a website, or another program, you can still print them cheaply on the Vistaprint website.
Photography in itself is not a marketing platform. However, you will use photography in ALL of your marketing. It’s worth it to use good quality photos. You may want to invest in a photographer to take your main headshots and promo shots. If you don’t have money for that, bring a friend with a good camera on a photo day. Buy them coffee in exchange for photos. If you don’t know anyone with a great camera, use your iphone. iPhone cameras take surprisingly great shots now. So much so that Steven Soderbergh’s new movie Unsane was shot ENTIRELY on an iPhone! If an iPhone is good enough for Steven Soderbergh, an iPhone is good enough for your Instagram.
There are some online websites and mobile apps that serve as directories for professionals. You can advertise yourself as a professional singer. For example, www.gigsalad.com is an online entertainment service directory. On the mobile side of things, Thumbtack is an app to hire professionals for basically anything - from singers to photographers to contractors. If you are a singer who is interested in singing for weddings, funerals, and other events, directories like these may provide an abundance of opportunities for you.
You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for good marketing. If you take the time to learn more about marketing and to observe other examples of opera marketing, you can become a savvy marketing singer. It is worth the time investment to present yourself in the best way on multiple platforms. First impressions matter!
What are your best marketing solutions? Where have you found great success and where have you failed? Share in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more advice on how to maximize your singing career.
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Most blog posts from June 2017 - June 2018 were written by GVAI's blogger Anikka Abbott who has just started her journalism studies. We already miss her. Learn more about her here or connect with her on Facebook.
Hello, I am Christine, the director of GVAI, a passionate singer, German diction, voice and performance coach. I love music, singing and dancing. Life is an exciting journey and I invite you to walk with me....