Release content is content made to promote a certain release. The content is a combination of visual assets and your own made content (artist-generated content). In some projects, we do the visual assets, and sometimes it’s up to you to create your own. No matter who’s the creator of the content, it’s always up to the artists to distribute the content on their own channels.
It’s important to see the content as something more than just a static visual. It’s not a poster that you set up at your local town square and then the job is done, and all that is left is to hope someone will notice it. Release content is mainly made for social media, and the whole point of social media is to actually be social and interact. So yes, basically you can just post a picture and hope for the best. But the real marketing effort is shown in the effort you as an artist put into the material and not in the visuals themself.
Example of release content
- Banners (sometimes called headers) for social media channels
- Profile pictures for social media channels
- Image series with messages connected to the release (e.g. info about a pre-save link, release date, and so on)
- Press photos
- Teasers of the song. Should be around ~15 seconds. Could be instrumental to building expectations and building tension, or show the chorus to really show off the most recognizable part of the song. Below are some variations of how teasers can look:
- Song + some sort of animation connected to the artwork.
- Song + artist video material (such as the canvas or snippet of the music video)
- Song + general video (could be a creative common video)
- Song + still picture of artwork/press photo with background sound.
- Music video
- Music video teaser
- Youtube video with the song and artwork
- Lyrics video (for the entire song or just a snippet)
- Update your bio and bio links
- Teasers of merch
- Behind the scenes pictures of the release process (studio pictures and such)
- Artist generated content (reels, networking/interacting on social media, including the release in your everyday content creation)
- … To mention a few!
Coherency is key
The song and artwork, together with the press photos, release content and in some cases, the music video should all have a common thread and portray the song’s feeling through visuals. If you have a happy-go-lucky kind of song, it doesn’t really make sense to use very dark and emotional press photos. In the same way, the color scheme for the release should match the artwork and feel. A banner for Facebook with a sunset might not work too well with a black metal song. And so on.
How to plan the visuals for your release content
It’s always a great thing to start with the storefront of the release: The artwork. Since it (or at least should) reflect your song, it’s nice to use it as a blueprint for your visuals. Below are some general guidelines:
- Pick out some theme colors. One main color and perhaps a secondary color for details. And of course, black/white if needed.
- If you have the title on the artwork, make sure to use the same font when writing the title on other assets.
- Pick out a secondary font, this one is often more clean, easy to read, and classic. Use this for a Call to Action, such as “New single out [date]”.
- Consider if there are any other themes, symbols, or visual details that are important for the feeling of the song and should be implemented in the release content. Maybe you use a special texture, frame, or icon on the artwork that you can use?
When you’ve prepared your visual ingredients, and you’re ready to cook your release content cake! The recipe is found under the heading How to plan your release content.
How to plan your release content
Okay, so what kind of release content do you really need? You’ve seen the list of content examples. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to planning your content for your upcoming release. Below are some things to consider.
- Where is my current audience? Which platforms do they use? What kind of content do they interact with? If you have a bunch of followers on Facebook and good engagement on your text-based posts, it might be a good idea to create something that aligns with that.
- Where is the audience I’d like to reach? Which platforms do they use? What kind of content do they interact with? Perhaps you’d create a song that would be great for the gamer community, so you should look into content ideas for Twitch?
- Which platforms do I enjoy creating content for? Maybe you’re really into TikTok, or perhaps you’re fly with words and enjoy tweeting around on Twitter.
- How much time would I like to spend actually working with the content? Is it worth it to create a bunch of content if you’re not interested in creating the best prerequisites for them to actually make an impact?
- What kind of content can I produce on my own? Are you really into video editing and like to keep up on current trends, maybe short-form video is for you? Maybe you prefer storytelling and should create text-focused content for Facebook?
What kind of content would I like to have, but could use help with creating? Use your network! Find friends and acquaintances that possess the knowledge and experience you need. Trade a video shoot for your canvas with a free gig on the production teams after work. Sharing is caring, and networking is gold!
Release plan example
Please note that this is a general release plan example. All of the content ideas below might not be applicable to all artists, and the list is not exhaustive. There are always more content ideas out there, it’s just a matter of imagination!
The release plan for social media can roughly be divided into 4 different phases:
Post regularly during the song creation process. This is the time to maintain your social media presence, interact and build your fanbase and find your tone of voice. Let the audience know that you’re an active artist, without spilling all the details.
- Share behind-the-scenes photos/videos of the song creation.
- Share behind-the-scenes photos/videos of studio sessions.
- Share behind-the-scenes photos/videos of press photo sessions.
- Share behind-the-scenes photos/videos of music video creation.
About 3 weeks before the release it’s time to update your channels with more information about what’s up. It’s also a great idea to level up your social media presence at this point. Start briefly, and then share more and more information the closer you get to the release to build momentum. Because if you share the most revealing content like the artwork or the chorus of the song three weeks before the release, no one will be as excited for a static picture or an instrumental teaser. It’s all about building tension!
- Change your banners and profile picture.
- Share teasers.
- Share image series.
- Share press photos.
- Share the pre-save link.
- Update your bio.
- Schedule half an hour a couple of times a week for just interacting with other people’s content and really strengthen your fanbase.
- Share the story behind the release.
- Create artist-generated content. For example: Create a poll where fans can vote about what they believe the song is about based on the teasers you’ve posted.
3. Peak release
Release day! Make sure your presence on social media is on top. When the release day comes, make sure you stay online since some curators/influencers might share your release, and it’s nice to re-post theirs and your fans’ mentions. The release day is a great way for artists to really engage on social media, but remember that it’s not the most important day of the song. Your streams and engagement on this specific day are just the starts of the journey, it takes time for a release to grow.
- Share the release.
- Share the artwork.
- Update your link in the bio to the release.
- Update your bio.
- Ask your audience to play your music in full and add it to their playlist.
- Repost mentions.
- Create artist-generated content. For example: Record a video where you ask people to listen to the song and comment on what they think about it.
When the song is out, it’s time to monetize the hype. Don’t let the content dry out just because the release is out. Now the fun begins!
- Share press photos.
- Share video material.
- Post teasers about upcoming merch.
- Launch merch.
- Post teasers if you have an upcoming music video.
- Post music video.
- Create artist-generated content. For example: Record a video about what this song means to you.
- Do appreciation posts, thanking your fans for streaming and sharing your music.
- Interact with your fans.
- Post analytics (streams and downloads) after a week or a month.
- Have a gig coming up? Share information about that!
- Record or photograph a rehearsal and post it.
- Make an acoustic cover of your own song and post it.