To succeed as a DJ in 2016 is all about your personality and your talent…but that’s not all! Of course, practice makes perfect when you’re getting your technique down, but have you ever thought about the really fun stuff, like.. the marketing? Marketing yourself the right way as a DJ can make all of your skills and talents stand out in a crowd of other DJs who want the gig just as bad as you. So, since you’re reading this and maybe they’re not, we present you with these 8 tips and tricks that will inject fire into your brand and make the competition absolutely hate you. 😀
Who Are You Marketing To?
It is important to figure out who your audience is. Obviously, if you are starting a DJ business, or already have a business, you probably are not marketing to everyone. And your job as a marketer is to know who you are and who they are, and what they want, and what you’re willing to give them in terms of a DJ experience.
So, before getting down on mixing your tunes, and making playlists, you really need to decide what genres you want to focus on. What gigs are you shooting to get, and who are the people that visit those places. Figuring out what they want is the ultimate question here, because at the end of the day, your customer is always your prime concern. Make them happy, and you win. If you can’t get this straight, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding your niche, or attracting anyone at all.
Create Your Own Content
Have you ever written a review? What about a music review? We ask because these can be used as promotional tools. Promo companies are always looking for content. It wouldn’t be bad to see who is looking to hear from actual DJs, as in bloggers, or Facebook groups. If you provide the right people with the right content, they will eat it up. This can be in written form, vlogging, gear review, whatever… Check out DJ Q-Bert here, reviewing some gear. Not a bad idea!
As a DJ, you know things about music that the average person has no idea about, such as underground genres, special techniques, and obviously a lot more. There are websites (like this one!) that would be more than happy to accept content written by a proficient DJ who knows what they’re talking about. Its a win-win.
Figure out who’s out there in your region that is looking to hear from people like you, and contact them. This isn’t as lame as cold calling some company to get a job. This is about connecting with the right people. The people who actually care that you are a DJ and will treat you with respect and admiration. And if you know how to write a good article or video on the topic of DJing, gear, etc, that’s just one more tool in your toolbox to connect with the influencers in your area and it will lead to gigs, and possibly some more surprising interactions.
This can mean many things, and it will depend on the audience you’re targeting. If you’re looking to rock clubs or house parties, showcasing yourself can mean actually throwing a house party yourself. You know that if there’s a free party, people will come. If you bring the house down, people won’t forget it and soon you won’t be doing it for free. But you might wan to do it free just once to get people acquainted with you and your set.
If its a club gig thing, you can book a show at a club which will be more on you than the club owner, and just be clear that you’re offering this special once-in-a-lifetime chance where you’ll play for free or for very little, just to get your chops. What you don’t want to do is to indicate that you will play for free all the time, because then you should just wear a shirt that says “I’m a pushover, please use me!” Fuck that. We’re not saying work for free. Still, doing a special showcase with you and some friend DJs at your expense if you’re just starting, just to get in with a certain crowd, can work great. Just give them a taste of what you do, put on a great show, and then the second time round is NOT free.
Represent Like A Boss
If you do plan to do a showcase, or book yourself a gig, you can come at it in several ways. One way would be to advertise yourself like this… “Tonight Only: DJ Tony!” but doesn’t that sound a little bit … underwhelming? You meet up with a promoter and you’re like “Don’t worry, I’m DJ Tony, and maybe I haven’t played around much, but trust me, I’ll do good, I swear!” LAME.
That’s why many DJs approach promoters as if they run an entire company, and have endless connections to other DJs, and so forth. Its not a bad idea to puff yourself up a bit, and approach a promoter or club owner as though you represent a company, say “Sick Ass DJs” (we just made that up). Anyway, if you walk in with your shades on, looking cool as hell, and say “Yup, I represent Sick Ass DJs, which is a company I represent, and I’m DJ Crazybud”, that might work a little better than just little old you coming in to get a show all by your lonesome.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying to go out and be obnoxious, with huge ray-bans, and say you’re friends with P Diddy. But you might want to think big and actually get yourself a posse of DJs together, and actually treat it like a business, so when you walk in to any office or club, you can actually be telling the truth and say that you are DJ Crazybud, you do rock parties, and you do have a sick and diverse posse of DJs for every occasion. That’s all we’re saying.
Oh, and that said, don’t be so huge that you won’t any kind of smaller gig if it comes up. If there is a gig happening and the guy needs just one DJ, you can say, “Ok, no problem, we’ll be on the bill” as long as it makes sense for both parties.
Get Out Of Your Basement And Talk To Real People, Goddammit
Some people literally live online. All their followers are online. All their accounts are online. Everyone they know is online, and they can still basically make things happen.
Half the time, likes don’t count for anything, and those people you met online might just vanish into the ether. No matter what, if you’re running a DJ business, you need to meet real people in the real world, because that’s what being a DJ is all about. Its about late nights, crazy parties, sweat, music, and, you know…more! 😀
So while its fine to be online a lot, if you that’s all you are is an “online presence”, that on its own isn’t going to pay the bills. In fact, we’d argue that’s not even cool. Building relationships with people in real life is where its at, so don’t lose sight of that fact.
The real business people of the world, whether they be in music, DJing, finance, or real estate. They all know that there’s no substitute for a real smile or handshake. Especially nowadays. In fact, just being an actual person coming to visit another person actually scores you BONUS POINTS now, because apparently it takes so much effort, a lot of people can’t even be bothered. 20 years ago, you couldn’t just email everyone and be done with it. This is making us sound really old and outdated, you might say, but seriously…get the hell out there and meet your public, what are you doing with your life??
Be Consistent, But NOT Boring
If there’s one thing you don’t want your brand to be, its boring and predictable. You’ve got to bob and weave, son. That means that even though you might be focused on a particular type of DJing, sayyy… wedding DJing. Even then, you don’t want to be that boring-ass wedding DJ that everyone says is super lame. You gotta be cool.
Of course, the one thing that some boring people have going for them is that they’re usually very, very consistent. There has to be some element of people knowing what to expect from you. So herein lies the balance of making your shows boring when they need to be, but balls to the fucking wall crazy at just the right time. You have to be in control of it all.
One way to give the people what they want but not be boring is to change it up slightly from gig to gig. If you’re booked to DJ at a club once a week for 5 weeks, you dare not play the exact same thing every night. You can change up some of the beats, you can add different effects, you can play with the tracks, but this doesn’t mean you need to come up with a whole new playlist. Unless that’s what the people want. If they want fresh and different ALL the damn time, then OK, give them all the variety they can handle. If these people love particular tracks and you absolutely NEED to play tracks A, B, and C, be sure to do that. But throw a bit of fuel on the fire sometimes. Just don’t play the same exact set again and again, because not only is that not cool, chances are its going to piss some people off.
You want that crowd to leave entertained, no matter what it takes!
Signature DJ Mixes With ID3 Tags Are Your Friend
One of the best tips we can give you is to make sure you have your own style, and people know what that style is. One way to do that is through tracklists with ID3 tags that have your name in there, and mixes that have your signature touches so people can get to know your style and get hooked.
You can spread these playlists around in a number of different ways once you’ve made some, but first you have to make them and you need to get some feedback so that you start hearing things like, “I can always tell that mix is by DJ Sweetleaf because…A, B, C…”
Once you know what you’re doing in terms of cooking up a great party mix with your sonic signature, you know you’re making progress. You can really trick out your playlists with as much info about YOU as possible, so that when those playlists start making the rounds, people know exactly what sick ass DJ did the dirty work.
Logos & The Design Factor
Last but not least we must mention something that could take on a life of its own, regardless of how skilled you are personally or musically. What could it be?
We’re talking about a killer logo for either your DJ name, or your company, or both. As we know with successful YouTubers these days, many of them get success partly by having either a sick intro, a great logo, or cool thumbnails (or all three). These things do matter a lot these days, so you need to take care of them right away. Don’t one day go to the club as DJ Mouseballs, then show up next week with a different logo as DJ Kumkwat. You need to pick a cool name and a cool design and go with it, making sure its sick as fuck. You know how often Skrillex gets his logo shared? Probably once per second.
You will be remembered for your logo, so be sure to get a draft going and then ask around to gather feedback from the right people. Don’t ask the guy who owns the club, because he’s the guy you’ll be visiting next week about the show. Don’t ask your mom, cause she’ll say “DJing? Get a real job? I can’t even read that thing!” Don’t post it on social media because then everyone will give you their opinion, but everyone will know you haven’t decided on things yet. Ask the right people, just to get some feedback, and then ask the most important person – yourself. What do I think of this logo? Get a great logo happening and that will go a long way!