How to Promote with Emotions (And Why)

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Now more than ever, it’s not just enough to show up. You have to stand out. As we all know, the pandemic has leveled the playing field to where your “stage” is literally the same size as everyone else’s. All of your fans and the ones following artists on major labels are all being viewed on mobile devices, laptops, and tv screens.

So how can you shine above the rest? One of the main points of a recent masterclass I attended focused on the difference between literal and emotional communication on social media.. and of course that got me to thinking about how it relates to music and musicians.

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Here's the thing, we're all different in very unique ways, but unless we're careful, all of our "stuff" will start to sound the same as the next artist or band. 

Just keep this in mind though: Most bands and artists you know are trying to grab the attention of fans online at this very moment. Some of them have larger fan bases and maybe even more money to spend on ads. But don’t let that stop you, because what you have (now) is a roadmap to better communicating with them.

Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman claims that 95% of our purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. This means that your decisions are mostly being made on an emotional level.

So how can we use this in our promotional messages? 


Let’s talk about promotion literally. When artists or companies advertise, it’s typically a literal example; meaning that the calls to action and content is primarily talking about the event itself. When we focus on what our fans will get out of it, we can start painting the picture of the emotional payoff they get if they attend.

Literally speaking...

  • Example 1: "Check us out at Indie Tavern where we’ll be playing all the hits! Come out this Friday, show starts at 10pm!" Or...
  • Example 2: “I’m going live at 8-9pm on Facebook playing all originals! Come join me!

Those messages are informative and needed to get the details of your show out to your fans. There’s nothing wrong with them!! But what would happen if you started to talk and communicate in benefits to your fans instead of the features of your event?

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Emotionally speaking...

  • Example 1A: "Leave stress at the office and enjoy a trip down memory lane this Friday at 10pm! It's a classic rock party at Indie Tavern and you're the guest of honor.” Or…
  • Example 2A: If you’re tired of all the negative news online, join me on Facebook Live at 8pm. We’ll pour a worry-free glass of whatever you’ve got and I’ll provide the music!

Focus on how your fans will FEEL vs. just what you're going to do. In fact, think about it as a template to use as a starting point.

As humans we do one of two things with every decision and action we take. We either move AWAY from pain or TOWARDS pleasure. Those are universal reactions, and can be what ties your message into what people relate to. You can then add in the specific feelings, emotions, and experiences that are unique to you and your music.


If we take the first emotional example and break it down, it can easily be turned into a "mad lib" style caption that you can customize. Give this a try…

"Leave stress at the office and enjoy a trip down memory lane this Friday at 10PM! It's a classic rock party at Indie Tavern and you're invited.”

  • Leave (1)_________________ [stress at the office, kids at home, boring nights alone] 
  • Enjoy (2)_______________________ [a trip down memory lane, a fun night on the town, a 3-hour vacation from your worries] this Friday at 10PM!
  • It's a (3) ________________ [classic rock party, romantic evening of smooth jazz, a crazy 80's night] and you're invited.”

If we’re looking at it even more simply from the point of pain vs. pleasure, it could be summarized like this.

  • Describe a common PAIN or negative situation your audience might want to leave.
  • Describe a PLEASURE they might want to move towards (*keep it clean now*).
  • Try to highlight the type of experience and/or genre your audience could expect. 

Again, this is just an example, and it can also pertain to your music. It doesn't have to just be about events. But how can you focus on the feelings and describe the emotion around what you're promoting?

When we realize that our shows and why we want people to attend them should really be ABOUT THEM, we can start to stand out from the online crowd.

More Helpful Resources:

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