#1) Reach out to music blogs. Promoting your music is about sharing music with existing fans as well as reaching new ones, and blogs are a great way to reach new audiences. Bloggers are always looking for fresh content. If you’re a smaller artist and are intimidated by pitching writers, start small - focus on niche blogs at first to build your confidence and hone your pitch.

When pitching bloggers, keep your message short and sweet. Consider what it is you would like (an album review? A press release on an upcoming gig?) and center your email around your ask. Consider this the written version of an elevator pitch - keep it concise, and if need be, link to additional interesting - but nonessential to your pitch - information, such as your band’s background.

#2) Collaborate with other musicians. Collaborating with other bands is one of the most overlooked - and easiest - ways to reach new audiences. Target musicians in a similar genre or fanbase demographic and reach out to them. Record a cover together, shout each other out on social media, share each others posts - every bit of exposure helps, and it’s a great way to form new connections in the industry.

To find local artists, Instagram is a great place to start. Play around with hashtags like #chicagomusician, #chicagorapper, #chicagomusicscene and don’t be afraid to slide into some DMs. And remember - being a fan is a great way to gain fans. Even if an artist doesn’t align with your style, by actively engage in your community (through likes, comments, and shares) you will increase your exposure.

#3) Diversify your social media. Use social media to tell a story. While it can be tempting to focus on Soundcloud and YouTube, it’s important to capitalize on the free marketing that is Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Use these channels to connect with your audience on a personal level - consider behind the scenes content at the recording studio, updates on the songwriting process - anything that lets your personality shine through.

If you’re a songwriter, consider creating graphics that display your lyrics. Canva, canva.com, is a tool that let’s you create professional looking graphics for free. In feeds like Instagram and Pinterest that are heavily focused on visuals, it will help your music connect to a new audience.

#4) Harness the power of Reddit. Almost all the viral content you see on the internet started on Reddit, and music is no exception. As every musician knows, fame is only one viral song away - and with 18.7 million subscribers, Reddits music thread might just be your golden ticket.

This is a great way to get (brutally) honest feedback on your music, so make sure you can stand the heat before sharing. reddit.com/r/Music/

#5) Think of yourself as a business first, artist second. To be a successful musician, creating content is just one piece of the puzzle. Begin to think strategically about how your product - you, and your music - should be branded. Consider strengthening your online presence by creating a blog, and produce regular content relating to your story and journey as an artist. A website gives you another outlet to tell your story and share your music. This is also a great way to build up your mailing list to promote fresh content directly to your fans.

If you think like a business, then every new connection becomes a networking opportunity. Compile a list of peer, press, blog, and radio contacts and don’t be afraid to reach out to your network when you have an upcoming gig or new release.