So you’ve spent hours practicing, you’ve got a great music library and you know you’re good at what you do. Yet now the hard work starts…. but you need to know how to promote yourself as a DJ. Let’s look at the various methods and ideas that worked for me in my DJ career.
Promoting yourself as a DJ requires two main things, networking and content. These can both seem hard and time-consuming but they don’t need to be. Simply recording your practice sessions and getting out and making friends in the industry will go a long way toward furthering your DJ career.
I’ll go over everything in more detail below so you know exactly what you need to do.
Record and Share Mixes
This is by far the most obvious option, which is why we shall go over it first.
As a DJ recording regular mixes are paramount to success. If you’ve read many articles on this site, you may know that I preach to essentially record everything you do.
Every single practice session that you do is worth hitting the record button.
Doing this has a couple of benefits:
- Speeds up the learning process as it allows you to re-listen and critique yourself.
- It gives you plenty of fodder to upload onto your social media accounts.
So, if you are practicing every day, and recording every single session, then, in theory, you could be uploading anywhere from one to three to seven mixes a week. Assuming to you’re good enough to never make mistakes… (which most DJs, even professionals, aren’t).
To upload your mixes online I recommend using Mixcloud as they seem to be more lenient on copyright. They also have auto-track identification, which means that they will auto-create the tracklist for you.
Remember that social media (which Mixcloud is) is meant to be social. You should be following DJs that you find interesting and commenting on their mixes. The more you do then the more you’ll find people follow and comment on your mixes.
So always remember that social media is give and take. This point is key to how to promote yourself as a DJ.
Uploading Multiple Times a Week Can Be Quite Exhausting.
I know I mentioned uploading up to 7 mixes a week, but I was only really only jesting. Creating and sharing mixes to often can be exhausting.
Both in terms of:
- Trying to make mixes perfect
- Having to buy loads of new tracks to keep those mixes sounding fresh
Therefore, a good idea of how to promote yourself as a DJ is to set yourself a regular schedule. For example, uploading one mix per week.
Aside from being regular content for your followers, it will also:
- Help keep you accountable and learn consistency
- Gives you something to work towards
- Keeps your skills on point between gigs
We’ll talk about podcasts later as these are a perfect use of your mixes and are great for audience building.
Social Media in General
Now, of course, social media is undoubtedly how most DJs these days get popular and maintain a connection with their audience.
However, the very process of social media and the grind of it can feel overwhelming at times. After all, you are told to post all day every day on every single network.
This is just not viable for one person. Especially when you are meant to be practicing your DJing and researching and buying tunes on top.
So how to promote yourself as a DJ by sharing a lot of content, without putting too much pressure on yourself?
One thing to remember, that a lot of DJs forget, is that they are marketing themselves. So to become a successful DJ these days, in theory, you have to learn to be a marketer as well.
Therefore it pays to learn some basic digital marketing and learn from some of the biggest names in the space. One of the most influential marketers at the moment, if you’re not aware of him, is Gary Vee.
He has a perfect idea for this situation, which is…
Document… Don’t Create…
How it applies in relation to DJing is this. Document your journey to become a DJ… Don’t create content pretending you are already the best & biggest DJ in the world.
This video gives you a rough outline and an overview of what he means. However, it is generally in the context of business so I shall break it down for you in DJ terms below.
Essentially you should go about the normal process of learning how to be a DJ and getting gigs and performing gigs.
However, you should get in the habit of filming and photographing virtually every single thing you do so that you can put these out as individual social posts.
How This Works in Practice
If you don’t follow this, and instead do as many DJs do i.e rely solely on putting out mixes, then you would essentially only be putting out one social post per week… When you share your mix.
So a way to ensure you post way more than that is to create several “categories” of posts. With “Mixes” being just one of them.
Some ideas on applying this on how to promote yourself as a DJ would be….
During your DJing career, you will use probably use a wide variety of equipment. This covers everything from the laptop and the software you use, through to decks (see our recommended decks here), mixer, controller or MIDI controllers. Any form of equipment you buy or use can be turned into a social post.
So say, for example, you use Denon CD decks with a Pioneer mixer.
I would take a photograph of your CD decks and talk about one particular feature. Explain what the feature does and then how you use it in your mixes and perhaps some cool tricks you can do with that feature.
I would then do the same with your mixer. Take a picture of it and describe a single feature, why you like it and how to use it. So each bit of equipment becomes an individual social post.
You do not end there, however… DJ equipment these days is rammed full of features.
This means that you can create lots of different social media posts, all on your CD decks, for example. Each post highlighting a different feature and a great way to use it.
Doing this means that you could quite easily get 10 or even 20 posts out of one bit of equipment.
Then, of course, any time you buy new equipment then go ahead and do the same.
Equipment and gear are a goldmine for social media posts and a great tool in how to promote yourself as a DJ.
The same goes for this category… New music is another goldmine of how to promote yourself as a DJ.
If you are serious about DJing then you should be purchasing new tracks every single week. Depending on how many new tracks you purchase this can give you any number of social media posts.
Say if you purchased ten tracks a week (on average) then that is an easy ten social media posts per week. Or, if you don’t want to share every single track you buy, then just do half so already you’ve got five social media posts.
All you need to do is:
- Screengrab the artwork
- Talk about why you bought the track & what you love about it
- If you want, do some extra research into the artist so you can include a fact about them. This helps makes people more inclined to keep reading your posts
- Be sure to tag that artist.
This is a great way to network without being completely in your face. Instead of messaging other DJs and producers directly and asking for something, you simply just tag them. They will see that you like their music and are supporting them by buying it, which they will appreciate.
And, if you buy multiple tracks by the same artist then be sure to tag them every single time. They will start to learn your name and be more likely to engage you in conversation if you ever reach out to them. In fact, they might reach out to you first.
So again, finding and sharing the music that you buy is a wealth of material for social media posts.
Just a Note on Sharing Music…
Of course, due to copyright issues, you want to be careful with actually sharing snippets of tracks. Doing so might result in your social media post being taken down, which is why I would avoid sharing the audio itself.
Instead, I encourage sharing the artwork where the names and the artist are clear. You can then tell people where to purchase the track if they want to go and listen. Again the artist will appreciate you helping to promote the legitimate purchases of their music.
Doing this is one of the best ways on how to promote yourself as a DJ to the right people.
Sharing (Video) Snippets of Your Mixes
As I suggested above, you should get in the habit of recording every single practice session that you do. And while you are at it you might as well video your sessions…
If you are not comfortable being on camera then you can always aim the camera at the decks (see our recommended decks here) rather than your face (or your dance moves).
The reason I suggest this is, not only can you upload your full video mixes to places like Vimeo and add them to your website, you can also take out snippets of mixes that you are proud of.
You can then share, for example, a 30-second video of mixing two tracks together that you think sounds good.
This may be one way to get around your tracks being automatically taken down for copyright. Given that the mixing of two tracks together may avoid auto-detection. Although there is no guarantee on this of course.
This is why you should always upload your videos and mixes to your own website so that you always have a full reference of all of the recordings you have done.
Tip – To make your videos look extra slick check out these wide angles lenses by Moment on Amazon (you’ll also need one of the cases to mount the lens).
The snippets don’t just have to be video, of course, you can do the same with audio.
How to Promote Yourself as a DJ by…. Partying? Really?
One of the great things about DJing, both as a hobby and career, is that going out partying can be legitimate research and work. This is because you get to learn what good parties or DJ sets are like while also being able to network with people in the industry.
Going out clubbing is also a great way to create content for your social media.
In the run-up to the party, you can share a screengrab of the flyer and talk about who you’re looking forward to seeing, and why.
Then, during the event, you can share an image or a video. Perhaps of a track that you particularly enjoy that either you have already, or you want to try and find. This can be great for audience interaction as you can ask your followers/network if they know or can help you identify the track.
Of course, sound quality is fairly important when you are sharing videos of things like gigs or club nights. Therefore I recommend investing in a microphone such as the Zoom iQ series (push here to check price on Amazon). You can plug these straight into your phone to give higher quality audio to your videos.
Again, when you share posts like these, always be sure to tag the artist the club and the promoter.
This is a Way to Passively Network
What I mean by this is that you are not messaging those people directly and asking for anything.
Instead, you are helping to promote them at the same time as showing them that you support what they do. And, because you are only putting out videos with quality audio, then you are showing that you care about representing yourself and them in a good light.
In the days and weeks following the gig, you can also add a different video or image looking back at the event and comment on what made it memorable. Again, tag all those involved as a way to passively network.
However, this is also a good exercise in itself for you. When you look back at events / DJ sets and evaluate what made them memorable, you will start to recognize patterns. Then, anything that you notice, you can begin to apply them to your future events and DJ sets to make them memorable for other people.
Just don’t get too lost in the party of course, which sadly happens all too often in the scene. Otherwise, going out and seeing other DJs is a legitimate way to learn networking while creating content for social media.
Tips and Tricks
One of the best ways to show yourself as a professional, and someone who knows what they are talking about, is to teach others. This is how to promote yourself as a DJ and an expert at the same time…
We touched on this briefly in the gear posts above, however, I suggest sharing tips and tricks that are not specific to bits of gear. So, for example, you could create a series of short videos that explain various concepts of DJing.
For example, you could create a one-minute video that explains what beatmatching is. During this you could show:
- Two tracks that are in sync with each other
- Two tracks where the tempos are different, so they are out of sync
- And, two tracks that are tempo matched but the drumbeats are out of time.
Doing this would show that you know exactly what you’re talking about and that you obviously have skills.
Other videos could be explaining:
- What EQ knobs do
- How to use filters
- The difference between high and low-pass filters
- How to use various effects
These are all highly shareable content that people can easily share with friends who are also looking to get into DJing. This is because tips and tricks of this kind are not tied to any specific genre and are instead more to do with DJing in general.
All of which, of course, helps you get your name out there even more.
Love DJ gear?
So do we, check out our favorites…
Not only is this technique a great way in how to promote yourself as a DJ, passively network and show support. It is also probably one of the easiest ways to create content for your social media.
To do this, you should actively be following DJs, clubs or record labels that you find interesting and inspiring. Then anytime that they post something that catches your attention, and may be of use to others, find a way to either reshare or screen grab the post itself and add links/tags in your caption.
When doing shoutouts, make sure to always caption and credit the original poster.
This does a couple of things:
- It means you will not be accused of stealing content (which of course is the last thing you want)
- It will send a notification to the poster, whether it was another DJ or a record label, so they see that you are actively supporting what they do
The more you do this then the more times your name will pop up and the more familiar they will become with you. This makes them far more likely to engage with you if you ever message them down the line.
This is one of the best ways to get on the radar of people that are too big to be reading every single email they receive.
Protip: For Using This Method How to Promote Yourself as a DJ
Although it’s possible to get on the radar of some of the biggest DJs and labels in the world, it will also pay dividends to get on the radar of up-and-coming artists.
That is because they are far more likely to check their own social media comments and notifications and actually respond.
To do this in your genre, find some festival lineups that have some of your favorite DJs playing. Further down the lineup you’ll see some smaller DJs that are playing. These will be the up-and-coming artists in your genre.
Go and follow these on social media (as long as they interest you of course) and start engaging with them. And, because they are more likely to respond to their notifications then you are getting your name in front of them. The more you can do the better as you’ll start becoming familiar to those within the industry.
The reason this method of networking is so powerful is that the up-and-coming DJs of today… are the superstar DJs of tomorrow…
Also, everyone is trying to contact and get in front of the biggest DJs in the world, whereas not many people are applying this method. Aside from anything else, you will also find some great new music to play in your sets.
This also works particularly well with labels.
It is a difficult time for labels and they appreciate any support that they get. So, if you find an independent label that you like, then be sure to follow all of their socials and support them anytime that you can.
Then, if you have a track that you want to release, the chances are it will be much easier to get them to listen to it rather than if you emailed them out of the blue.
How to Promote Yourself as a DJ & Artist Creating Memes
This applies more if you produce your own tracks over DJing itself. This is because the intention is to create memes (or recycle popular ones) but use your tracks as the backing.
If you do this enough, and the memes are funny or catchy enough, then they will be shared and, hopefully, go viral. When this happens then people will undoubtedly start asking what the track behind the meme is.
If you want proof that this method works and just look at how Lil Nas X exploded with “Old Town Road”. Memes played a huge part and catapulted him not only to the number one but on to the world stage and shows all over the place. Drake is also known to use memes to gain extra, free publicity.
Although many people might think of this as a shortcut it isn’t really. You still need to make sure that your tracks are good enough to support any interest you might receive off the back of this technique.
But when done right, it can be a super powerful method in how to promote yourself as a DJ & artist.
Passive and Active Networking
In many of the points listed above, you will have heard me mention passive networking. This is when you just highlight something you enjoy, whether a track/label/event, and tagging those involved. This has the benefit of getting your name in front of people in a positive way i.e you are supporting and complimenting them at what they do.
To do this effectively I recommend building a list.
Whether this is just being selective with your social follows or actively building a contact list in a spreadsheet. You can then run through these and be sure that you are engaging regularly.
Anytime they make posts that you enjoy, leave a thoughtful or useful comment below that post. Make sure your comments actually say something relevant, emojis don’t mean anything on their own.
The essence of this is to provide value when networking. By providing positive feedback, encouragement or, of course, when resharing a post, then you are helping to promote them for free. All of this gets noticed and is appreciated.
Therefore if you have a list of people and do this often then you will regularly get in front of the right people. And, because you are asking for nothing in return, then you will start to build up goodwill within the industry.
If you do this for long enough then, when you do reach out and ask for help, you will have built up lots of goodwill. While this might sound formulaic i.e build a list and provide value regularly, once you start it will just become second nature.
Essentially it’s exactly the same as when you use social media currently, it’s just that you are being a bit more intentional and consistent with your posting.
A Note: Positivity & Support Always, Never Negativity
If you don’t like something, or you have negative comments, then it’s better to just not say anything.
In these days of social media warriors, it’s better to not have any negative content out there that can come back and bite you later on.
As a general rule: value and positivity always.
Your Own Network
Don’t underestimate the value of your network. All too often people forget or overlook, the power of those immediately around them.
Therefore, it can be an idea to reach out to anyone you are already connected with and ask if they know anyone in the industry. Whether that is other DJs or people running events. After all, you may know your friends but you don’t know everyone that they are friends with.
It may be surprising who can help in your career.
An example of this is someone I knew…
When they were looking for professional audio work they asked around in their family and found they were connected to someone who worked in a high-end studio doing film and TV audio.
They were then able to visit the studio in London. Not only did they get advice, but they were also given officially licensed software that the studio had going spare.
So, you never know who might already be in your extended network. Never be afraid to reach out as generally, people are happy to offer advice or assistance if they can.
Which leads me nicely on to my next point…
How to Promote Yourself as a DJ by Collaborating
Collaboration is a hugely powerful tool in furthering your profile. This is because you are doubling down on the effort that goes in. It’s not just you sharing a mix or a track that you create, there is someone else also sharing it with their network.
This is often why rappers and crews can do quite well and release many collaborations. For example, if you have a track that features 4 MCs then, upon release, that track is straightaway going to get shared four times more than if one MC was recording and promoting it alone.
Again, this is where your own network can come in handy, particularly if you know other DJs or producers.
Although it can also be a great way to make friends that you meet online. If there is someone that you have followed online there is nothing wrong with reaching out and asking if they would like to collaborate. Especially as it is so easy, when making a track, to share audio files back and forth.
Here again, it can pay to be organized and build yourself a list of people you would like to work with. You can then work through it and make contact with them all. Just be sure to keep a record of how things are going and if you’ve heard back from them.
The more people you collaborate with, the more chances you give yourself of getting yourself out there and becoming successful.
A Note on Collaborating: Always, Always Be Professional
If you offer to collaborate with someone then make sure you always do what you say you are going to do.
You never know what influence someone else may have in the industry. If you let them down and they end up booking club DJs, for example, then it may influence whether they choose you to DJ or not. So, always be professional.
Collaboration can be one of the best ways to expose yourself to audiences that you might not normally be in front of. For example, if you are a Techno DJ then you could maybe do a back-to-back mix with a Tech House DJ.
Not only will this challenge your skills but also a different, but complementary, audience will get to hear your mixes.
So, it can pay to think outside of the box when it comes to collaboration.
How to Promote Yourself as a DJ by Podcasting
We touched a little bit on this earlier, in releasing recording every practice session and regularly putting them online.
When you do this you’re basically 90% of the way towards producing a podcast already. All you would need to do is add a bit of talking for an intro/outro and write a tracklist. This you can then put out regularly as a branded podcast.
It is worth noting that there are copyright restrictions around using music and putting it out through things like iTunes. Instead, you will need to self-publish via your own website or other methods so you can then share it through your network.
Putting out a podcast is a great way to:
- Build & increase your audience
- Keep yourself accountable to producing regular content
- Encourage you to buy new music regularly to keep your podcast fresh
- Encourage people to send you music so that they can be featured
- Great way to network by getting people to come to you instead of you going to them
There are a lot of Facebook groups and forums out there focused on both DJing and your specific genre. So spend some time looking for some good groups to join because, as there are plenty of bad ones.
However when you find a good group then you can share mixes or tracks for comment and feedback. Again remember that social media is social. The more mixes and tracks that you listen to and comment on then the more people will reciprocate when you post.
The key here is not to be spammy.
So many of these groups are poor because a lot of people just drop their links and then don’t interact. Many don’t even come back to the group until they’ve got another link to drop.
This stands out and is obvious to what is happening… so don’t be the one that does it. Not only does it make the group useless but it will not benefit you at all.
The more you interact and become known by a few people within the group then the better it will be for you. It is better to be well-known within groups by a hardcore few than it is not known by everyone.
Produce and Share Your Own Music
This is usually how many of the superstar DJs got to where they are… by producing their own music. It is, of course, one of the longer, most labor-intensive ways to become known but it does have the biggest payoff.
One way to speed up the process of getting recognized for your production is to do unofficial remixes and bootlegs.
This is because people love to listen to music that they already know. So if you can take a popular track and remix it in your style or genre then there is the potential for that track to be shared by anyone else with similar interest to you.
Your name then goes along with anyone that shares that track, this is another great way of how to promote yourself as a DJ and a producer.
There are a couple of ways to do this. As mentioned, you can remix popular tracks into slightly different genres. Or you can take the most popular hook from that song and recut it to make this song as danceable as possible.
Often you’ll see it referred to as a re-edit. This is when a DJ has not so much remixed a track but just recut it to make it more DJ and dance floor friendly.
A Note on Sharing Remixes & Re-Edits
Just be aware that you can only ever give away remixes for free (and re-edits not at all) as they will be subject to copyright. If you sell a remix or re-edit then you open yourself up to all sorts of troubles.
Doing remixes alongside 100% original work can be a great way to get your name out there. Just be sure to be sharing snippets of both work-in-progress and finished tracks that you are proud of.
Producing can also be a great way to give you plenty of social media content.
As you’ll be able to do things like tutorials, snippets or even showing a track being created from start to finish over, for example, ten different posts spread over a month.
Conclusion: How to Promote Yourself as a DJ
As you will have gathered by the length of this post there are many different ways of how to promote yourself as a DJ. All of them work and all of them take work.
The key is to choose the ones that you are most comfortable with and that detract the least from your overall mission of becoming a successful DJ. For example, never sacrifice researching new music in favor of spending a month creating a single video to put on social media.
Documenting your process and passively networking will be your absolute friend in this.
So always be working, always be practicing, always be reaching out, being positive and supporting the industry. Do this both locally and online and in turn, the industry will support you.
Anyone can make it as a DJ, the key differentiator are the ones that put in the actual work….
FAQs: How to Promote Yourself as a DJ
How do you market a DJ service?
In order to market a DJ service, you need to build a client base and get some testimonials. You can do this initially by doing free or cheap gigs for people within your immediate network. Once you have built some experience then you need to expand your network by contacting event companies or by going to conventions in the industry you want to specialize in (like weddings for example).
Referrals are key to marketing a DJ service so network with companies that offer complementary services to you. They can then recommend you anytime they are asked if they offer a DJ service (like a wedding planner for example).
Social media and having your own website are also vital to marketing your DJ service. Make it clear what services you offer while also recording mixes and videos of events so potential clients understand exactly what they will get. You can share these online and also put small amounts of money into advertising to your potential clients. You could target people that have weddings as an interest for example.
How do I book myself as a DJ?
The key to getting DJ bookings is to network, but not necessarily in a business sense. DJing is one big community so instead, you just have to make friends with people in the scene, everyone from other DJs to bookers and event managers. You can do this in person or online.
To network online make sure that your social media profiles are optimized and show exactly what genre you play and the skills that you have. Record all of your mixes and take videos and pictures at any gig you do play. This gives you plenty of content to share online.
Message people often but don’t spam, if you can get in with a record label or event organizer through interning then you can often book multiple, ongoing gigs through one single contact instead of needing several.
How do I promote myself as a producer?
Promoting yourself s a producer is largely similar to doing so as a DJ. Share bits of your work online often, even if they aren’t finished tracks. Snippets and ideas that you’re working on help show your process and what you are capable of. Even doing tutorials can help you reach a wider audience that will then check out your original tracks.
Collaboration is another great way to promote as a producer. Working with a vocalist, for example, means there is another person sharing the end result. This means, through their network, you will reach people that you might never have otherwise.
Creating remixes or mashups can help get your name out there. You’ll have to be careful of copyright restrictions but this is a proven way to establish yourself. Kissy Sell Out, for example, became widely known due to the hundreds of remixes he created.
What makes a DJ stand out?
There are many ways to make yourself stand out as a DJ. You can master certain technical skills like scratching, or multilayer mixing for example. Using this well throughout your sets can give them an edge and make them more memorable for the audience.
Alternately you could create unique remixes so the only place people will have heard them is during your shows. This means people are more likely to track you down online so they can hear them again.
There are many ways to stand out as a DJ but the way to really nail your angle is to discover which aspect of DJing you enjoy the most. Then double down, master that area and before long people will start to recognize you for it.