PART 3: START COMMUNICATING! SOUND THE ALARM!
Getting that first article written about you can feel like a daunting task. Two great places to start are your local hometown music bloggers (assuming that you don’t live in NYC or Los Angeles) and any smaller music blogs. Many small (and even big) music blogs are run by normal people with normal day jobs, who just happen to have a deep love of music. Making genuine connections with these people is the gold currency on which your career will flourish.
The music publicity process for any band or artist – no matter how big or small – is very much the same. Of course, the size of the outlets in which you receive placements can vary dramatically. This is based on what style of music is hot at the moment, combined with many other factors including label, tour schedule, size of your online fan base, and number of streams.
The Last 5 Steps in Your Music Publicist Journey
1. Prepare and Send Media Pitches
2. Follow Up Again and Again
3. Tour Press
4. Update Your Fans Through Your Newsletter and Socials
5. Show Off Your Results
1. PREPARE AND SEND MEDIA PITCHES
For each blog you are sending to, try to find a specific writer or editor to pitch. Find someone who is covering/writing about artists similar to you, a writer you admire, or someone who is writing the column on the site reserved for up and coming artists. Include different links & focus areas depending on who you are sending to.
REMEMBER: If you are trying to secure a premiere, you’re going to have to pitch to one blog at a time, to ensure that you don’t double book a premiere (that’s a big no no).
Sending Your Pitch in an Email
Always start your pitch addressing the blogger or journalist by their first name.
Thank the writer right off the bat for their time, but also be sure to get straight to the point of who you are and what you are reaching out to them about (and be very specific about what you are asking for). Your first paragraph should be customized with them and the site they are writing for in mind. For instance, you might want to mention why your music would be a good fit for the site or why you personally love the site.
Your second paragraph should include your basic info (who, what, when, where, why) and a description of your sound that is razor-focused and absent of superlatives and generalizations.
Be sure to include links to your website, all of your active socials & a SoundCloud link to the music you are pitching them (unless told otherwise in the submission guidelines).
Include any upcoming tour dates, releases, and exciting news!
Close your pitch thanking them for their time and consideration.
As a Facebook Message or as a DM on Twitter
A pitch you are sending via Facebook message or Twitter DM should be considerably shorter than a pitch you send through email. If you are pitching a writer’s personal account it is imperative that you be polite and respectful. Keep in mind you can only DM people who are following you on Twitter.
Briefly state your reason for reaching out, describe your sound/important facts, and include a link to your music (and maybe your website).
TIP: Direct messaging a writer or music blog on Twitter can be a really effective way of following up on an email you never got a response to even after following up via email several times.
2. FOLLOW UP AGAIN AND AGAIN
It is critical that you follow up. Most musicians never follow up at all. This will separate you from the pack. At Cyber PR we follow up with bloggers 3 times before we stop and move on and I suggest you do the same. Be careful though, there are some music blogs that state in their submission guidelines to never follow up. If they absolutely don’t want you to follow up, they will make it clear.
1-2-3 Strike & Stop Strategy
If you use Gmail, there’s a fabulous reminder tool called Boomerang which will keep your follow-ups organized. Once you send a pitch, you can schedule reminder emails to yourself. If the email was unopened it will come back to you to send again. Stick to a 3 strikes and stop strategy (meaning send the pitch 3 times). If the writer doesn’t respond then choose another target.
An amazing tool that allows you to see which writers are actually opening your emails is called Sidekick. Use this link and you’ll get a free month and after that it’s $10 per month and you will never wonder if people are getting your emails again. We can’t live without this tool. It makes us seem almost psychic when we follow up with writers moments after they open our emails. you can refer to your friends too!
When you follow up, write a short and sweet email that includes details to spark the writer’s memory.
PR is a slow-moving vehicle that can take time to get results. If a writer didn’t love the first EP she may love the second one. This means that you may need to try a few times to get certain writers to pay attention.
3. TOUR PRESS
If you are hitting the road, start planning PR for any tour 6-8 weeks before you leave. As soon as a gig is booked, ask the promoter for the club’s press list (most clubs have one). Promoters are dependent on this local press to help sell tickets.
You are working with the promoter to make the show happen, and promoters love it when the show is well publicized and the band makes the extra effort. So ask the promoter who they think will like you the most as they know the local writers in their scenes better than you ever will as those writers are probably in their bars or clubs regularly!
TIP: If the local promoter or club has an in house publicist ask to be connected to her. Let that publicist do her job. This publicist knows the writers in her hometown and she will be instrumental in helping you. Don’t get territorial about your PR! You should allow anyone who is willing to help do so.
Locating Local Publications & Blogs
If the club does not have a press list, of course, you can easily search Google.
The first few times you play a market, you may not get any press. If you are new and you are worried because you didn’t get covered the first time around, keep sending information every time you play in the area. I have never met a writer who ignores several pitches from the same band sent over and over again. It may take a few tours through in each market, but the more a writer sees you over time, the more likely she is to write about you.
4. Update Your Fans Through Your Newsletters and Socials
Never forget that your fans are the most important people! They are the ones who are (hopefully) going to come to your shows, buy CDs and merch, and tell their friends about you. So keep them updated! Post regularly on your socials. Announce presales, tour dates, giveaways, contests, merch, etc. through your newsletter. Make your fans happy that they signed up for the newsletter by offering them exclusive content!
Most importantly – PUBLICIZE EVERY FEATURE YOU GET. No matter how small. Take full advantage of the bandwagon effect, and get your fans excited about every piece of publicity you receive. This also makes it clear to music bloggers and journalists that you are taking it seriously. Not only does this make a good impression on the people who featured you, but it increases your chances of getting more publicity when bloggers check your socials. They are trying to drive traffic to their websites too, and you want to demonstrate that you will promote their features effectively.
5. Show Off Your Results
This is a bit of a reiteration of the last point in #4, but it’s SO IMPORTANT. If you get a feature, make a quality graphic in Canva so that you can post an eye-catching link on all your socials. Make a press section on your website. Add the best quotes from reviews to your bio/signature story, your socials, your future pitches, and your newsletter. The bandwagon effect works very well on music bloggers, as well as fans, and a lot of bloggers know one another. If you show that you’ve made a good impression with one blogger, it might be that much easier to secure a feature with another. The music industry is a giant, convoluted web, and you never know when you’re making an impression on someone who could really help you. Put your best foot forward, and show appreciation to everyone who supports you!
Honduras (the band) uses Squarespace, which has visually appealing options for press sections.
Aaand that’s it!
That’s the end of our “How to Be Your Own Music Publicist” series! If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section. We hope that these three blog posts helped you on your music publicity journey. Go forth and conquer!
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