Press coverage can be a valuable way to do get your music in front of new people and to provide validation and talking points for your future pitches to industry gatekeepers. Many musicians and bands tend to wait until they have already released an album or have left for tour before they get in touch with the press, but it is usually too late at this point. Having a plan well in advance and not rushing your release are key factors in getting support from journalists. Here are some ideas and things to consider when seeking press attention that go beyond sending out classic press releases:
Spend Time Doing Research
It is much easier for an artist to get press if they have an understanding of what press outlets there are out there, how big they are who the writers are and what those writers like. It is wise to look into the following before even approaching press.
- What Kind of Audience Does This Blog Have? How large is it? How engaged is their readership? Do they have a strong social media presence? Take a look at their social media profiles and look at their estimated web traffic using sites like similarweb.com to determine if getting written about on this outlet will get you real exposure.
- Who and What Do They Write About? If you sound like Adele and they write about Iron Maiden chances are this is not the right fit for you and not worth pursuing. One of the easiest ways to find appropriate blogs is to keep tabs on similar artists that are that next step above you. Tracking who writes about U2 isn’t helpful as the outlets that write about huge artists are less likely to cover smaller ones. By setting up Google alerts to track similar artists you can see what kind of coverage they are getting and from what outlets. If you see that these bands are consistently getting coverage on certain media outlets, you can attempt to do the same by contacting the journalist or publication directly.
- When Do They Write About Music? Many outlets these days put a big emphasis on how new a release is. If you have an album or a video that is several months old you are going to encounter more resistance from the press. They tend to like fresh releases but do your homework and see if there are other outlets you can approach further along in a release cycle. It is advisable to start approaching press with private links to your content prior to release.
Master the Art of the Personal Correspondence
Sure, you can always write a press release and distribute it through a service. (This approach doesn’t hurt!) However, higher-end media outlets get so many requests, it is rare that one of these outlets will actually pick up your story. A more effective approach is to contact relevant publications directly by writing a personalized email. Here’s a look at some of the elements to focus on when emailing:
- Create a great subject line. You don’t want it to be too vague. Make sure your subject line is descriptive or else the email will likely never be opened.
- Address them correctly. You don’t want to get their names wrong. Do your research and make sure you not only know how to properly spell their names. Avoid saying Mr., Mrs., or Ms. If you get this wrong, it can set a negative tone for the rest of the correspondence.
- Maintain a professional and friendly tone. You want to make sure that your email is professional without sounding stuffy. Make sure that you don’t have spelling or grammatical errors and always keep your emails as “to the point” as possible. This will increase your chances of getting coverage.
Develop Personal Relationships
Your ultimate goal is to develop personal relationships with relevant members of the press. Being able to write a good email correspondence isn’t enough. You need to demonstrate a sincere interest in the person whom you are emailing and make sure they specifically know why you are reaching out to them. For example, if you enjoyed one of their articles, let them know. It is also a good idea to find ways to meet members of the press in real life at industry events. Taking the time to have a sincere conversation with them could increase your chances of getting coverage.
When it comes to getting press coverage for your music, it helps to think a little bit outside the box. Sure, you can always distribute a press release. However, you’ll have more success by taking a personalized approach.