I’ll bet it comes as no surprise to anyone that getting publicity for yourself or your band is uber important. With so much new music coming out than ever before and playlists rotating at lightning speed, every artist needs a little bit more to get the spotlight thrown on them in order to make some waves (and have some staying power).
If its getting covered in a blog, featured in a music mag, and sometimes even radio play – that’s all press coverage. But how do you get press coverage without paying lots of money for a publicist or PR person?
Today we will discuss:
Why publicity is important
How to get press
How to pitch yourself
What you need before approaching people for press
So why is publicity important? At the core it exposes you to a broader market. When people see you mentioned in publications and recommend by people or brands they respect, this increases their trust in your product. Product in this case being your music. Want to open for your favourite artist? Having of previous press will bring you higher up their list of choices.
Ah how lovely it must be for artists to see their names in print, and hear their songs on the radio. They must have a great team with someone doing PR right? Probably. For big stars anyway. Many unsigned acts get press without a publicist and these are a few things they focus on: 5 things to prep for press
1. Start local
Gather a long list of all local publications relevant to you and research who is in charge. It’s a great thing to have a name and email address for the person you wish to pitch to. They will be happy you took the time instead of sending a generic scatter bomb of messages hoping someone responds.
Don’t overlook university or college press, a lot of your fans could still be studying.
2. Develop a 10 second pitch
A 10sec pitch is an concentrated elevator pitch for the current ‘lack of attention-itis’ we seem to possess these days. Who are you and what are you about, and what do you offer? Get that down to 10 seconds.
3. Have an EPK
Electronic press kit. An EPK is essential to showcase yourself quickly. It gathers information and provides it in one place. Websites are too much to trawl through most of the time. Create your EPK with vibrant images, your BEST 2-3 songs, a video and your contact information. Put your 10 second pitch somewhere in here. Maybe throw in a press article if you have one. Your Spinnup artist site can do this job pretty well, so get it up to scratch and include in pitch emails you send.
4. Have a great social media presence
We know social media is a fantastic way to reach out to the world. Have at minimum a Facebook page and linked Instagram account dedicated to music. Set up a YouTube channel and upload your music videos here. The more interaction you offer online, the more material journalists can pull from. Make their job easy! If stuck, read our social media guide for help.
5. Write a press release
100-200 words about your next project – when is it, what is it…and other ‘w’ words. Where, with whom, why should people engage with it. You may have a new single coming out. Who did you write it with? Why? Where can people listen? What do you look like? (meaning, add a couple of hi res images you’d like to be published that represent you).
Now that you have gathered a long list of local publications and names of people working in those places – you can send a press release along with an EPK.
Here is a not so secret secret. Ready? Many publications will print articles that you write about yourself and put their name to it. Of course! That’s what a press release is for. Some journalists will paraphrase and some will copy paste. We’re not talking about the big investigative journalists – we’re talking about the ones that are pressed for time and also happy to help you out by printing your words. Throwing in a quote or two can make a big difference and add a bit of personal colour that makes it seem like they wrote the piece.
Are we hearing you say ‘but why am I doing all the work?’ Because no one knows more about you than you, and when you are not in an interview situation, you must provide all information unprompted. Whether a journalist writes their own piece from the info you provided, or if they simply copy it, it’s helpful to you. Make sure you write some good things about yourself!
- Make a list of publications
- Get names of people to write to
- Develop a 10 second pitch
- Make your social media great
- Create an EPK
- Write a press release
- Send press release out to everyone on your list
Time your press release
Send your press release at least 3 months before your project goes live, or whatever you are promoting happens. This gives journalists time to pitch their own stories on you, and their publication may go out quarterly so they need advanced warning.
If you are promoting a single or album that won’t be uploaded for pre-purchase until 4-6 weeks out, send the press release 3 months before with a private Soundcloud link showcasing the yet to be released material, with information on when pre-release links will be live. 4-6 weeks out, send links for pre-purchase to be included in any press.
Let’s imagine you have done all of the above and only a couple of bites. This is where you follow up, in a lovely manner. Reconnect with the people you sent a press release to and ask if they have had time to read it – and if there is something else you could offer to them that they saw lacking in your initial contact. Most of the time they would have been busy and a follow up is fine.
Here’s some interesting stuff we think will help you with writing a press release:
Keep it simple. You’ve heard that before in life. Write one or two concise paragraphs about you, your project, and why you would be great that particular publication. Add a link to your EPK. Sign off in a professional manner.
The key here is doing your research.
Why is the publication you are reaching out to going to want you in their mix? Research and find articles about other artists that are similar in some way, and go for those publications. Mention the releases or pieces they do that you would be great for and why. Keep it simple. Your EPK will do the rest of the talking.
Finally, if you don’t hear back after a week to ten days, follow up with another email. If you don’t hear back after that you may want to move on. It is considered ok to send two follow ups, but use your gut feeling on this one. Remain professional and refrain from being perceived as annoying.
We love you, you’re never annoying to us! Remember that people who have not heard of you yet only need a couple of nudges and if they are going to respond, they will. If they don’t, they don’t know you so who cares right? Brush off your shoulders and try again!