So, you’re about to release your brand new single or EP. Or you might have your debut album coming out or a tour on the horizon. Whatever new stuff you’re doing musically at the moment, you’re going to want to generate buzz and recognition around it; and press coverage is paramount for propelling your career as an artist forward.
But how do you get someone to, firstly care about you, write about your music, play you on a radio show, or feature your tour information in a magazine? How do you find the right contacts? If you have your own PR then fab, all of the hard work is done for you! But if you don’t have the means, then you’ve got to do it yourself, which is not always easy.
At Spinnup we want to make it simpler for you, so we’ve put together a helpful guide of how to pitch to the press and get that vital media coverage.
In order to pitch you’re going to need a press release. Simply put, a press release is a compelling news story sent to targeted media outlets. For a musician, this can be anything from a new album release to a tour announcement.
Just as you need to give your release time, this goes for your PR as well, so make sure you get it organized ahead of time.
Firstly, always have a reason to pitch
One thing you need to remember is that you should always have a REASON to pitch. Editors are only going to care about stories that are newsworthy. What’s your news hook? If you aren’t doing anything new currently, then hold fire!
Do your research
Make a list of which press you want to be featured in:
It’s important to do your research to see which media outlets you should be targeting. It should be someone who will care about your sort of music, i.e. there’s no point pitching to a metal magazine if you’re a dance artist. It could also be any media outlets that your fans are into.
If you’re unsure, then get up to scratch on current magazines, blogs, playlists, radio shows etc. that feature your sort of music, and which ones you’d really love to be featured in.
These platforms also don’t need to be specifically wholly music-based either, you could pitch to lifestyle blogs, and film or gaming magazines if that’s what you’re about. Tailor it completely to you, and think outside the box!
Tip: Use sites such as Submithub to draw attention to your release by finding some of the most influential blogs and playlist curators in the world.
Finding the correct contact information
Most blogs, magazines, and radio shows will have their contact information under the ‘contact us’ page, but sometimes it can be found under ‘press’ or ‘editorial’. Where possible, always try and find a contact name as well.
Some publications will have their own pitching guides such as DJ Mag, so make sure you read all of this information carefully before pitching.
If it’s playlists you want to pitch to, read our Spotify pitching tool guide.
Build a media list of contacts
Once you’ve established which press you’d like to contact and have their emails, then it’s a great idea to put together a handy list of contacts at your fingertips for future reference. You could build this in Outlook, or in a Google sheet if you’re in a band so that more than one of you can access at one time.
If you have musician friends who are in a similar vein stylistically and likely to be pitching to the same media, you can pool your resources and share contacts.
Personalize each email
It’s not mandatory, but it’s always a good idea to send a customized pitch if you’re sending out to more than one media outlet. Adding a personal message in your email is a great way to build potential relationships with the press. Include their personal name (if possible) and publication name to show you know who you’re emailing.
And if you happen to be sending a blanket email for the love of god PUT ALL THE EMAILS IN THE BCC. There’s nothing worse than seeing the 50+ other bloggers and journalists you’ve sent to, and this makes people switch off instantly.
Write your press release
A press release should be no more than a side of A4 and written in the third person. It should be informative and factual. When sending your press release, it’s important to put in the body of the email and not as an attachment so that you’re making it as easy as possible for them to learn about you and to catch their attention.
Tip: Always pay attention to detail. Nothing looks more unprofessional than rookie errors such as spelling mistakes and getting names wrong.
Press release/email structure:
• Email subject line
“Press release from [band/artist name]: [title]” or “Latest news from [band/artist name]: [title]”
• The personal message before the main release
“Dear [editor/publication name] I’d/we’d love to be featured in your publication and after reading your articles on [bands/artists] we feel our music will resonate with your target demographic. Please see the press release below for more information.”
• Specify if it’s for ‘Immediate release’ or ‘for release [date]’.
“For release on [date]/For immediate release”
• A NEWSWORTHY title to catch people. – WHY are you worth covering?
“[Band/artist name] announce biggest tour ever supporting UMG [band/artist] this September”
-This title is newsworthy because firstly it’s their biggest tour to date, and secondly, they’re supporting a UMG artist!
• Press shots and/or album artwork
-One or two images will be ideal, but these you should add as an attachment so that the images aren’t compressed in the email body.
• Streamable links to your music.
You can send private Soundcloud links if your project hasn’t been released yet, on Spinnup of course.
• Paragraph 1
Grab the reader’s interest.
Think of a press release as an upside-down triangle. Put the most important information first and work your way down. This is your main pitch to get your point across; the who, what, where, when. And most importantly, WHY are you worth covering?
• Paragraph 2
Here you add more information expanding on the first paragraph. For example, if it’s a debut release, what do you sound like?
• Paragraph 3
Here you will have your artist bio (read our post here if you don’t already have a great one). This version should be brief and include selling points such as any radio play, important collaborations and tour history.
• A quote
A quote is a nice touch to not only add personality to your release but also can highlight any positive coverage you’ve received in the past. It could be from the press or a direct quote from you.
• Tracklisting (if it’s a music release) or tour dates
• Contact information
Include your email, telephone number, and links to your social networks, website, and EPK.
• End of the press release
This isn’t the neighborhood you’re from, but to make it clear where the press release ends.
• Editors notes
This is where you might want to include a sentence or two such as:
“For further information, hi-res images or to set up an interview please contact X on [email] or [phone]”
• Sign off your email
Having a great email sign off looks professional. Include your logo if you have one, contact info and links such as socials. You could even include a call to action, such as “stream our latest single”.
Adding your email signature can differ per email server you use, but it’s usually in your settings, or can be found when opening a new email message.
And finally, keep going
Don’t get disheartened if you don’t hear back straight away, or at all. Don’t be afraid to follow up with the blogger or journalist. There are thousands and thousands of publications out there, and with a bit of persistence and patience, you’ll get there!