Following on from our recent Music Masters event: The World Of Music Press event last month, we felt that there were more miles to travel discussing the current state of music press and how best to navigate it as an artist without breaking the bank.
We spoke to Maddy Raven, Head of Promotion at music marketing agency Burstimo, gathering her 5 top tips for DIY Press for Artists.
Music promotion is essential for an emerging artist as the money, time and effort you’ve put into the creation of your material, can be wasted if you don’t put in the equivalent to the promotion. Music PR isn’t easy but with these 5 tips, you will be getting press coverage in no time!
Before running over these 5 tips, you must understand that handling your own music PR campaign is a lengthy process, forcing you to do tasks that you wouldn’t usually do but it comes with rewards, so be sure to set aside the time to commit to this as otherwise you will not get the results.
Tip #1 Write a Press Release
Before doing any promotion work, you need to create a press release for your upcoming release. You need to collect everything together for this release including high resolution images, release artwork, information on this release, release date, private streaming link and facts about you as an artist. To start with, you must collect all of this information in bullet point form. If you have an artist bio, you can split this into bullet points too, so all the key facts are together.
Now you’ve got everything together, you must write the first paragraph, which is the most important part of the press release as if you don’t engage the reader, they won’t read on and most importantly, listen to your music. Hook the reader in by adding credentials such as previous press, support slots and any impressive figures.
The rest of your press release should inform the reader what you’re releasing, what you’ve done in the past and will be doing in the future, and finally any career highlights. This will be the main part of the press release so make sure to make it specific to you and not too in depth but still descriptive, so it fully explains what you’re about.
Finally, you need to write the headline for your press release. On average, 8 out of 10 people read the headline copy of an email but only 2 out of 10 read the actual body of the email, proving the headline can be the make or break as to whether your press release will be read, and coverage will be secured. If you write the press release first and finish with the headline, you’ll know what sort of angle you’re going in with and which of your points is the most stand out, to feature in your headline. Make it powerful, using an active voice rather than passive.
The most important thing to remember about a press release is that the aim is to inform the reader but also act as a persuasion tactic for them to listen to your release and engage with it. Therefore, this press release needs to accurately describe you and this release but also have an angle that will make you stand out amongst the other hundreds of thousands of artists.
Tip #2 Use an Angle
As we just mentioned, having an angle will make you stand out amongst all the other artists. The angle is the hook you are using to grab the media’s eye and prove you’re worth listening too. You’ll find that most emerging artists that secure major online publications, have an angle that makes them appear different and more legitimate than other emerging musicians.
Most blogs receive the exact same email from artists, stating that they have a new release and they want to get a review/feature on their site. This won’t make you stand out and won’t secure you coverage. Instead, you need to prove that you’re news worthy, offering an angle that is different to anyone else.
Think carefully about how you are different. Are you different because of the way you write music, or perhaps someone in the band plays a peculiar instrument, or maybe you’ve worked with a major name for this release? Find your angle and put that out there to the media.
Tip #3 Look at Similar Artists
You can start with a simple Google or social media search to find blogs that are relevant to you. You must be careful when looking at who you pitch to, as if you submit to a blog that doesn’t cover your genre, location or release type, you will be bombarding the journalist with information they don’t need, and you’ll either get a decline or ruin that relationship for future pitches.
You can look into other artists that are at a similar level to you, who are achieving strong online coverage that is relevant for you and your release. You can do this by searching the artist name then the word ‘review’, then use Google Tools and changing ‘Any Time’ to the last month or year, this way you see more up to date coverage. You can approach these publications, or even better these journalists, telling them that you read their review of that artist and believe you have a similar style, so they may like your sound. This can be super effective, as it proves to the journalist that you read their work and know what music they like, putting your music on a similar level.
You can also look at these similar artist’s social media as they most probably will retweet or like the coverage they’ve received. If they haven’t, you can always search their username or look through their followers to see what blogs, journalists and editors are slowing support and following.
Tip #4 Use SubmitHub
If you’re struggling to get feedback or don’t have the time to send your press release out, you can always use SubmitHub. SubmitHub is a site that offers artists the opportunity to submit their upcoming music to bloggers for a small fee. Not only does this get your music in front of bloggers and secure feedback, but it is also many journalists’ only form of income from their site, so is a great way to support a fellow music industry buddy!
SubmitHub is a simple way to connect with journalists, without having that relationship that is built up over time, meaning you get immediate feedback. Also, many sites only take submission via SubmitHub so sometimes it’s a necessity for a certain blog that you really think is fitting for you.
Tip #5 Don’t Forget About Regional Press
Our final tip is not to forget about your regional press, as every artist starts off as the bigger musician in their town, so you need to start here!
Look into your geographical links, whether that be where you are based or where each band member is from. For example, if you’re from Essex, then you can target Essex blogs that cover music and if there are multiple members, you can all cover your own region. You can also do this with your tour dates, so you can confirm regional press around each gig, which also helps with ticket sales.