One of the most challenging parts of being an artist in today’s music industry is having to learn so many things that have nothing to do with the actual music itself—and everything to do with the business and marketing of that music.
While that might initially seem daunting, the reality is that being a business-savvy musician in today’s world gives you a major advantage. If you can learn to perfect not only your craft but the telling of that craft through your social media, your bio, and your press opportunities, that puts you light-years ahead of the rest.
So today, I want to talk to you about my specialty—pitching. As a publicist, it’s kind of my thing. And with artist placements on popular sites and streaming services, I know a thing or two about landing a placement.
Are you ready?
Create a targeted list
Before you even begin writing your pitch email you want to be sure that you’ve created a highly targeted media list. This means knowing who you’re pitching and why you’re pitching them. It won’t work to simply pitch a big name blog because you think you deserve to be on there.
Take the time to get to know different outlets, be humble and realistic in your approach, and put together a list that makes sense for who you are and where you’re at. Trust me, it’s better to target 20 blogs that are a near-perfect match for you than to waste time emailing 100 who aren’t.
Don’t get too cute with your subject line
Now we’re getting to the anatomy of the pitch! There’s a lot of really cool things you can do in your subject line, and you should experiment and see what works. It’s your first chance to really grab someone’s attention. So you want to make yourself stand out. That said, you don’t want to get so cutesy that your subject line makes no sense because it’s just filled with adjectives and tongue-in-chic one-liners.
Keep it catchy but simple. A great subject line might be:
Band releases infectious synth-pop summer tune “track”
A couple go-tos that you want to keep in mind:
- Keep it short. Remember they only see so much before opening the email and that’s when you want to catch them.
- Try to include your genre or artists you sound like. (unless you have an important cause or story like the whale example)
- It’s fine to include “Hey name!” at the beginning of the subject line if you’re pitching a specific person. This one is a bit of a risk because sometimes writers find it off-putting but I will say it tends to get a high open/response rate because it catches their eye. Just be respectful.
Know who you’re pitching
Speaking of personalization, please know who you’re pitching. You should always pitch an actual writer when possible, and be sure that you’re addressing them in the email—and spelling their name correctly. I shouldn’t have to say that but you wouldn’t believe how many variations of my very simple name (“Angela”) I’ve received.
In addition to addressing the person by name, be sure you’re connecting with them on a personal level. This can be over something they’ve recently written for the site, or an interesting thing you liked in their bio.
For instance, if they wrote a piece about a band that you’d never heard of but ended up loving because of their article, tell them! If they write in their bio they’re alum at the same college as you, connect over it! This shouldn’t be long and drawn out, but the first line of your email should be you connecting with them in some way that shows them you’ve done your research.
Keep it short and to the point
After that, you want to keep it pretty short and to the point, but still make sure you’re including all your info. For instance, you want to tell them your band’s name, where you’re from, and what it is you’re releasing (Single, video, album) and what you’re asking for (interview, review, guest blog). You also want to include a link to that release so they can listen, as well as your EPK, which should include press photos and bio.
Link to your socials as well in either your bio or the email and then call it a day. The idea is to simply include all your info in one concise package—enough for them to determine if they’re interested in moving forward—and then let them decide.
While it might seem intimidating to craft your own pitch and effectively run your own PR campaign, once you get this down, it’s going to be such a powerful tool. Because this isn’t just something you can use for PR pitches, but it can be easily adapted for booking requests, meeting inquiries, and more.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.