Whether you’re angling to land an opening spot at a big local show or looking for coverage from a heavily followed blog, a thoughtfully crafted email pitch is what you’ll need to succeed as an unestablished artist. But, predictably, many musicians struggle with this important aspect of DIY promotion. Sure, most musicians aren’t skilled writers, but that’s not the only reason bands and solo artists miss the mark when it comes to email pitches. Here are a few key things to remember when you pitch your music over email:
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes
Let’s start with the most important rule for writing email pitches. Believe it or not, human beings at the other end of the “send” button sometimes read your pitch emails. Whether the person reading your pitch email takes you seriously or not depends on how well you communicate. Virtually all musicians are familiar with email spam, yet many are more than happy to copy and paste poorly and hastily written emails to venues, media outlets, and playlist curators. Since you’re probably quick to move annoying form emails into your spam folder, it’s safe to assume the folks you’re contacting are too. If you were a blogger, playlist curator, or venue owner, what sort of emails would you want to read?
Writing the sort of thoughtful, well-constructed pitch a music writer or promoter will appreciate takes work and practice. In addition to personalizing your pitches, you need to pay attention to things like form, spelling, and grammar. No, you’re not writing a novel, but you are trying to communicate an important message to someone who probably receives dozens or even hundreds of similar emails every week. This means your communication needs to be decisive, gripping, and concise.
Decide exactly what you want to say and personalize
Musicians waste their time when they shoot off pitch emails without including important details like what their music sounds like, how and where to listen, and what exactly it is they’re writing about. These core aspects of your communication need to be sorted before you start contacting people, not after. Once you’ve solidified the main points of your pitch, it’s time to create engaging emails that are unique to each person you contact. Yes, it’s easier to copy and paste content to a long list of contacts, but your messages will be far less likely to be taken seriously. It’s hours and hours of more work if you’re doing something like promoting a new album, but you will absolutely see better results if you make an effort to write something personal and different for each email. It might feel good to contact 200 blogs in a day with a single form email, but you’re most likely going to be spinning your wheels. Decisive, thoughtful communication tailored to each person you contact gives you the best chance at finding success through email pitching.
Many musicians begin their careers wanting to make music and do nothing else. Putting real thought and energy into your emails might seem like a distraction from your work, but it’s actually something that can unlock important opportunities to develop and be heard.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.