In today’s music industry, it’s very possible to get great press without a publicist. However, the challenge is getting noticed when there is so much music being released every day. Publicity is very important as it exposes you to a larger audience and gets you real, engaged followers as they find you from more trustworthy and credible resources. In that sense, press coverage in today’s world would include getting into traditional media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, and radio. Of course, there are also newer outlet types, such as blogs and other online channels, but in this blog post, I’d like to offer five tips to get press in the traditional media outlets without a publicist.
1. Write a Press Release and Send it Early
Having a press release is probably the most important component of reaching out to the press. Not only does it do the ‘talking’ for you for your music, but journalists also love copying the press release and using it to create entire articles as it saves them time and effort. In the case of an interview, it is a great tool for them to prepare questions and educate themselves about your project.
You should ideally prepare and send your press release three months before your release. This gives enough time for journalists to pitch stories to their editors. Sometimes they might ask you to remind them closer to the release. This is totally okay. Better to be early than late to the game.
The press release should be no longer than a page and should have all the ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘where,’ and ‘who’ information about your project.
2. Create an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is a great tool to showcase yourself, as it’s a great way to accumulate all the essential information under one package. This way, if someone looks you up, they can just access the EPK and find all the information they need. The EPK should include your best 2-3 songs, your short bio, a video, social links, and your contact information.
3. Contact local and international press
Most of us would love to get coverage in major media outlets, but they are also the most competitive and it is often really hard to get coverage on these outlets as an independent artist. Fortunately, there is local and international press who still have a sizable audience and can help you get solid coverage if you use it right. You should gather a long list of local and international publications that are relevant to you. College and university press outlets are also great for local resources.
Then, you should track down the email addresses of writers. When you contact them, you should send them a personalized message rather than a mass email. Also, you should engage with them on social media and follow their accounts. This will help them put a face to your name and also show that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
4. Have engaged, up-to-date social media accounts
Social media is a great way for journalists to understand the way you interact with the world. Having a video page offers them content that they can use when they publish an article and interview about you. Having your content polished, tagged, and ready to go makes the journalist’s job easier!
5. Develop a pitch of your project
If you had 20 seconds to pitch yourself to a famous person in an elevator ride, how would you do it? Develop a pitch for yourself like this when reaching out to the press. Who are you? What is your music like? Which artists do you sound like? (X meets Y meets Z). Answer these questions in less than 20 seconds. You can use your pitch as the basis of your press release and your EPK.
After preparing your package and sending it to the press, you might not get a response. If that happens, it’s okay to follow up about a week later. Chances are, you will get a response from the follow-up. The other thing is that your email should be brief and concise. I highly suggest keeping it at two paragraphs at most. Again, let your press release and EPK do the talking.
I also suggest doing a bit of research about the journalist and outlet you’re about to reach out to. Do they have any articles about bands you sound like? Maybe they wrote about your friends or colleagues. Perhaps they are into the genre of music that you make. Look these up, read their work, and mention that you’ve read their ‘X’ article. In the end, the folks who are interested in your work will respond to you. If not, you can try again in your next project and keep working on getting press.