You’re a musician, and practice hard. But you may be fouling your chances with bad press relations. As a writer for a music newsletter, I’ve seen it all – here are seven ways to do it right, and do it cheaper.
First – don’t spam me with weekly email press releases. Don’t send me glossy 8×10 photographs. Don’t send me press kits in the mail. That used to be the way things were done, but not anymore. At best, I’ll put your packet in the pile of stuff to look at “someday”. At worst, I’ll remember you as someone that plugs up my email with unwelcome releases.
Second – Instead of mailing your press kit, put it on a well-organized and attractive website. Make sure Google and Yahoo know where to find it. When I’m ready to write an article about you, that’s where I’ll look first. Reverbnation or Facebook are good alternatives. Make sure your website includes UP-TO-DATE calendars, bios, photos, recordings and a way to contact the band representative by phone and email.
Here’s a bonus tip – with all of your promotional material, make sure you look professional. Just because you’re a good musician, doesn’t mean you’re a good photographer, webmaster, or writer. Work with someone who’s as serious about their skills as you are about your music.
Third – shoot a new set of photos every year. A good photo is 2000 pixels wide or high, but is recognizable at 80 pixels. Three of them should be horizontal, three should be vertical, and in two different settings. Make sure they are freely available on your website, and in jpeg or png format. PDF’s or Flash slideshows don’t work. Oh ‘” and don’t make the mistake of shooting in front of a brick wall (it’s a clich©!) or other hall-of-shame mistakes (search for “bad band photos” for a laugh).
Fourth – Have a writer create a bio for your band, as well as for each of the members. Don’t do it yourself. (Did I mention that just because you’re a good musician doesn’t mean you’re a good writer?) Misspellings or obvious grammatical errors are an instant deal-killer.
Fifth – craft an elevator pitch, and make sure everyone in the band knows it by heart. Imagine me, notebook in hand – “Excuse me, I know you’re going on stage in five minutes, but can you give me a really quick overview of what I’ll hear during your performance?” This would be your cue to burp out your pitch. The internet has lots of tips on how to make a good one.
Sixth – A good recording is essential. Three are better. Five is more than I’ll listen to, unless I’m reviewing a CD. I don’t need or want highly polished and dubbed ‘” but don’t give me something recorded on a cell phone in a noisy room. Make sure it’s posted on your website, and that I can download it, and post it with my article. Don’t embed your song in a flash-based player, linking to these are problematic, or forbidden depending on my Managing Editor and their restrictions.
Lastly – There’s good, and bad, ways to contact writers. A rule of thumb is: keep it sparse, make it count. Writers are flooded with emails, so you’d think it’s important to send them more than your competitors. Wrong ‘” it’s important to keep your conversation dense with information, and correspond only when you have something to say. If you can find writers on Facebook or other social media, go ahead and “friend” them. If they accept, make sure that you’re gigs are listed on your wall so they will see them. Make sure to twitter – but keep it sparse and informative. If a publication has an official email address for band notifications, go ahead and use it – never directly email a writer without being invited to do so. And only contact writers that are familiar with your genre.
There is a saying that publicity is publicity, be it good or bad, and people are willing to go to any extent to bring themselves into the spotlight these days and always on the lookout for queries like where to buy cheap instagram likes only because it gives them their 2 minutes of fame, but they resort to inappropriate tactics and uncivilized behavior to achieve this goal and fail to recognize that becoming famous through infamous means is quite harmful to their lives.