How to properly approach the media and blogosphere?

If you are an unknown act, the idea of sending out a mass email (copy and paste) press release may not be the best way to proceed when attempting to gain media attention.

It’s not a question of the effectiveness of the press release, which is both a good source of information and a proven method of gaining interviews and publicity. That said, before you can hope to get any media attention, you will first need to introduce yourself and find a way to grab their attention – remember they are constantly bombarded with press releases.

1 – Putting together your press list

The first thing you need to do is compile a list of important contacts – tedious task but necessary. This can be done, for example, using an Excel worksheet:

Media name URL Town, state/province Contact Email Telephone Twitter Personal notes

It would also be worthwhile to classify your contacts on different sheets by country and language.

Start off by listing your local media and also locations where you will likely hold future concerts – these contacts are more likely to have an interest in you. You could also do a search using keywords (genre, style, influences, cultural movements, etc.) or look into the media attention other groups and artists in your genre have received in order to get an idea of which publications, and contacts, have covered them.

news.google.ca
blogsearch.google.com

2 – The press release

Your press release should be aimed at reporters, bloggers, critics, researchers and TV/Radio/Online hosts, and needs to focus on either providing news or announcing an event (which their readers or listeners would potentially be interested in).

You could send out a press release on the following pretexts: new album release, single release from a new album, new video, important event or special collaboration.

The angle of your press release is vital – and key to its success.  You, like thousands of others, make music and want to promote it.  However, from a media standpoint, the reporter who receives your release is looking to tell a special and, hopefully, compelling story that will engage and entertain his audience.

You need to provide this “interesting story”, special anecdotal of some sort – prompting a possible interview…

Here is a standard press release template (or at least a good example right here):

[Logo]

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

[Title]

Town, date [day, month, year] – [1st paragraph: news summary – address the essential questions of who, what, how and where]

[2nd paragraph: brief description of your work – mention your motivations, themes, influences, and collaborations]

[3rd paragraph: a bit of background – give some history, achievements, awards, interesting collaborations, and connections]

Further information:
[Links]

-30-

Source: [Name – Company] | [E-mail]
Contact: [Name – Company] | [Telephone] | [E-mail]

NOTE:  Highlight the key words of your press release in bold. Very few people read a press release from start to finish. Bring the reader’s attention to the main points of your text.

3 – Make it personal

– Take the time to research the person, and the media, that you plan to target.  Take a look at recent articles, tweets and blogs.  Use your knowledge to find a good angle for your (short) introduction message.  Include the link to your press release (in case they want to know more about you) and also provide a download link, offering your single or album for free.

– Put the media/publication name in the email subject box. This indicates that the email was directly intended for the recipient.

– Use the contact’s name in your message opening.

– Avoid being demanding, pushy and “desperate”.

Above all – do your best to stand out! Be yourself, be original and remain faithful to your own style.

4 – Keep your press list up-to-date

– Add new contacts as and when you come across on them on sites and blogs within your niche area.

– Set up Google alerts informing you when a particular site has featured you, and make sure to add their details to your contact list.  They will, without a doubt, be interested in receiving your new material since they already know of you.

– Sites sometimes disappear and editors change; be sure to make the necessary changes in your contacts.

BONUS

Illegal in theory, but useful in practise… MP3 blogs are an excellent means of exposing your work to music lovers across the globe.  Here are some MP3 blog aggregators, which will be useful in building your contact list.

captaincrawl.com
hypem.com
shuffler.fm
elbo.ws

These bloggers are relentlessly solicited and (rather luckily for you) this is generally done very badly: mass emails, general press releases, impersonal messages filled full of links for publicity announcements – inevitably ending up in the trash.

Put together an original message, which briefly introduces you as an artist, presents your work, your inspiration, motivation and possibly a few anecdotes. Your message should arouse the blogger’s appetite, who will then in turn go and listen to your music.

Write to them as if you were beginning a conversation, rather than delivering a sales pitch. Be sure to provide a link so that they can download your single or album for free and access visuals or bonus features.

These bloggers are highly selective about what they decide to put online.  They publish what they like – they are not trying to win friends!

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