Getting your music in front of the right people is crucial if you want to gain traction for your band. Think about it - whether you want to hop on a tour with a more well-known band or get your new single on a Spotify playlist, industry leaders with influence have the golden ticket to the next step in your music career.
When your record is finished and you are ready to start promoting it, you may want to start pitching it to music journalists, bloggers, playlist curators, or other influential artists. However, these industry leaders can often sniff out inexperience, and it's important to write a professional pitch. Keep the following tips in mind when communicating with the media:
Find the balance
At the end of the day, music critics and social media influencers are just people. When crafting your pitch, try your best not to treat them like a robot or a vending machine that exists only to promote your music. A canned pitch can be spotted from miles away. Take the time to read a few of their stories or watch their latest interview. Let them know that you care just as much about their professional career (and offering them a story that is consistent with their beat) as you do about your own career.
With that in mind, you also can't expect a busy magazine editor to chat on the phone all day or read an email that is a mile long. These are professionals, not friends, and they probably have 1,000 unread emails from bands trying to score the same coverage as you. Treat them authentically as people, but be respectful of their inbox, their time, and their professional opinion (sometimes, that means respecting their decision to pass on the pitch).
Send them a story
Speaking of their time, they likely don't have a lot of it. Provide as much detail as you can in a concise email that is no more than three paragraphs in length. Every word should count and every sentence should serve a purpose.
Reporters are far more likely to feature your band in a story if they don't have to dig too far for information. If your new single has a significant backstory, include it. If you have a unique angle to share, let them know. Offer to send them quotes or a one-sheet if they're interested, but don't assume that they are, and always present your own ideas as recommendations. Remember, they're professionals, and while they enjoy having the information they need to craft a story, they still value the opportunity to make it their own.
For the love of all that holy, please do not send attachments. Music reporters and industry professionals will often pass up new music if it is attached as an Mp3. It's nothing personal, it's just editorial etiquette. Your music should be housed online, and you should always hyperlink those sites within the body of your email.
If you have a one-sheet that you'd like to include, offer it as additional information that you can send, if they're interested. This gives them an opportunity to respond, and it also gives you an opportunity to follow up with substantial supplementary content.
Follow up, but not too much
Following up can be a tricky game to play. As mentioned, always reserve a piece of content to share with your follow-up email. This is important because a follow-up email is made stronger when it has something more to offer. Include your one-sheet or a link to your upcoming tour dates - anything that will keep building the story.
Also, keep your follow-up short, sweet, and polite. You can circle back as early as one week after your initial contact (for time-sensitive issues, like an upcoming show in their city), but try not to follow up too soon. And if you don't receive a response after the third attempt, let this one go and start working on your next newsworthy project.
Music media is a game of give and take. Curators, writers, and influencers want to be sure featuring your band in their playlist or their blog will generate web traffic and opportunities for them. If you approach your pitch as a mutual benefit, you are far more likely to score the story.
For more information and to get industry insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the bi-weekly (noise)letter.