Music publicity is now very much a two-way exchange. To simply expect that a media outlet will cover you because your music is great is sadly not true. You must have great music, a strong online brand which includes a great website, a healthy social media presence, plus at least some plays and followers on streaming platforms, if you expect the media to take note.
This is a preview of the “How to successfully generate your own PR” webinar that will take place on May 28th at 1 PM EST - Register Free.
Step 1: Get ready for publicity
Successful publicity is all about the planning! Do you know the old proverb - measure twice and cut once? It means you should double-check your measurements for total accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; if you don’t do this you will have to cut again, wasting both time and materials.
This is a great analogy to consider when preparing for PR. The sending of the actual emails to the music writers or playlisters is NOT the hard work - it’s all of the steps that lead up to your one-second-send that you will need to be completely ready for.
Build a killer EPK
- Your bio
- Promotional photos
- Samples of your music
- Links to your videos
- Articles/reviews about your and/or your music
- Career highlights
- Contact info
- Links to your social media profiles
Write a captivating pitch
When writing a solid pitch you’ll want to keep 2 things in mind - short and sweet! Please note: A bio is NOT a pitch!
A pitch should be no more than 5 or 6 sentences, and it should contain a captivating angle/story nugget. If you can include the feelings you want your music to evoke or your values, these are always great additions as well.
Get to know SoundCloud (if you don’t already)
The media use SoundCloud because they can easily embed your player right into their blogs without forcing users to login (like Spotify does); so if you have been ignoring your SoundCloud profile, now is the time to spruce it up!
You probably don’t need a press release!
If you think that writing a press release and blasting it out is the way to get PR - not so fast! The ONLY reason to write a press release is for a very specific newsworthy event like a benefit show OR for a very niche or local market. If you must write one, follow these guidelines.
Step 2: Your pitching strategy & media list preparation
Finding blogs, podcasts, and playlists that are right for you is the most important part of the PR process, so dive in! Start searching and reading through them - the ones that resonate will appeal to you, and these are the ones to target.
Research your writers & playlisters
Most music blogs and playlists are run by normal people, with day jobs, who just happen to have a deep love for music. Making genuine connections with them is the key to success.
You make these connections by doing your research. You should approach these writers only once you understand what they are looking for and what they write about before you send your pitch. I recommend looking at Google, Submithub, Fluence.io, Hype Machine, and Music Submit for inspiration.
Pitchfork, Rolling Stone & Billboard - Not so fast!
Yes - I know you want these publications to notice you! Every artist should aspire to get coverage on the largest, most notable publications; however, don’t spend a ton of time pitching to big names when you are starting out. Your real winners for secured features are going to be the small and medium blogs because they’ll give your music the TLC it deserves!
If you play live - get local!
As soon as a gig is booked, ask the promoter for the club’s press list (most clubs have one). Promoters are dependent on this local press to help sell tickets.
Follow up - Like, a lot of times!
It is critical that you follow up. Most musicians never follow up at all. This will separate you from the pack. I have never met a writer who ignores several pitches from the same band sent over and over again.
It may take a few tours through each market, but the more a writer sees you over time, the more likely he or she is to write about you. Remember to be polite when you follow up!
Step 3 - Your PR timeline & sharing sublicity successes
Plan out your long-term pitching strategy
A PR campaign should extend for a long period of time (this is why most PR firms won’t work for less than 3 months), because you need to plan and factor in single releases, videos, premieres, and maybe even live shows or streaming events leading up to the release.
Create a calendar! Add your assets and pitching goals to each month. Little or zero lead-time makes planning very tricky, and many blogs will pass you up if your music is already out, so you definitely need to prepare lead-time for every scenario.
Visualize your PR
It’s vital to publicize every feature you receive, no matter how small! You want people to see that you’re being talked about, so visualize your PR placements and post them on your socials. At Cyber PR, we use Canva to create beautiful tiles which can be sized for the appropriate social channel with the click of a button.
Share your PR successes
When you post your successes on Instagram (remember your stories!), Twitter, and Facebook, don't forget to tag the individual writers as well as the blog/podcast/playlist/newspaper/magazine/radio station, or YouTube Channel/TV station. You’ll also want to build a page on your website with your favorite press quotes.
After you visualize - leverage your PR
You worked hard to get it - now it’s time to ask yourself: what do I want to USE this PR for? Do you want to share it with a promoter, a booking agent, a manager, a record label, other music writers? The whole point of getting PR is to leverage it for your next step, so ask yourself what your music industry goals are and share the PR you’ve secured with the right people!
Final music PR tip - Have patience!
PR is a slow-moving vehicle that can take time to get results. If a writer didn’t love the first EP or single, she may love the second one. This means that you may need to try the same outlets a few times to get certain writers to pay attention.
This is a teeny summary of the “How to successfully generate your own PR” webinar that will take place on May 28th at 1 PM EST. Click here to register free.
About Ariel Hyatt @CyberPR
Ariel Hyatt has been a music entrepreneur and cheerleader for indies for more than 20 years and runs Cyber PR Music, a PR, artist development, social media & content strategy firm based in New York City. Her agency advises on how to create online influence and release impactful projects. She has spoken in 12 countries to over 100,000 creative entrepreneurs and is the author of four bestselling books on social media, marketing, and crowdfunding - including Cyber PR for Musicians and Music Success in 9 Weeks. Her newest book, Crowdstart: The Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign, went to #1 on Amazon in the music, investing and entrepreneurship categories.
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