So you’ve got a new album, a new single, a new music video, a new something. You’re ready to do some legwork in order to make the launch of your new material a success. But where do you start? And how do you determine who to reach out to?
First we recommend reading How to promote your music to online reviewers. Once you’re got your list of who you’re going to contact, it's time to think about the “how”. How will you reach out to them? What will you say? How will you tweak your message depending on who you’re talking to?
Here are some tips for writing an email pitch that gets responses.
1. Keep it Simple
Rule of thumb for pretty much anything in life is keep it simple. Nobody likes complicated…especially not these days! When you’re asking for media coverage you want to make sure your ask is clear.
Are you trying for an interview, a review, a show preview, a feature of your new music video? Make sure your introduction (of yourself) is clear, and that your email gets straight and to the point. Do whatever you can to make your email as readable and ‘respondable’ as possible: this means keeping it as short as possible, including bullet points, and a few helpful links that really showcase who you are. Everything else is just extra and probably unnecessary.
2. Do Your Research
Before you ask someone to spend an hour of their day listening to your album, and another hour writing a review of that album, figure out who you’re actually talking to. Look for names. If you can’t find the name of the music editor, personalize your email as much as you can even with the limited information you have.
A simple, “Dear Music Editor” never hurt anyone. But artists often settle for a half-hearted “Hi…my name is blah blah blah”.
Reviewers really hate generic emails from random people who don’t know anything about what genres they cover. If you can find that name, it will make all the difference. If you go a step further and make sure the person you’re emailing actually covers your type of music, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
3. Make Your Subject Line Clear
There are a few different approaches you can take in your subject line and there are just as many opinions on which method is best. Straight-edge? Humorous? Blunt? Truth is your subject line is the first thing a reviewer will see and different subjects will appeal to different people. So no matter what you land on, be sure to include your band name in the subject heading so they can easily find you among all the other incoming requests (note: insert your artist name in place of XYZ Band below).
Approach 1: XYZ Band Album Review Request
Approach 2: XYZ Band is Releasing its 3rd LP? Will You Review Us?
Approach 3: XYZ Band Review Request: You Will Actually Make it Through Our Album Without Falling Asleep!
4. Links Are Your Friend
Include links that clearly direct your recipient to targeted information. This should go without saying but we’re gonna say it anyhow: don’t send attachments! And don’t send too many links, otherwise the important stuff gets lost in the shuffle.
Depending on what you’re promoting, you want to choose 2-4 links at most - a link to your website or EPK, a link to the specific content you are hoping to get coverage for, and maybe an additional 1 or 2 links to social media.
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5. Include These Parts In Your Email
Now that we’ve shared the above, let’s break down what an email should look like.
See #3 above.
Introduce your band - name, location, genre, and any other basic details (1 or 2 sentences). Show that you have knowledge of the blog(ger) by referencing some of his/her past write-ups. This shows you did your research.
Clearly state what you’re asking for (review, interview, feature…etc). This is just a one-liner so they know why they should keep reading your email.
YOUR STREET CRED
This is your elevator pitch. Clearly liken yourself to a few other artists, share some notable placements and endorsements, and give them a reason to want to check your music out further and consider your ask.
Link to where they can hear your music, read your bio, and learn more about your band to further consider your ask.
Thank them for their time especially since their inbox is flooded with a million requests like yours.
6. Follow Up Just In Case They Forgot
Following up on your email inquiries is important. Waiting is the worst part especially because you don’t always know why you’re waiting. Sometimes a blogger’s silence is because they can't dig through all the emails in their inbox and they haven’t gotten to yours yet.
Sometimes it's because you didn’t send it to the right email. And sometimes it's because they don’t like your music. You may never know the real answer but if you follow up, the likelihood that you’ll get a response is higher. So here's how you follow up:
- Give it a week or two: Don’t be too hasty to check in but don’t let it slip through the cracks either
- Be nice: Don’t send an angry email b/c they didn’t get back to you. Be polite, include the original email in your message, and simply write a 1-2 line email saying you are following up on your original message.
- Acknowledge their work: One of my favorite things to write in my email is, ''I know you get so many of these emails every day, so even if I don’t hear back, thank you for taking the time to read this one.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you pursue online coverage. If it was hard to get a review 5-10 years ago, it’s even harder now. But don’t forget to read PART 1 of this article. It offers some great tips on how to work smarter, not harder.
Best of luck!
Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter and artist coach based out of Philadelphia, PA. In her work through Cultivators, she helps artists grow well by casting vision for the big picture while giving attention to the daily challenges of creating and communicating genuine art. With her background in publicity and marketing, Joy is especially passionate about helping independent artists tell a better story through the way they represent their work in branding, booking, fan-building, and authentically connecting with their audience.
Her writings on music business, and branding have been shared by ASCAP, BMI, Bandzoogle, Indie on the Move, CD Baby, and several other prominent music industry blogs. She is also a current contributing writer for Bandzoogle and gives workshops on fanbase-building, tour booking, social media best practices, and turning music into a sustainable living.
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