Managing Editor - Off The Leash
A switched-on arts writer might have heard about your band but chances are they are too busy to be across every emerging artist. Why take the risk? If you are serious about getting people – other than your mates - to your gigs and people hearing your music, you need to be pro-active about self-marketing.
It is important that you know the readership or listenership profile of the media outlets you are targeting. Watch and listen to the television or radio program or read the magazine, newspaper or online publications that you would like to get mentioned on or in.
Only approach the media when you have something journalists can spin into a good story. It has to be something that is considered newsworthy. That could be the long-awaited launch of an album, an announcement of a competition win or a tour with a famous band. This is when you would write a press release.
It is essential to get your media release/event information to the media outlet in a timely manner or you will miss their deadline. Finding out ‘when?’ is critical. For many publications this information is available online, for others you may need to send an email or telephone to find out the regular print or broadcast deadlines.
Have a great artist bio, which is concise, informative and interesting. We don't want to know that your band was formed "in the first year of uni by songwriter Joe Bloggs and producer John Smith" – cut out the background and write something that's a bit different. Use metaphors to paint a picture - this will help to create a word picture for your audience and give a flavour of your story. But do describe your music accurately - please don’t say you’re a songwriter in the vain of Bob Dylan.
You must have great images for print media to accompany your story. Pics must be good quality, not blurry and with plenty of contrast and strong colour.
It’s worth having a professional photographer take a series of images for you. Sometimes editors will not run a story, no matter how interesting it is, if there is not a good image to accompany it.
Send in your photo as a low res image pasted into the media release. You will need a high res version available to send through (quickly) if requested.
If you haven’t received a response, following up a media release by phone or e-mail where appropriate is really important. Maybe the journalist/editor didn't receive the email, hasn't read his or her e-mail yet, or the headline for the release sent just didn't engage them enough to want to read the release in the first place. Or maybe the release wasn't sent to any one person in particular, which is always a no-no. Allow about two days for a follow up.
Make yourself available for an interview. Be polite and enthusiastic about your music. If you’re rude and flaky, you can bet that journalist won’t bother to contact you again.
Once you have been published, make sure to take some copies and collate your media clippings. This is essential; they become the best testimonials for further marketing. You can use the quotes in future media releases, on your website – post a link on your site or have a PR section – and on social networking, post your coverage on Facebook, Twitter etc.