May 30, 2017
Getting exposure for your music can be a daunting task especially when the general public is already over saturated with other artists trying to do the same thing. It’s beneficial to use every outlet available to generate buzz for a show, an album release, or simply just trying to get your name ‘out there.’ One of those outlets is the media. In this article I will discuss how to write your own press release and how to shop it around to different media sources.
To start, you need something that is newsworthy. You need a good story. Just getting your name ‘out there’ is not good enough. Your chances of a reporter picking up your story without a newsworthy edge are slim to none. You have to remember, they are a business too. News outlets make their money from advertising dollars. They have to show their advertisers that they get lots of readers and viewers. In order to do that, they have to put out the most newsworthy news. So when formulating your pitch and press release keep this in mind. Your pitch should answer two questions every reporter asks:
- Is this news? (Something current, timely, controversial, new, etc.)
- Why is it news?
Being a new local artist is hot news for you and your family. But unfortunately,for a reporter, it’s not news at all. Think of other things you can use to make your pitch attractive such as a show you’re doing for Veteran’s Day where you will do a musical tribute to Veterans. Or, you could have a heartstring pulling story where you’ve overcome a huge obstacle but still are able to perform. Maybe you invented new ways to perform music with instruments made out of cleaning supplies. Maybe you’re doing a charity show at a local non-profit. Whatever the story is, it needs to be current and edgy.
Secondly, do a quick search for media contacts you will be sending your press release to. You want to do this early on before writing your press release because knowing your audience is half the battle. For instance, if you find that most of the contacts are music critics, then your main angle will be geared toward music sound and quality. However, if most contacts you find are general newspaper outlets, you would craft your message to a wider reaching audience with an angle about something more general perhaps. Also, knowing who you will be sending your press release to dictates the timeframe in which you send it. Bloggers may need less lead time than print media.
Once you determine your audience and story angle, then you should start crafting your press release. Here are the basic elements of a typical press release.
- Contact Information
- Sub-heading with date/city
- End (Notated by “###” or -30- or fin)
- Other notes to reporter
Here is a sample press release:
For Immediate Release
A Very Unusual Gathering of Hair and Music Hits Schenectady This Fall
5/15/2017 Schenectady, NY — Nashville-based Singer/songwriter Anitra Jay is bringing her sultry vocals to town for a gathering about hair.
Black women with natural hair of Schenectady and anyone else interested in the natural hair movement are invited to join in for an evening of natural hair themed acoustic music at Moon & River Cafe Thursday, Nov 13 at 8pm. Listeners will experience “a soulful musical journey about wearing natural hair.” Anitra Jay takes audiences through an eclectic mix of soul, jazz, and pop, incorporating natural hair themes and rhythmic spoken word poetry inspired by Anitra’s own experiences with natural hair.
The new natural hair movement is making great strides across the entire country with millions of dollars being poured into natural hair care products, YouTube videos, and accessories. This movement comes on the heels of soldiers, students and employees alike being forced to wear their hair a certain way through unfair policies and practices. The decision to ‘go natural’ is in effect a protest against the norms and expectations of society to conform. Natural hair support groups are present in major cities across the globe. Anitra Jay is among a pioneer group of artists including India.Arie to wed the natural hair movement with music. And now it’s all coming to a head in Schenectady.
Anitra Jay is described as a purveyor of inspiration as she traverses genres and defies boundaries. A multi-talented artist in both spoken word and music, her shows are filled with powerful vocals, improv comedy, sing alongs, and foot stomping grooves. She recently pinned an entire album about natural hair and the issues affecting black women who wear their hair naturally. Aptly titled, ‘Crown & Glory’ this album features songs about self-confidence and empowerment when it comes to black hair.
Anyone in attendance should be prepared for a soulful evening of music, musical conversation about natural hair, free hair product samples, and meeting other locals with similar interests. Concerts with Anitra Jay always include improvisation and exciting interplay between her and the audience epitomizing what great live music is all about.
Doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8pm. Suggested donation is $5/person. The Moon & River Café is located at 115 S Ferry Street in Schenectady, NY.
To hear Anitra Jay’s music or for more information about this upcoming show go to www.anitrajay.com.
Press-quality photos are available upon request.
Visit www.anitrajay.com for information, music samples.
Your press release doesn’t have to be super long, but it needs to be meaty enough to fill at least one page. If you’re promoting a show, be sure to include all details such as time, location, parking, contact, etc. If you have any quotes, add them in the middle or toward the end of the body. Proofread! Try recruiting a second person to proofread for you. If you send out a press release with typos, you will look like an idiot and worse you will be ignored.
After you finish writing your press release, it’s time to craft your pitch. When reaching out to various media outlets, it is good etiquette to invite the media representative whom you are contacting to your show and offer a complimentary ticket when applicable.
Most media representatives and bloggers converse via e-mail these days, so we’ll discuss how to put together an e-mail pitch for your press release.
Your subject line should include key words from your main heading. Consequently, your main heading should be good enough to get their attention.
Greeting – In the body of the e-mail always address the person by their name.
Paragraph 1 – Add a little blurb about their recent work and how it’s positively impacted you. This helps to add a personal touch. It shows that you did your homework, that you took the time to get to know them a little bit and it increases your chances of getting positive feedback from them in return.
Paragraph 2 – In the next paragraph say what you want. Be concise on what you’re after. You can’t imagine how many inquiries a reporter gets without the person actually asking for anything specific. Don’t just send a press release. You must ask for what you want. What you want might be for them to attend your event and review your music. Or, you might want them to write a story about your upcoming event. Or you may want them to write a story about your new album. Or maybe you want them to feature you on their next artist spotlight column. Be clear on what you want. Don’t assume they will know it from the press release.
Paragraph 3 – Explain what materials you’ve included for their review and offer any further assistance along with your contact information with your phone number.
Include materials such as your press release, photos, and videos.
Do not send attachments. There are too many scams and viruses in the interwebs. People as a whole are hesitant to open e-mails with attachments if it’s from a sender they don’t know. Also, inboxes get slower when weighed down by heavy files. Send your materials via links. Use Google Drive or Dropbox or your website to transfer files. You can write a press release, include press quality photos, videos, and more all in a dropbox file for free. Use these tools to your advantage.
If you have something to offer do it at the end and close out with a question. You can make an offer for complimentary tickets or a CD Download if they’d like to feature your event in their newspaper. Figure out a way to make your offer in question form so that they will be prompted to respond.
Here’s a sample e-mail pitch:
Subject Line: An Unusual Gathering of Hair and Music Hits Schenectady This Fall
I really enjoyed your last article about the new Samsung Tablet in The Daily last week. I already have an iPad, but your review definitely made me consider Samsung in the future.
I’m writing because I am coming to Schenectady to do a concert for a very unique gathering of black women with natural hair this fall and I’m hoping you will consider writing about it in The Daily. I’m trying to get the word out about the show, but if you’d like to cover the actual event when it happens, I’d love that too.
I’ve written up a press release to give you an idea of what the show is about. I also have promo pictures, and some video for you to review as well. You can find that all here: http://www.xxxxx.com.
I’d be happy to send you a special collection autographed CD if you find this story newsworthy for your readers enough to write an article about it. Would you be interested?
Thanks so much,
P.S. I’m talking with (popular local TV personality) about coming to the show too. It should be a fun evening.
It’s a lot of information packed into 4 short paragraphs, but the shorter you can make it the better. They don’t have time for mumble jumble.
Also, to increase your chances, see if you can find media outlets associated with your niche. For example, my concept album about natural hair would be perfect for blogs that cover natural hair. What niches can you tap into? Additionally, try to find media outlets that are not geared to music. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the world is oversaturated with DIY artists looking to get exposure. Try not to take the obvious paths. Do something different. Find unconventional paths.
Finally, read up on the guidelines for sending pitches for each person you contact. Each media outlet should have guidelines when it comes to contacting them on their website. Read through each thoroughly. If there are special rules on how to make contact, be sure to follow them. If you don’t, you could be ignored no matter how well your story is crafted.
So why write a press release?
Media exposure is highly effective when it comes to getting people out to your show. Also, it gives you extra credibility when making pitches to venues, other media outlets, and sharing with your fans and potential fans. It’s also something super cool you can add to your press kit.
Make press releases a part of your promotional activities today!
P.S. Would you rather someone else write your press release? For only $10, I can custom write your press release for you. You can then use it as a template for any other future press releases. Just click the link below to submit your payment, and I’ll contact you regarding details to write your press release.