The Power of Personal - When Traditional Marketing Still Counts
Written by Jem Bahaijoub
As a new artist it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constantly evolving new media world. With new marketing platforms bombarding us every day, it’s difficult to see the forest from the trees. So what should you do to market your debut EP? How can you build up a fan base from scratch? Next time you feel a panic-attack coming on and start screaming “where do I start?!”, take a deep breath and remember that we were sociable before we were social. So cast your smiley text faces and FB invitations to one side, and go back to basics. The foundational elements of direct-to-fan marketing all started in the physical world….
Put Your Face In A Face
Always remember that your most important marketing tool is yourself. Nothing can ever replace the importance of face-to-face interactions. You may not have time (or the money) to attend every industry and event conference but remember that every time you step outside of your house a marketing opportunity presents itself - at your local coffee shop for example (can you leave postcards on their counter?), going to see other local bands (how about a gig swap?), even at dinner with your extended family (get them on your mailing list!). The power of personal will ALWAYS trump the online world. Why? Because you are instantly more memorable in real life, and people will be willing to help you out more if they know you as a person.
How To Get Music Blog Coverage
Written by T.J. Petracca
Getting your music blogged about is one of the best ways to help your band grow on the Internet. Believe it or not, bloggers are some of the most powerful and influential people in the music industry. Sure, some of them are reclusive nerds slouched over glowing screens in their parents’ basement, but an increasing number of bloggers are producers, managers, A&R guys, and musicians themselves. Even if they are nerds in their parents’ basement, their influence can be extremely crucial to the success of your band. Below, find the top 5 ways to improve your chances of being featured on blogs.
1. Content is King
Creating bloggable content should be your first objective, but doing so is easier said than done. I’m not talking about overloading the web with songs, videos, and pictures, or talking about compromising your art, but rather that you stay current with the type of music that is getting coverage right now. Learn about the blogs you want to see your band on, and target them with the content you create.
2. The Album is Dead
At least when your band is first starting out. At that point in time, it’s all about releasing singles. Put your single up on an attractive Bandcamp page and upload it to Soundcloud. (Soundcloud is crucial to getting reviews. Many bloggers have soundcloud dropboxes built into their sites, making it super easy to share your tracks with them without clunky email attachments.)
3. Keep it Short and Sweet
Now that you’ve uploaded your content to the web, it’s time to start reaching out to blogs to get your music covered. Don’t spam them! Instead, learn about them and make sure you think they will actually like your music based on their previous posts. Always read the ‘about’ section on every blog and understand who you are talking to. Bloggers get hundreds, even thousands of submissions every day. Keep your email short and to the point. Use your subject line wisely so you’ll stand out. Talk about their blog and tell them what you like about it. Maybe highlight a specific post that made you think they would like your music. Attach a .jpeg of your album art and link to your bandcamp. Look at the format of their site — if you can size the photo you send them to fit perfectly with their layout, they are more likely to blog about you.
As I mentioned before, many bloggers prefer to receive submissions in their Soundcloud dropbox. Make sure to do that, but a follow up email is always a nice touch and it gives them another chance to see your name.
4. Follow them Religiously
Dedicate your band’s twitter “following” section to only blogs that are relevant. Follow them on twitter, soundcloud, instagram, tumblr, and everywhere else. Make them see your name as many times as possible, make them know who you are. Don’t harrass them, but stay in touch with them. Interact with them on twitter about everything, not just your music.
5. Thank Them and Keep Records
When someone writes about your band, share the article on all of your social media outlets, making sure to tag the blog in every post. Write them a short thank you email for featuring your song.
Compile a spreadsheet of bloggers who have featured you. Write down their site, name, email address, twitter handle, the link to their post about you, and their geographic location (the location will come in handy later when you decide to tour). Once you have a list of bloggers who have featured one of your singles, you can hit them up again in the future when you have new content, allowing every new release to go smoother and bigger than the one before.
How To Approach & Contact Music Press
Interview by Ben Maitland-Lewis
Ben sat down with PR man Adam Ritchie, of Adam Ritchie Brand Direction and guitarist for Boston-based, The Lights Out. Adam has been at the pulse of the media industry for nearly a decade. His work spans from big name brands to budding bands.
"Everything has to have some kind of a hook in it. Everything should relate to something and it’s never too early to bring that into your creative process.” -Adam Ritchie
As musicians and professionals operating in a creative industry, we attempt to create art drawn from emotion, inspired by our surroundings and experiences. While this can be hard enough for some, promoting it and getting press for it is an art in itself. You can sit in a cube, rehearsal space or studio, writing, creating, or building anything you want, but when it comes to getting covered in the traditional or indie media, what makes it stand out from the rest? What makes someone want to write about it? How is it that some bands get full page spreads in ‘zines while others don’t even get a blog mention? What lies on the other side of that big stone wall of media? How do we break through?Have you had some success with the press? Leave a comment below!
- Give yourself plenty of lead time. That is, time to approach press. The magazine that you’re reading on stands today was conceptualized 3 to 4 months ago.
- Know what you’re pitching and know what section you’re going for, i.e. concert previews, mp3 of the week, etc. Look at who writes those sections and send material specifically to that author. If you send your materials to an organization’s generic mailing address, you’re sending them to a black hole that is bound to end up in a landfill. You don’t want to litter do you?
- When sending materials to press accounts, your packaging is very important. If you see a creative, colorful envelope sitting next to a blah, manila envelope which one are you going to open first?
- The biggest icebreaker you’ve got is a sense of humor. No one likes a form email that sounds canned. If you write something specific and funny to that person you’ve already taken the first step.
- Be careful to not burn your bridge before it’s built. You can’t really hound Indie media (blogs and social media), from 9 to 5 like you can traditional media because it’s probably not their day job.
- If you’re written up in a publication (physical or online), you should maintain a professional relationship with the author, but don’t over do it. Be sure to let them know you appreciate their piece, but it’s best to wait a few months before pitching additional article ideas to them.
- When the time is right, it’s important to build your team and bring on experts and specialists to contribute to your career accordingly. Ideally, you should be focused on making music, so when responsibilities start creeping in you can silo those off and put them in hands that you’re confident in.
- Always remember that you’re a band and your product is fun. Be creative!