DIY Music PR – Part 1: Build Your Media Contact List
You’re in a great band. You have a great live show and a great new album. Great! It’s time to let the world know! It’s time to contact the media. You don’t have a publicist, and you don’t know how to afford one or where find a good one. How about a DIY approach? Where do you start? Let’s start with building a media contact list.
1) Build a media contact list. Here is a sample excel sheet that I use that will help you get started: http://bit.ly/DIYMediaContact
Print Media, Online Media, Music Blogs, TV Shows, Radio (I would suggest a separate contact list for radio). Get online and research who writes about bands in your genre and /or who reviews shows at the venues where you perform. Are you playing your hometown or a different city? If you’re from Texas and playing in New York, make sure the music writers you contact write about touring artists.
2) Follow submission guidelines. Most sites state where and how to submit materials. CD or mp3? Dropbox or Soundcloud? Things like that.
3) Personalize your submission. Avoid the ease of sending out a mass email.
4) Give them time. Print media works a month to several months in advance, and online media outlets need at least a couple of weeks to review your materials.
5) Follow up via email or phone, depending on the contact’s preference. If you don’t follow up, you won’t get any coverage. Media contacts are very busy creating content, and they receive story requests every day, all day. They will forget about you. They’re human beings. Follow up.
6) Have a story. Bands underestimate their role in crafting their own reviews. “Hi, we’re a new band putting out a new album and it sounds awesome” isn’t a great story. Maybe you recorded your awesome sounding album in an abandoned tire plant and that’s why it’s titled Rubber Factory. That’s interesting. What did it smell like in there? What was the strangest thing that happened during the recording process? Why did you decide on that location? If you can intrigue a media contact with a great story, then they might write about you. You need to give them a starting point. If they are interested, they’ll ask you questions and the story takes shape. Rubber Factory was the third first Black Keys record, and the first one to make the Billboard chart.
7) Never give up, be creative, and have fun. Contacting the press isn’t as fun as playing music, but there is no reason why you can’t make it fun. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the hours spent doing this a whole lot more if you look at it as something positive that you are doing for your band.
In Part 2, we’ll look at press releases and other sample content submissions.