A lot of musicians especially starting out make the mistake of hiring a PR agent from the get-go but this is not always a good idea. When you are starting out in the music industry unless you are on X-Factor, you will need to make sure you have the patience to play the long game because it takes time to build up your presence.
Just like starting a business, it takes a year, two or more to hit their financial goal and build their brand. Same goes for music. Check out my previous article Ways To Bridge The Gap In The Music Industry. There is so much amazing music out there, you have to make yourself stand out and the key to that is patience and consistency.
It's important when starting out to build connections by being particular about who you reach out to. While you have the downtime due to lockdown, use the time to create your lists. Create lists of ideal blogs, influencers, YouTubers, press, radio etc that suit your genre and already plays your style of music.
Once you have your lists created you can have them to hand and reach out anytime you have a new track. Make sure you contact them by their correct name and write a professional reach-out message or email. That is one way to stay connected and keep yourself out there. You also need to create and release music on a regular basis.
This will help you to build relationships, keep yourself relevant and create momentum in your career. The mistake musicians make is they spend thousands on PR before they are ready. Generally, PR agents will send your bio and links with a press release to their database of blogs, pres etc. It's the spaghetti tactic. Throw it out and see if it sticks. There is no guarantee.
The right time however to hire a PR agent is when you are already getting a nice bit of media attention such as getting booked for radio and press interviews, people are looking for TV appearances and more, that is when you hire a PR agent as the PR agency will then be able to leverage your growing media attention, use their power and therefore do their job as a PR agent by booking and managing a successful media tour.
It can be tough and daunting especially when promoting your own album or single launch but don't make the mistake of hiring PR at the very beginning. Do your own PR and promotion for the first few release, keep your social media consistent and continue to release music reguluarlly.
Here is an outline of the steps to take as a musician for DIY PR.
- Make sure your brand is on point and you have a clear background story to who you are as a person and artist. People will want to know where you came from, what inspired you and how you came to launching a single or album.
- Have a solid professional EPK (Electronic Press Kit). What to include in your EPK is - A short bio, hi rez promotional images, album or single artwork, your links to music and website, any previously received press, well known or famous collaborations, any famous studios you recorded in, info on when your single or album is released and last but not least any gig/tour dates or live streams.
- Another mistake musicians tend to make is blanket emailing any and everyone in the hope that someone will randomly discover your epic new release. This does not work. You need to have a clear understanding of who your music is for and exactly where they hang out. Compile a list of blogs, radio and press that your audience reads and listens to. You don't need a list of hundreds of each 50 - 100 will do. Include college and local radio. Follow the DJs of larger radio shows and press on Twitter, engage with them regularly. Engaging will help build up the relationship and get you noticed.
- Make sure your email to each person is tailored to them, don't copy and paste, make sure you get their name right mention previous articles they wrote or songs they played that are similar to yours, keep the email short and sweat yet to the point and mostly keep it professional.
- After about 4 days do a follow-up email if you haven't heard back.
- Create your own social media campaign. Here is a FREE Launch Your Music Guide to help with outlining your social media.
- An attention-grabbing headline.
If you have all your ducks in a row, a professional and concise email with all your correct a simple email with your information will do nicely. I don't believe you need to craft a press release as the info you provided should be sufficient. The media get tons of press releases a day and I'm sure they would actually rather something unique and personal (but still professional).
If you would prefer to to go down the route of a press release, again keep it concise and include:
- Who - Who you are as an artist
- What - What you are pitching i.e your single or album
- Where - Where they can find you and your music
- When - When the release date is.
- How - How people can access your music, merch, gigs, etc.
Don't forget to include your EPK with your press release.
Good luck and I might hear your music on the airwaves sooner than you think!