Everytime I personally attend a music conferences or speak on a panel I get a flood of independent artists telling me why we "need" to put them on the cover of Makin' It Magazine. While press coverage is a crucial ingredient for a successful career, how you approach media outlets will often be the differnce between your EPK turning into a front page story or ending up in the recycle bin. Here are 7 great tips every independent artist should implement for more successful media requests courtesy of @MsRivercity.
1. Research the format of the press you are targeting
If you’re a Rock/Reggae/R&B/Latin artist approaching a Hip Hop publication, your submission will most likely be denied or ignored, unless they have a section designated for your genre. Another mistake often made is models applying to be in magazines that do not hire models for print work. Models should be targeting clothing designers, marketing/advertising personnel at corporations, photographers, etc. If you do land a spot in an ad, CD cover, etc., ask if they’re willing to mention your name on printings that have your image. Also, most people generally seek interviews and reviews when targeting the media. A full feature is difficult to land without having a major buzz already in place. By researching the publication’s format and knowing the various columns and categories featured, you may find other ways to have your name highlighted.
2. Blogs & Magazines are not the only press
Print features are often difficult to obtain because they are expensive. Blog features are hard to land because many blogs don’t even do full articles; they only post new music/videos, major celeb news, etc. Other media opps come from radio interviews (public, satellite, internet, college, podcasts), television and news shows, red carpet events, and so on. Another industry tip is that being an expert on a subject can get you lots of free press if you are willing to write an article. You will be featured as the author, in other words, free exposure. Hosting a show, especially if you’re an entertainer, is also a way to get your face and voice represented in the media.
3. Know the publication’s deadline and/or layout schedule
If you contact the press when they are fighting production deadlines, your communication may get lost in the shuffle. Ask journalists, editors, bloggers, etc. when do they usually have downtown to review new music. Mpre than likely it won’t be Monday mornings. You can usually request a magazine’s production schedule info by asking for their media kit or ad deadlines.
4. Advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you pray for
When seeking media coverage, ask yourself what is it about you that the public would want to know. You’ll increase your chances of getting publicity if your story: Is controversial, Related to current events, Affects large numbers of people, Affects people’s pocketbooks, Involves you being a hero, Includes a milestone, record or a first, Discusses new technology or ideas. A secret to getting media coverage is relationships. Offer to assist the reporters with promotion, story ideas, advertising, etc. They will be more inclined to assist you with publicity.
5. Know a good photographer
If you are selected for a feature, it is a good idea, and sometimes mandatory, to have professional photos on hand. Also know what high resolution means. Many photographers will provide their clients with smaller versions of a photo that are not usable for print. Ask them for the original files and DO NOT resize them without making a copy first. Trying to track down a photographer after the fact is often difficult.
6. Know a good publicist
A publicist can make sure you have all your ducks in a row before seeking features. They can explain what a press kit and press release are, what the press is looking for, how to present your image; they already have media relationships in place, and can often refer you to a good photographer, graphics designer, etc. Even if you can’t afford to hire a publicist on retainer, many will offer consulting services a la cart.
7. When to send a press release
Concert/Show & Tour information; Record, Publishing, Merchandising Deal Announcements; CD, Tape, and Video Release Information; Promotional Events/Marketing Plans; Accomplishments & awards; Appearances at community events; Articles by you or about you in publications; Charity Projects; Contests you’re sponsoring or promoting; Mergers & new alliances; Announcement of new facilities; New Website; Workshops you’re presenting or attending. And please, send the press announcement PRIOR to the release of any project, the sooner the better. If the news is old, it will be tossed. Old news to the press usually means anything over a day.