Without a doubt, one of the most powerful tools you can have on your side when it comes to promoting your independent music comes from media outlets.
With the right kind of approach to writing a good press release, you can get plenty of hits and lots of positive responses from doing so – but, for this to be effective, your story has to be seen.
We’ve already discussed how independent hip-hop artists can write and distribute a strong press release, so in this piece, we’ll take a look at how you can take it to the next and get greater visibility than before.
First off, you have to take the time to build a little listing of potential editorials, websites and magazines you would like to work with. Having a little starting list is so helpful to helping to cut down on the time it takes to get started. However, there’s more to it than sending off an email, a tweet or a phone call!
Do your research on the roles
The main thing to consider, right off the bat, is getting the right person. In the music industry you don’t want to be sending your press release to the sports or politics writers. Nah, instead you want to concentrate on sending it to the people who cover independent music, hip hop music and local or up and coming artists.
You can help to boost your media choices and overall recognition by going to someone like the Editorial Assistant as they are the ones who tend to be looking for scoops and good information. Take your time to look around and you can find that you get far more success looking for the writers, not the editors.
A failure to send it to the right person can see you ignored in future from that publication, so make sure your accuracy on who you contact is as good as the actual quality of the contact.
So, how do you find these people?
Cheap but timely route
The first route we’ll look at costs you nothing but your own time. You’ll be engaged in the media scene anyway because you’re reading about other artists and the latest news and figures, so you should have a rough idea who to contact at each outlet you want to talk to.
All it takes is a simple Google of the person in question to see their past history – do they cover stories like yours? Be sure to check out the masthead for all print media publications, too, as they break down all of the titles to help you find the right person.
However, when you do build up a list and go to contact them, be sure you contact that person specifically – not the department, not the info section. If you aren’t sure you can easily call up the editorial department and ask them to verify your information – this is better than doing so by e-mail and will also let you discover how that person likes to be contacted in the first place.
This takes time, but if you don’t have much money and don’t mind doing some digging then this is a good way to slowly but surely build up a media list of potential contacts.
Quick but expensive route
The other choice, of course, is to buy a list. You can go places like Mondo Times or Vocus to find plenty of companies you can buy from in every niche – not just music – or you can do a Google search for PR firms that are offering media lists. ‘Hip hop media lists’ should get you going, anyway – it’s just about finding one that you can afford, then.
However, make sure that you are buying a list that is up to date, has plenty of contact details – phone numbers, e-mail addresses, social media handles – and also look for one that gives you unlimited usage. Some give you a cap of say 30 days to use it by. Also, make sure it’s digital – hard copy lists are more expensive, take longer to reach you, and offer less viability.
Start filling in the list over time with notes and stats about each person you contact. What do they like? Preferred method of contact? How do you get on?
This saves you from guessing and making mistakes later on down the line.
Research editorial calendars
Another great way to pick up good ideas for a media list is to turn to editorial calendars. These are very useful, and give you a really easy way to see what the “plan” for the year is.
Themes and topics will be set early on so that everyone can get the right shot – have you ever noticed how hip hop ads always seem to appear alongside gig venues, show tickets, album releases and merchandise?
Use this to your advantage – strike when the iron is hot, and you can get a much stronger media list over the years. Whether you choose to take time or take money as your preference, you’ll find that either choice can be a beneficial long-term option.
Now, you have the chance to promote your gigs, stories and releases to the right people. Once you’ve created your media list, here are a couple pointers on crafting a strong press release.
Set a Defined Point
Your releases need to have something about them, a genuine reason that will make them worth clicking. What you can do in that circumstance is that you can start to pinpoint members of the media you might think would be interested in certain avenues of what you want to discuss.
From executive interviews to product announcements, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to push – so make a defined point of what you want to do and say, and who that will be said to.
Develop news angles
Another major boost is to start developing new angles to work from – you know the quality of what you offer, now you just want to find people who know this as well. Don’t just look at one audience or the most obvious route to go down – start looking at all of the audiences who might be engaged by you.
Don’t just presume that because you go to a hip hop journalist that they will be into your specific kind of hip hop – look around, find someone who fits your angle, and target them.