Hey Hey Hey Monkeys!
I get asked regularly about press releases, so I thought it’d be useful to get some advice from people who are in the industry.
So, how should you send out press releases for your band to get your EP on vlogs and blogs and other music industry publications?
I spoke to Claire Lloyd from Central Press (https://www.facebook.com/centralpresspr), Neil Mach from RawRamp (https://rawramp.me), Pip Ellwood from Entertainment Focus (http://www.entertainment-focus.com), Mark Ashby from Uberrock (www.uberrock.co.uk) and Helen Payne & Laura Johnson from Stereoboard (https://www.stereoboard.com) to get their take on what they look for in a great band press release. Although it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ deal, there were consistencies from all of them. Huge thanks to these wonderful music industry lot for giving their valuable time!
Here are my top ten tips to follow when sending out a band press release:
Concise is Key
Everyone interviewed said that they get up to 200 e-mails every day and a lot of those are press releases, so you need to treat their time with respect. You only need 3 to 4 paragraphs to get all the information across.
This is about building relationships over a long period of time, not just for this EP or release, but for the next one and the one after that and potentially (should this band go wrong) the next band as well. This is a long term game that you’re playing. You’re not just there to send things to people and say, “Print this,” “Put this in your blog,” “Listen to this,” because that will not get you anywhere. This is about human interaction, so build relationships over a long period of time.
The headline is the first thing that they’re going to see and if they’re getting 150 to 200 e-mails every day, you have to grab attention; something that makes them want to open that e-mail and read your press release. The headline is key. It’s the first impression before you start getting into information, facts, pictures and links, so make sure you have an attention-grabbing headline.
“Ideally I’d go for an attention-getting headline. Strong, clear opening paragraph that gets the main point across and the release date at the top. Should be punchy, positive and dynamic, but avoid pretentious over the top hype”. – Claire Lloyd (Central Press)
Working Hyperlinks. Now I know this one sounds really obvious but I know how frustrating this is because it happens to me all the time. It is so frustrating when I say to someone “Send me through your band link,” and it won’t open because it’s spelt wrong or it takes me to a different place. You have to come across as professional and if your links don’t work, you won’t even get past stage one.
“The artist must have active Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts. Without links to these, it’s unlikely we will look further. Links must be clearly displayed and all hyperlinks must work (so test them)”. – Neil Mach (RawRamp)
Pictures are crucial in this industry. Not only do you have to have very good pictures, but they have to be hi-res. You can’t have small thumbnails which you’ve pinched off your website to send as part of your press release. Send hi-resolution pictures and make sure you send through a portrait and a couple of live pictures as well. This is about telling a story and showing off the band in the best light. If you don’t have hi-res pictures, it’s very doubtful that you will get any further than the opening e-mail.
This was consistently a big one. If you are going to send through a single, an EP or an album, make sure you’ve put the time and effort into researching who you’re sending it to, as well as info about their blog/vlog. Make sure it all fits together. There is nothing worse than sending over your metal album to a blog who reviews acoustic covers. It just makes them feel that you haven’t bothered to find out about what they’re about, not only will they not review your release, but they probably won’t review anything in the future.
‘[It impresses me when] the artist/PR rep has done their research before pitching something. I get around 200 emails a day and I’d say about 75% of those are irrelevant.” – Pip Ellwood (Entertainment Focus)
So do the research; put the time in so that you can get the most out of it.
The Kipling Principle
Who, what, when, where and why. The why is not that relevant in this instance, but the other things are crucial pieces of information for you to get into your press release. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s the story? Is it an EP, single or album? When is it being released? Where can people find it? This is crucial information which should all be in your press release and it should be stated very clearly.
“What impresses me is concise, fact filled emails which cover all aspects, e.g. new song, which album it’s from, which album that one is following, if they’re touring with it – what are the dates, up to date promo photo and social media links”. Helen Payne and Laura Johnson – Stereoboard)
The Week Of The Release
Although this answer does differ depending on who you are sending it to, most of the people I talked to agreed that if your release was being sent too early, that it would get lost because there’s too much news coming in every day. Don’t forget – this is news. So if you’re 2 weeks in advance then it’s not news – it will be news – but it’s not news yet.
On the other hand, if you send it too late (i.e. if you send it on the day that it’s released) then whilst it is news, there is a good chance that it will get lost in the momentum of everything coming through. So your best bet is to get in touch around about the week of your release. All of them also said it’s ok to chase it up after a couple of days, but please don’t send an e-mail and then chase it up within a couple of hours. Give yourself a few days leeway, then if you are going to chase it up to see if it’s going to go in, you won’t end up annoying them.
Favours Work Both Ways
There’s nothing worse than when people are always asking favours of you and not getting anything in return. So, what have you got to do? Well apart from being professional and giving them everything that they need to make their job as easy as possible; you need to make it very clear that if you get something out there, it’s going to go on all your social media to build their profile just as much as your own. This is about building relationships long term and a bit of a collaboration. You need to help them as much as they are helping you.
“Remember to thank the mag/journo on socials. Tag them. This is how to build a relationship with the publication for future releases.” – Claire Lloyd
Be Human and Have Manners
Don’t forget, when you’re sending an e-mail to communicate politely and like a human. “Hi,” “How’re you doing?” “How was your weekend?” “Any new music that you can recommend?” or saying to someone, “I read that blog and it was absolutely fantastic. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind having a listen to our stuff.” No demands, just conversation – this goes so far. Don’t forget: this is what people do all day, every day. They want you to be human just like they’re human. They want to have conversation. They don’t want someone to just send stuff in and say, “Listen to this” because that just sounds like a demand. So treat them like humans, be human and have nice conversations.
If you have an EP, a single or an album coming out, then make sure you apply these tips before sending your releases through. This has been a great learning experience for me as well as for you guys. Huge thanks to everyone especially Claire from Central Press who helped me collate all of this info.
Big Love, Damo x