So you’ve finally released your music out into the world and after all that hard work, the endless time, energy, and not to mention money you’ve poured into it, you hit “publish” on the announcement and… crickets.
Save for a few extremely loyal fans, no one seems to really care that this thing you’ve just put your heart and soul into for the last 6 months is now officially out for consumption.
There’s no easy way to say this—it’s really a pretty defeating feeling.
But there’s good news here, and that is that for as disappointing as that last release may have been, there’s no reason you need to repeat it ever again. You can change your luck right now with just a few simple adjustments.
Note: While there’s a lot of prep work that comes before actually pitching press (like building your fan base, creating a quality product, etc) for this article we’re going to assume you’ve done all that and focus solely on the pitch stage. If you’re looking for more tips on growing your fan base and creating career-changing opportunities, I suggest my (free!) 4-part training about exactly that.
Now, here’s how you create the perfect pitch.
Think like a journalist
Back in 2016 I did a panel for SXSW titled “No Basic Pitches—Publicity By the Journalists” in which all four members, including myself, played a dual role as both publicists—the ones sending the pitches, crafting the stories, making the journalists care about the client we were representing—and the journalist, reading those pitches, trying to decide which ones to feature or even open, and rolling our eyes at the hundreds of terrible pitches we received. (seriously, you should see how bad some of them are)
The reason this panel was selected and so well received is simple—to be truly successful at getting eyes on your client (or in this case, yourself) you have to be able to think like a journalist. Too many artists or entrepreneurs will make a pitch all about themselves and what the outlet can do for them, instead of making it about the outlet and how you’re improving their reach and their readership.
When you’re writing your email, try to keep in mind that this should be a mutually beneficial exchange. If you can’t help them see the value in a partnership, you’re going to hurt your odds of getting featured.
Make it personal
You always want to do your research and show that you’ve taken the time to invest in the person you’re reaching out to. Try to always email a specific person ([email protected]) rather than the generic email ([email protected]) for a better chance of response. This also gives you a much better opportunity to really connect with the person on a personal level, and begin to develop that relationship. You want to be sure you’ve put the time into researching what it is you and Sally can bond over, and then making it a focal point of the email.
For instance, if Sally has just written an article on a band you love, that would be a great place to start. Then again, if Sally loves metal and you’re a rock artist, maybe you want to do a bit more digging until you find Gina, who is the outlet’s primary rock writer.
I know this is a time intensive step, but trust me, it’s worth it. Showing the writer that you appreciate them and their work, and making that personal connection will make all the difference not only with this initial outreach but as your careers begin to grow.
Keep it simple
There is this tendency clients have sometimes to want to tell their entire life story in an email. Resist that urge. Keep it simple, but make sure you offer something for the writer to really connect to—usually, this has to do with your message and what makes you who you are
You want to introduce yourself, say what it is you’re releasing and what you’re asking for, and then include all your links and wrap it up.
Hi name (personal intro)
We’re X band (for fans of XYZ) and we’ve just released our brand new single “Song Name”, which is all about preventing bullying through XYZ. This is something we’re incredibly passionate about and would love to share with your readers, in an effort to end the trauma that so many kids face every day. Do you think we can set up an interview to chat more?
Here are our links:
Thanks so much!
Don’t forget to follow up! There’s no hard and fast rule on this, but I suggest 3-5 days later, just a simple “Hi name, just wondering if you’ve had a chance to check out X. Do you think we can set something up?” Feel free to send up to 2 follow up emails.
This is the one that SO many people seem to forget. But when you actually get the coverage your asking for, you have to remember to share it, and to tag the outlet that featured you! It’s not only good manners, but it’s also good relationship building, so don’t skip this step!