In 2019, the internet is awash with music blogs for all genres, all style and all areas of the world. Therefore, online music promotion is easier than ever, as long as you have a well written press release, a strong pitch and send it to the correct journalists.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to write that perfect press release and pitch that will get you in front of the most important tastemakers in the music industry, leading to your music getting placed in leading music blogs.
These tips work for all artists, no matter what the genre. Securing this online promotion will not only increase your fanbase but these blog features will add credibility and can act as a springboard to the most important areas of your music career, such as Spotify Editorial playlists, which we’ll also explain within this blog post.
When To Start Preparing For Online Promotion
You have your track mixed and mastered, you’ve got your artwork and press shots and then you’ve finalised your release date, now you need to start pitching to blogs.
It’s key you set a release date in advance because if you set your release for next week, that won’t give you enough time to prepare and secure online features, which could mean your release doesn’t get the exposure it deserves. We’d recommend pitching at least 2 weeks prior to release, so you give the journalists time to read your email, listen to the track, consider covering it and then potentially feature it as a premiere, a feature or review on release day or just after release.
What You Need To Pitch To Major Music Blogs
Major music blogs such as Clash, Complex, The Line Of Best Fit and Pitchfork, receive thousands of submissions every day, so when you’re doing your own music PR you need to make sure you stand out and your email comes across as professional because if it doesn’t, they won’t even listen to the music, let alone feature it.
Within your email to these blogs, you will need your pitch and your press release. The press release will include:
- Release artwork
- Press shots
- Social media links
- Private streaming link to the track (preferably SoundCloud)
Once you have all of these assets, you’re ready to start writing your press release.
How To Write A Press Release
The press release is what sells you to the media. It should include everything about you as an artist from where you started to this current release but still keep to A4 in length as you don’t want to bore any journalists!
The layout is as followers – headline at the top which will draw in the reader, introduction outlining what you’re pitching to the them and why you’re different, a link to stream the release, more information about you as an artist and this release and then what you’re doing in the future.
Start with the introduction. The first paragraph is the most important as if it doesn’t engage the reader, they won’t even get to the streaming link. The first line needs to include something that will keep them reading, so it could include who you’ve supported in the past, any previous press you’ve secured, why your track is slightly different e.g. meaning behind the lyrics or perhaps you had a major producer work on the track. Hook in the reader within the first line and then you can explain everything else.
Make sure to include the title of the track, the release date and the genre within the first paragraph also as you want to show the journalist that you know the genre they cover and so they can easily find out if it’s fitting for their blog.
Immediately link to the release, preferably with a private SoundCloud link as this is the easiest way for journalists to stream without being taken to a separate platform. A SoundCloud link also means that on release day, you simply make it live and they can embed it within the feature.
From here, explain who you are, what you’ve done, anything interesting about this release and what you may be doing in the future e.g. touring, an album release.
To finish the main body of the press release, link to your social media, starting with your highest following account as that’s the first the journalist will click and you want to impress them with your engagement, proving you’re worth their time.
The headline is the final touch and with only 8 out of 10 people reading the headline copy but only 2 out of 10 actually reading the email, it’s the make or break. Re-read your press release and pull out the parts that are most impressive and they will make up your headline. This could be your previous press, who you may have supported in the past or the meaning behind the song.
Here are a few headlines we’ve used in the past that have secured placement in blogs such as Clash, HipHopDX, Flavour Magazine and London Evening Standard:
After playing Y Not, Supporting Picture This and Receiving BBC Radio 1 and 6 airplay, Orchid Collective return with ‘Otherside’
Endorsed by Fellow Indie Pop Band Fickle Friends, London Newcomers Dutchkid Return with ‘Empires’
Pusha T and Chevy Woods join forces with Los Angeles producer RVNES for ‘Hurts’
The Pitching Process
Now you’ve got your killer press release, you’re ready to secure your dream press, getting the online promotion that your music deserves.
Copy and paste your press release into your email but make sure the images aren’t over 1MB as you’ll be filling the journalist’s inbox, which they won’t be happy with! Don’t worry that they’re not high resolution as if they want to feature you on the blog, they’ll ask for a download link to get them.
Above your press release will be your pitch and this is your introduction to the journalist, explaining who you are and what you’re looking for from them. They receive thousands of emails so your pitch needs to be friendly but persuasive and this is the format you should follow:
Hi (INSERT NAME),
Hope you’re well? I am (INSERT NAME) from the band (INSERT NAME) and wanted to introduce our music to you.
We’re a (INSERT GENRE) band that have recently (INSERT STAND OUT POINT e.g. previously supported, previous press) and are releasing our next track/EP/album (INSERT NAME and RELEASE DATE).
You can stream (INSERT RELEASE NAME) here:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on (INSERT RELEASE NAME) and if of interest, we’d definitely be available for interview.
The most important part of that pitch is your ‘STAND OUT POINT’. It doesn’t need to be major press or your follower count if you don’t have it, it could be something like the meaning behind the song. As long as your email has something different, an angle, you’ll be getting a response.
Who To Pitch To
Now you’ve got your press release and your pitch, you need to start sending some emails. You’ll obviously have your dream press in mind, so definitely pitch to them straight away as they may take longer to get back to you. Once you’ve done that, you need to approach different sites that cover your genre, your angle or your region.
Genre specific sites are pretty self-explanatory. These blogs cover one genre, for example Under The Radar covers indie music, Folk Radio covers folk and Hot New Hip Hop covers Hip Hop. These sites can be found by a Google or social media search. Search your genre, followed my ‘Music News’ or ‘Music Review’.
Regional blogs are sites that cover music in your area. These are definitely underutilised by musicians as the majority only focus on genre specific but there is an audience literally on your door step which you’re missing out on. To find these blogs, you can again Google or social media search. Search your town, city or general region, followed by ‘Music News’ or ‘Music Review’. For these blogs, make sure you include that you’re from that area within the first line of your pitch.
Finally, you can pitch to angle led blogs. These blogs are focusing on one area, which may be outside of music, yet is still an audience you can take advantage of. Angle led blogs could be based on your gender, your sexuality or the meaning behind the track. Examples of angle focused blogs are Female First, Gay Times or Girl Gang Music.
How To Find The Right Journalist
Once you’ve found the blogs you want to pitch to, you need to make sure you’re sending your email to the right journalist and the correct email. Many blogs will have an email address under the ‘Contact’ section of the email but for some of the larger sites, they will only have an [email protected] email, which may mean your email doesn’t reach the right person.
To find the right journalist to email, you need to firstly find a feature on the site, which is covering a similar artist to you. From here, find the journalist that wrote the feature. Many sites will allow you to click the journalist’s name, which could take you to their social media or show their email address. If it takes you to their socials, see if their email is in their bio or if they’ve tweeted it recently.
If you cannot find their email still, try a simple Google search of their name and see what appears. You may find their LinkedIn, which is a great way to connect with journalists within your genre but make sure your LinkedIn is up to date because if not, they may not connect with you.
If their email address still cannot be found, you can always use an Email Finder such as RocketReach or Hunter. Email Finders will allow you to search a journalist’s name and will give you suggestions of what their email could be.
Now you’ve got their email, you can pitch to these journalists, get your music in front of the correct ones and get that dream press you were aiming for.
How To Take Advantage Of Your Online Promotion
If you follow this guide, you’ll start to secure online coverage but what do you do with it? There are many ways you can take advantage of the press you secure from building relationships with important tastemakers to landing a place on a Spotify Editorial playlist.
As soon as the journalist confirms they’ll be running the feature, you must thank them and make note of when it’ll be going live. Once it’s live, make sure to share it on all your socials, tagging the publication and the journalist and then again, email them thanking them for their time.
Now you’ve built that relationship with the journalist, try to stay on their radar by following them on all social media platforms, engaging with their content. If you do this, you’ll find when you next release comes around, they’ll definitely listen and potentially cover you again.
You can also use the press coverage as a springboard to other areas such as pitching to radio producers and Spotify Editors. Now you have an online presence with multiple blog features covering your release, you can pitch to radio producers and presenters with the same pitch but stating which blogs have covered you. If you’ve secured coverage in some major blogs, this will act as a credibility, proving your worth their time.
To learn more about radio plugging, you can read our full guide to pitching to national radio here: http://www.burstimo.com/radio-plugging-tips/
This tactic also works for Spotify playlist pitching. You should be pitching your track to the Editors prior to release using the Spotify for Artists submission form. We mentioned earlier in the blog post that you should be pitching to press at least 2 weeks prior to release and this also puts you in a better position for pitching to Spotify’s Editors as if you secure some large coverage prior to release, you can add that to your pitch within the submission form. We’ve found that having the credibility of major blogs supporting the track, gives you a much higher chance of securing a spot on some of the biggest Spotify playlists.
You can also include the press you’ve secured in your artist bio, which will be on your Spotify profile, Facebook ‘About’ section and also your website. You can include quotes from the features and the logos of the publications on your website as your website might be the first thing tastemakers, potential fans and labels come across when searching you, so having those blogs behind you shows you’re worth taking seriously.
Finally, you can use the online promotion for social media content and advertising. For the content on your socials, you can make graphics with the press logos, share the quotes or even screenshot the feature and add it to your Instagram Story, so your followers will be persuaded to listen to the music and engage with it. To secure more fans with the coverage, you can add the logos and quotes from the features to a video or image and run it as an ad on social media as when scrolling through the feed, major blog logos may stop someone scrolling and pay attention to your release.
You promote your music online using blog coverage, adding credibility to your name and acting as a springboard to some of the most important areas of the music industry. If you write the perfect press release, pitch it to the correct journalists and then use that feature to your advantage, your fanbase will grow exponentially, making this release your best to date.