How do you begin to get noticed in the music industry? What do you need to build a foundation of credibility and reputation?
As an emerging artist, there are a myriad of routes you can follow when it comes to music marketing, so sometimes it can be difficult to know which one to head down when you’re just starting off in your career.
Obviously, you want to start building a following and getting your music out there, but how do you go about doing this in these early stages of your journey? One way you can begin to create some buzz around you and your music is to pitch to online music blogs, radio stations and other publications who might be able to provide you with some valuable coverage. But, there’s one thing that you’ll need to help you get your foot in the door: a killer press release.
In this article, we’re going to give you all the tools you need to understand what your press release should look like and what to include, so you have the best chances of grabbing the attention of the media and securing your dream press coverage.
What Is a Press Release?
A press release is a highly useful music promotion asset that you can use when contacting media publications to announce the upcoming release of your new material, whether that’s a single, EP or album.
Your press release should aim to spark the interest of journalists or publications that you are sending it to, but also provide all the relevant information about your act and your music in a concise and targeted manner.
The 5 Ws
A press release shouldn’t be a huge, lengthy document. It needs to be sharp and snappy whilst promoting your music in the best possible light. Whilst doing this you need to address the 5 Ws:
Who: Give some detail into your act and who you are (particularly if you have a stage name or are part of a band)
What: Explain what genre of music you are creating and what is so unique about you
Where: Explain what part of the world you’re making music from. How has that shaped your music?
When: It’s ESSENTIAL to tell people when your new release is coming out
Why: This is where you should explain the reasoning behind you making music and even what inspired this new release. Having a strong narrative behind your music is integral for standing out from the crowd, so make sure you get this point across.
If you keep these 5 things in mind when writing your press release, you’ll be sure to cover all bases in terms of basic information, but how exactly should you structure it?
What to Include in Your Press Release
This is our ultimate list of all the components that should make up your press release. Some may not apply to you at this point in your career, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to having a valuable asset for promoting your music.
Grabbing the attention of the reader as they open the email is absolutely key, and the first thing they are likely to see is the headline. Imagine you are writing for the front page of a newspaper – the perfect headline needs to be punchy and enticing, making them want to read on. Keep it a short as possible though – unnecessarily wordy headlines are only asking to be ignored.
You might want to include the name of an act that has inspired you or this particular release as a way of piquing the reader’s interest and hooking them in.
Tip: if you’re having trouble crafting your headline, write the body of your press release first so you can see what the really juicy, exciting parts are, then this should give you a good idea of what to lead with.
Again, much like your headline, the first paragraph needs to be engaging and invite the reader in to find out more. Much like a standfirst in a newspaper or magazine, this should reel in the reader by impressing them or hitting them with the most compelling piece of information.
The best way to do this is to imagine your latest release is being covered in a news story on TV. How would the presenter introduce you and the story? What piece of information from your story would they use to convince viewers to keep watching? Once you’ve done that, try reading it out loud as if you were the presenter and see if it fits.
Would you be drawn in by an email full of text from someone you don’t know? A page of words and links simply isn’t going to cut it when it comes to grabbing people’s attention, so make sure you at least have single/album artwork to accompany your copy.
Also, if you aren’t featured in your artwork, you might want to include a high-resolution image of yourself so people can put a face to the music. In fact, it’s always good to have a decent collection of images that you can provide to the media and publications anyway, as they’re likely to want a couple should they choose to write a feature on you.
This one goes pretty much without saying, but publications are going to need a release date from you. Make sure you’ve set this out well in advance and whatever you do, stick with it. Changing it at the last minute will only be confusing for your audience; you could end up with features stating one date and you saying another – if nothing else, it looks unprofessional.
Again, this is a pretty obvious one, but it’s imperative to have an easy link that people can follow to listen to your music. We recommend using a private Soundcloud link as this is the quickest and easiest way to listen; it only takes a click. Avoid using streaming links, download links or MP3s, as these only create extra steps and time for someone to listen. If you have an accompanying music video, make sure to link that as well.
Remember, you are trying to convince someone to write a feature about you, so make it as convenient and easy as possible for them – complicated links and processes just to hear your track aren’t the best way of endearing yourself to the people you want to feature you!
Tip: Put this somewhere near the top of your press release so readers can instantly find your music – don’t leave them searching for it.
It’s always wise to include your social media links so people can check out your online presence and the kind of content you’re putting out. Even if you haven’t built a huge following yet, if you’re demonstrating intent to gain an audience by sharing consistent, quality content, this is a great sign for the media and they’ll be all the more likely to write a piece on you.
If you’ve had any previous coverage from blogs or other written publications already, using a quote or two from these pieces is great for increasing credibility and showing that you’re on the right track as an artist. However, quotes should always provide insight, not just facts, so choose one that presents you and your music in the best light.
Be sure to include at least an email address, for you or your management, in case those you are pitching too want to find out any more about you. Also, if you are featured somewhere, the publication may well send you a link to the coverage – if you’re lucky.
Press Release Dos and Don’ts
Now that you exactly how to build your press release, here are our points of best practice when it comes to writing the actual copy:
Do use emotive language: you’re trying to get someone excited about your music so be enthusiastic, descriptive and highlight the best qualities of your product.
Do mention your plans going forward: All media outlets in the music industry, not just blogs, like to see that you have plans further down the line. Whether this is a live tour, promotional events or an album release, it shows them that you’re committed and that you aren’t likely to fade away into obscurity. Not only that, but should the publication choose to feature you, it gives readers and fans something to keep an eye out for in the future.
Do proofread your release: You’d be surprised at the number of poorly edited releases out there – make sure you thoroughly check through yours and get a friend to cast an eye over it too. You won’t be taken seriously if you can’t even spell your name right.
Don’t waffle on too much. Your press release needn’t be longer than 2 pages worth (including images).
Don’t be arrogant and big yourself up too much. There’s nothing more off-putting than this kind of attitude. There’s a difference between selling yourself and cockiness.
Don’t use over-the-top fancy fonts and colour schemes. All this shows is that the subject matter isn’t strong enough on its own. Keep it simple and make it easy for people to read.
A Last Few Things to Think About
When it comes to actually sending out your press release, don’t blanket copy all the outlets you’ve found into one email – it looks lazy – so instead, send them out individually, and if you want to give an extra personal touch, try writing a short, targeted introduction for each outlet you’re sending to, rather than just sending the press release alone.
Also, avoid attaching the press release separately to the email – once again, this just adds another step for the reader when you could simply have the body of the release in the email itself.
When Should I Send Out My Press Release?
You should aim to send out your press release around 4 weeks before the release date of your track/album, so you’re giving outlets a decent amount of time to write up any features. Plus, this gives you time as well in case you need to follow up any of your mail-outs.
When it comes to specifics, there are actually days and times when your email is more likely to get opened. Put yourself in the shoes of the journalist here – would you open an email at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon? Research has shown that the best day to send a press release is on a Thursday, where the open rate is around 26%, whilst Wednesdays and Fridays are the days to avoid, when 85% of emails get lost in journalist’s inboxes.
As for time of day, the same studies have shown that between 10:00am and 2:00pm are the sweet spot, whereas early morning emails may well be ignored by caffeine-hungry journalists.
Hopefully, this blog has given you a better idea of what your artist press release should consist of, but if you’re still in need of some more help, sign up to our mailing list and we’ll send you a free PDF template for how a press release should look on the page.