Musicians, like many other artists, have traditionally suffered from a lack of realprofessional music marketing savvy. The ones that “make it big” are usually backed by a team of publicists and label money to help them saturate a market with their branding, news and tunes. This has made success for many independent bands pretty difficult.
One excellent, inexpensive or even free way for a band to get much needed exposure is to write and distribute press releases on anything newsworthy related to the band. Some examples of newsworthy topics include:
- New releases, such as singles, albums, or “Best of” collections.
- Band member additions, highlighting their background and prior successes.
- Collaborations with other well-known artists.
- Tour announcements, especially when the release is sent to local press before a show.
How to write a press release
The most important thing to grasp is that the press release has to have some kind of “hook” or angle that makes it stand out and add value to the reader. Reporters are not interested in helping your career with a sales pitch obviously intended for pure music marketing; they are interested in attention-grabbing stories. Help them out with something compelling, and you might get rewarded with a mention or, better yet, an interview.
Follow a format, such as this illustrated press release example, in order to be taken more seriously. Various formats are acceptable, but in general:
- Contact information goes at the top, and then again at the bottom of the release.
- The headline is in ALL CAPS, with subtitles in title or sentence case.
- Write in the 3rd person.
- The most important information goes in the first paragraph. You only have a few seconds to get attention, so put the best information first so that the reader gets the idea even if he chooses not to read the rest of the release.
- If available, include at least one quote from an authoritative source, such as a promoter, celebrity or manager.
- Provide URLs to your website, social media, and video channels so reporters can get more information. This information can go towards the bottom of the release in the boilerplate section as in the example linked to above.
- The press release’s end is signified with “END” or three centered number symbols, i.e. “# # #.”
Distributing the press release
You have various options for getting the release out to the world:
- Media outlets. This includes print publications, TV stations, news & industry websites, and radio. Each outlet has different submission requirements, so call or explore the website for each to find out exactly where to send your releases to. Small music webzines that cover your genre are usually quite open to getting press releases, as these reporters are typically looking for story leads.
- Paid distribution. Services exist to help you distribute your release to thousands of media outlets across the country. One of the better-known ones is PRWeb.com, which might get your story distributed through the Associated Press to major brands such as USA Today, The New York Times, and more.
- Submit to free press release sites. Don’t expect a journalist to run a story based on a release you put up on the web yourself — instead, this avenue is a way to get found in the search engines and provide some links back to your website and social media profiles. A list of free press release sites can be found here to get you started.
Press releases can be powerful additions to your music marketing plan, so use them!