So a friend of mine asked me what to write in their press release. As a music journalist and editor of The Electro Review as well as Alternative Fruit, I am sent a large number of them. Having seen seen good ones, bad ones, and excellent ones, this has enabled me to figure out what it is that makes the difference. Here I will explain what it is that makes a press release excellent in my professional opinion. After-all it's these excellent ones that make the best articles and therefore have the highest chance of being picked up. If your music is written about then you have something to show for your work other than the work itself. It legitimises your project, even if the review is terrible. Most importantly, it enables more people to find out about your work and become fans.
Something that may not be possible to change once it's time to write the press release is the title of the music. The thing is, music writers want to write about something that will be interesting for their readers. Their job is to get as many people reading their journal as possible. So if your record is called mashed potatoes then people who like mashed potatoes will be the most likely to read about it. Think about this when naming your work, avoid things that don't resonate with many people.
The first and truly most important part is you have to provide the music. I have been sent requests for review and a link to where I can buy the songs. Seriously, this will not get anywhere with most writers. We are sent so much music, and we are doing this to earn money, so buying your album won't be on our priority list. Send a free copy, you have to be able to trust us to not share it. You can upload tracks for private listening on Soundcloud. Just share the link with the people you need to. If we writers want to make a career from this then it really is important to build trust. Ripping off our artists isn't part of that.
So we need a few bits a pieces to build an article we are happy to share. Us writers really care about our audience, after-all they put our food on the table with their on site shopping and donations. In this modern age of next-to-free internet media, there are a number of ways we can improve an article. Of course we need a picture, some kind of image that is related. If not the album cover then a picture of the musicians is absolutely necessary. But, there are other things we can now include that make our writing more valuable to the readers.
Links to social profiles are really handy for people who want to get closer to their musicians. A fan nowadays isn't just the proud owner of a t-shirt and a few records, they are connected and they interact. Most active musicians have a social account or two and most of these also have an official website also. As well, a lot of people use their social accounts as their official website and the platforms tend to offer just the right options to make this possible. These need to be available in your press release. Us writers can go hunting for them on Google however they're not always up there in the top results. If we can't see them on page 1 of Google then we probably won't include them. So make sure they are in the press release!
Musicians often have accounts on music sharing websites and platforms. Soundcloud and Mixcloud are great because they allow embeds. This means writers can put a bit of code on their article which allows the music player to appear preloaded with the relevant tracks. Bandcamp too offer this option and these go on and let listeners pay for the music. If the music is on Amazon or Apple then these links are wonderful as those companies reward media creators when readers make a purchase.
Most importantly is the story. Why should we listen to your album or your single? What gives you the right to put music in my head? It sounds harsh but this is what people are thinking when offered something new. We need to know that we are safe and in the hands of someone who is on our side. Someone who wants to create art will have a lot of feelings and thoughts behind their project. We need to know what these are. We don't want to know that your formulaic track with lyrics that you took from the yellow pages is worth hearing. There needs to be a humanitarian element to it, even if its a fictional story-line. No-one said it has to be a true story.
Writers want to link to things online and offer real value to their readers. This means that any information about the artist and their music making process can be used to really improve an article. If you tell us what obscure instruments were used or what technique was used when writing the over-dubs, or any other useful snippet of high-brow trivia, it can throw a good read into orbit. We love to get knee deep in the world of our musicians and by offering easy avenues into the thick of it, those who will walk can.
Speaking as a reader, you need to get our attention. The thing is, when creators see that something works at grabbing attention, everyone else starts using the same technique. It's no longer novel and original so us readers stop paying attention to it. This means originality is really important. Writers have to read first, so once we have our attention grabbed, put us in our element with everything we need to create something of real value to our readers. It's not going to guarantee a write-up but it gets you over the half-way line. Then, just fire out as many copies of your press release as possible to as many writers and media outlets as you know about. It is the numbers game, however the odds are increased because of your method.
One final thing, when you write to people asking them to write about you, you are asking for a favour. Remember to be as polite as possible and consider the fact that this is work for them as it should be for you. Popping up on someone's Facebook page with a sudden request when their website clearly has an email address to use isn't going to win favour. If you're already connected on there and have been talking already, then fine. However remember to be formal and not presume that the writer will do what you ask. You are asking them for a favour, remember that. If they do write about you, the least you can do in return is share what they produce for you with everyone you know. It's important to remember that writers are in the business of writing, and if their journal isn't a business then it's making them happy anyway. These things matter to the writer and so matter when writing the press release.
You can always shoot an email to Homunculus Media and we can write your press release for you. We have excellent rates.
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