Posted: May 2, 2023
**Guest post written by Michelle Kicherer (@MichelleKicherer), writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Willamette Week and others, instructor, and artist advocate.
There are a lot of things that can prevent getting your music into journalists’ and labels’ ears. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for press, labels and the public to listen to your music. The best way to do that is to have everything really easily accessible in your email pitch, your website and your social media.
Keep in mind! A lot of music journalists don’t get paid a ton of money to do this work. We write about music because we love it and we love helping artists share their work. That said, it’s important to remember that we’re real people on the other side of that email you’re sending – and if we’re not able to offer coverage, we only have so much time and resources.
A great place to start is your local scene. What blogs and websites cover music in your area? Often, it’s easier to get coverage from bigger press places if you have coverage elsewhere. “All press is good press” is more or less true, unless you’re submitting your work to websites that tend to enjoy tearing work apart when they don’t love it.
Especially for emerging artists, you want to find writers who like your music, so be sure you’re submitting to places that cover music similar in realm to yours.
Instagram DMs can be a good approach, but those can get lost in the social media shuffle and feel unprofessional. Usually, press emails can be found in either the contact page or by scrolling to the bottom of the website and looking for an “about” or “contact” link.
Similarly to the website vibe: try to pitch writers whose work you’ve actually read and like. A great intro is to mention where you found me. Making a connection can be helpful for a writer to place who you are and that you’ve got your scene on the pulse, too. Often, writers want to cover an artist who has potential longevity – we want to work with people who care about promoting their work (if you don’t give a **** why should we?)
What to say and how to say it
Tone is important! I know emailing isn’t everyone’s thing, but I can’t stress enough how important tone is. Remember, we’re people too, and we do this because we love it – and that means we want our interactions with other musicians and press people to be enjoyable (there’s a reason we don’t work in corporate, right?). Doesn’t mean we need anything lengthy (in fact, short n sweet is key), but starting off with your version of a friendly hello and ending with a “thank you!” can go a long way. Especially in your email follow up.
If your email is curt, feels too-cool-for-school, or you respond rudely (or not at all) if we have to say that we’re not able to offer coverage, then chances are a lot of writers will not bother with you. We get so many pitches every week. Unfriendly or vague ones typically go straight into the trash.
Speaking of vague...
What should you include in a press pitch?
Top 5 things to include in your email pitch:
It’s important to include your band’s name and location right up front. A lot of coverage is city-specific, so telling us right away where you’re located is hugely helpful; don’t make us dig for it. Here’s a simple (fake) example of an opening line:
“Brooklyn-based post punk band Booty Boomers are playing at the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Club on June 15 in support of their new album, Boom Boom, out June 16 on Boomer Records.”
Come to one of my Get Covered sessions for much more info (and templates!) on how to navigate press, including how to follow up and what to expect of the press cycle. You can ask your specific questions and even get feedback on your pitches.
There is both a live and pre-recorded version of this session. In both sessions I’ll share everything I’ve learned from my years as a music journalist about the most effective way to write press releases and bios. Learn how to market your music from the perspective of someone who has seen thousands of press releases, written hundreds of articles, and crafted dozens of bios.
The live session of Get Covered is May 22, where you can ask your specific questions in the Q&A.
This class will include:
Sign up on MichelleKicherer.com.
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