Getting featured on music blogs and other publications can really help to spread the word about your art. If you’re just starting out, though, it might seem difficult to get your foot in the door, and you might frustrate yourself wondering how to get press coverage for your music. You might think that you need to hire a PR agent to handle music blog outreach in order to get blogs write in your band, but that isn’t true at all.
The truth is, you can reach out to blogs and get them to write about your music all by yourself. This blog has been covering indie music for a few years now, and we get emails directly from band members all the time, and we’re happy to work with them.
That being said, there is a right and a wrong way to go about reaching out to a music blog, and that’s what I’m going to cover in this article.
5 Tips for Getting Press for Your Music
There are a few things that make journalists much more likely to respond to your request for coverage. If you do all of these things every time, you’ll notice that you’re getting a lot more responses and articles written about your music and your band.
1. Find the Right Music Blogs
If you’re trying to promote your electronic music, there’s absolutely no reason to waste your time contacting a blog that centers itself around country music. Likewise, if you’re trying to promote a show in Texas, there’s no reason to contact a music blog based in South Carolina.
All it takes is a little clicking around the website to get an idea of the general style of music that a blog focuses on. Look around and if you think your music fits the vibe, move forward. If not, look elsewhere. If a city has a music scene of any kind, there’s bound to be a writer who’s interested in what you’re doing. You just have to find them.
I also want to add that if you’re just getting started out, the chances of getting featured on a major music blog like Pitchfork or Consequence of Sound are slim to none. Sure, it can happen, but I wouldn’t count on it, and I wouldn’t recommend you waste your time pursuing it. That’s something you can keep on the backburner until the future, when you’ve built a fanbase, and plenty of smaller music blogs have already featured your music.
For now, focus on the small, independent publications (like this one). I’m talking about the ones that are run by one or two people who are genuinely interested in finding new music from unknown artists. They have much more room in their inboxes, and are far more likely to open your email and listen to your music.
A great resource for finding publications to pitch your music to is Indie on the Move. They have a large database of press contacts broken down by state, as well as a ton of other resources to help you book tours and promote your music.
2. Communicate Via Email
Email is hands-down the easiest way to discuss anything related to publishing articles about your music. Trying to conduct business over Facebook messenger or Instagram direct messages is a major pain, and doesn’t offer enough flexibility to pass information back and forth.
If you’re going to reach out via social media, it’s best if you’re already familiar with the writer or the music blog that you’re addressing. If an artist that I know sends me a message, I’ll answer every time, but even then I’ll always direct the conversation toward email. It’s just easier to keep track of and schedule content when it’s all in one place.
Plus, I’ve always got my email inbox open in a separate browser tab when I’m writing. I’ll often flip back an forth between an email thread and my website so I can snag quotes and verify information. Everybody knows that Facebook messenger is no bueno, and Instagram messages require me to have my phone open while I write, which I don’t like.
Moral of the story: Send emails, not messages.
3. Remember That You’re Addressing A Human Person
The person you want to email when trying to get press coverage is generally the editor, but can be also the writer who covers the scene or genre that fits your music. Most music blogs have the name of their editor and writers plastered all over the site. Find that name, find the right email address, and slap that name at the top of your email.
“Hey (Editor’s name)” is plenty good, and it shows that you’ve done the bare minimum of research on the publication, which is enough in most cases to at least get your email opened.
When I get an email from a musician who actually uses my name, I will read it and listen to their music every single time. It shows that the band takes what they’re doing seriously and has taken the time to review my blog and has decided that it’s the place where they want their music to be written about.
What you want to avoid is the general “Hey,” when writing an email. If there’s no name on the site, at the very least use the name of the blog. “Hey Extra Chill” is way better than something like “To Whom It May Concern”. You don’t want to give the idea that you’re adding the publications to a massive list and sending these emails out all at once.
If you can’t resist sending a mass email, please, please use the BCC feature. This will hide all other recipients of the email from everyone other than yourself, so nobody will have to know its a mass email. This still isn’t the best idea, but if you can’t be bothered to personalize the email, this is the next best way to handle outreach if you want to get press coverage.
Long story short: Take the time to personalize each pitch and the publication will take the time to check out what you’ve sent over.
4. Include Plenty of Information
When reaching out to the press, you want to make their job as easy as possible. Tell them exactly who you are and why you’re sending them an email. Include links to your social media pages, streaming links for your music, links to other articles that have been written about your band, and maybe even a photo to use in the article.
If a band sends me an email that includes everything I need to write a great article about them all in one place, I’m much more likely to sit down and write that article.
Also, if you’ve collaborated or gone on tour with a band that the blog you’re pitching has covered in the past, you definitely want to mention that. Music blogs write about bands they like. If you’ve worked with a band they like, they’re going to want to know what you’re all about, too.
Be careful with this one, though, because it is certainly possible to go overboard with the amount of unsolicited information you include. You don’t have to tell your whole life story – just the stuff that matters to you and your music right now. If a writer wants to know more, they will ask.
If you feel that there’s too much information to include, simply drop a link to your website or another place where the writer can find more information about you and your music.
5. Build Relationships
Music blogs are always looking for things to write about, and are checking their emails every day, looking for the next song to feature on their blog. You should be looking to build lasting relationships with writers who are interested in the scene that your music falls into.
By doing this over a period of time, you’ll start to build up contacts in each city that you want to stop through on tour, and writers who have worked with you in the past will probably be happy to work with you in the future. There are several PR agents, managers, and bands that I’ve met over the years who shoot me an email every time they’re coming to Charleston, and I’m always willing to work with them.
This is especially true if you’re a local band looking to get press coverage. Meet the people behind the publications in your city that cover the type of music that you’re making, and they’ll help you grow your fanbase and spread the word about all the awesome stuff you’ve got going on.
What Not To Do
If you do any of these things, you’re really hurting your chances of having your music featured on a blog or in a publication.
Here’s an idea that might sound pretty good at first but is actually not a good idea at all: Mass tag every journalist and publication you can think of in one big social media post.
Yes, the journalists will see it, but there’s an extremely small chance that it will ever get written about. It comes off as spammy, and it will most likely be ignored. You could have the best music in the world, but if you’re using spam tactics to try for a feature on a music blog, you’re not going to be happy with the results.
Take the time and find some contact info for each of the people or publications that you feel like tagging in your awesome social media post and send them a personalized email. Sure, it takes time, but so does writing articles. If you’re serious about getting press coverage for your music, then you need to be serious about your outreach strategy.
2. Waste A Writer’s Time
Once you’ve got a writer who has agreed to cover your music, the last thing you want to do is jerk them around. If you arrange a time for an interview and then don’t show up, you’re probably going to end up on said writer’s blacklist. If something comes up and you can no longer make it, reach out and let the writer know what’s up. You can always reschedule.
In the same vein, if you’ve got an article lined up with Publication X for let’s say a song premiere, follow through with your end of the deal. Don’t say “Nevermind, I’m going with Publication Z instead.” That’s just going to piss somebody off.
Chances are the article will be written a few days before the date that it’s supposed to go live, and if a writer spent their valuable time working on your article only to find out that you’ve backed out, they aren’t going to be happy.
Likewise, don’t double dip and agree to let two different blogs release the same song.
Common sense and decency will go a long way when trying to promote your music.
3. Get Discouraged
If you’ve been sending your music around to blogs and getting no responses, don’t give up. Modify your approach and try again. Don’t be afraid to send a follow-up if you don’t hear back within a few days. Inboxes get clogged up quickly and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
If one of your songs is falling flat, or you don’t think it’s as good as it could be, get back to the drawing board and try again. With any art form, there’s always room for improvement. Even the most successful musicians in the world started out playing shows at dingy dive bars in front of ten people.
If you want to get blogs to feature your music, you’re going to have to do your part. The press is here to help you grow as a musician, and if you can learn to have productive interactions with writers, then they will write about your music. Think of each outreach as an opportunity to collaborate with the press, and entice them with an interesting story about you and your music. If a writer likes what you’ve got going on, they will jump at the opportunity to write about your band.
Keep making interesting, original music and fostering positive communications with the press, and good things will come your way. These things tend to steamroll, meaning that when one music blog writes about you then several others are likely to follow suit. Now get after it.