This is a guest post (submit your guest post) by Billy Bones, a music marketing expert who works with record labels in improving their marketing strategies. He runs BBE Booking Agency, a music booking agency that works with event planners in talent acquisition and event production.
Music blogs are a powerful part of the music industry, and getting covered by those blogs can be a big boost for the career of any independent artist. Without the budget to hire a PR firm, most independent artists have to build exposure for themselves.
The advantage of using publicists is that they have contacts within the industry and know how to pitch them for a particular story. The problem is that most artists don't have a budget for a publicist. Even if that's the case, you'll need to build your own lists of contacts and work on pitching them yourself.
3 Tips For Getting Music Coverage On Blogs
1. Figure Out Where You Want To Be Covered
There are literally thousands of music blogs covering every genre, sub-genre, and music locale you can imagine. Before deciding where you want to be covered, you need to pinpoint the blogs who appeal to your audience.
Find a few artists who you think have a similar audience as you and do a Google search on their names. What blogs have written about them? Spend a little time on those websites to make sure that your content is relevant to what they write about. You can also browse aggregate music sites like Hype Machine which provide easily searchable lists of music blogs from around the world.
Enter the names of the blogs you find into a spreadsheet. I recommend building a list of 500 blogs where you would like to be covered. This may seem like a lot—it is, but the more potential blogs you gather, the more potential coverage you'll get.
2. Find Contact Info for the Blogs
For some blogs, finding their contact information is as easy as looking going to their "Contact Us" page. Other blogs will take a little bit more investigation.
Most articles will say who wrote the article, and you can use this information to search for the author through Google. A second method is to find them on Twitter or LinkedIn. Many writers have professional accounts that they check regularly on these sites. Once you find the contacts for the blogs and specific writers that you are interested in, add that information to the spreadsheet.
3. Reach Out to Those Contacts
Now that you have that long list of reliable contacts built, the next step is to reach out to them. You will want to review their work so you can customize your pitch. Look for common topics they cover, what their tastes are, and what you have in common with them (both musically and personally).
Keep the pitch short and make sure that you've made it easy for them to access your content.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when pitching:
- You do not want to send your content as an attachment. Getting an attachment from a random stranger is never something that anybody should open. Instead, put links to your work in the email. Also be sure that your pitch follows each individuals submission guidelines before sending.
- Make the subject line interesting to read but relevant to what you’re pitching. You don't have to pack too much information into the line, only enough to make them open the email. Avoid the fantastical (The Next Big Thing in Indie Rock!) and the use of too many exclamation points.
- Personalize your emails. When you send out an email just saying "Hello," it looks you’ve sent it to a hundred others. Use their names.
Don’t get discouraged if you don't receive many responses from the people on your list. Bloggers are busy, and it’s possible that they may have just missed your email or forgot about it.
You can send a friendly follow up email after a few days if you haven’t heard a response. I wouldn’t overdo this though, as there is a fine line between following up and harassing the blogger.
Remember that first bit about working on a list of 500 blogs? Reaching out to music blogs is ultimately a numbers game. Most probably won’t respond back or post your content in the beginning if you're relatively unknown.
If you really want to perfect your pitch, you can test out different pitches and email subject lines and optimize them for conversions to improve your response rate.
Some of the most successful artists have used PR to brand themselves and build exposure for their music. The artists who are most successful understand how to make sure that their brands are consistent across the different websites, constantly reach out to blogs, and treat their relationships with bloggers like a million bucks. One powerful write-up on a major blog could change your career forever.