If you have a big advertising budget and can afford a PR firm then by all means feel free to skip this post. However, for the rest of us, there are definitely things we can do for ourselves. Even if you CAN afford the big boys it’s good to have an understanding of things you can do yourself to help.
Have Something To Promote
There’s no point doing promotion if you don’t have something to promote such as a tour or a new CD.
Tell Me A Story
When you contact the media, tell them a story. How many press releases and emails do you think they get from bands saying “our album is great”?
Do any of your songs have an interesting story to tell, that is, were they inspired by something real which has an interesting back story?
Do you have any interesting stories from fans? Things they did at gigs or things they’ve told you about – did anyone use your song as the first dance at their wedding?
Have any sad or funny things happened to the band that make an interesting story?
Rather than blanketing all of the media, is there one publication which you would really benefit you? Offer them an exclusive. If they say no, you can always go to the next publication on your list.
Unless you’re already established this is most likely to be a local outlet. Offer to give them exclusive access to an event or a story. If the organisation has a specific person who specialises in music or your genre try to contact them by name.
Is your press pack (see here) ready to go? Is it on your website available for download? Do you have physical copies ready to go? Is it up to date? Does it include tour dates and locations?
Don’t Miss The Boat
Remember, publications have deadlines. They prepare most of their content well ahead of time. A weekly paper may well finalise much of their content over a week in advance or at least 3 days before and if you want to give a journalist time to write the article you don’t want to leave it until the last day. Monthly magazines may finalise 6 months in advance.
Also, if you have physical CDs to sell don’t make your release date the day they’re due to be delivered to you. Firstly, things sometimes get delayed. Secondly, your distributor probably needs time to get them to the shops. Thirdly, ideally you want time to send out promotional copies before the release date. Some media may insist on it. Make your release date at least a month after delivery is due and plan your promotion to start at least 7-8 months before that if you’re planning monthly magazine coverage or 4-8 weeks before for weekly papers.
Have Lively And Interesting Things To Say
If you’re lucky enough to get a journalist to come and interview you, be prepared. The guy who interviews you may not be a music specialist. Maybe they will ask you questions which are not very relevant.
Try to steer the answers towards interesting things. Go off at tangents a little if necessary. Try to expand into details. One word answers don’t make for good copy. As above, talk about songs, fans, band stories. Make it entertaining. give them something to really write about.