Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Artists! Avoid These 5 PR Pitfalls

Written by Tyler Allen — We at InMusik believe in uniting fans and artists. Period. Whether it’s through our blog posts, or our music discovery app — connecting fans, artists and music lovers is kind of.. “our thing”.

However, the artist-fan relationship isn’t the only industry relationship that matters. Another huge level of interaction comes from artists and the internal folks — namely press and media. Simply put, as an artist, one essential way to grow is to be covered in blogs, magazines and spoken about my social media and online influencers.

That being said — hiring a publicist can be expensive, daunting — or for smaller projects, maybe even unnecessary. Therefore, some artists (rightfully) take PR into their own hands. But there are some key things you should know, or else, you’re going to end up in the trash folder. Here are 5 common pitfalls, that you should avoid when promoting your own work.

Pitching (Only) on Twitter or Social Media…

One huge way to stand out from the static of the 100,000 other artists out there promoting their music, too — is by simply by being professional. Journalists and editors are constantly bombarded with spam messages, or emails that are just links — with no description.

That being said, when a writer gets a professionally written pitch, a link to an EPK, a streaming link and well designed cover art — you just instantly stood out from the spammers.

Another huge way of being professional — stick to emails. Sure, it’s fine for you to tweet a writer a few days later, “Hey I shot you an email on Thursday regarding Artist X, hope you had a chance to check it out!”. But you should solely pitch a journalist with a 140 Character Tweet, “Check out my latest track …”.

Instead, develop a proper pitch — find the writers email address through Zoom Info, their portfolio website (google their name!) or the website’s official submission guidelines.

A Lazy Pitch…

I briefly touched on this above, but a lazy and obviously copy and pasted pitch is a sure-fire way to be ignored. Most of the time, it’s a song title, a link to Soundcloud and maybe cover art.

However, you need to tell the writer or editor what makes you different — you need to tell them a story. Think of it like this — major labels can’t even get away with just sending a writer a SoundCloud link. Even a major artist still has to send some background on the song. So, why should we expect a relatively new artist get away with this?

A proper pitch is an email explaining who the artist is, what they’ve accomplished, and a little about the track. You need a unique selling point — maybe you were just featured in another publication, maybe you just had a SXSW showcase, you need to sell the writer on your work, so they know you’re worth it.

Just sending a link and the title — is lazy, and really off putting. Don’t waste good talent on lazy marketing.

Don’t Leave The Reporter Needing More…

Reporters are busy folks, so it’s nice when an artist sends everything at once. So, let’s say you’re pitching an EP. You likely need a cover image, a brief write-up for the writer to reference, supplemental images, a streaming link and a download link (ie. Dropbox) to your Mp3 files if they need it.

If you have everything in one email, a writer can throw out a post much easier rather than going back and forth. You’re also much more likely to get a reply. Make sure you have everything in one place, so they can quickly get back to you.

Be Succinct, Be Swift…

It’s hard to not go on and on about why this writer should cover your work. I get it! However, be sure that your pitches are to the point. You don’t need to cover your entire career and how in your 8th grade band class you had a vision of an angel giving you a pair of crash cymbals. (Well, actually that sounds kind of great).

The point here is, be direct. Let them know who you are, why they should write about you, and then give them access to your work.

Be Persistent But Not Annoying…

It’s rare that a writer is going to reply off the bat. Usually it might take one or two follow up emails before they get to you. This isn’t personal, it’s just that writers, editors and music blogs get tons of submissions.

Be aware of when you’re pushing the envelope and becoming annoying. I’d say follow up three times before it gets a bit overwhelming. Also, a follow-up is another form of a pitch.

Treat it like one:

“Hey, just writing in on Artist Y. We just had a few pickups at NME and Boi-1da, I’ll link you below. Would love if you could keep our momentum going. It’d be great for your readers!”

Don’t say: ???? or You get this? or Check your DMs.

Bottom line — have fun with pitching your work, and just remember this: by being professional, courteous and doing things by-the-book, you are automatically standing out from the dozens of other artists who are spamming and ending up in the junk folder.