You've done the hard graft. You're re-mixed and mastered your single every other day and now you have it perfect. The tune is finally ready to go. You've uploaded it onto DistroKid and have your release date. What is next? The press release.
As an independent, DIY musician you are most likely used to getting your hands dirty and managing some of the PR on your own. Music press release distribution is no different. Writing a press release is a crucial step in marketing for any single and album release, announcing tour dates, or distributing your new music video. It's your gateway into more publicity on music blogs and magazines. So, how do you write a music press release? And how do you make it hit the mark and get the publicity your perfectly mixed track deserves?
What Is A Press Release?
First things first, you've got to get to grips with what a press release actually is. In a nutshell, an independent press release is a cheat sheet pitch that's going to grab the media's attention. You'll send it to music bloggers, journalists, and magazines and, if you craft the perfect press release, you'll find yourself a spot in their music news. So, what actually is included in an eye-catching press release? We got you.
1. Headlines and Headings:
What single or album are you promoting? How can you make it catchy? Get a good headline right from the get-go of your independent press release and your readers are more likely to keep reading. We all want our job to be a bit easier. Helping the journalist in and include a tagline they can utilise when writing up a piece. It also helps section out your press release so your reader knows where to look for the right information.
2. Artwork and Press Images:
You want your face in the media, right? Including the album artwork is wildly important. How are the readers of the music publication going to recognise you when they search for your track? Include press shots. But, not all of them. Bombarding your pitch with the whole Google Drive from your photo shoot may feel like a great idea. Giving them options, right? Wrong. Making the journalist's life easier is going to increase the likelihood of getting on the publication and giving them a hundred shots (no matter how great they are) to sift through isn't going to help. Pick your favourites and the ones that suit the specific track and include them.
What other respected music outlets have mentioned you? It's all about the clout. It's okay if you're not quite at this point yet. You gotta start climbing the press ladder from the bottom rung up and that's okay. Even if it's a more lowkey publication or the promotor from your recent gig, it's important to include some quotes from music industry individuals to get the ball rolling. If you're at a stage where you've had quite a lot of press, there's no point in including them all in your press release. Look at the magazine or journalist that you're pitching to and include the reviews from similar publications. It's going to help them see you in context with their readers and the aesthetic of their site. But, if you've been featured in, say, NME? Forget all the rules and shove that right on there... in bold, and maybe caps... congratulations, you independent music press release wiz.
4. The Five W's: Who, what, when, where, why?
This may seem like the boring facts. But they're important! You want the right credits and information when you find yourself a feature. So, who's in the band? What is it (a tour, single, album, new singing)? Where is the event or single being launched? When is it happening? Why has it come about? The why may seem vague but it's crucial. We get to that a bit more down below.
5. External Links:
We're talking about your Instagram, Twitter (sorry... X) Youtube, Website... whatever you got, get it on there. Journalists will most likely copy and paste this into the piece so make sure it's correct. It could be a general LinkTree, or might look something like this:
You've Got The Basics... Now, Stand Out!
So, that's the general gist. Press releases are used in every avenue of the PR industry, so you better believe that writers are used to receiving a lot of them every day. How can you make your independent press release stand out and gain the right kind of attention?
Get Straight To The Point
Journalists will have a wave of press releases wash over their inbox each week. They will be skimming over all the waffle. If there's too much, it's more than likely they won't be delving into the details altogether. Getting straight to the point ups your chances of having your music heard tenfold. Be concise, be engaging and your music is more likely to be heard.
Including attachments might feel easier... "see attached PDF for the full press release" seems like a sensible way to start music press release distribution. However, as a foreign email address, adding attachments increases the likelihood you'll end up in the 'spam' or 'suspicious' segments of the receptor's email algorithm. To begin with, get it all in the content of the email. Once you've emailed back and forth, sending an attachment won't be such risky business.
Add A Personal Touch
There's one thing that makes you stand out. Your story. We all have one, and, as a creative and independent musician busting their arse to get out there, yours is probably very interesting. Adding a personal narrative or explaining the back story of the song/album is going to add a layer of intrigue, personality, and engagement. As we said before, keep it sort of brief. You don't want the skippable waffle. But you do want to help build a storyline for the journalist to bounce off.
Now that you've got your perfectly crafted press release. It's time to pitch. Sourcing the contacts of blog writers, journalists or magazine editors can be a long and, quite frankly, boring process. But, it's a feat worth doing. If you want to skip that part of the process, independent PR companies will create and distribute your press release for you. They're more likely to get it to the right people through their extensive contacts and know-how. But, that doesn't mean you can't give it a crack yourself. See our blog post on how to pitch your press release to publications to start your pitching journey.