Getting publicity as an emerging artist isn't always an easy task. Thousands of others artists are vying for the media's attention in order to get their music heard by the masses. Journalists and bloggers are inundated with pitches from artists and publicists every day. It's hard to break through, and many artists make mistakes when contacting the media. Here are six of the most common mistakes to avoid.
1. Lack of research
Do your research before contacting the media. It's important to know who you're targeting. It doesn't make sense to send your music to a punk-rock blog if you're a hip-hop artist. Journalists and bloggers also have certain preferences on how they like to be pitched and the kinds of music stories they like to cover. Study the media outlets you want to target, and know the stories they like to cover, their deadlines, and how they like to be pitched.
2. Not following the guidelines
Some blogs have guidelines for music submissions. If a blog has submission guidelines, follow them. Not following the guidelines is the quickest way to get ignored.
3. Sending long pitches
Journalists and bloggers are busy people, and some of your favorite bloggers also have full-time jobs on top of that. Keep your pitches short, sweet, and to the point.
4. Submitting cookie-cutter pitches
Journalists and bloggers are looking for stories that fit their audience and their outlet. They can tell when you've sent the same pitch to other writers. Tailor and personalize your pitches for each outlet. Use a proper introduction and address the journalists by name. Show that you know something about these people and their work by mentioning a common interest or a recent article they've done. Personalizing your pitches may take longer, but you're more likely to get better results and increase your chances of getting publicity.
5. Sending attachments
Attachments are a no-no! Sending your music as an attachment will cause your email to go to the spam folder. Writers are not going to risk getting a computer virus from your attachment. Paste a link to your music in the body of your email.
6. Being a pest
Persistence is needed in order to get publicity, but there's a fine line between being persistent and being a pest. Being too aggressive can lead a journalist or blogger to block you. Wait at least a week to follow up after you send your pitch. If you do not hear back after following up two or three times, move on. The answer is most likely no. Don't take it personally; just move on to the next person.
Lauren Gill is the founder and chief power specialist at Power Publicity, a marketing, branding, and public relations firm that empowers entertainment, nonprofit, and lifestyle brands. She has executed several successful marketing and PR campaigns for major and indie recording artists. You can follow her on Twitter @IamLaurenGill and @_powerpublicity.