If you're going to be doing PR outreach on behalf of your band because you're not at the point where you're ready for or can afford a publicist, you have your work cut out for you. There are thousands upon thousands of music blogs out there. How do you decide which are worth reaching out to, based on your limited time and resources to do this "stuff," since, you know, you have to make and perform music? How do you maximize this effort?
Here are some simple tips for sifting through the ether.
Have they covered you in the past?
If any outlet has been historically supportive of your current project or any of your past efforts, it makes sense for you to return to the well and to reach out to them for renewed support when you have things to promote. It's important to maintain and foster a pre-existing and long-term relationship. So make sure you nurture and protect those relationships; they are invaluable. Those outlets should be at the top of your list.
What do they cover?
This is perhaps the most important question you need to ask. Does the blog cover your style of music? Do they cover broad strokes and broad spectrum, or are they niche? Do they cover unsigned or developing bands? You have to check out their scope of coverage and see if you fit the mold. That means doing a little homework, so set aside two hours and get to researching.
What's the traffic like?
Sure, you want the top-tier outlets in your genre to cover you. You want the mid-level outlets, too. But you might not always get those. They're likely not going to be attainable for now, and will require the assistance of a publicist who has relationships with those outlets. That said, those upper echelon blogs are an endpoint, not a beginning one. So what do you do in the interim to create a profile where you eventually get there? Well, align with the developing and growing blogs. They're young and hungry and they like to support a band first. You can come up and develop together, leading to a lifelong partnership!
But you also have to vet things. If an outlet is getting, like, one hit a day, that means no one is reading it, and the bloggers and editors have lots of promotion to do to get eyeballs on their work. You have to run stats on their ranking and analytics through Alexa or Compete. Check their socials for how many followers they have and see what their engagement is like. Again, it's some more legwork for you. But it'll be worth it.
Which blogs have similar bands been featured on?
Google the press hits and coverage of bands that you like, or that are in your genre and have gotten to a level you want to be at. Or google your peers. Use some solid search terms, like "interviews" or "reviews," and see what small and mid-level outlets have covered them. Then go after those outlets according to the previous guidelines I've shared.
Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to Spin.com to Revolver to Bustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.