Today’s post is by Nashville, TN- based publicist, Wes Davenport. He writes about a topic that has been covered many times on this blog. However this particular post approaches pitching from a new perspective.
Music journalists get boatloads of emails and pitches every single day. That’s a deafening amount of noise; but there is a way to cut through it. Use these three steps to stand out as a genuine person instead of being another needy artist begging for coverage.
1) READ THEIR WORK
Before you contact any music journalists (or bloggers), read their work.
You can’t expect a critic to sit still and listen to your song for five minutes if you can’t dedicate five minutes to their work. They’re creative people, too. There’s certainly an art to weaving quotes and events together to form an engaging story. Try to look a bit deeper and appreciate their craft.
2) TALK ABOUT THEIR WORK, NOT JUST YOURS.
When contacting a journalist about a story, tell them what you think about their work. Let them know specific things you enjoyed from the articles you read in step 1. Do this before asking them for anything. Try it keep it brief, but don’t let brevity hinder your enthusiasm. For the finer points on crafting a great email for music journalists, read Julia Rogers’ insightful article on Musician Coaching.
3) HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION
Have a real conversation at some point in the process. Pick up the phone or arrange to meet them at your show. Personally thank them for the time and work they put into covering you. See if you can make their deadline-ridden lives a little easier somehow. Ask them some intelligent questions about their stuff you read. You know. Have a conversation!
WARNING: This does not mean you should stalk journalists like prey. That approach will backfire, and you will get stung (deservedly).
Music Is Still King
At the end of the day, the quality of your music determines if you actually get coverage. So why go through all of this? These steps are simply a great method because it’s friendly and considerate for everyone involved.
I love reading music journalists’ work because I’m a music fan myself. There was a time when I wanted to be a music journalist, so it’s great to meet people who kick ass at it. Talking about it is fun, and I usually get to hear some hilarious stories along the way.
Breaking from music marketing lecture mode, it almost feels silly to call this a strategy. When we are just cool and authentic to people, it makes everyone’s lives a lot better. Music journalists included. Soon you won’t even think of it as a three step plan. In the meantime, follow these steps to stand out to music journalists.
See also: Andrew Zarick’s “5 Ways to Get Your Music Noticed by Music Bloggers” post on Bandzoogle.