Do You Need a Publicist Or Just Some Research?

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the Director of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.]

 

Building out your team as an artist is a very difficult process. Young musicians often believe having a manager, a publicist or a booking agent onboard will be the core to somehow expediting the process of launching their career. Today you’re playing to ten friends and family members at your local VFW or singing at open mics. Then, viola! Your team has scored you a spot on tour with your favorite band, selling out arenas.

As most of you are probably aware, that scenario doesn’t necessarily match up with the reality of building a career in music. There is no magic bullet. In fact, building out your team too early can lead to getting stuck in business relationships that don’t necessarily make the most sense in the long run or, as is the case with publicists, see you investing what little money you have to spend on your project in areas that you won’t necessarily see the sort of results you’re hoping for.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on bringing a publicist into the fold:

Will I Be Able To Give A Publicist Enough To Work With?

An important key to publicity is having assets to work with. Yes, you have a great EP, but is there anything else that your publicist can give to press? Are there tour dates or live shows in your hometown? Do you have a unique element to your story that could lead to a bigger editorial piece that will serve as a cornerstone for the campaign? Did you shoot any high-quality music videos for the project?

A publicist is going to have to sell a writer on the fact they are getting in early on something that will be bigger down the line. Just having a handful of quality songs does not go a long way to help them sell that idea.

What Are My Goals With This Campaign?

Am I hiring a publicist because I think they’re going to take me from my bedroom to the cover of Rolling Stone? Do I think that I am going to see a significant financial return immediately from doing a few months of PR? If so, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results you’re going to get.

One in a million projects can break immediately without a ton of work from major industry powers going on behind the scenes. The vast majority of artists need to build out their public presence in stages. Your initial public relations campaign should be about building that first tier of coverage. This would likely consist of grabbing a few of the aforementioned cornerstone pieces and streaming playlists that you can start building a 1-sheet around and getting writers out to see you play live.

From there you can start building anticipation for your next release or, if the campaign goes really well, you can continue to go after additional coverage on the release immediately.

What Is My Next Step?

A standard PR campaign will run around three months. Once that three month period is over, if the coverage isn’t rolling in enough to continue seeking press, what’s your next step?

Are you going to be right back in the studio working on the follow-up or is there going to be a long wait before you release music again?

If this release took a year or two to prepare and you don’t see a next release in the near future, you’re better off handling press yourself and focusing on building an organic following through playing live and direct-to-fan initiatives.

In short, ask yourself if this release is going to set up a bigger push in the next year or is it step one in your career as an artist from which you will decide where you will pivot to next.

It’s best for an artist not to rush to add structure to their project to quickly. It’s usually better to find yourself creatively before looking to start working towards a sustainable career. If you do find yourself in this stage of self-discovery, don’t rush to hire a publicist. You can find the contact information for most of the writers or blogs that will be most likely to cover your project in these early stages on their website or via the writer’s Twitter account.

The more you can do on your own before hiring people around you, the better you’ll understand the process of releasing music and ultimately the more worthwhile your eventual first proper PR campaign will be!

How To Get Writers to Actually Open Your Emails

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West, a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]

It’s often said that the internet and home recording has made it possible for anyone to explore their creative side musically. Another positive effect of the DIY culture the internet has nurtured is that as these bedroom musicians begin the process of turning their hobby into a career, they are able to handle a lot of the business and promotional side themselves to get the ball rolling.

Chief among these early efforts that an artist can use to start spreading the word is press. A little interweb stalking will turn up the contact info for most of the writers that you would want to cover your music. With a carefully-crafted pitch, you might start to see your music start popping up among the new songs and videos of your heroes that your favorite blogs are covering.

On the flipside, this instant access to press contacts means that most of the writers you want to reach out to are simultaneously getting hit up by hundreds of other artists on any given day. As a result, publicists devote a lot of time to figuring out how to cut through the clutter and get writers to prioritize checking out their clients ahead of the droves of other submissions.

If you can’t yet afford to hire a publicist, here are five tips on how an independent artist can get their favorite music bloggers to give their new music a spin!

 

  • Be Personal – The fact that you are an artist hitting them up directly gives you a leg up with a lot of writers. But if you send them a generic pitch, chances are you’re going to lose that favor. Tell the writer why you’re writing to them specifically.Which artists have they covered that leads you to believe they’d be into your music? What articles that they wrote made you a fan of theirs? Do you really love them on Twitter? What about your music is unique? These are the elements that are going to entice a writer to hit play on your Soundcloud link or YouTube video.
  • Is There A Certain Regular Feature You’re Interested In? – Another good way to approach writers is to reach out about a specific feature they oversee.For instance, is their blog pushing to promote a Spotify playlist? Do they run a “track of the week” series that you find a lot of your new favorite music on? These are the sort of deliberate pitches that might garner a quicker, more favorable response.
  • Be Precise: One thing that often goes overlooked with pitching writers is that brevity is key. It’s understandable why you want to cram every iota of information that you find interesting about your project into your email, but your life story might push your message to the TLDR folder.Stick to the necessities; (1) why are you writing to them specifically, (2) why they would like your music, and most importantly (3) a link to the music. Also, make sure it only requires one click in your email for the writer to be able to listen. If they like the music and decide to cover it, they will ask for more info at that point.
  • Get To Know The Writer (For Repeat Pitches): This is probably the most important key to continued coverage of your music. Get to know the writer! Is there a certain way they like to receive pitches? Do they prefer text or twitter messages to email? Do they want a full press release or personal message every time? Will they even cover non-exclusive tracks? These are all key to success with developing a rapport with writers. Even better, if they live in your city, see if they’d be down to meet for coffee, a drink or even to check your project out live. The better you know their personality and preferences, the more accurately you’ll be able to pitch them. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to make friends with another music fan!
  • Always Have An Angle: We mentioned the ‘special feature’ angle already and have hopefully made it abundantly clear that you need to speak to how you’re unique when contacting writers. But how specifically are you going to frame your music in an enticing way? Is there something interesting and quirky about your personality that you can use in the voice of your email? Is your music a part of a bigger vision that spans multiple artistic mediums that you will be unveiling in the coming months? Is your new song part of a concept album or tell a specific tale?There has to be something about you and your sound that makes it endearing because there are a lot of talented musicians out there you are trying to beat out for coverage.

 

If your music is good and you can translate your special qualities to the writer quickly and precisely, you’ve greatly increased the chances of a writer actually clicking play. And getting them to listen is half the battle!

Recap: The Inaugural Mondo.NYC 2016

A week and a half back, music industry professionals, artists, fans and students got together for the first-ever Mondo.NYC Festival at the Kimmel Center on the legendary NYU campus in lower Manhattan. Panels, keynote speeches, presentations and performances from artists dominated the five-day event, allowing members from different sectors of the industry to exchange ideas, strategies and thoughts on the future.

TuneCore was honored to be one of the sponsors at the inaugural Mondo.NYC 2016 festival, with indie artists across all genres performing throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan each night. In fact, we’re proud to mention that almost 50% of Mondo’s featured artists have used TuneCore to distribute their music at some point!

Bob Boilen, creator of NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and the Tiny Desk Concert Series acted as moderator throughout Mondo.NYC, offering decades of experience and overall music-nerdery to conversations with everyone from label owners and strategy folks to publicists and journalists.

There was a LOT to cover – not to mention TuneCore’s very own “Under the Hood” presentation on Friday morning – but below are pictures and quotes from some of the notable panels and discussions we were fortunate enough to make it to.

"Making Streaming Work for the Music Industry with Michael Nash & Robert Levine
“Making Streaming Work for the Music Industry” with Michael Nash & Robert Levine

During the “Making Streaming Work for the Music Industry” discussion, UMG’s Michael Nash explored the importance of major labels accepting and expanding the role of music streaming. With physical product dominating almost 70% of the market share in territories like Japan and Germany, there’s an important future to look at.

“How fast is change coming? It’s coming like a freight train,” Nash went on to say, noting “one of the most positive developments” being the growth in the space between Spotify, Apple Music and now Pandora. He believes that int the next 3-5 years we’ll see a few major players rise in the digital distribution space, as well.

mondo nyc 2016
Daniel Glass, owner of Glassnote Records, making a keynote address with Bob Boilen

Another inspiring moment during Mondo was the Keynote Address with none other than Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records. A man with a storied career in music, his imprint has been responsible for a new wave of independent artists looking for a friendlier label model. Glass explained while major labels can give artists the push they need, labels like his help left-of-center artists find their way in the world.

It was a bit of a trip down Memory Lane as Daniel and Bob reminisced and re-emphasized the importance of CMJ and college radio during the 80s and 90s. Plenty of laughter and note taking went down, and they transitioned into how Sirius XM stations are actually a refuge for would-be college radio fans.

Before wrapping up, Glass also reiterated the importance of a live experience in 2016, saying of Glassnote’s Aurora, “If I had $100K to develop her, I’d spend $97K getting people to see her live.”

"Press & PR: How To Rise Above the Din"
“Press & PR: How To Rise Above the Din”

Press and PR can be a pain-point for many indie artists just getting started down the DIY road. Rolling Stone contributor Christopher Weingarten, Audible Treats PR founder Michelle McDevitt, Big Hassle PR founder Ken Weinstein, and Bond Moroch PR founder Skipper Bond all provided what they  considered to be a ‘good day’ at their respective jobs.

Explaining the nuances of how to catch a writer’s eye and how to target your pitches, the attendees – mostly independent musicians – diligently jotted down bits of information. Bob Boilen kept things light and encouraged those in attendance to ask questions and get the most out of this very helpful panel.

It was refreshing to watch members of both sides of this complicated machine exchange thoughts, laughs and questions for each other behind the mics.

IMG_1325

On Friday, TuneCore’s very own Senior Director of Entertainment Relations Chris Mooney and Director of Marketing Mitch Wenger presented and moderated “Under The Hood: Get Your Music Heard and Get Paid for Doing It”.  TuneCore Artists Devvon Terrell, Opus Orange, Kathryn Gallagher and The Republic of Wolves all sat in to discuss the state of digital distribution for independent artists in 2016.

While we couldn’t make all of those awesome panels and discussions, below are a few of our favorite helpful quotes heard from the Kimmel Center. Be sure to browse through some more photos, too, and share any great advice or stories YOU heard during Mondo.NYC this year in our comment section!

“That direct connection with your fans at shows is huge. When you’re sending them links to your music, send it to them at two points of contact.” – Benji Rogers, CEO, PledgeMusic

“If you’re doing pre sale ticketing on a tour, just make sure you have a period for fans associated with email sign ups to keep control of your data.” – Justin Spindler, Director, Music Glue

“Having ownership of your data is really important. People want to know if you’re worth their time and if you’ll make them money. It’s all about metrics.” – Matt DuFour, VP of Artist Development, ReverbNation

“Content is key. Audiences don’t mind being marketed to, but you have to do it well. There needs to be a balance between the brand, the audience and the artist.” – Jennifer Stilson, VP Music, MTV/VH1

“When it’s real is when the brand identifies with the type of music it is. By having something that the brand stood for, that became synonymous with the sound of the brand.” – Nick Parmar, Director, W Hotels

“Find your authentic lane when it comes to working with brands.” – Joi Brown, SVP Marketing, Atlantic Records

“Figure out who your fan amplifiers are and serve them. That’s what grows your fan base.” – Cortney Harding, Founder, Cortney Harding Consulting

The Dos and Don'ts Of a Copy-and-Paste Music Bio The Media Will Love

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Shaun Letang, owner and editor of Music Industry How To – a site dedicated to offering music career advice to artists/bands, managers, producers, and anyone else involved in the music industry.]

If your bio isn’t regularly opening the door to new opportunities in your music career, it could be that it isn’t as polished as it could be.

Musicians tend to underestimate the value of their bio. They know that they should have one, but they don’t know that it should be more than just a list of accomplishments or a boring, “we started in a basement” type story clichés.

A finely-tuned bio should make people go, “gee, I wish we could bring that band out to our next event”, or “I’d like to hear what that sounds like!”

Before we get into the specifics of developing a great copy-and-paste bio, let’s take a look at how it benefits you.

Why A Copy-And-Paste Bio Is Useful

Everyone is pretty crunched for time these days. Journalists, bloggers and media people are constantly under the pressure of deadlines to complete their latest news piece, which means they don’t necessarily have a lot of time to hunt around for information.

And yet, many musicians shy away from comparing themselves with other known acts. “Our music is 100% original,” they say. Well, if you’re using notes, chords and scales in your music – sorry to have to be the one to break this to you – you’re not 100% unique!

Don’t make any assumptions about what the reader may or may not know about your influences and style of music. They might love what you’re doing, but not have the right words or comparisons to describe it. You can see how that might be a problem if they’re interested in covering you in an upcoming story, but don’t have the necessary information to do so.

If you can tell a great story as a musician, media people don’t have to. It might sound lazy, but if you want to get the most leverage out of your bio, you should consider making it copy-and- paste ready.

What A Copy-And-Paste Bio Is

In essence, it’s just like any other bio. The key thing to remember is that you’re trying to make it easy for the reader to gather relevant information quickly and easily. They should be able to get a good sense of who you are and what you’re about just by scanning your bio.

Think about the keywords to include in your bio: musical style, genre, influences, instruments, names of the band members, and so on. When you think of it this way, it’s not unlike writing a search engine optimized blog post.

A copy-and-paste bio should also be well-written and free of errors. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. If the bio isn’t literally ready to run in a magazine or the paper tomorrow, then it still requires some attention.

Don’t forget to tell a story with your bio. Nobody wants to read off a list of facts. You know how most people react to your accomplishments? “Good for you.” Yes, you can highlight that awesome Gene Simmons quote you got, but avoid going on and on about awards, quotes, radio stations, and notable concerts you’ve played. Sprinkle them throughout, but don’t make them the focus.

Copy-And-Paste Bio Do’s And Don’ts

You should have a pretty good idea of what to do to develop a copy-and-paste bio already. However, here is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you in case you aren’t sure what to do.

Do: include all relevant information. Names of band members and the instruments they play, what known acts you sound like, what genre of music you play, where you’re located, and so on. Include contact information at the end so interested parties can get in touch with you.

Do: tell a story. Feel free to interweave quotes and notable achievements in your bio, but only within the flow of an engaging narrative. You can dramatize a little.

Do: proofread. Eliminate spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Make sure you wouldn’t be embarrassed if your bio ran in the papers tomorrow.

Do: talk about influences, bands and artists you sound like, and what genre of music you play. This is absolutely vital to a successful cut-and-paste bio.

Do: create multiple versions of your bio. Have a tagline, a one-paragraph version, a medium length version (two to three paragraphs), and a long version. For most applications, the medium length bio will do the trick.

Don’t: merely list off the “great things” you’ve done in your music career. Yes, it can help with credibility, but it doesn’t tell a story. Media people are always looking for stories.

Don’t: settle. Work on your bio with your band members and invest a good chunk of time writing and editing it. Have a few people look over it and ask for feedback. Or, if you have a budget, hire a professional to help you put it all together.

Don’t: use too many adjectives. They can make your writing interesting, but music is subjective. You aren’t “the best”, “the most brilliant”, or “the most beautiful” anything, though you might be in someone’s eyes. Let your fans do the talking.

Don’t: deviate from your core purpose, message and communication style. A proper bio should fit right in with your character and image. A professional tone will serve some, while a casual tone will work better for others.

Don’t: expect instantaneous results. Yes, if you do it right, a great bio should make a big difference to your music career, but as with anything, it still takes time and effort to become recognized.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to impress the media – and for that matter event organizers, music directors at radio stations and music venues – then having a professional cut-and-paste bio will make a big difference.

I hate to say it, but when you’re trying to break through as an independent artist, appearances really do matter. A fine-tuned bio can make you look a lot bigger than you really are; and that’s what you want!

A great bio has more uses than you might even realize, and can be re-purposed in a variety of different ways. You can get a lot of leverage out of it if you do it right.

If you want to learn more about music marketing as a whole, but sure to check out Music Industry How To’s ultimate guide on the subject.

Now, are you planning to create a music bio? Did the above help? Let us know in the comments below.

Local Publicity: How To Maximize Events & Releases in Your Own Backyard

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Fiona Bloom, publicist and founder of The Bloom EffectPrior to running her own business, Fiona has overseen many careers including her time at EMI Records where she ran marketing campaigns for Digable Planets,  Gang Starr, Shara Nelson, The Solsonics, Eternal and others.]

Artists are so concerned with the big picture that more often then not, they lose sight of the importance of acclaim in their own backyard. How could you possibly think you’ll conquer the world before conquering your town?

The great thing about local promotion is that you really get to tap into your community, build real fans, get into the trenches guerrilla style and network in the most genuine ways possible!

A long time ago in ancient history – well, the 90’s -every record company had a street marketing department, and there were street team companies being hired independently. In fact, my first gig ever in New York was overseeing the street promo at EMI/Chrysalis.

Are you ready to undertake the responsibility of getting visibility, building buzz, securing local media and having fun whilst doing it? Here’s how…

Get started early

So, you have a show coming up. First off, you need to make sure you have enough lead time to work the market. Keep in mind there’s a few mediums to work with. Print usually requires at least three to four weeks advance. For digital/new media, you can get away with two weeks advance.

Social media operates in real time, so while that can be instantaneous, it also needs some strategy behind it leading to the day of.

Radio needs about two weeks, and TV can be two to three weeks advance. It also depends on how much traction the event already has. Is there a big name attached to it? Or how about a sponsor? How many folks on your team?

Get visual with it

In this day when promoting, visuals are just as important as the music. A web flyer and print flyer are worth it if you can afford the investment. Your web flyer should be high-res (300 DPI) and should be captivating – a nice image and clean font and text with the who, what, and where:

– Line Up
– Date/Time
– Ticket Price
– Venue Name/Address
– Ticket Link
– Partner logos
– Social Media URLS (you can create hyper links)

Hit all corners

I consider ‘local publicity’ now to be all-inclusive, meaning:

MediaTV, Radio, Social, Print, Digital and Mobile
Street MarketingI still believe that physical flyers can make a difference and play a role in your success with getting the word out. It’s always good to identify a few drop-off locations, too, which would include record stores, the venue your show is at, tattoo shops, and other lifestyle outlets; and don’t forget about he library, and coffee shops.
SNIPES/PostersThese cost a little more to manufacture and therefore you don’t need as many. 25-50 maximum will probably do, but please be careful if you’re going around the town stapling your SNIPES/posters to lamp posts, railings, trees, boards – you can get fined and that’s expensive!
Club PromotionIf it’s a single or album, you can hit the clubs – promotion managers and DJs – they love vinyl, too.

The great thing about these ‘Best Practices’ in your market is that they can be applied to each city you play in.

So whether it’s a show or a video or an album you’re promoting, just make sure the visual/packaging matches your product and that it’s as clear and concise as possible.

Research your market

Print

For print, find all your local outlets (daily papers, weekly’s, monthlys, glossys, college papers, bi-weeklys) and their respective web sites (digital). Make sure that if you’re a hip hop act that you’re not sending to a paper that just covers rock or alternative. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them – the receptionist or operator can patch you through, or often times will give you the name of their music editor and email address.

You can also ask the venue that booked your show. They have their own media lists and are usually very happy to share these as it’s mutually beneficial.

I used to spend hours at Barnes and Noble before the internet and the advent of social media, going through tons of titles and looking at mastheads – writing that stuff down and of course buying a few ‘zines too so I was patronizing. You don’t need to do that anymore – it’s much more time efficient and effective now and it’s all there at your fingertips! Just don’t be lazy: do the work. You have to start somewhere.

You can also build your list and database from scratch. I did. Yes I may be into this 20 years but my rolodex/database is now 20,000 strong. That’s my bloodline, my livelihood and sure enough, my value. You’d have to pay me a sh*t load of money to sell it! Although, your lists are only as good as your relationships. Relationships are built over time, but the beauty about today’s world is that as long as your pitch (phone, in-person and/or email) is compelling, clear in message, and your follow through is impeccable, you’ll get responses the first or second time around. It’s presentation and delivery!

local publicity

Make sure you service the music and entertainment editors, calendar editors, nightlife and music and features editors with a press release, publicity photo, the flyer and a short email; then follow up at least three or four or more times, depending on how soon you hear from them. Invite them to your show, (make sure you offer them guest list access if they’re interested in covering), and make sure to fulfill their request whether it’s a photo pass, back stage interview, live review and/or video cameras – those need to be pre-approved.

Your main goals for these outlets: ‘Preview’, ‘Calendar Pick’, ‘Best Bet’, ‘Item’, ‘Blurb with Photo’, ‘Feature/Interview’ and ‘Live Review’.

Radio

When pursuing radio locally, you have college/community, commercial, public, internet, satellite, and pirate stations to target. Again – do your research. There’s local market radio lists you can get on the internet and, in the case of an event, the venue will be able to share. You can also look at CMJ’s radio charts, Billboard, and other trade magazines.

You can send them music and offer ticket giveaways and artist interviews – at the college level they’re usually receptive to this if the time slot/DJ happens to play music that’s similar in style. Make friends with the DJs. They can champion your music and artistry and in turn bring loads of fans to your brand!

local publicity

Internet – Blogs and New Media

Each market bloggers. There’s even micro-blogging, which is the likes of Tumblr, Reddit, and personal websites. Take advantage of all the tools and features you have at your disposal.

Know your audience here, too. Know that a blogger is often younger and doesn’t blog full-time, therefore they don’t have hours each day to update and there may be a delay getting back to you. Also in some cases they don’t want to necessarily be pitched — some bloggers prefer to discover on their own so you can ‘gently’ send them some music and mention the release and/or the show without it being a hard sell or push.

It should be easy, clean, short and to-the-point with all the links available on the email. No attachments and preferably photos should be available via Dropbox, WeTransfer, Hightail or other file sharing mechanism. Music should be shared the same way if they want a download or streaming link (Spotify, Dropbox, Soundcloud, YouTube, Bandcamp etc.).

There are event sites out there like Eventful, Fusicology, BandsinTown, Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, Yelp, and others. They all have ‘Submit’ buttons.

local publicity

TV

Depending on the reach and clout of a network, the main networks will be especially interested if there’s a charity angle, recognizable name or unusual hook/novelty. Targeting cable and video shows is the way to go. Once more: do the research. Every market has at least five cable and video outlets. You can pitch a live video session, interview and/or performance on a morning segment or other program. Send a short email, include links and practice lots of follow up. You can go their social handles and reach out there, and the phone is always suggested.

When you’re dealing with all these mediums and making contacts and building relationships, be as cordial, polite, concise, informative and engaging as you can – the more passion resonated, the better it’s received, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Connecting with local fans

So now you’ve done your street marketing, reached out to radio, hit up print outlets, blogs, TV outlets, and event sites. Here comes the very fun part: engaging with your existing fans and reaching new ones via your social media platforms.

All artists be utilizing social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram to tap into their communities. You can do targeted Facebook posts via paid ‘boosting’ and or running an ad campaign in your area. Make sure also to follow local venues on all their socials and interact on each.

Follow some of the brands and users they’re already following. Subscribe and leave comments on YouTube videos, and of course all whilst telling them about your upcoming event or release – you can add the link but in a friendly and open manner. Remember, it’s not a one-way street or about ‘Self Promotion’ on social media — it’s a dialogue. Think about reciprocity, giving back and being alive and vibrant! It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason.

local publicity

Hashtagging works best on Instagram and Twitter. Try to use generic and a clever tag that nobody’s used. With Snapchat, you can create a whole storyboard of fun, clever, creative ways to get folks to pay attention and come see you live or meet you in person.

It’s amazing what you can do with SMS and messaging apps. You can send flyer visuals and nice short texts to friends in the area.

At the end of the day, everyone is looking to achieve the same thing: get as many eyeballs and ears to their music and art, and get as many of their fans to their shows! It’s not rocket science, but it does take a lot of effort and hustle. Please enjoy these steps, as I promise it will be less tedious, more faster-moving and you’ll actually be very happy with the results.

7 Game-Changing Ways to Get Press Without a Publicist

PaigePalermoTuneCore Artist Jennifer Paige has been busy.  Her new duo Paige & Palermo released their debut EP, Stay, to rave reviews.  MTV.com‘s Buzzworthy says “the two croon, resembling a more electronica-tinged Lady Antebellum, or even shades of Fleetwood Mac.”  Jennifer took the time to share some tips with us on how artists can get press without a publicist…

As an indie artist, when someone asks my budget, I wanna laugh.  Umm…what can we do for zero dollars?  Even fair and small expenses can add up quickly and derail the indie artist.  It’s all money coming out of our pockets – no Daddy Warbucks, no major label Cash Cow paying our expenses.  We put all of our hard-earned money into making a record, and there’s nothing left for promotion.  But without promotion, no one will ever hear our music.

Thankfully, music is a force like no other – and it can spread like a wildfire.  I know.  My debut single, “Crush,” did just that – it blazed up the worldwide charts before the ink had dried on my first contract, before I had my first photo shoot – before I could even say “PR!”  With the Internet and social media by our side,  it’s possible now more than ever to be heard on the world’s stage, but we must learn to think like a publicist.

Here’s the cold hard truth...We’re on our own, kids!  Time to get smart.  Time to be resourceful.

We NEED blogs to feature us.
We NEED people to follow us and be engaged on social media.
We NEED radio to play our songs.
We NEED fans to come to our shows.
We NEED you, Ellen… and you too, Oprah!!!

But how?  I promise you, if you take the time to do this stuff well, you WILL get press.

AND THAT WILL TRANSLATE TO MORE FANS AND MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKET – WHICH MEANS YOU CAN KEEP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE.  

7 Game-Changing Ways to Get Press Without a Publicist

1) Make it easy for them.

It’s your job to define your story and tell the world why it is that you need to make music.  Laura Goldfarb at Red Boot Publicity explains, “Getting coverage is much more likely to happen if your story is compelling and your content is streamlined throughout all available social media outlets.  So much of PR is about pushing your brand to the next level – and consistency is key.”

2) Become newsworthy.

When you have news to share, write an attention-grabbing press release.  Do a little investigating and compile a media list for your style of music (or purchase one online).  Make sure you only send news that is relevant to the editor’s interest.  Remember: It’s better to write fewer, well thought out emails to appropriate contacts, than to SPAM a random list of industry contacts.  For a detailed breakdown of how to best represent yourself, check out PR You!  The essential do-it-yourself guide to public relations by Becky Vieria and Michele Smith.

3) Be quotable.

I was recently retweeted by a Billboard writer.  When she followed me on Twitter, I asked if she’d consider listening to a new project of mine – that was Step 1.  Step 2 was to send over new music for her review – that’s when my music had to speak for itself.  She loved what she heard and offered to not only feature my music but to also do an interview.  Mission accomplished!  No publicist necessary.  BOOM!

4) When the embers start to burn, blow.  

The hardest part is getting those first few believers.  After you’ve gotten those first bits of press buzz and you’ve started to create a name for yourself, keep that fire burning!  When you approach new leads, reference the most credible publications who have featured you and your work.  That’s usually all it takes for new contacts to see that you’re the real deal and jump on board.  After all, they don’t want to get left behind.  This is no time to rest.  Go, go, go!

5) Write an informative blog.

We all have expertise in something.  Perhaps you’ve toured a lot on a small budget.  Or maybe you’ve created a successful Crowdfunding campaign.  Shoot – maybe it was unsuccessful and you can share what NOT to do.  Point is, we all have helpful information to share with one another.  Include a link to your music or website in every blog post you create.  As it circulates, readers will likely check out the link you’ve provided and stumble upon your music.  Stay visible.  Find opportunities to share your music outside of your current circle of friends.

6) Be more like Keaton.

While touring with indie-artist Keaton Simons, I was able to watch first-hand as he worked his magic.  When I asked for his best advice on getting press without a massive PR budget, he didn’t hesitate to share his secret.  “I think it’s about persistence and consistency, and valuing every member of your fan base.  Nothing substitutes the direct contact you get from touring, and true fans are the best free publicity we could hope for!  In today’s industry, we have the ability to write, record and release a song in ONE day, so releasing new material on a regular basis is a great way to stay connected to our fans.”  I agree with Keaton.  It always comes back to the music and ultimately the fans are King.  You can see Keaton on The Ellen Degeneres Show, June 10th, which I think is evidence enough that building a loyal fan base is what it’s really all about.

7) The Best PR = Free Advertising

Beth Hood Fromm of OMG Publicity graciously offered up a few incredible resources available to the hungry artist, willing to think outside the box.  Go sign up now!

  • HARO – Help a Reporter Out (and a few tips to get you started.)
  • Although ProfNet isn’t free, the small investment might be worth it for someone who can’t afford a publicist on retainer.

I used to think that great art should be able speak for itself.  I was dead wrong – if we don’t speak up for our art, no one will.  Buzz, press, fans, etc. start and end with us.

The key is realizing that, as artists, we are selling more than music – we are putting life experiences into songs so that others can sing along and say to themselves, “That is so true.”  Music can be life altering, and in some cases even life saving.  What an honor we have been given to share the gift of music.

So go ahead – PROUDLY SHARE YOUR MUSIC and BOLDLY TELL YOUR STORY.  Make sure you are putting your best foot forward, and you might just get that lucky break!

Your PR genius within will thank you because deep down it knows…we all make our own luck.