TuneCore 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.
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.)
- Seek or Shout
- 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.