One thing I’ve noticed that separates struggling artists from up-and-coming artists is press.
It seems anyone that has some momentum behind them is using the power of newspapers, blogs, podcasts and television.
How can a struggling artist get press
The easiest way to get press is to pay for it. No, not paying the reporter, but paying a public relations firm to get your story in front of the right reporters.
A public relations firm has the experience that you don’t. They’ve done this before and they know what approach will work to best tell your story.
They also have connections. This is probably the most important thing they can offer you. If they can’t pick up the phone and talk to someone at Rolling Stone, they will at least know which reporter at Rolling Stone is interested in your story. Most likely, they are on a first name basis with a lot of reporters, bloggers or even television producers.
When you hire a PR firm you’re really buying their experience and access to their network.
But unfortunately, most Indie Artists I’ve met haven’t set aside a budget for PR. So now what?
Do it yourself PR
If you have no budget to hire someone then it looks like you’re on your own.
Running a PR campaign is no small task. So the best place to start is to get organized.
Begin by making a list of all the podcasts, newspapers, magazines and radio stations you want to contact. Don’t start with Rolling Stone. They won’t publish you without some history.
Start with local papers and radio stations. They are the most likely to share your story. And you must have a story. “We just released an album” isn’t a story. That’s a fact. — And it’s boring.
Everyone has an album, so what makes your band different than every other band out there? THAT’S your story!
After you’ve exhausted your local scene it’s time to move up to blogs, magazines, regional papers and television. Again, start with a list of possible media outlets.
If you want to cut corners and have someone research a list for you, start with The Indie Bible. They have put together a list of about 7,000 places that feature independent musicians. Wow! That’s a lot of leg-work.
Their 2014 edition was just released, so you know all the data is up-to-date. Great resource. imho 🙂
Run the numbers
After you’ve made your lists, it all comes down to the numbers. The more places you submit a story idea, the more places you’ll get published or played.
So create a goal for yourself to reach out to X number of outlets per week. Put all their names in an Excel (or Google, or whatever you prefer) spreadsheet. Create columns for publication name, contact name, contact email, day you sent, day you heard back, day you followed up, etc.
Having a spreadsheet will keep you organized and moving through your list. It will also be extremely valuable when someone contacts you 6 weeks later and you can’t remember who they are or what you sent them. It’s the same system I use with our own PR for Only Sky Artist. Trust me on this one – it works.
Be relentless. The more you can consistently push out requests, the more you will get featured. It’s just a law of numbers.
Not everyone will respond. But if you can get 10% or 15% of outlets to listen to you, then you’re doing great. So if you want to be in 10 papers or blogs, then you’re going to need to send out 100 requests. That’s a lot of work!
Hopefully, you’ll have a story everyone will want to share and your percentages will be much higher. 😉
If you want a jump start, remember to check out The Indie Bible. Or we also have a list of 11 places you can submit your music for review. It’s a short list, but it’s free and it will get you started.