How To Run a DIY Press Campaign & When To Work With a Publicist

Why Run a DIY Press Campaign

• You don’t have the budget to pay a publicist yet. No shame.
• As an artist, you can begin to make relationships with media professionals and potential fans.
• If you have a DIY press campaign or two under your belt, you can be a better partner with a publicist. Talk about how you can work together effectively with past media supporters

What Press Does (And Doesn’t) Do for Your Career

Press is often the first tool artists can utilize to get their career moving. At its most effective, press is a leverage tool for other areas of a musicians’ career. Media coverage can (fairly or not) legitimize your music in the eyes of fans and industry profession. It can be used to catch the attention of team partners (management, agents, licensing companies), help promote your live dates and begin to make fans.

Press is not a magic bullet. One major outlet does not set you up for life. It’s up to you to capitalize on any coverage.

Big Outlets vs. Blogs

Larger outlets carry name recognition, which can help you stand out when convincing talent buyers to book your shows, validating your fans’ belief in your music and generating word-of-mouth buzz among industry. Editors and writers for these publications should be pitched in a professional manner.

Writers and editors for blogs are usually not in the game for money. They typically run their sites out of love and passion for music. They’re usually servicing their site on nights, weekends and lunch breaks.

PR and Playlists

PR generally refers to targeting media outlets. While some publicists have playlister contacts, streaming promotion campaigns usually come from a distributor or a specialized company like Streaming Promotions.

When you have a publicist on your team, it can help you land playlist placements. Traction at either high profile outlets or a large quantity of grassroots outlets can catch the attention of playlisters and platform reps. Media placements also strengthen the pitches of your distributor or streaming promotions partner to Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Pandora and Google.

EPK’s

AKA Electronic Press Kits. Here’s an example of one.

EPK Checklist:

• Bio
• Private streaming links (SoundCloud or YouTube)
• HQ press photos
• Tour dates
• Past press quotes (if available)
• All web and social media links

Make the page undiscoverable by search engines and hide it from your site’s main menu (preferred) or lock it with a password (acceptable but slightly annoying to whoever is accessing your music).

Try using Squarespace, WordPress or Bandzoogle for website solutions.

Build A Contact Database

Go to the sites you want to target. Hit the contact, about or info sections for contact info. Generally go for an editor. Feel free to pitch writers who you think would dig your music separately.

Put all the contact info in a spreadsheet to stay organized before reaching out.

Premieres vs. Coverage

Premieres are when an outlet shares your music exclusively before anyone else can get it, usually for a period of 12-24 hours. Meaning don’t ask for a premiere if the music is already out or if someone else already has already committed to a premiere.

Coverage is anytime your music is covered non-exclusively.

Pitch Email Template

Hi Editor or Writer Name,

I’m a Nashville based pop artist who blends descriptive sounds with descriptive visuals / influences / genres to tell stories about what you’re trying to tell. My new release Single or EP Name explores theme with description of instrumentation, lyrics and music. A stream and more info is below. If you like the release, can you please consider coverage for outlet?

• Link to stream
• Link to EPK (with bio, past press hits, tour info, ect)
• Link to EPK’s photo section
• Any other relevant info (streaming stats, social stats, upcoming shows)

Thanks for your time and consideration!

Lock In Coverage

If a partner agrees to an exclusive premiere, send them:

• An agreed upon date for the content to go live
• The embed code for the track or video (this is different than a link)
• Exclusive quote(s) from the artist about the track’s sound, story process, message or inspiration
• Commit to sharing the piece on socials

Reasons An Outlet Doesn’t Cover Your Music

Also known as why they don’t respond.

• They don’t like your music
• They aren’t in the right mood to enjoy your song
• They like your song, but they’re too busy with work, life, relationships, paying bills, walking the dog or whatever to write it up
• They didn’t see your email because their inbox is out of control with a billion pitches

Etiquette

Don’t follow up with someone more than once a week. Don’t follow up more than twice. Don’t be publicly pissy if someone declines to cover your music, even if it’s for a silly reason. Share coverage on your social pages. Send personal thank you emails to writers and editors who support you. Don’t confirm a premiere with an outlet, then take it away if a “better” outlet shows interest.

When And How To Work With a Publicist

Read this.

You pay a publicist for their time, resources, connections and reports. You don’t pay them for coverage; that’s where advertising comes in. You pay them to work hard and give you the best possible shot at coverage.

Local pop-friendly publicists: Elizabeth Meadia, Bullhorn Publicity, Lunasea Media.