How to Write a Press Release That Music Journalists Will Actually Read

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By Soundfly Mentor Angela Mastrogiacomo

It starts with being personal.

So you’ve just launched a new album or single, or perhaps your upcoming national tour starts next month. In any of these situations, it’s helpful to be able to reach out to the press community so you can start spreading the word.

I’m going to tell you all about writing a press release that grabs your reader’s attention. But the one thing you need to know above all else is that within that email you’re attaching the press release to, there should be a highly personalized note. This industry is all about relationships, and you build those through genuine interactions — even in your pitches.

Now, about that press release. What needs to go into it? What should stay out? From the top to the bottom…

Include your photo.

The first thing that should greet your reader is a hi-res promo shot of you, with accompanying photo credit. This should be a professionally taken photo, not an iPhone selfie.

Here’s a great example of an artist photo we found when we were doing research for our free course, How to Create a Killer Musician Website. This is cellist Amanda Gookin.

Pull readers in by creating a narrative.

Similar to your artist bio, your press release should create a narrative. It should spark curiosity and captivation in your audience. To do this, you want to start things off with a description of who you are and what you’re all about — but think of it as if you’re writing a feature for a magazine, not like you’re writing about yourself.

You want to tell a story, and if that means pretending you’re writing about someone else, so be it. This needs to be in the third person anyway.

Something that says, “So-and-so grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and knew from a young age they wanted to make music” is very boring. What you want to do is show, not tell. Also, use adjectives. For instance, here’s an excerpt of singer-songwriter Jon Pattie’s bio:

“With a passion for songwriting running through his veins from an early age, Jon Pattie’s fervent lyrics and sparkling melodies expose a truly sensitive artist whose soul-shattering vocals have the power to provoke a profound response.”

How bout ‘dem adjectives?!

Share your past.

Take a few sentences to share your most impressive accomplishments. We don’t need to know about things that happened prior to this project, but if you’ve opened for a major headliner or played a well-known festival, take a few moments to share that.

Don’t forget to say what’s coming up.

Generally speaking, the point of a press release is to announce something new and exciting, like a new album, single, or tour dates. Remember to continue being captivating and telling your story as you share your news.

Quick tip: As a publicist, I always love to include a quote from the artist about their new album or song in my press releases, because I think it adds a really human element for fans to connect to. Try it out — see what you think.

Include links to music, your EPK, and social media.

No press release would be complete without a link to your EPK containing your bio and press photos, as well as links to your social media. These should lay at the bottom of the press release, but be easily visible and accessible.

Those were my tips; what are yours? Got some advice on writing a great press release that you just have to share? Tell us below!

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