From laying the foundation with strong relationships, to doing the tedious research, there are a number of moving parts that go into securing a feature on your music, all of which fall second to what really does the trick: the pitch. This article is for those of you who are looking to get into music or publishing PR, and could be helpful if you’re managing your own band or project on a more DIY level.
As a PR person, or anyone sending a press release out to the media, it’s not your job to “create the story.” Instead, you’re curating the information and shaping it to land in the most effective way. Here are some tips!
Objective vs. Subjective
Every effective pitch is equal parts objective and subjective. It has to be grounded in newsworthy, relevant, and accountable facts to earn its keep in print or digital media. Yet to be impactful, it has to have some color. That’s kind of where you, as a creative person, need to shine!
I’m not a fan of injecting my personal opinions into a sell. I’m a transparent advocate for my client just by choosing to represent them and tie my name to the project. Remember what you love about your band or client and inject that honest enthusiasm into your pitch. There’s probably a reason you spend so much time working on your project, focus on sharing that passion and lay off the dubious superlatives and false guarantees. Believe it or not, publicists are just as much storytellers as writers are — so spend some time figuring out how to tell your story properly.
Be prepared to take multiple trips to the drawing board before clicking send. As a rule of thumb, I don’t hit my targeted publication on the first go-around. I allow myself to get into some sort of a groove, adopting a trial-and-error method of perfecting my pitch. Try approaching a few smaller publications first with some different language and see what resonates. Lean in to each project, taking the necessary time to understand it from each possible angle.
Thanks to the invasive quality of the internet, you can take advantage of having all the information you need at your disposal to make sure you’re properly catering to each sell. Research the publication you’re reaching out to and make sure you’re crafting a pitch that will appeal to their writers and readers, specifically. That being said: no copying and pasting allowed. Sure, copy and paste the hard info — the publication’s name, site, contact details, etc. — but remember to pitch every writer and publication individually to ensure that you develop a personal, organic relationship. No one responds to emails that look like they were written by a robot.
Short and Sweet
In a world ruled by over saturation, it’s brevity that cuts through.
There’s time to flesh out the story once you actually land the story, and that will only happen if you first engage someone. Publicity, unlike other forms of marketing and promotion, innately requires that a person feels so passionate for something that they not only take an active interest in learning more, but invest the time in creating something thoughtful in response to it.
In actuality, all pitches are elevator pitches: brief, but thorough enough to be understood in a jiffy. There’s no room for long-winded boatloads of information that drown what’s going on. If you can’t get your point across simply and succinctly, consider that you may not have a point to begin with.
Respect the Gatekeeper
Do not spoon feed an article to an editor. As a publicist, you can suggest alternate angles or show an understanding of a publication, which will all work to your benefit, but respect a gatekeeper’s authority and let them decide the capacity in which they want to cover your client or project.
Remember that the best features are organic. Just like any other facet of the industry, they result when you can successfully turn someone into a genuine fan or enhance their existing interest in the client or project. At the end of the day, a killer press campaign isn’t quantifiable. It’s not in the number of press hits, but in timing, reach, context, and more.
It’s in one single question: Did you create conversation?