Public Relations 101 for Bands

public relations
Photo by Carly Schorman

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

We get a lot of submissions. A lot. Recently, for a new YabYum series, I started researching other music publications to see what other folks are looking for when it comes to submissions. Given that so many of our readers are musicians, we thought it wise to pass along this useful PR tips to help streamline that submission process and maybe, just maybe, see a higher rate of response for all those albums you might be sending out to publications.

Here we go…

Band Bio

You don’t need to provide your entire personal history or the in-depth formation of the band itself, but a little information – like where you’re from and who plays what – can be exceedingly useful for all those bloggers and musical journalists out there. Don’t expect writers to put in the legwork these days. Often, they don’t, but would rather move onto the next artist waiting in their inbox.

Press-Ready Photos

Sorry, kids, but in the present day and age, many publications expect bands to provide their own images when to accompany articles. You might have a friend with some mad camera skills or maybe you pop for a professional photographer to snap a few tasty shots. However you go about it, having a few images of yourself or your band to send along with a press inquiry is a great way to bolster your chances of securing coverage.

Social Media Links

Blogs and other publications count on band’s to share the press they receive to help expand their own readership. It’s sort of a PR exchange. One or two publications went so far as to expressly request that bands have a minimum number of ¬†fans or followers in order to receive coverage. We don’t go in for that sort of thing here, but it does help when a band has a social media presence when it comes time to draft that review. Maybe you consider social media a little to pass√© for your taste, but if you’re trying to reach new audiences, the internet can be your friend.

Reasonable Response Time

This is a big one. Probably not the biggest, that comes next, but responding to press inquiries (or any inquiry) within a reasonable time frame – let’s say a day or two at most – can be essential to receiving coverage. If I had a dollar for every time we’ve passed over an artist that sent us a submission and then failed to respond to our follow-up questions, I’d be able to pay our server costs for the entire year. Think about that. Then, if necessary, assign one band member the task of checking your email and social media accounts on a daily (or almost-daily) basis. It’s important.

Links to Digital Music

This might seem obvious to all you younger cats reading this, but, for some reason, not everyone is up to par on the digital music game. We live in an internet era. If you only have hard copies of your album available for fans at shows, the likelihood that you’re going to receive coverage from a publication in a different zip code diminishes greatly. Most music blogs and online magazines stream tracks or feature videos directly on their site. Referring readers to an iTunes account where the song can be purchased, but not previewed in full, is an almost sure-fire way to get passed over in favor of a more internet-savvy musician.

Videos Videos Videos

I know, music videos can be expensive. They can be time consuming. And, what’s more, the construction of a decent music video often lies outside the normative skill set of most musicians. We feel your pain, but that doesn’t change the fact that internet publications love love love music videos. There is some good news, however. A lot of local filmmakers are willing and able to hand-craft an exclusive video for your band for a nominal fee including these folks: Burning Empire Media, Electric Legend Pictures, Michael J. Buckius, Sundawg Media, and a whole lot more!

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