Reaching out to music bloggers is vital for promoting your music, but with hundreds of others vying for attention, getting noticed can be hard. A few unconventional outreach strategies used by the world’s best marketers can help you get the attention you deserve.
Guest post by Ryan Harrell of MidiaNation
Long before I was a musician, I was a Silicon Valley marketer, helping boring B2B businesses land links and mentions in prestigious publications.
When I traded in my Excel sheets for Ableton, I realized that the rules that helped me reach business influencers were equally helpful in connecting with music bloggers.
I’ll share my process for reaching out to music bloggers in this post.
Start With Your ‘Why’
In the now legendary 2009 TEDx talk, Simon Sinek says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
That is, the why of any object, business or idea’s existence is what motivates people to consume it.
This is as applicable for musicians as it is for businesses. The why of your music is as crucial as the what. This why tells the story of your band and your musical ideas.
Music journalists are definitely interested in this why. Remember that journalists have readers as well. They don’t just want to share great music; they want to share great stories. A musician that has a strong reason (a strong why) for his music makes for a far more compelling story than one without.
So before you start pitching journalists, dig deep and answer this fundamental question: why do you make music? And why do you make it in your chosen genre?
Use this as the springboard for creating your story which you can later use in your pitches.
Perfect Your “One-Sentence Pitch”
Every time you bump into an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, you’ll hear them spout off the “one-sentence” pitch for their latest startup. This pitch tells anyone interested - investors, employees, users - what the product is and what problem it solves.
Musicians can benefit from crafting a similar “one-sentence pitch” for their songs. After all, music bloggers will read your email before they listen to your music. A short pitch keys them into what the song is about and what they can expect from it.
A strong pitch should include:
- The song’s name and genre
- The song’s subject or theme
- Musicians/songs it sounds similar to
- What makes the song unique
I recommend using a “mad libs” style approach where you simply fill in the blanks to create a pitch, like this:
Do it for every song you pitch. It will give music journalists much better contextual insight into your music.
Find Emails Like a Marketing Pro
The first rule of blogger outreach is to always contact bloggers on their personal email addresses, not the public-facing email. That is, try to send emails to JohnDoe@MusicBlog.com, not Contact@MusicBlog.com.
Finding personal email addresses, however, can be difficult. Fortunately, solutions abound.
Start by using Hunter.io to search a blog’s URL for all available email addresses. You should be able to find the blog owner’s direct email. Else, you can at least find the pattern used on all emails associated with the blog.
If this tactic doesn’t work, try to guess the blogger’s email. Most sites use common naming conventions such as:
Use EmailGenerator.io to guess all these combinations with a single click. You can then verify which of these email addresses is legit by using a bulk email verification tool. You’ll get a spreadsheet showing you which of the guessed emails actually works.
Do it for multiple bloggers in one go to scale email verification.
Segment Your Outreach Lists
Would you send the same email to a writer at Pitchfork as you would to a 14-year old with a two-week old EDM blog?
Probably not. Which is why it is crucial that you segment your outreach list and change your strategy accordingly.
I recommend segmenting your list of music bloggers into three categories based on their priority:
- High-Touch: Popular niche-specific blogs with established audience and influence. Update several times a day. Will usually have over 20k Twitter followers.
- Mid-Touch: Established and growing niche-specific blogs with several updates per week. Will usually have between 3-15k Twitter followers
- Low-Touch: Newish or dormant blogs with a small but loyal audience. Usually updated 1-5 times per week. Have under 3k Twitter followers.
Change your outreach approach depending on what category the blog belongs to. For High-Touch blogs, aim to establish a relationship first. Get on the blogger’s radar by sharing useful content or answering a question they asked publicly. Then send a heavily personalized pitch.
For mid-touch blogs, skip the relationship building and send a personalized pitch instead.
For low-touch blogs, send a mass email with minimum personalization (only the blogger’s first name).
This will ensure that you get the most from your outreach efforts.
Track Your Email Performance
You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
This applies to email outreach as well. Unless you know exactly how many of your emails are being opened, read and replied to, you can’t change your approach for better results.
Use a mail tracking tool such as BananaTag or Yesware to track email performance. These tools will tell you the key metrics for all your messages. Stick to the free version; the pro version is for salespeople and not very useful for musicians.
Test multiple message templates and subject lines. Once you have their performance data, analyze the results. If one subject line has a better open rate than others, use it for all future outreach.
Reaching out to music bloggers can be challenging, especially if you don’t come from a marketing/PR background. However, if you get your story right, find the right email address, and track your performance, you’ll see spectacular results from your music blogger outreach.
Ryan is a growth hacker turned musician who helps producers with outreach at MIDINation.com"