Music websites and magazines receive ridiculous amounts of emails from bands looking to get journalists to write about their band! Therefore, if you are unable to afford big money bribes, then you need to follow these simple guidelines for contacting music websites to improve your chances of being featured.
1) Local and national music blogs and websites
Research and build a list of contacts in the region where you live. Regional websites are more eager to help good local bands and are generally not bombarded like their poor nationwide counterparts. Local newspapers also usually have a music section run by local journalists who write articles about local bands - and are definitely therefore worth contacting. Find your local newspaper’s website and search for a music section.
National music websites are more tricky due to the sheer volume of requests that they receive. There is no harm in trying, so approach this in the same way as local media.
2) Research the website
Look at the various sections of the music website. If you are a new band, then look for sections that focus on new music. Although you may have a new single or album coming out, ‘New Music’ sections are the first step….reviews will then follow once you are on their radar.
Don’t be scared to ring up websites and ask for information on how to send music over to them! Journalists are used to giving out contact info - so ask who deals with their unsigned reviews. If you speak directly with the department you require, then hearing your warm and friendly voice - rather than a cold email - is more likely to get your music heard. A good relationship with the media can be built by this method, but only ring to introduce yourself and enquire about contact details (name and email) - as harassing them will do you no favours.
Once you have the email, you then need to work on your email that you will be sending out!
3) Include mentions of the website you are contacting
Music websites receive many emails that look like a generic email sent to many other websites and publications. Emails like this are unlikely to do you any favours. The research you will have carried out will allow you to mention the section of the website in which you feel that your band should be considered for. Also try and find the name and email address of someone who runs the section you want to be featured on and send them an email - using their first name!
4) Introduce yourself
The opening of the email should introduce yourself and the band…age, location, and include the bands/influences that you could be compared to, with details about your next mind-blowing release.
Include links to a website where the music can be heard! If possible, then high quality music single YouTube videos (featuring the band) are the best method due to them visually providing the viewer with a better idea about the band. Of course, live videos should be avoided - as it’s the studio versions of songs that you want to be reviewed. If you lack the funds to create a stunning Gaga-esque video, then contact colleges and universities - as students might be looking for a fun project to do.
Of course, links to official websites, Soundcloud, Facebook, and (dare I say) MySpace should be listed. If they provide a good way to show your brilliance, then include them.
Have you been praised by music websites and blogs? Well, include bitesize snippets of respected praise. Are you new and yet to receive any praise? BBC Introducing is supportive of new acts, so get in contact with your local team! If they praise you on their show, then include a small quote from the presenter will grab the reader‘s attention. Based on personal experience, a BBC Introducing “thumbs-up” makes clicking on those band links far more likely.
7) Short and snappy
You are NOT Charles Dickens. Try and keep your emails short and containing all the info required. However, tell music journalists that you would be more than happy to provide them with any more info if they need it.
8) Attach a photo
Attach a couple of high quality photos for websites to use if required. Seriously, there are some very lazy journalists out there!
Keep a record of all the emails you have sent! Include the name, email address, and the date the email was sent. You will be able to see exactly you have contacted and when you should send a follow-up email.
10) Follow-up emails
Not heard anything for two weeks? Send a friendly reminder that have contacted them and yet received an email back. Don’t send emails demonstrating your expert use of Anglo-Saxon - as sites may have just forgotten and just need a friendly reminder about you. However, if there is no response after the second email, then it’s best just to adopt the “can’t win them all” attitude and target other websites and publications. There are many reasons for a failure to respond, so don’t take it to heart! Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and move on.