A lot of pieces need to fall into place for an up-and-coming band to get coverage from a publicist, but a simple lack of good manners can be a dealbreaker right out of the gate. Here we look at five different types of emails music publicists actually love to receive.
Guest post by Amy Sciarretto of the Sonicbids Blog
Sometimes, unsigned and up-and-coming bands will reach out and ask about rates and packages for them. When they do so with politeness, general curiosity, via a recommendation from an associate, and with good business sense, I will vet it and see if it's something I can work with. Or, at the very least, I'll see if it's something I can recommend to a colleague who might be a better fit if I'm unable to get involved.
But in order for the conversation to get that far, there has to be some simple manners involved. Sending someone a demanding email if they've gently declined to work with you just isn't the way to go. (I once had to block a punisher who kept hammering me on email after I kindly said, "Thanks, but no thanks," and wished him the best several times via email.)
Emailing a publicist and saying, "We need PR. How much do you cost so we can hire you?" might seem like it gets right to the point, but it doesn't. It actually assumes that a publicist has roster space, is interested, likes the music, and wants to take it on, to say nothing of price points.
That type of email doesn't ask any of the right questions, nor does it take the smart approach. This is a business inquiry, and there is decorum involved. No one owes anyone anything – and that includes a response.
So, after presenting you last week with the worst emails I've ever gotten from bands, this week we're going to take a look at the five best kinds of emails I've gotten from bands that have really stuck with me. These are, of course, not verbatim, but inspired examples. It shows that simplicity is often quite effective.
1. The simple, friendly intro
Sometimes people forget their manners. A nice, "Hi, we're Band X, and we're seeking a publicist" is a simple but smart strategy for sending a "cold email" to someone you don't know. Remember: if you want to get someone to open the door, ringing the doorbell or knocking nicely is more appropriate than smashing the door down using your fists and your feet.
If someone sends me a cute or smile-inducing email – saying something like my PR skills will save their lives or that it'd be an epic and embarrassing fail to do it themselves, so they're seeking a professional – it can be endearing.
If the band gets playful and creative with their inquiry, I dive right into it and at least check it out! But if it's just "What's your rate?" with no charm or or no setup, well, I've got 15 other emails from bands seeking PR to read that morning that I'll read and respond to first.
3. The clever pitch
I love it when it's the band themselves cleverly pitching me on representing them. It's somewhat ironic, since that would eventually be my job. So when a band pings me a pitch that gets my attention, that indicates to me that they have something for me to work with and potentially take to the next level. Make that email attention-grabbing!
4. The making-my-life-a-little-easier email
Publicists receive lots and lots of emails from interested bands that provide no information whatsoever. Sending an email with some links to press hits, a mini history of the band, and even a link to a song helps. There is no need to get encyclopedic, but the basics are indeed necessary. You'd be surprised at how often that stuff gets left out.
5. The ego stroke
I can lie to you and say that an ego stroke doesn't spark my interest. If a band namechecks my work or one of my projects, it isn't just an "ooh!" ego-stroking moment – it suggests to me that they might be doing their homework. A band that does homework is industrious. An industrious band is what I want to work with.
Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to Spin.com to Revolver to Bustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.