With music blogs easier than ever to create, the internet has been flooded with a number of exciting pitching opportunities for artists and their promoters. So how can you reach out to these industry writers in a way that will actually yield results?
Guest post by Cait McMahon of the Symphonic Blog
The 2019 internet is quite an interesting tool.
As music blogs become easier to create with every passing day, the influx of pitching opportunities is overwhelming.
For every five people who are really into music, I am willing to bet that one of them has tried writing about it. From Livejournal to WordPress, music blogging has become a hobby that anyone can pick up and run with. While some music news websites have a readership under 100 unique monthly viewers, even their inbox is constantly flooded with pitches, so catching the eye of writers or large outlets can prove difficult.
With these tactics, you can create your own luck and guarantee outlets share your news.
Personalization and information: a match made in heaven
Almost every article about pitching tips will probably include a slew of personalization-focused lines of advice. While it’s not always feasible to send extensive, personalized emails every single time, in the same respect, you won’t get very far without some well-meaning effort in your pitches. The subject line is obviously the first thing I read when I receive a pitch and if it’s not informative, I keep scrolling. Each journalist is different, but there are a few things my brain requires before I want to open an email.
Your subject line immediately stands out when it has the outlet’s name in it, showing them that you took the time to not only copy/paste it in there, but also that you are seeking coverage on their outlet specifically. Beyond that, unless your artist is widely recognizable, you may want to place the genre in the subject line. Some outlets are heavily focused in certain genres and all contributors have coverage preferences, so if they know right off the bat what kind of music you’re serving, you don’t waste anyone’s time and they are more likely to feature your content.
Moving on to the body of the email, there is one thing that drives most journalists absolutely nuts: lack of important information. Way too many times have I opened a press release or pitch that I was highly interested in, only to discover that there is no information about the band besides the latest news, no social media links, no photos, or no streaming and purchase information.
If you are pitching without these things, you are one hundred percent wasting everyone’s time and journalists will start dreading your name in their inboxes if it becomes a normal practice. Pitches should be well-written for your target audience without exceeding a paragraph.
Stay organized and on the ball
Every single step of pitching becomes obsolete if you have contacts listed under the wrong city, wrong genre or wrong type of contributor. Your media list should remain as up to date as possible, which you can then use to accurately tailor your pitching. If a blog doesn’t host premieres or only takes rock news, that should be noted as soon as you learn about it. A media list is the easiest way to keep all of your contacts up to date with this information and will allow your contacts with journalists and media to flourish, while staying organized. Organization should also help you keep track of who you have already reached out to ensure you limit follow ups to around three. Three seems to be the magic number of follow ups to make sure journalists see your pitch but don’t become annoyed with your emails. Follow up organization suggestions include the date you pitch each time and the contributor’s name.
Staying on top of placements can be a tough job but there are a few tools to help you out. Setting Google Alerts for the artists you’re pitching for allows Google to send alerts when the artist name is mentioned in an online post. This can get tricky with commonly used phrases or names but can be very helpful if the name is unique. Searching Google for your artist’s name and clicking on “tools” at the top left let’s you adjust the time frame of your search. This helps you avoid pitching to outlets who have already featured the news.
The large majority of online music outlets are hobbies, meaning they aren’t raking in any substantial income. As a labor of love, very few writers have more than an hour or two per day to work on features. This means journalists appreciate personal pitches that are informative, clear, concise and contain all of the assets needed to create a perfect post.
Building professional relationships with journalists is hands down the best way to get your news shared, but they require time, accuracy and dedication.
With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to an effortless pitching campaign!
Cait McMahon has an undeniable passion for music and developed her self-starting drive when she realized she had to create her own opportunities. She achieved a Bachelor's degree in Communications and International Public Relations through loans and three jobs at a time, and without the ability to pursue unpaid music industry internships like many other underprivileged dreamers, Cait's entrepreneurial spirit bubbled up and she founded a boutique PR firm, Nü Echo Media PR. Running successful campaigns for artists nationwide with one assistant and the help of a few amazing mentors inspires her to tell her story of rising from ashes.