A big component when promoting a new album is the press campaign, working with either a PR company to handle your press outreach or going the DIY route. I talk to many independent artists who don’t see the point in a press campaign for their new release, usually because either an artist they know, or they themselves, had spent thousands of dollars on a PR company in the past with little to no results. I definitely feel for artists here, but ignoring press completely is not the solution. When hiring a publicist make sure your music is a good fit with their existing roster and that the publicist has a well thought out plan for the campaign, and most of all, honestly likes your music. An expensive campaign with a PR company that has some major label big name clients is not by any means a slam dunk that you will get “tons” of “great” press for your independent release, and many times will be the exact opposite. Try contacting boutique PR firms that can offer more personal attention or PR companies that are focused on independent artists. A PR company will work with you on making sure you are prepared and will handle the press outreach, but if you’re going with a do-it-yourself approach here are some tips and strategies for an effective campaign:
Pictures Make sure you have at least 3-4 great press shots. And variety is very important, so try and have both landscape and portrait options, and some that are in color and also some that are black & white. Taking the photos in interesting locations or while dressed in “wacky” outfits are good to have, too to help make you stand out, but you should also have some simple and more straight forward shots.
Bio I know I said these were all “DIY” tips, but I’d suggest hiring a professional writer to write your bio. Even if you are a great writer, it can be hard to write about yourself or your own band. A professional writer will be able to write a compelling bio and one that can effectively convey all the important details while keeping in mind the audience, which in this case is press and music industry folk.
Press Outreach The first people to target should be local press and press outlets that have written about you in the past (if applicable). When contacting blogs make it personal, say Hi and their name, and then start off by saying how much you liked a recent post of theirs, before launching in about the new album. Include a download link to a song from the new album that they can give away for free, blogs love to offer free music to their readers. Follow up about once a week and if you’ve received some press since the last time you contacted them, make sure to include a link and press quote in the follow up email. Then as I touched on in Part 1, plan ahead so you will have content for multiple press releases for the months after the album comes out, such as a new music video and tour dates, as you don’t want to just keep sending out the same message about the new album over and over, but you do want to keep contacting press and drilling it home that you are someone who deserves to be noticed.