(Hypebot) — As an up-and-coming artist, capturing the attention of blogs and music writers can be extremely challenging. Here, we break down some step by step strategies for making them actually care about you and your music.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Getting the attention of blogs and writers is hard, but we can teach you how to get press for your music in fifteen minutes or less.
It is hard to grasp how much competition exists in music today. There are thousands of artists in every genre working hard each day to get the attention of labels, listeners, and the media. The vast majority never accomplish their goals and those that do rarely share their secrets to success. We don’t have all the answers, but we know what works best, and today, we’ll tell you everything you need to get ahead.
PLEASE NOTE: The strategies outlined in this article are aimed at new and emerging talent. The information below is not a replacement for actual PR, nor do we claim to know how publicists are able to move mountains for their clients. These tips will help you take your first steps towards getting recognized by smaller blogs and influencers until you are in a position to afford a real publicity professional.
Let’s start with the behaviors you should avoid. There are people in the music business who prey on the desperation of dreamers with false promises of instant access to high-level influences in exchange for money. We are not referring to publicists. Good PR professionals can open doors you don’t even know how to find, and they can elevate your career in ways that the information in this article cannot.
The individuals you should avoid often promote their alleged secrets under the guise of promotional service that claims to have ‘major success,’ but no facts or information to back it up. Others make a quick buck offering downloadable contact lists that cover everyone you could hope to reach in positions of power through services such as Fiverr. We’ve said it before and we will say it again: These individuals are scammers, and they cannot be trusted.
Onto the good stuff. The foundation of any great beginner promotional campaign is making sure anyone can easily access information about your career. That means creating a media kit that includes links to your music and social pages, as well as photos and videos. It would help if you also had a bio. You can include your merchandise links if you have any, but having things to sell is not a prerequisite to getting attention.
Take all the items gathered above and place create a space online where people who wish to cover your music or learn more about you can easily do so with very little effort. We recommend Haulix for your media, but you can build something yourself as well.
Once those materials are in place, the next phase of this promotional strategy involves research. You need to identify the blogs, channels, and content creators who cover the kind of music you create. There are many methods of accomplishing this, but one of the easiest is to identify 2-3 prominent artists or groups that you feel are comparable to your creative output. Be specific. Don’t choose mainstream talent, but focus on your niche and the people who reign over it.
Next, you will want to create a spreadsheet for your data. Go to Google and search “[Band 1] News.” Make a list of every publication and author writing news about that artist, as well as their contact information (social media, email, etc.). After that, search “[Band 1] Reviews,” and complete the process again. Continue this method of research by looking for podcasts, video interviews, video reviews, Twitch channels, and any other form of music promotion or coverage you can imagine. When you’re done, move on to the next band on your list and repeat this process.
Now that you have a good idea of who might be interested in your music, take the time to follow them online, and begin engaging with their efforts. Writers and publications are like musicians in that they love attention and praise. Engage with the content these people are making, and make an effort to strike up a conversation about your mutual interests. Don’t worry about promoting yourself. Instead, focus on them.
As you begin to build relationships, use your spreadsheet to track your engagement. The big list of publications and creators you started with should shrink as you refine your focus to those who are actively engaging with you on a regular basis. That will create a funnel, otherwise known as a sales funnel, which will reveal the people and places most likely to take an interest in covering your music.
When you have something new to promote, be it a song or video, review your data and begin contacting those publications and creators that you engage with most often. Don’t ask for coverage right away. Instead, ask for their input on the content. Let them know that their opinion matters to you, which will reinforce their connection to your music.
As people respond, who you should work with will become clear. Some will offer to premiere or feature your work. Some may even get ahead of you by reaching out first.
The key to getting attention from blogs and lower-level outlets is to first build strong relationships, and strong relationships stem from engagement. You need to care about others before you can expect them to care about you. When someone does choose to help you out, promote their work, and thank them. Their following will notice your interactions, and over time, many of their followers will follow you as well.
Remember: Getting attention is a process. You cannot accomplish everything outlined above in a day or week. You will likely be working on your relationships throughout your career. It’s chaos. Be kind.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.