Nick Southall Column: “So what is PR?” Part 2
Nick Southall’s (aka Ringo) new monthly column delves into the role of PR in new music.
Part two of my column means we’re getting in to the “nitty gritty” of being noticed.
You’ve got your songs recorded or you are at a point where your live show is good enough to put your band forward into the lion’s den – otherwise known as the journalist’s write up.
The next question is who to contact and how to contact them. Let’s get one thing straight, you may be the next big thing but make sure your fan base is reflective of the publications that you contact for review. A weekly music mag will not pay attention to, no matter how many emails or tweets you send, a band with 83 Facebook likes and 122 Twitter followers. In fact if you keep bombarding said mag with info about you it will, quite simply, piss them off. If you piss them off it will be even harder to get their attention when you’re ready for it.
Have a search around the net. Look at blogs that give coverage to bands on the gigging circuit that you admire as well as bands that you aspire to be like. There are lots of blogs/sites that will cover A List bands alongside first time giggers. In fact you are on one of those sites now. There are many others, just do a bit of research, you will find them.
Next don’t simply fire emails off to random people at those sites saying stuff like – we’re great you need to review our tracks/gig. Do a little bit of research. Have a read of the reviews that are on the site.
Let’s say you lean towards the glam/sleaze side of the spectrum. See who from the site you’re targeting reviews that kind of band and see what they’ve written. Tailor your emails accordingly:
“Dear J. Ournalist
I read your review of Dave Cornsnake’s CD recently and found myself agreeing with you. (if you didn’t agree find another review or a piece of common ground you can talk about).
I wanted to write to you about my band as I feel we fit into the same genre and because of your pieces on rockmusicwebsite.com I think you might like us.”
Give them a quick overview of what you are about and maybe one link to a song. Soundcloud links or good quality YouTube videos are always good. Don’t clog up inboxes with MP3’s or attachments. Remember the quality factor. Go back and read blog 1 if you have forgotten what we talked about there! Don’t overload journalists with info, at this point they don’t need to know who plays what instrument and how many gigs you’ve done. Keep it short, sharp and interesting. By all means put in a link to your Facebook/website. If they are interested and like what they see or hear, they’ll get back to you.
There’s no reason at this stage why you can’t contact as many relevant places as possible. There’s a wealth to choose from – local papers, BBC Introducing, blogs, websites, fanzines etc. But make sure they are relevant, let’s be honest it’s unlikely that NME are going to cover any 80’s influenced rockers anytime soon, or that Kerrang! are going to cover a Vaccines inspired band either.
One final piece of advice here is be patient. People running blogs/zines do so in their own time. Sometimes it will take them a week or maybe longer to get back to you. Don’t hassle them. If you haven’t heard within 2 weeks, drop them a short polite email reminder but don’t push it. As for national mags, the New Music Editor on Kerrang! probably gets over 300 emails a day from bands who think they’re right for her mag, so it’s easy to see why journalists get pissed off when emails that arrive have not been researched properly. It’s waste of their time, and yours.