This is my first 50 blog post. As the in-house publicist, I thought I would give a little “how-to” for bands (or anyone for that matter) that want to generate some buzz in their hometown (or a specific market).
1.First, you want to figure out what you want people to know about. This should really be something that SOMEONE might care about (so the fact that you wrote a song is probably not news worthy as lots of people write songs! That is, unless it is about specific news worthy topics like the 35W bridge collapse…that could be news...but I digress…)
• CD Release coming up
• A funny story about your band (is there something that makes you DIFFERENT than other bands?)
• Tour dates (especially if you are opening for a more known band)
• A stance on some world issue that readers might care about (the environment has been a big one lately…do you care about anything besides the environment?)
• Anything else that you think of that could possibly be construed as news (check with someone not in your band to guarantee it is news worthy – you don’t want to lose your chance with lousy story ideas)
2. Once you have determined a topic, its time to figure out what newspaper, magazine, blog, internet mag, radio station, etc. would care about this story. Try to find specific writers who you know or who write about similar topics. You can mass email, but you are more likely to be ignored if you do not tailor your message to the journalist. The best route is to pick a writer you enjoy and contact them directly. For example, a local newspaper might be interested in the fact that you are from their town and have a great CD. Or, Alternative Press Magazine (if that’s your genre) has a special section for bands that take a stance on public issues. Most have contact information online; otherwise you can call and ask for specific emails.
3. Now that you have found a journalist, it is time to figure out a way to get your idea across and still stand out from the pack. There are sometimes a hundred or more bands writing to a journalist in a week (unlikely if you are a small city…but there could still be a few!), so try to catch their attention. Fun promo pictures, or clever packaging are two ideas I have used to contact journalists. Since you are likely trying to save money, email is a good route, just try to include a photo of your band that is eye-catching (but G-rated of course!).
4. Make sure that your contact information is included! There’s nothing worse than a journalist liking a band but not knowing how to get back to a band (a generic email is okay, but a phone contact is good to add!).
5. Finally, send it off! Some journalists are very busy, so you may have to follow-up with an email or phone call a few days later. Just try to remember that you are asking for something of them, so be courteous while marketing yourself!
If you get one story, you can use it to get others. Good luck!