A while ago we asked a couple hundred musical artists to tell us what the hardest aspect of their DIY career was. To our surprise, more than 50% mentioned PR & promotions as the most difficult part of the industry to take care of on their own.
It’s true that designing your own PR campaign can be a pain in the ass – not only is it time-consuming and requires a lot of continuous effort to create texts and mailing lists, but its success is almost entirely based on the right timing. However, not knowing how to do it can also be the biggest advantage in all this; in the end, if you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.
And even though the above advice can prove itself right in many situations, we still strongly recommend getting to know as many promotional techniques as you can. Read some of our tips on how to ease people into your campaign – no matter how big you want it to be – and encourage them to listen to your release.
GET YOUR LINKS SORTED
Receiving emails with a wrong link to a tune is something that every blogger and editor has experienced in their career. The only thing worse than that is to receive a message without any links in it! Believe it or not, it happens more often than you’d think and what is sad about that is that those emails usually come from artists themselves.
You’re the one who knows your music best, take control of it and have every link saved in one place; have them shortened, too, for when it’s best not to use a long-ass link. Google URL Shortener even allows you to see how many times a shortened link has been opened, which can be amazing for your future campaigns and strategies, try not to ignore this kind of data, especially when it’s given to you for free.
CONSISTENCY & KNOWING YOUR WORTH IS KEY
Always double-check if anyone, anytime can quickly and effortlessly find links to your social media profiles online. On Soundcloud, link your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. On your Facebook page, make sure you can easily redirect people to your Bandcamp, website, and so on. It makes every editor’s life easier, especially when all they want to do is to find your account and tag you in a review.
On top of that, remember: having your song published on a blog should feel like and be an exchange of goods. Clearly, it doesn’t need to be explained that being intrusive and forcing someone to do a write-up for your song isn’t the best idea, but it’s not mentioned often enough that you should never find yourself on the other side of this being told what to do – that’s why knowing your worth is essential when promoting your music. Your publicist would not allow low-quality reviews with tons of errors to be published, and neither should you.
SHOW RESPECT & TAKE YOUR TIME
Once you have your links, social media profiles, and attitude towards your promo campaign sorted, it’s time to focus on those who are on the other side of it (a.k.a anyone who receives an email from you with your promo materials attached, ever).
Those people like to be noticed and recognised for what they do best, whether it’s writing about music or curating Spotify playlists. Get their names right, there’s nothing that looks more ignorant in the emailing game than saying “Hi Katie” when you’re actually writing to John, or getting the name of their blog wrong. And on top of that, try emailing people individually if only there’s enough time, make sure to actually get to know the people you want to get in touch with. They’re going to spend 20 minutes, half an hour, an hour sometimes to listen to your music, go through your profiles, get to know your style. Why wouldn’t you spend a minute or two to send a more personalised email?
KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING
Excel should be your best friend. The truth is, even the least organised ones will find this trick easy and useful. You don’t even need a Microsoft Office license, so there are no excuses for not getting organised and having all data ready when you need it.
All you have to do is to go to Google Docs and start a new spreadsheet. Name it and start filling in the data – column by column, row by row – blog name, link to it, who’s the editor and what’s their email address. You can add as many columns as necessary depending on your promo strategies – and after sending every email, save the date in your spreadsheet. It will help you track responses and send any additional follow-ups. Yes, follow-ups are an important part of any campaign, editors usually have a lot on their plates and it’s not easy for them to remember every single song they get sent. And as long as you’re not emailing them every day (or every couple of hours, which we’ve seen happening!), it’s okay to send a “friendly reminder”.