I’ve been a publicist for just over two years, and a music journalist for seven. In that time, I’ve seen countless bands reach out with the best intentions only to fall flat on their face. The truth is there’s no magic formula to making sure your music gets heard or your email read. But with a little research, time, and dedication, you can dramatically increase your chances of avoiding the dreaded delete button.
Here are five ways to nail that pitch.
Although personalizing your email to fit the website and specific person you’re emailing is paramount, try to go a step beyond that by connecting on social media. Follow the website on Facebook & Twitter, give them a little shout out, and get to know them.
This does not mean send them Facebook messages or tweets saying “hey, check out my music!” That’s a great way to get yourself ignored. But if the writers list their Twitter on the website, hit ‘em up! See what they’re into, and where you have common ground, and make a genuine connection.
The more you get to know the people behind the publication and build connections, the better your chances of being featured.
For fans of: (Who do you sound like?)
Some publicists will disagree with me on this, but as a journalist, I always like to know who the band sounds like—and so far as I can tell, my team of writers feels the same.
This isn’t an excuse to get lazy with your adjectives. I still want to read a compelling and descriptive bio, but knowing what artists you sound like (note: these may not be the same artists that influence you) gives writers something to grasp. If I approach my writers and say “I have a rock artist, anyone interested?” there’s a good chance people will gloss over it, especially if they’re busy. But if I say “This band sounds like Kings of Leon with a bit of Mumford and Sons”, the people that love those bands are going to take notice.
A common fear is that including comparisons will immediately eliminate anyone not into those bands. That’s probably true, but if you really do sound like those bands, isn’t the outcome the same?
Spellcheck…and then spellcheck again
There’s nothing worse than getting an email that’s riddled with spelling errors, missing punctuation, or a “hello” to the wrong name. (My name is Angela, not Angelo, Angelina, or Angelica). It may seem petty, but often a mistake as seemingly simple or innocent as a wrong name or a misspelled word can be enough to send your email to the junk pile. With so many emails to choose from, journalists simply don’t have time to cater to those who didn’t take the extra time to proofread their email.
Writers are busy. They juggle full time school/work, social lives, and a million other priorities that prevent them from reading every single one of the hundreds of emails they get per week. I myself am guilty of accidentally deleting emails from close friends and people I’ve worked with regularly, so don’t be afraid to follow up 1-2 weeks after your initial email. If you’ve released any new material since then, it never hurts to include that tasty little nugget of information.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
I don’t like to put too much stake in luck, but in this industry I have to believe that it plays a bigger part than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it really does come down to luck. You could reach out to the right person at the wrong time and your email just gets overlooked, no matter how hard you try. You could have a killer song with loads of potential, but if the person you reach out to is having a bad week, or their mail filter is overly cautious, you might not get a response.
Try not to take it personally, and remember—it only takes a few brilliant opportunities to catapult you in the right direction.
Author bio: Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations and Infectious Magazine. She has also founded several chapters of the free weekly music industry meetup Balanced Breakfast. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up-and-coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, they’ve secured placements on sites such as Noisey, AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more. You can find more information on her website.