Before I Was Famous: Building Your First Press List
We’ve talked about a lot of things on this magical publicity journey together. The advantageous perspective I have as a musician and a Junior Publicist can only continue to benefit the two of us. The next thing I’d like to talk about is your first press list. How do you build one of these things? What is the objective? Is it even worth your time and effort? Short answer to all of the above: YES.
When building your first press list there are a lot of things to keep in mind, but I would say the most important thing is take your time. My very first attempt at a press list was one of those, “I may have bit off more than I can currently chew” moments. Not to say that I was incapable, but I basically went into it like this. Trust me when I say: there is way more work involved than you think. Imagine you’re opening up a steak house in a primarily vegan neighborhood, obviously you’re not going to reach the type of profit you’ll need to even cover your overhead. Building a press list is kind of like that. You need to do your research first in order to find your demographic and maximize the amount of customers that will view, and eventually purchase your product.
The first time I built one, I basically went through a giant list of names and started adding them without a whole lot of information to back up my decisions. So you can imagine how many “bad” names I had on the list. If you’re a band sending out an email about your indie rock album to a blog that only covers folk, not only will they not cover you, but you might get put on their no-fly list. If you can’t even take the time to research who you’re sending your info to, then they won’t take the time to deal with you.
So, take your time, do your research, and really get at the core of what these journalists are looking for. Here at Green Light Go we like to call it the “main driver.” This is that common thread that a journalist seems to really gravitate towards. Some people love bands that have big hooks and sweeping choruses. Others really love bands that have some credentials to back up their music. Make sure you know your audience, but also the people covering you too.
The final bit of advice I have when building your press list is to make sure that the blog is still active and that the journalist still writes for them. It’s embarrassing to send out an email to somebody who hasn’t written for a blog in five years. Take your band seriously, and other people will too. You should always come prepared with as much knowledge as possible, and doing that preliminary research will help you build the best possible press list for your music!
Green Light Go: Take your time and do your research!
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After building your press list, you might want to think about how to make an amazing first impression to all of the media outlets you're going to be pitching your music to. Most likely, press is going to look at more than your music to gather this first impression. They might be looking at your social media platforms or your website to see what you're about. Are your band photos good? Do you have a captivating bio? Download our "Media Audit Checklist" here to make sure you are media friendly!