5 Reasons Why Your Favorite Music Blog Isn’t Covering You
I often hear from bands who have hired a publicist and were disappointed in the results they achieved. Although there are publicists out there who simply take the money and run, that is not always the case. I also know there are recurring themes in the campaigns we run that end up being detrimental to the artist.
If you are asking yourself or your publicist why you don’t have coverage in Pitchfork or Rolling Stone, then tune in to the 5 steps below to learn what could be holding you back and what you can do to increase your chances.
1. Give yourself legitimate lead time
There are two major things that motivate coverage. First, is your single, EP or album release new and unreleased? Media is looking for music that is new (hence the word news) and may pass on something that’s already out. This brings me to the next point. Do they know who you are? Most major outlets work on deadlines 3-6 months in advance of an album release. And even if they are an online blog with a shorter turnaround, they still need time to get to know who you are before they’ll cover your band. For the best results, schedule your release 3-4 months in the future.
Are your photos a phenomenal representation of your sound? Do people look at them and want to know who you are? The photo is often the first impression of the band, and truth be told, if your picture isn’t up to par there’s a very good chance the blog won’t even listen to your music. On the other hand, it can also influence a media outlet on coverage if it is fantastic. Bonsai, an artist we recently worked with, was a great example of this. On our first pitch to SPIN they gave a resounding yes and launched the campaign in the right direction.
3. Social Networks
Are you active on your social networks? If you have 50 followers on Twitter and your last post was three months ago, there is a very good chance the blog will pass on coverage. Know who your audience is and their likes and dislikes outside of music to increase engagement, and thus, your fanbase. Places like NYLON will rarely consider an artist unless they have 10k followers on the networks.
4. Know the norm vs. the exception.
The #1 outlet bands want to see coverage in? You guessed it, Pitchfork. And although we have great relationships with the peeps over there, the truth is that our roster is waaaaayyyyyy too palatable or emerging for a majority of what they cover. If we do pitch Pitchfork we have to ask “Why would they care?” and you should be doing the same. If you are an indie melodic pop band and you think they will cover you because they covered Spoon, then you need to dig a little deeper. Do they only cover melodic pop bands at Spoon’s level? If they do cover emerging bands in that genre, what is the ratio of coverage with other bands at your level? Look at your odds and create a great strategy to increase your chances if needed. If it is less than 50%, then you should build your story somewhere else and come back when the odds are in your favor.
5. Have a GREAT story.
What sets you apart and makes your band unique? This shouldn’t be “what we’re doing is completely different from everything else out there.” There are two things my team hears from me repeatedly when going through a bio or press release: “Who cares” or “show don’t tell”. This may sound harsh, but I tend to think from the perspective of a journalist rather than a publicist. If a lead (the first paragraph) gets a “who cares” response from the team, we know we need to go back and dig a bit deeper to make the story more engaging. And show don’t tell? You are telling if you say, “We are a unique indie folk band from Austin, Texas.” You are showing if you say, “With a purple feather in her hair and war paint to disguise her coy smile, Mills plays the flute like a bird calling to the wild. Mysterious melodies wisp underneath tribal dream beats, while haunting reverb echoes throughout the old barn house in Austin, Texas.”
Which of these could you work on to take you to the next level?
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