Everywhere we turn in the music business, the impact on digital marketing, promotion, sales, performances and publicity is changing the way artists and bands, as well as record labels are carrying out there business.
What is strange to me is that with all the website work one has to update, and blogs to keep up on and text messaging and emails etc. etc. one thing remains true; the elements of what must be turned into digital items have their roots in the 'analog' world, especially when it comes to writing up a press release.
Today the traditional press kit still has its place. So, knowing how to write (and/or post) a professional press release can help you get the word out about what's going on with your music career.
Here is a guideline for writing a professional press release:
As many of you know, I avidly follow the latest trends in internet marketing, and gather nuggets of useful information for independent musicians.
The internet is a veritable treasure trove of information, but at the core of it all are three key principles to increasing your income. These principles are fairly basic, and critically important.
The Three Ways to Increase Your Income:
1. Increase your number of clients (fans).
2. Increase the frequency of purchase (how often your fans buy from you). To do this, you’d better have more than just music to sell!
3. Strategize to make a sustainable living.
Okay, none of these three things are brain surgery. But from a musician’s perspective, they bring up some interesting points.
Looking for ways to make more money with your music?
Today, we’re going to focus on strategizing to make a sustainable living.
By now, we’re all acutely aware that hardly anybody actually pays for music anymore.
That’s why if you want to make money, you need to diversify and add options that fans will be happy to pay for. You need to start thinking about sustainable things you can do that will allow you to make money with your art.
One thing that fans may REALLY want is to have an experience with you. Come up with some unique ideas for fan experiences and merchandise, and you’ll start to see a real difference in your bank account.
In this crazy ever-changing music industry landscape we see the same issue over and over again: A vast majority of artists don’t have a long-term plan in place.
The reason for this is in today’s DIY landscape there is no one in charge of creating such a plan. To make things worse the pressure of consistently releasing great singles or EPs, social posting, writing newsletters, booking, plus learning new technology and platforms keeps artists busier than ever and these never ending tasks battle long-term perspective.
Marketing Plans used to be a combined creation of manager, label A&R and marketing team, booking agent, and publisher who would be responsible for coming up with a big picture strategy and implementing a plan for each domain that he or she was responsible for.
Today, most agencies that indie artists hire tackle what needs to be done right now and handle only their responsibilities without taking a 30,000 foot view.
This sadly has a lot to do with how the artists approach their releases. We know once the music is finished a deep sense of urgency rushes in screaming – release release!
We urge you to take a deep breath and read on…
Self-promotion in the music industry is a topic that has been explored extensively over the past 20 years. Some of the basic ground rules are the same that apply to any business or freelancer. Most people in the industry, however, bands included, don’t know a whole lot about it. Many prefer to hover around the topic of social media because it’s all they know. After all, once you call yourself a “social media coach”, there’s really not much room for expansion besides posting an analysis of every new Twitter or Facebook development/etc. Artists flock to new music technologies, discovery platforms, unsigned networks, indie authorities, and crowd funding platforms looking for the answer, and yet, the message generally being sent to the artists tends to do them a disservice. Promises, promises. Even the term “submit your music” can be very misleading. Submit it where? Well…the junk folder, to be blunt.
Just as people starting businesses often under-estimate the amount of work necessary, so do unsigned musicians and bands. A quick disclaimer: it IS possible to be very successful as a musician in 2013. You can do it. It’s helpful, though, to do away with some of the lies that we typically accept from today’s music authorities, and I’ll go over some of those here. The intention isn’t to be overly blunt. Just to tell the truth. Below are some reasons why your music self-promotion may not be working.
1) You’re waiting in line.
It’s wonderful that there are so many services for artists to use to send their music to either industry professionals, festivals, blogs, magazines, and radio promoters such as Sonicbids and Music XRay. Mixed feelings abound about these sites, but to call them positive or negative would be a snap judgement. Does it suck that it costs $40 to simply apply for X music festival given that this is a digital submission we’re talking about, and chances are your music will not receive a fair listen? It sure does. Would it possibly be a life-changing experience if you were chosen? It certainly would. Musicians today are accustomed to waiting in line for just about everything. After all, it’s busy as hell out there. While it’s necessary to wait in some lines, and good results can come of that, if you merely play by the rules and wait in lines you’ll get stagnancy, and that isn’t a very fun gift to open up for Christmas.
Artists need to think as creatively in their promotions as in their songwriting. Outsource your duties. Get momentum by getting freelancers on your side. Promote outside of the music blog arena. Hire people to promote your music; preferably a lot of them. Get the forums buzzing. Get people requesting your music. Get people writing about your music. Donate to blogs you like. Use Fiverr and similar micro-job sites. Read Tim Ferriss. Read business books. Get out of the “band” mentality. Ignore the music authorities and start infiltrating.
2) You’re only promoting on social media.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media, when used correctly, can have a massive effect on your success. The only problem is, since most industry guru’s and music marketing publications tend to focus on social media exclusively, the current generation of artists are spending all of their time posting, pinning, tweeting, hashtagging, reblogging, liking, sharing, tagging, stumbling, digging, and cultivating the perfect “reddiquette”, but in the end, without the proper balance, the result is something close to a Warcraft or Angry Birds addiction. Time down the memory hole.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone hangs around on these networks, and even if they do, they’re often tuned into only what their personal perceptual filters will allow; not something new. It’s important to keep your communication skills in tip-top shape, to send actual, conversational emails, make phone calls, and speak with promoters in person. The worst faux pas is messaging companies or industry people through networks such as Facebook. These often go unanswered, as these networks are riddled with spam, and real messages get lost in the shuffle. Send a real, personalized email and notice the difference.
If you ordered 500 8x10's for $209.50 and sold them to your fans for $3.00 each, you would make over $1290.00! That's a better profit than selling t-shirts and an inexpensive souvenir for your fans!
Ready to order? Click here to begin the online ordering process.
Below are some examples of some 8x10 promotional photos to give you some ideas on how you may want to layout your own publicity photo. These examples include both landscape and portrait versions of bands, singers, actors, and models.
Ninety percent of band press kits and promo kits end up in the trash can instead of in the hands of music industry executives. This is because most press kits lack the key ingredients that every musician's press kit should include.
Below are some tips to help make sure your publicity materials are actually read and heard by record labels, A&R scouts, newspaper editors, writers, booking agents, program directors and other important music industry professionals that will advance your music career.
Create a Cover Page
The cover page should be a letter addressed to the person you are giving the press kit to. This should have your contact information, website, and basic details about your music and band. Put your contact information on every page of the kit. This page should be eye-catching and visually appealing since it is the first thing that will be seen.
You’re on your way to a film festival. Be prepared with ammunition for the press to devour. Have your press kit packed with Rob Tencer’s recommended press kit.
If it's your first film festival, or if you're making a return visit as the lead actor, supporting actor, director or producer, you should have a press kit ready in anticipation of press.
First, understand that the film you’re in has hired a publicist. The reality is this publicist is not concerned with your career and have a different goal, to help the filmmakers sell the film, recoup the cost to the investors.
There is no guarantee that your film at festival will further your career, even if you are the star. Hiring a publicist like is your first step to getting the press you not only deserve, but the press necessary to further your career. Even if you built a press kit on your own, how would you get it into the hands that could help you most? Why would you give it to the film publicist if you were not their priority? By the end of the festival, or after your film was shown for the last time, what do you have to show for it? What if the film was not bought or released until years after the festival? Would you’re big break be wasted?
If every artist, band or group represents it’s own brand, and must be sold as such to the public and to the music industry, then every brand needs to be packaged in a way that will effectively showcase it’s strengths and marketability. By now, most musicians understand the importance of a press kit- it is your brand, your image, it is you in a package and is the key to selling venues and a&r reps from both major and indie labels on the fact that you WILL make them money. But just making a press kit isn’t enough. In an industry with such a low barrier of entry, anyone can make and submit a press kit, decreasing your chance of actually getting recognized by those who matter. So what will you do to make your press kit more remarkable than the rest?
There are right ways of making a press kit, and of course there are also wrong ways- but with every artist out there making one, you need more than just a ‘proper’ press kit. There are many different things that can be added in and certain techniques that can be used, that will make your press kit shine much brighter than the rest of the pile.
The headshot. It’s the single most important marketing tool for an actor, and it’s amazing how many people do it wrong just to cut a few corners. Actors, it’s time to take it more seriously. When that little headshot jpeg pops up on a casting director’s computer, you want them to say, “Yes, bring that person in!” Not “Yikes, that guy kinda scares me.”
Your headshot is your calling card. A nice color 8x10 of your face, from which people will hire you, and you will make lots of money for them. It will be sent out and emailed to tons of casting directors and agents, who see hundreds of these every day, on their desk and on their computer. If your headshot is bad, you look bad. You want to be seen as a pro, not an amateur, so the way you present yourself in your picture is everything. If you want people to take you seriously, you must have a good, high quality, killer headshot. Not an iPhone pic, not a Facebook photo of you outside with the wind gently blowing your hair, and not a JCPenney glamour shot with palm trees in the background that you reproduced at Kinko’s. Save those for your grandma’s mantel.
Here is what you need to keep in mind when it comes to your headshots:
Many of us have seen those awful headphone shots, those cheesy glamour photos, turntables unplugged and the awkwardly posed dj tangled up in cords. These high quality press-photos are often used for a multitude of promotional material from websites and flyers to swag and magazine interviews. But what if your don’t properly showcase your brand? You’ve seen those perfectly place shots with the headphone and think, “I could do that.” But when it comes to promotional pictures it’s easy to make the common mistakes other hopefuls have made. To organically incorporate your personality in your shots, let alone find the right photographer can prove to be a challenge. So I’ve set up some key tips on getting those pictures that leave a lasting impression, both of your brand and your personality. So let’s begin.
by Simon J. Newbury Photography