by Dwayne Woods
Read the publication or listen to the radio show you’re pitching to.
Know the sections of the publication or show. Know why you want to be in that section. Think about the readers or listeners of that publication. Can you give them something new?
Knowing your story and the audience will help the journalist/producer tell your story.
Consider the turnaround times/deadlines journalists/producers work to.
Allow a three month window before your album releases.
If the journalist or producer puts out a weekly or daily publication, this will impact the turnaround time they need. A weekly features journalist usually works with an editor so they’d need extra time to work on their piece. A week’s notice is not enough notice in this case.
Never contact a daily features journalist in the afternoon. Their deadlines won’t give them space to talk to you.
Try initiating contact with producers or journalists over social media.
If you don’t have an email address, try messaging producers or journalists over social media. Ask them for an email address so that you can send your press release, pitch, and assets in full.
Be short and snappy.
Remember you’re writing to someone who tells stories for a living, don’t be too fluffy in your language. If there’s a shorter way of articulating something, go the shorter route.
Your pitch accompanies your press release.
Be tailored and targeted in your pitch – this is the email body copy. Don’t send the same pitch to every producer or journalist. You should know what the recipient likes and doesn’t like. Your knowledge of their work feeds into this.
Attach your press release to that pitch email and link to media assets.
Don’t send attachments, link to an assets folder.
When mailing producers or journalists, sending lots of large attachments can cause bounceback/clog up inboxes so link to a folder with your assets such as audio files, large photos.
Ensure meta data is added to files and there’s a clear filename structure. E.g. Bandname – song title.wav
Photos should be high resolution
This is especially important when pitching to a print publication. Always credit the photographer, and ensure you have their permission to use the photos.
Add quotes to your press release.
Quotes, especially from prominent figures, illuminate a press release and bring a third party dimension to your story.
Don’t forget the local angle.
Approach local papers or radio stations if you’re doing a gig in their area. This will make your story particularly relevant for their readers/listeners.
This will stand to you in any interviews or in-depth features. Never try to be something you’re not and don’t try to be controversial for the sake of it. Telling your authentic story will make you memorable and set you apart.