Press Release 101 – Especially For Musicians
Why Musicians Should Send Out Press Releases
1. A press release helps to remind the local media that you exist. (Media: newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazine, radio, Internet radio, television and cable)
2. A press release tells the media AND their listeners/readers/viewers what you want them to know about your band or your music.
3. If you can interest an editor in your story, he or she is more apt to not only run the release but also maybe assign a writer and photographer to your story.
4. Sending out press releases can help you develop relationships with the media.
5. Editors and writers are almost always on deadline. When you provide them with a well-written press release about your gig, you’re making their job easier. They appreciate that, and if they don’t pick up your release this time, they may next time.
6. By promoting your public gigs, you show the club owners and media that you’re professionals. It also helps to fill the house.
How to write an informative press release:
First paragraph. This is your basic information: Who is your band and what is the event? Is it concert, a club date, a festival, a street fair? If it’s a charity event, who or what group does it benefit? When is it? Time, date, how long it lasts; where is the venue? Include an address (and a city). Not all readers know the local landmarks and intersections. Note: remember to write this in the third person, as though you were writing a news story. Try to avoid words that exaggerate. Don’t say you’re the premier blues band or the hottest dance band. Don’t say you’re the best, the strongest, the most talented … let other people come to that conclusion and say it for you.
Middle paragraph/s. Here’s where you give us the details about your band. Who are you? What sort of music do you play? If you’ve received awards or other honors, this is a good place to talk about them. If you have a single that’s climbing the charts or a CD being touted on Internet radio, talk about that here as well.
You might want to say something about the venue here: the ambience, the food, the acoustics, and the sound system. If you’re playing an event, this is where you describe it.
Closing paragraph. Is there a cover charge? How can people pay for/obtain tickets? At a box office? Advance sales? Telephone sales? Through TicketMaster? If there’s a number or website for folks to contact for more information, add that here as well. Don’t forget the area code. With cell phones and more area codes being added in many cities, you shouldn’t assume everyone knows this one.
Some final suggestions.
•Although good manners are to be admired, the word PLEASE does not belong within your press release. It should read like a news story, not a personal note.
•Unless an editor requests that you write a commentary or personal experience story, do not write in the first person; use the third person. Do not use I, WE and OUR in your release. Remember it’s a news story.
•Don’t forget to run Spell Check before you submit your release. Editors hate typos in press releases.
• At the end of your release, indicate the end with three number signs (###) and below that, tell the editor how to contact you if he or she has any questions about your release. Include your name, phone number and email address. Remember, you need to be accessible, so if you list your cell number, don’t leave your cell phone on the bus.
• Regarding photos: Don’t overload the editors with pics, but it’s a good idea to email an image of your band or band leader along with the release. They’ll contact you if they want more or if the resolution isn’t high enough.
• If you have a press kit, try calling individual editors, news department or radio personalities to see if you can drop off your Electronic Press Kit (EPK). If you’re out of town, obviously you’ll need to mail it, but you still might benefit from a phone call, too.