Here at Northwest Music Scene we get a lot of questions about how to get us to write about you or your band. We, like most other web-based publications, especially in the northwest where there are hundreds and thousands of bands battling for limited space, simply don’t have time to cover everyone. We try to do our best to keep this a level playing field, in fact we rarely ever check to see how Facebook fans or Twitter followers a band has before we include them in some type of coverage, but if you’d like to greatly increase your chances with us, whether you have 12,000 or 12 Facebook fans, read on. BTW, this is pretty standard stuff so it will certainly help you with other publications as well.
Also, it is imperative that you have done at least a minimal amount of research on the publication you are asking to cover you. Sometimes we get emails from people asking if we do album reviews and since we’ve done over 300 of them since the beginning of 2016 and you absolutely CANNOT miss that fact at our site, it’s a dead give-a-way that someone haven’t taken a few minutes to check us out if they are asking that question. Also, we cover northwest music…religiously, that is spelled out HERE. But if we were a blues blog we probably wouldn’t be writing about EDM, so keep it relevant and only send things to publications that you have a chance to get coverage in.
A press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. We’ve spelled out what we think some of those things are HERE. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, online news sites, magazines, radio stations, television stations, or television networks. For the sake of this article though, we’re going to assume that everyone lives in the digital world and will be using email to get the word out.
As the Internet has assumed growing prominence in the news cycle, press release writing styles have necessarily evolved.
Editors of web-only news sites, online newsletters and many other online only publications often lack the staff to convert traditional press release prose into more readable, print-ready or publish-ready copy. Today’s press releases are therefore often written as finished articles which deliver more than just bare facts. A stylish, journalistic format along with perhaps a provocative story line and quotes from principals can help ensure wider distribution among Internet-only publications looking for suitable material.
The above paragraph is probably the single best way to start gaining more exposure for your project, especially if you operate in an area where the market is saturated, as in say, the Seattle music market. And when we say Seattle we mean the greater northwest of course. There are literally thousands of bands and they all want press. The staffs of the local blogs, and music websites wouldn’t be able to keep up. So, you want to stand out from the crowd and get more exposure? Well then, a well crafted press release is one of the cheapest ways you can do that and one of the quickest. Facebook and Twitter messages “Hey, check out my band”, while awesome and certainly attention grabbing,(for a second) usually aren’t going to lead to working relationship with the press. Of course we can only speak for ourselves here but we get mountains of that kind of stuff. Not that we have never found a band or artist that way, but when we are busy (which is almost always) it’s very easy to overlook that sort of attempt to get our attention.
The use of press releases is common in the field of public relations (PR). Typically, the aim is to attract favorable media attention to the PR professional’s client and/or provide publicity for products or events marketed by those clients. A press release provides reporters with an information subsidy containing the basics needed to develop a news story. Press releases can announce a range of news items, such as scheduled events, personal promotions, awards, new products and services, sales and other financial data, accomplishments, etc. They are often used in generating a feature story or are sent for the purpose of announcing news conferences, upcoming events or a change in corporation.
Technically, anything deliberately sent to a reporter or media source is considered a press release: it is information released by the act of being sent to the media. However, public relations professionals often follow a standard format that they believe is efficient and increases their odds of getting the publicity they desire. The format is supposed to help journalists separate press releases from other PR communication methods, such as pitch letters or media advisories. Generally, a PR body consists of 4 to 5 paragraphs with word limit ranging from 400 to 500.
Some of these common structural elements include:
Headline – used to grab the attention of journalists and briefly summarize the news.
Dateline – contains the release date and usually the originating city of the press release. If the date listed is after the date that the information was actually sent to the media, then the sender is requesting a news embargo, which journalists are under no obligation to honor.
Introduction – first paragraph in a press release, that generally gives basic answers to the questions of who, what, when, where and why.
Body – further explanation, statistics, background, or other details relevant to the news.
Boilerplate – generally a short “about” section, providing independent background on the issuing company, organization, or individual.
Close – in North America, traditionally the symbol “-30-” appears after the boilerplate or body and before the media contact information, indicating to media that the release has ended. A more modern equivalent has been the “###” symbol. In other countries, other means of indicating the end of the release may be used, such as the text “ends”.
Media contact information – name, phone number, email address, mailing address, or other contact information for the PR or other media relations contact person.
Also, many music websites or blogs will include a link to a video or a streaming music player, such as Soundcloud or Bandcamp, so it is totally acceptable to include those links and also if it’s an event you are hyping, include the flyer or some other image to use with the article. Don’t over do it though. We don’t need 300 photos from your last tour, although we gotta admit the shot of you standing underneath Paul Bunyan is pretty cool. Keep in mind that size DOES matter and a minimum of 800px wide is our preferred width, while the height varies greatly for the image we use in the article. Our preferred dimensions for the FEATURED image for the article that will be blasted all over social media is 800px X 450px.
At Northwest Music Scene, as we’ve mentioned, we get a lot of requests for coverage, and as also mentioned, we lack the staff to cover everyone. That said, we’d like to think that we do a good job of being as inclusive as possible, so far this year we have reviewed a ton NW Albums (just like we did last year) and we are almost in the middle of our local band showcase called 100 Bands in 100 Days(Presented by Verity Credit Union), so we do cover a lot of ground and it takes a good amount of our available time to do these types of things. So if there is a request that comes in asking us to do a show preview (which we love doing for many reasons) the ones that have the best chance of making it into an article are the ones that require the least amount of work, that way we can cover more bands. If we get stuck for a few hours (or longer) doing a show preview, it seems unfair to the other hard-working and deserving bands, because there’s only so much time in the day and we have the other stuff going on as well.
Hope this stuff helps you get more exposure for your band! Here’s another resource on how to write a press release. Click
Here’s where you send press releases to us: firstname.lastname@example.org and album reviews are sent here: email@example.com