“But how do we approach blogs?” is a question I’ve been asked quite a few times by local artists over the past 6 months or so. With bands unable to gig/tour their music at the moment, the importance of finding other ways to promote music is paramount. Getting music on blogs/playlists/radio goes a huge way in promoting music and often seems to be overlooked by smaller, upcoming artists due to lack of funds.
The good news is, you can do it yourself without it costing you much (or anything) at all and it doesn’t have to involve too much effort!
Quite a bit of this might be common sense to some, but it’s surprising how many emails/music submissions we get sent across that even lack the basics. I hope that this post will have at least something that someone may find helpful, so if you find this useful, please share this amongst others, thank you!
It’s absolutely vital to get your music on blogs and getting press in general because it also gives you a lot more credibility which can lead to more doors opening for you. Submitting to blogs is actually a lot easier than you might imagine and it all starts with a press release/EPK (Electronic Press Kit)!
What are press releases and why do I need one?
A press release or an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is a document that you send to media/press (like blogs, websites, magazines, playlists, etc) that basically tells them who you are and what you would like them to cover. These are usually sent across when a band/artist is about to release new music (singles/albums/EP’s) and are looking for coverage. A press release/EPK is also normally sent across in advance, but I’ll go into this later.
I might know who you are, but a blog up in Glasgow, over in New York or even as far away as New Zealand is not going to know who you are. People writing about music/curators generally need something to draw on and a press release should help with that!
A press release is generally created on a release by release basis but an EPK is the equivalent of a bands CV or portfolio. On a busy day, we get upwards of 100 music submissions, so a press release has to stand out (and quick).
What should I include in an effective press release or EPK?
1. Who are you? – You’d be surprised how many press releases waffle on and yet we never learn anything about the artist… A brief biography that includes the band name, location (nearest city will do…), band members or how many of you there are, style of music and/or similar artists (can be vague if you’re not sure) will suffice for this part!
2. Less is more – This goes without saying but be concise because bloggers/press don’t have time to read through (as mentioned above) waffle. The amount of press releases I’ve seen that are pages long and yet don’t actually tell me anything…
3. Quotes – Please give us some quotes to draw from! As in, what’s the song about? Was it influenced by anything in particular? Was it written in an hour or did you go on a week long trip to France searching for aliens, but came back with this song?! Get creative if it fits your style, but otherwise be honest.
4. Links to socials – I’m sure I spend more time looking for bands social media pages to tag them in posts than I do actually writing the posts! Please link to all your (band/artist) social media pages!
5. Links to your music – Sounds silly but we have received plenty of press releases with no music links sent… Please do not attach MP3’s or other music files as they clog up emails very quickly and some people delete these emails without reading them, so be warned! Soundcloud, Dropbox or similar links will suffice.
6. Single/Album/EP Artwork and/or Press Photos – I know of some blogs who turn down tracks that lack artwork, so make sure to include something. But please, please, please make sure you have permission from photographers/artists before sending their photos/artwork across in press releases to avoid any very costly legal issues!
7. Take quotes from previous press – Has anyone written about you before? Quote their praise. This isn’t necessary but it shows credibility.
Top tips for reaching out to blogs/websites/playlist owners/etc
1. Research the outlet you’re contacting – We get so, so many submissions every day that are nothing like what we cover and it’s off-putting. If you want to have a good relationship with blogs etc, please make sure they actually cover the kind of music you’re submitting to them!
2. Be kind, friendly and make it personal – There is nothing worse than a band with a horrible ego, it’ll gets you nowhere in 2020. Also be sure to get the person’s name of who you’re contacting correct. The amount of times we’ve been called Mike, Kevin, Susan… Make the email personal and it’ll get you a lot further!
3. Preferably send press releases in advance of said release – I work almost two weeks in advance, especially regarding tracks which are released on Friday’s. So if you want a blog post to go out on release day, sending in advance is the best way to go. Some blogs prefer earlier, some don’t want anything in advance, so make sure to do your research.
4. Do follow up – If you’re sending a submission via e-mail, things do get lost, especially on Friday’s (release day is even busier for bloggers). Just don’t be annoying or demanding! Give it at least 5 days and don’t follow up more than once.
5. Let us know what you need – Are you specifically looking for a blog post, a playlist placement, an EP review, a shout-out on social media, an interview?
6. Be professional – This one goes without saying…
7. Submit to blogs who cover acts of your size (audience/following) – It’s good to be optimistic and reach higher, but do be realistic as to avoid being disappointed. Micro-influencers (with 1000-100,000 followers) generally have more targeted, authentic followings with higher engagement rates in some cases!
8. Don’t send music across via socials unless the outlet has requested it – This is the easiest way to get lost amongst hundreds of spammy direct messages, trust me. Unless you already know us personally, please do not submit via social media.
Why should I get featured on blogs?
But it’s 2020, blogs aren’t important, are they?
The biggest misconception amongst people is that it’s not worth pitching for blog posts because “playlists are king”, but this is not the case at all. Unlike playlists, blog posts are generally online forever so you’ll be able to refer back to them and quote them if needed (this works well in future press releases).
Recently I was looking at some of our statistics (specifically impressions on Google Search) and one local band is currently being searched for 250+ times a week at the moment! Make of that what you will.
How to get featured on playlists
We go into this a lot further on our post dedicated to the do’s and don’ts of getting playlisted. You can find legitimate playlists bands you like are on by clicking on an artists “about” page and then going to “discovered on”. Finding the playlist owners contact is as easy as conducting a quick Google search of their playlist/publication name and then fire a professional sounding email across to them. You can also apply to be on Spotify’s official playlists and you can find more info on that here.
Do not buy your way onto playlists whatever you do! This is a slippery slope and I go into this more here where I talk about how to get onto legitimate playlists without breaking the bank (or spending any money at all!).
I don’t have any experience in pitching to radio and I won’t pretend I do, however, I definitely suggest talking to bands who have been played on local radio. You won’t have to look too far.
One under-utilised “thing” is the BBC Radio Upload! You can upload content all year round to be showcased on local BBC Radio Stations. Around 12-1pm each weekday BBC Radio Solent have played tracks by local bands, including Friday Night Weird Dreams, Megan Linford and The Orchid Thieves on Pat Sissons show. You can regularly upload tracks to be considered for feature on here. Please note that this is separate from BBC Introducing. See here for BBC Introducing and Fresh On The Net.
You can also upload your music to Amazing Radio via AmazingTunes here.
But should I pay for coverage?
100% no, that would be classed as payola and is illegal.
However, if you insist on paying to submit your music, you can pitch to blogs/playlists/radio/etc on SubmitHub via free and paid submissions. You don’t pay for placements, you tip $1 for consideration as well as feedback plus a guaranteed reply (no more getting lost in e-mail inboxes). You can pitch to a wide variety of industry people worldwide (including us!).
We got covered by -insert blog name here-! Now what?
Yay! Now repost any coverage on your own socials (it’s all “free” promo after all! Milk it for what you can) and be sure to thank them very much! But do not repost the entire blog post word for word. You want people to visit the post and listen to your music, right?
If you need any advice on the above or any other information, please don’t hesitate to contact me over at firstname.lastname@example.org, I don’t bite (honest!).
How to submit your music to Mix It All Up?
Find more info here – We’re not overly picky, but please be sure to include info on you (band/artist), single/EP/Album artwork, social media links, quotes about the release and we’ll be happy!
A handful of music blogs we like who accept music submissions (this list will be built upon):
This post on For The Love of Bands goes much further into depth than I have here and it includes a list of blogs that are accepting music submissions.
If anyone has any other tips or suggestions I can add to this post, please let me know and I’ll add them/credit you for any suggestions.
Also, just to note that any of the links on this page that lead outside of Mix It All Up are not ads, we just find these sites super useful for a variety of reasons!