When you run a PR company you get a lot of bands asking to check out their music and work with them. We can’t listen to them all so here is how to approach a PR company and get attention.
Methods to Approach a PR Company
If you’re going to get in touch then email is probably the simplest and most accepted way. Up until a few years ago I would have said sending a CD was a good option, but many computers don’t come with CD drives anymore. So any CDs that turn up to our office get put in a box and are left to gather dust. Email also allows you to politely follow up if you’ve not had a response with-in a week or two.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chasing someone up once or even twice. Any more I’d just take it as a sign that they aren’t interested. Personally I’ll try and reply when I can if someone has taken the time to send a follow up email. So don’t be afraid to do it.
When you do send that email, make sure it’s actually tailored and personalised to the individual you are contacting. It’s worrying how many bands will send out a blanket email and bcc or even cc a ton of different PR companies in saying that they are wanting to work with them.
Randomly messaging someone on Facebook or tweeting a link out of the blue is probably the most irritating. There’s nothing worse than seeing a band tweet 100 different people at once asking them to ‘check out’ their track. Please don’t do it I beg of you. It doesn’t work and everyone will hate you.
Make sure you do your research before you get in touch with a PR company. Discover which other artists and the sort of music they cover first of all. If you’re an indie rock band then contacting a PR company that specialises in heavy metal is a waste of time. The person who gets your email will know you’ve not bothered to do your research. When you do find the PR that you think might be right, then make sure you reference some of the artists they’ve worked with. This is especially important if your band has some things in common with them. We always like to engage with people who are fans of the artists we work with so this will usually get our attention. It also shows you’ve put some thought into things before reaching out.
There’s a minimum period of time we usually work from on an album campaign. For example there’s normally a 2 to 3 month lead-in for a print campaign and around 6 to 8 weeks for online. So if you get in touch and say your album is out next week then your’e already way too late . In some cases we’ve had people get in touch saying their album is already out. Again theres nothing that can be done for you here.
When it comes to getting in touch try and keep these timeframes in mind. Try to outline a rough plan of when you think your potential single/EP/album is coming out, when you might tour and also any other assets you could have for the campaign and when they’ll be ready, such as a music video. The more of this you can put together the more interesting you become to the person you are approaching.
As obvious as this may sound, often bands will get in touch and not include a link to their music. Please include a link to your music and make sure it’s a good quality recording. If you’ve done the hard work and convinced someone to take a listen then you want to impress them. A low quality demo or poor quality video won’t have the same sort of impact as a decent recorded track. It’s our job to send your music to other people so if it doesn’t sound good we’re really not going to want to share it. Try and show us the final version or as close to it as you can.
If the answer is a no then it’s always worth asking for feedback from the PR company you just approached. You won’t necessarily always get it but if you’ve caught them on a good day or maybe you were just really polite over email then they could offer some of their thoughts which you may want to take onboard. It also potentially leaves the door for you to contact them again in the near future.
I’ve had a couple of bands in the past where I suggested that hiring a PR company at this current time wasn’t right as their profile was too small and that they should try and create some initial coverage themselves. A while later the band did just that and came back showing some of the great coverage they’d secured so we’re now working with them on their next single.
Written by Simon Glacken who is the Director at I Like Press.
Since founding in 2009 as enthusiastic champions of the emergent British left-field rock scene, Leeds-based publicists I Like Press have evolved upon their ability to birth new artists into the public consciousness, to create fresh impetus for established musicians worldwide.