There are different tactics when artists do media outreach themselves compared to when a company is doing it for them. With artists, one thing that impresses me is a shorter pitch, something that is quick to take in logically, and it often is very personal.
One thing that I’ve found to be really effective and that you should often do is ask for advice. Don’t ask for help. If you ask for help right away, it’s kind of ironic, but a lot of people’s knee-jerk reaction is resistance. But, if you ask for advice in a humble way, then you’re more likely to receive advice in return, and maybe other things such as contacts. They want to help you get a leg up, or get that next step. For me, there’s a drastic difference between an artist who is saying “We want a review on your site,” and, “We want an interview, here are all of our accolades.” The latter gives me reasons as to why I should cover the artist.
A really good example of this is a hip hop group that got in touch with me. Essentially what they said was, “We’re a hip hop group from Hampton, Connecticut. We’ve been working hard and recently released our first project.” They gave me the download link right after introducing themselves. They said, “We’re a very hard-working, self-promoting, and self-managing group of artists looking to expand our audience and network, and we believe you can help us do so. We would love it if you would review our music submission via the links provided and please give us feedback.” Notice that they’re not actually asking for a review nor are they demanding anything. I think it’s very important here that they’re saying “please give us feedback,” after which they say “If it interests you, we would love it if you can possibly share our project.” So, they provided a link and genuinely asked for feedback on how to improve. Moreover, they included personal comments about me and my site. Their simple approach came across to me as an example of dedication and a desire to learn. It was very positive, we set up a review right away and promoted it. I think that there’s really something to be said about that kind of communication. It’s simple and positive. Be personal with individual writers and individual blogs.
Another really smart thing for artists to do is to arrange exclusive content during their recording process. This could be remixes, a B-side, or an unreleased song. You can actually plan your album releases this way. Keep the stream of the album private and release each track exclusively on different blogs one by one. In addition, I would recommend doing a lot of alternate versions, live takes, a whole lot of remixes, and a lot of different interpretations so that you can constantly release exclusive content. It’s also very important when you approach blogs and website, that the exclusive content is enticing to them. This means that you’re going to be directing your fans to that website because that’s the one and only place they’re going to hear this track. Ideally, if you can book more songs the better. Exclusive releases can really be a huge way for you to promote yourself.
You can grab James Moore's "Your Bans Is a Virus" on Amazon! (as a reminder, the WeSpin members get a free digital copy of the book as well)