A Press Release is a simple, direct page that provides information to journalists, editors, media staff. In the music industry, a press release is a common tool used to give then artist or business free publicity. So it’s obvious why writing a good press release is an important skill to have. Back Stage Indie Report can help you with this process. Read on…
Press Releases can be used to notify the media about anything happening in your musical career – like a new song release, special show, or label signing. The important thing to remember is, this is supposed to be “news”, so your press release needs to be “newsworthy”.
How do you determine if your release is newsworthy? It is important to gather information into your media contacts. What types of stories or articles are usually published? Why should their readers care about your music? You need to focus your press releases to the right person at the right publication – that is, someone who actually writes about your type of news. If you always send a release of your shows to a news paper that does not print calendar listings, it will be a total waste of your time and effort, and the journalist’s too, which is unlikely to make you well liked around their office.
Make sure you check and find out what sorts of topics get press coverage in each media organization. Of course, you will send a press release announcing your new release to the local music paper. But you will also want to look at other opportunities with other organizations. For example, if your band has a popular website, perhaps internet magazines like Back Stage Indie Report would be interested. If you offer a percentage of sales on your music to a popular charitable organization, perhaps more publications would find your news worthy of printing.
The writer or editor has a concern is to their readers – not you – so they want to print interesting news. They do not owe you publishing, so you must make it engaging. If you can send news that will appeal to the readers, you are far more likely to get it printed by a publication.
The free publicity you create with your press release will be many times more valuable than any advertisements you could buy. Studies have shown that people respond to articles at a much more than advertisements, because they seem more credible. Anyone can buy an ads, but if there is an article written about you, you must be “important”.
Most press releases follow a similar format, and it’s easy to learn. First, spend some time defining the Main Message you want to get across. You will need to tell the who, what, when, why, and where in your press release.
Use your letterhead (if you have one) . If you have room, double-spacing your type, and leave a minimum one inch border on all sides. Make sure your font is easy to read. You can use any simple word processing program to make your press release, and put it on quality computer paper.
The Top Line Should Read: “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” or “FOR RELEASE February 27, 2018”
The Top Line Should Read: “For more information, contact: Joe Shmo”
Next, write your headline, in all capital letters if possible. The headline is the absolutely the most important sentence of your press release . Make the headline interesting, it compels people to read on. If you don’t you will be be passed over quick. Focus thought on the headline. Read similar headlines and pay attention to what makes you want to read the article. This is your mission. Don’t be afraid to be dramatic, History favors the bold (not the boring).
Now that you have an awesome and captivating headline, it’s time to write the body of your release. This is where you put all the details. Write it in third person (using “He” or “She” instead of “I”) and make it read like a news story. Press releases should be, at maximum, two pages long, but one page is better.
The first paragraph just like the headline, needs to grab the reader’s interest. In fact, many busy editors will only read past the beginning if you have “hooked” them in the first few lines. Make sure you include every important detail in this paragraph, since often papers will run releases exactly as you wrote it. Use full city and state descriptions (Miami, Florida not just Miami), and include the month, day, and year in dates (May 9, 2018, not May 9th).
Describe your news without adding colorful adjectives. Remember, its news. You can use quotations to add more interest to the information.
At the end of the release, summarize your story and add any “About Us” information that is necessary. Follow it up with a contact for further information.
End your press release with these symbol “###” (without the quotation marks) after your last lines of text. This shows the publisher they have successfully received the entire document.
You can send your released to any newspaper, magazine, radio station or other media. Build a media list that you regularly send your releases to, and add to it as often as possible.
It’s also smart to contact each journalist personally, and find out how they like to receive press releases. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to sending releases but these days mail, gives way to email. Be aware that most journalists do not like to be contacted via telephone and asked if they received your press release. If the release is newsworthy to their readers, they will print it. Writers and Editors are generally very busy people, and will appreciate it if you respect their time.
If you are unsure of the name, try “News Director”, “Music Editor”, or “Features Editor”.) Include a photo and caption if you have one.
You can get some great free publicity by learning to write effective press releases. The coverage costs you nothing more than time and the paper to write the release on, and can bring invaluable promotion to your music project or event.