So you’ve just finished your latest musical project. Congratulations!
If you’ve worked on marketing your music, you already know the importance of things like email lists, branding, and an EPK, but when it comes to press coverage, you might think it’s a bit of a mystery—even if you’ve previously hired a publicist or done your own press.
As a publicist for the last 8 years, I’ve encountered a lot of misunderstanding and confusion around what exactly press helps accomplish, and how to use it as a part of an overall marketing strategy. There’s a lot you can do with press, and it can be a game-changing tool for musicians when used correctly.
Here’s what you need to know about making the most of press coverage:
Not all press is equal
I don’t mean that household names like Pitchfork or Rolling Stone carry more weight than the little guys; that’s not always the case. I mean that not all press will be of equal value to you. That means sometimes the smaller outlets are actually preferable.
It’s well known within the PR community that the bigger the outlet, the less quality writing or social media coverage you’re likely to get as a smaller band. Yes, it might be very cool to have your name in a blog that your friends know about, but, in my experience, the writing tends to lack imagination. This can mean no press quotes to pull, no raving reviews for your EPK, and, perhaps saddest of all, they rarely share smaller band coverage on their social media channels. Between the lack of colorful writing and the absence of off-site mentions, it’s easy for that “big review” to go unnoticed.
It may look cool, but it doesn’t tend to generate as much traffic as, say, being included in a small blog or podcast with a loyal fan base that’s going to really dive into every nuance of your release and then share the post with their fans on social media.
The takeaway here: Don’t get tunnel vision with your coverage—bigger is not always better.
Repurpose your press coverage
We often see coverage go live, then an artist promotes it once, and then it’s forgotten. This is a disheartening waste of press! There are many ways you can repurpose it over time. Here are a few options:
A TikTok/reel: Showing your reaction to a great piece of press with the quote going over the screen to a trending song is a great way to repurpose content in a way that will catch the attention of fans new and old.
A carousel post: You can use Canva to create a carousel post with the quote on one slide, another quote (from the same article) on another slide, and then the reviewer’s logo or a “thank you!” on the last one, and tag the press outlet. Make it fun—inject your personality into the Canva template with your band colors and personality, to help it stand out.
In your EPK: Strong quotes always belong in your artist EPK. The great benefit of PR is that instead of you saying how awesome you are, someone else is doing it for you. That lends a lot more credibility to a statement, which goes a long way. So throw that quote in your EPK!
In your pitch emails/press releases/bio/OneSheet: Basically anywhere that you want to brag on yourself, include this quote. That might mean including it in an email to press, showing them that other people are already talking about this. Or include it in your musician bio, to illustrate how your music is reaching others. Or feature it on a OneSheet you send to bookers. Let them know how great these outlets think you are!
Feel free to try all of these and see which get the best reaction from your fans.
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Build on existing coverage
Once you start to build a bit of traction with press placements you can use that to continue getting in front of that audience over and over again. For instance, if Infectious Magazine (my old blog, RIP) covers your band once, don’t be afraid to go back to them after a particularly successful piece of coverage and offer to work with them on something else. For instance, if they published an interview that had great reception with their audience, why not pitch a joint live or a Reel on their page using your song?
Similarly, for future singles you can reach back to the outlets that showed your first one some love, and request coverage. This way you’re getting in front of their audience several times, and they’ll start to recognize your name. They might not make the connection that it’s from the same blog, but they will know that they’ve heard your name before and that will lend it credibility in their mind, which means they’re a lot more likely to click and listen.
Get creative—press isn’t what it used to be
Press coverage has changed a lot in the 8 years that I’ve been a publicist, and the game isn’t what it used to be. Years ago you could place an indie band on a pretty well known site and see a ton of traction. Sadly, that’s not usually enough anymore. It can be a great stepping stone, but there’s more to growing a following. So, get creative and be open about how you think of press coverage. It isn’t just from blogs; in our press campaigns we include things like influencer placements with nano influencers and that’s been a really brilliant way to grow our artist’s digital presence.
My suggestion is to work with nano influencers (under 10k followers if you’re still growing yourself) to do this. You can even use clips from previous press to give them an idea of some of the traction you’ve already received.
Use your press to continue to grow
Each piece of press is a stepping stone to your next move. If your current single got pieces of press from very small outlets, but with really great quotes, celebrate that! It’s awesome. Next time you can approach slightly bigger blogs, podcasts, or influencers, using that previous material and press interest to hopefully secure bigger opportunities. And so on.
You can also use press when you’re looking for opportunities like management, label interest, and booking shows. That established proof of interest demonstrates that your career is growing.
Once you’ve gotten some pieces of press and publicity for your music, make sure to use them well! Making the most of press coverage is a great way to generate momentum for your career.
Angela Tyler is the founder of MP Co. (formerly Muddy Paw PR) a marketing, PR, and management services company for musicians. She has secured placements on Forbes, Business Insider, American Songwriter, Lead Singer Syndrome, & more, and her artists go on to sign to labels and play major festivals. She loves dessert, her rescue dog Sawyer, and new ideas.