6 Tips for Media Success for Indie Artists

You have a new album. Now What?

It’s awesome! Your CDs have finally arrived, and you’re like a giddy teenager! All the months of work are finished…or are they?

Having an album ready to release is just the beginning…and there are a lot of things you can do as an indie artist to help promote your new album. Below are 6 tips for Media Success to get buzz going about your latest and greatest record!

1.   Plan ahead

Ideally you will allow three to six months of pre-promotion for a new album to give you the most time to generate positive buzz. Like everything else with a record, it takes some time to get everything ready. Remember that media contacts are looking for new news – so offering a CD that has already been released isn’t as attractive as one that hasn’t hit shelves yet. It’s a great idea to have the release event details available to share, so you can potentially get reviews and drive attendance to the show.

2.   Make a list

Start by making a list of media contacts you may know or be familiar with. Include bloggers that cover your genre, local online and print publications with a music section, a friend who has a hobby of reviewing CDs, etc. Think about unique places that might be interested in covering your music and if the album has a theme you can leverage to promote it (i.e. if you have songs about dogs target pet-friendly bloggers). Don’t neglect media from outside the U.S. either, a good review from Holland can help introduce new fans to your music and expand your perception as an international artist.

3.   Media follows media

One overlooked fact in working with media is that one review often leads to another. Ask a couple of selected media contacts to provide an advance review and include their reviews in your media letter and one-sheet (outlined in the next step). If media contacts see that their peers loved your project, they are more likely to listen too.

4.   Create a one-sheet, pitch letter & media release

One-sheets are like a one page overview about your project. Include a track list, a short paragraph about the project and the studio musicians/producer, the album artwork and release details. For the pitch letter you’ll want to introduce yourself, highlight accomplishments, request a review and provide contact details. Here’s an example:

Dear Sue,

I’m an Americana/folk artist based in Nashville. My songs have been featured in film and TV, as well as on more than 500 radio stations internationally.

I follow your blog and wanted to share the news that I’m releasing a new record, I Love Dogs, on February 12 (one sheet attached and media release below). The record contains many songs about animals and  I believe your Pets R Us readers would really love it!

May I send you a copy to consider reviewing?

Many thanks,
Amy Artist

p.s. I will follow up with you next week, but if you need to contact me before then please call xxx.xxx.xxxx or email me at youremailhere@hitwriter.com.

<insert media release text here> <attach your one sheet>

Finally, you’ll need to create a media release. There are a lot of samples online but typically you will include an intro, a couple of quotes (one from you as the artist about the album and maybe one from the studio or producer), highlights of a few selected songs, release event details, your website and most importantly your contact information for interview requests. You should also include a brief bio at the end of the release.

5.   Keep it professional

When you contact the media, keep it professional and personalize each email. Include a subject line that says something like: STORY PITCH: Amy Artist to Release I Love Dogs Record. Use the pitch letter described above, and follow up with a phone call a week to 10 days later to see if they have any questions or need more information about the project. Be patient and offer to resend the information if it was misplaced.

6.   Share, thank & share again!

When someone reviews or covers your music, remember to share it on social media (tagging them if possible), send a thank you note or email, post on your website, add to your media kit, email to friends and fans, put reviews on show posters, etc.

A final thought…

Media relationships take time, but they are well worth the effort. Think of reviews and articles like free advertising and the more people hear about your music, the better! In addition, positive reviews can help you build credibility as an artist in a very competitive music industry.