Artist Advice Column: Do's & Don'ts Of Approaching Digital Media Pt. 2 - Magnetic Magazine

Artist Advice Column: Do's & Don'ts Of Approaching Digital Media Pt. 2

Keeping real relationships alive with writers and editors is not easy. But making sure you actually try and treat them as humans and not the other end of a transactional relationship is a good place to start.
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A few weeks ago we broached the topic on media do’s and don’ts – how to best approach digital media when you are taking on the task of pitching your music on your own. However once you have sent a pitch -- that is only half the job. There is a lot you can do to either help yourself or hurt yourself going forward.

The timing of when you send an email is crucial. Send your song in advance of its release, even if it isn’t for a premiere. That way if they want to do a feature around the track, EP or album and are interested, it can be lined up with someone at the site. Features take time, so give the writers as much time as necessary to get them done. Also it allows you to follow up on the release date, if you never heard back, with a short reminder that the song is out. You can update this with streaming and buy links and any new information there might be for the song, like other artist support.

In your initial email, make sure there is a streaming link. Just putting a Beatport or iTunes link is a fast way to having it deleted. No member of the media is randomly downloading your song on the chance they may like it. People you are pitching likely aren’t getting paid or paid very little. Also keep in mind for many small to mid-size blogs, most of the contributors will be unpaid. Making demands from them outside of what you previously agreed to or not understanding if their paying job has to be the priority at the moment won’t endear you to the site. A first impression is crucial, because if they think you will only send them bad music that doesn’t apply, they won’t open subsequent emails. Your first approach is key and how you handle the first interaction is even more crucial.

It is fine if you don’t get a response to your initial email. It is likely you will never hear anything back on most of the emails you send. Your response rate will be higher if you are sending personal emails to personal accounts, not mass mailouts to general info emails. Following up is fine as previously mentioned. Pushing your email to top of their inbox with some new information saying the song is out, xx artist has supported it or you have some new tour dates to go along with the song is good. Do not send two, three or four follow ups, spamming their inbox with the message equivalents of “you up?” That will make sure your emails are always deleted.

Until you become so big you are clickbait material, you can’t ignore the media. Do not think you can be rude to writers, editors or site owners in person, via email or on the phone. You may not get banned directly, but you may notice your music not get covered for quite some time.

If you do happen to secure a post, then be grateful. Nobody had to cover your music. You are just one artist among millions. They took the time to write something about you. Share it on your social media channels (especially if you said you were going to) and be grateful for their time. Invite them to a show to see you live. This will allow them to feel like they are a part of your artistic journey and give you a chance to show your chops live.

If you do stay in contact with a writer or editor outside of email such as via Facebook, don’t just message them about your music. If you are only interested in a transactional relationship, that is fine, but they will also treat it the same way. You may be ignored quite often. If you want something better and more personal, show some interest in who they are and open up about what is going on in your life beyond the next release – like a potential friend. 

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