When Bands Aren’t Ready for Media Coverage
Let me tell you a story about why you should be ready for media coverage.
Last year during a spate of Making Meaning interviews, I got a message from a band whose piece I just published. “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT PICTURE?! It has our old bass player in it!”
What?! I replied, “From your Facebook page.”
I had scoured their social media pages for a photo that was clear, had all the members in it, and looked good enough to use as the featured photo. I had read the bios on each of their social media pages and even read a few articles since I wasn’t very familiar with this regional band. I never saw anything about a new bass player!
Apparently, within the last year they had a lineup change (swapping out surprisingly similar-looking bassists, in my opinion) and never added that information in their bio. They never mentioned past players in their “members” section or captioned their photos, either.
During our exchange, they provided me with a photo of the current lineup. It was a nice, professional photo; but their band name was on it and so was inconsistent with my other featured photos. Oh well. The interview was cool, anyway.
While this is my most dramatic example of confusion as an interviewer, it’s not my only one. I’m consistently confused by information that is – and isn’t – available on artist and band websites and social media pages.
Because of this, we created a guide and checklist for bands to use (our band, too!) to assess their websites and social media pages for the right kinds of information. We shared the guide and checklist at our first skill-share recently, and now we’re sharing all of the information with you.
The Importance of Being Ready for Media Coverage
There are lots of different media outlets – newspapers, magazines, blogs, and podcasts are a few. Interviews, articles, and reviews are just some of the different types of media coverage you can get.
Sometimes you solicit for media coverage. When you’re releasing an album or a video, when you’re starting a tour, or when you’ve just signed to a label you purposely seek out coverage via press releases, email solicitations, and sending out your music. You target specific media outlets and provide them with targeted information about you.
Sometimes you get media coverage without trying. Maybe someone read an interview with you, saw you’re opening for a band they like, or they’re actively seeking out new bands to cover. You won’t know they’re considering writing about you until they reach out to you or you see the piece.
Solicited or unsolicited, targeted or organic, you want to make sure that your website and social media pages are up-to-date and contain the right information so that the coverage is accurate and more likely to be positive.
Be Ready for Media Coverage
We have lots of tips to help you be ready for media coverage based on our experience of interviewing over 50 bands in the last two years, photographing over 100, and getting our own media coverage for our band.
We made a checklist and guide to help you be ready for media coverage. We’re using it, too, because it’s so hard to remember everything that is most important and to keep it updated.
Download our free Be Ready for Media Coverage Guide & Checklist now!
Media Coverage Points
We’re not PR experts, as we’ve said before; but there are some things we think are important to know before you delve into our guide and checklist. Here are a few quick points.
Reach out in the right way to the right people at the right time. Don’t bombard them with too much information, but provide main points plus appropriate links. Your website and social media pages better be ready because they’re going to look there to see if they want to cover you and to fill in details for their piece.
Contacts. When you’re handling your own PR and marketing, it’s important to amass as many media contacts as you can. Talk to your musician friends to see if they have good contacts, research your local and regional outlets, and see where bands of your genre and general size are getting coverage.
Lead time. Make sure you’re giving enough lead time. If you want a story to run about your album that releases in a week, you are probably too late. Give at least six weeks, but sometimes more depending on the size of the outlet.
Submissions. Always look for and follow submission guidelines. Don’t go overboard in the email. Greet the appropriate contact, tell them what you hope they’ll do for you (e.g., review your album, interview you, etc.) and when, and then link to your electronic press kit (EKP) and/or any relevant links and music. Remember, follow their specific submission guidelines or you risk your email being deleted.
No Response and Negative Press
No response doesn’t mean no coverage, and negative press isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
No response. Guess what? No reply doesn’t mean no coverage. It’s fine to follow up in about 10 days, though. Set yourself a reminder. Consider using a tool like Boomerang. You will not hear back from most of the places you solicit, so make sure to pinpoint the ones that are the best fit for your music and follow submission guidelines.
Negative Press. What do they say? Negative press is better than no press, or something like that? It’s true, I’d say (though I’m not a personal fan of it). If you get negative press, stay calm. Don’t blast the reporter or reviewer. It looks bad on you, and we all know that any written correspondence (email, social media, texts) can be shared widely on the internet. If you receive negative press, just don’t share it. It will quickly be lost in the sea of endless content. Make sure your website and social media pages are professional and up-to-date so that when people go to check out how bad you are (based on the terrible review you got) there are clear arguments to the contrary.
Seeking and getting media coverage can be high-anxiety work. Do your best to keep cool and keep professional.
Keep cool. If you’re going to meet someone in person, talk over the phone, chat online, or get your photos taken it can be very nerve-racking. You’re meeting new people, interacting, trying to represent yourself and your creative work in the best light, and ultimately you have zero control over how it all turns out. Do your best to calm your nerves, be ready to talk, know your facts, and be on time.
Keep professional. Whether it’s a tiny, unknown blog or a national magazine, you should do your best to be professional. Get back to people when they ask you to, provide them with the links/info/material they need, and if you’re writing your responses proofread your answers (review it more than once and have someone else look over it, too). Not all reporters will fix your errors or check to see what you meant. If it doesn’t make sense, it will look bad on you.
OK, Now Go Get Ready
Being ready for media coverage is important. If your website and social media pages have the necessary information available then it is much more likely that you will get media coverage and that when you do – whether solicited or not – it will be accurate and positive.
Download our Be Ready for Media Coverage guide and checklist, assess your pages, and make the necessary updates. We’d love to hear what you think about our guide and checklist, if you’ve used it, and if you have questions! Comment or contact us! Be well!