“How do I get blog coverage for my band?”
I get this question a lot from both artists and artist managers. I have traditionally avoided answering it. This is partly due to the fact that I really don’t cover individual artists very often here at Creative Deconstruction, so I’m probably not the best blogger to ask. But the question keeps coming.
Fortunately, there are plenty of articles on the subject. Don’t send generic mass emails. Don’t submit rap music to a heavy metal blog, or gutter punk to a site focused exclusively on the bluegrass community. Do not for any reason send a formal press release. All good advice.
Despite my reluctance to chime in, I have noticed an important omission from most of the articles on the subject of music blog coverage. Very few seem to highlight what I consider to be the most effective tool of them all – relationship.
Taking the time to develop a rapport with bloggers is the only way to ensure that they will open your emails.
And it does take time. Often lots of time. But keep in mind that you don’t have to reach out to every single blogger – bloggers often find their content on other blogs. Get your story up on one and it’s likely to spread to others.
That kind of viral multiplication still requires a compelling story if you want coverage on the high-traffic sites. Some blogs will cover just about anything to keep their stream of content flowing. Others are more careful about what they publish. Getting your story up on the latter will likely bring whatever you’re promoting much more attention than the former.
Building Relationships With Bloggers
I may not be an authority on music reviews or band interviews, but networking is a different story. Relationships are at the heart of everything I do. I spend a great deal of time and energy interacting with artists and other members of the music industry, as well as fellow bloggers and media people.
Relationships have been instrumental in getting readership at Creative Deconstruction to where it is today. Relationships introduced me to the good folks at Live Music Machine I’ve been working with lately. And relationships that I am cultivating now will soon play an important role in taking this blog to the next level.
1. Targeting Social Bloggers
Admittedly, not all bloggers put this kind of value on relationships. There is still a mentality among some – particularly among those who have been at it since the early days of blogging – that blogging somehow elevates you above the rest of the online community. This is of course ridiculous when just about every member of that online community is a blogger themselves.
It should be pretty obvious which bloggers get it and which do not. Take a peak at their Twitter profile page. How much of their Twitter activity is preceded by an ‘@’ symbol? If you find a blogger who is spending a lot of their time replying to other users they are probably a good networking candidate.
Another great sign can be found right in the blogger’s comments section. How often does the blogger reply directly to comments left on their posts? The more they interact with their readers the more likely they will be willing to interact with you.
2. Making the Connection
When you are trying to get onto a bloggers radar, the best place to start is with their content. Comment on their posts. If they respond to your post (and they should if you’ve targeted a social blogger) you’ve just made your first connection. Pretty simple.
Social media is a wonderful place to make connections. Twitter is a great access point because it is an open network (as opposed to permission-based networks such as Facebook or LinkedIN.) You can follow anybody. Retweet the blogger’s headlines. This adds value to them, and requires no relationship whatsoever to do. It may even lead them to check out your profile. Whenever I see a new user Retweeting one of my updates I’ll click through to their profile to see who it is that’s paying attention to what I’m saying. I’m looking for connections too, you know.
Does the blog have a Facebook page? Consider becoming a fan. Facebook pages are designed to facilitate communities. Make yourself a part of that community by engaging with their posts and jumping into discussions.
No matter how busy the blogger may be, and no matter how many other people are vying for their attention (usually fewer than you might think!) they will eventually notice you when they see that you are consistently engaged.
3. Writing a Compelling Story
We live in an attention society. Eyeballs are currency. 10,000 people viewing your Twitter profile will still translate into 0 fruitful connections if you have nothing compelling there for them to find. Is your bio filled out? Do you have any interesting information to purvey in your updates? Better yet, do you have a blog of your own to link to?
It’s not just about the platforms, though. It doesn’t matter how many words you dump into the bottomless information pit that is the world wide web if you don’t actually have anything interesting to say. (I’ve dumped 880 words so far in this post alone!)
Why should anybody write about you? Some artists may craft an EP so life-changing that the bloggers can’t help but review it, but everybody else needs to find a way to present their story effectively or it will be ignored. Is yours a rags to riches tale? Did you meet your bassist when he tried to steal your car? Do you contribute five percent of all your earnings to a particular charity?
Everyone has a story. The PR industry has traditionally been responsible for figuring out what that story is and how to tell it. But PR people can’t build relationships for you. You’d be better off spending the time to figure if out for yourself. Not only will you end up with a more authentic perspective, you will also be able to communicate it more effectively to those you network with. If you need help send me an email and I’d be happy get you started.
What have your experiences been? (Whether you are an artist, a blogger, or anywhere in between.) Have you found success with this or another approach?
Written by Refe for Creative Deconstruction