Over 6,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify every hour. As an artist, this is what you are up against – the competition for media attention and fan approval is fierce. But there are things you can do to get ahead.
Before you start emailing journalists, the first step is to nail your brand and your story. Get this right, and everything else will flow.
As well as developing your sound, think about your aesthetic, how you present yourself, where you want to perform, what media you want to appear in and where your fans are. It’s important to be consistent across all your channels – whether it’s on social media, your website or on stage. It will make you more memorable. Developing your story is also a chance to experiment and be playful; if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try again.
Idles and Kojey Radical are two recent examples that had to play with their look and sound before they were able to really breakthrough and connect with media and live audiences which then opened the door to their continuing success.
Once you’ve nailed this, you can start creating content. The media industry needs content to survive and having the right film footage, photography and press shots can be the difference between a tiny mention or a full feature piece. It goes beyond press – festival and event promoters are much more likely to give you more coverage if you have fantastic imagery. Give the media the tools they need!
Journalists will check out new artists online, so make sure that your website, Instagram and Facebook are doing you justice as your ‘shop window’. You don’t need to pay lots for a website – sites like Wix, Squarespace and 1&1 are great places to start.
What are you good at?
Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? It’s important to be open and honest about what you’re good at and where you need some help. Whether that’s working with a stylist to create the right look or fine tuning your sound. It’s about having the right attitude and going into things with an open mind. You don’t have to do everything yourself, you can build a good team around you.
Hiring a PR company
How you approach PR depends on your budget and whether you want to hire a company or do it yourself. One of the advantages of working with a good PR agency is that they have established relationships with the media you want to talk to. When choosing an agency, get recommendations from other artists and look at the talent on their books – do you like them? They will help you come up with a schedule of releases and a plan.
Creating a press release
For any of your big activities (a new EP or major gig for example) you need a press release. It should include your bio (which is a paragraph of text explaining who you are and what you’re about) and a summary of what you’re doing. Journalists receive hundreds every week, so less is more. One page of A4 is plenty!
These tips were created from a workshop run for CirKT by Jamie Danan, Founder of Cannonball PR. Jamie has worked as a music and culture journalist, a PR manager across major music and film titles and has a decade’s experience of managing and promoting established and emerging music acts.
You can also hear Jamie speak about social media at the CirKT conference on Saturday 9 November 19.
In this period of social distancing and isolation, making musical connections has never been more important.
Before we get stuck into our 2020 programme, let’s take a look back at how it all started.
Our autumn programme has now come to end. This is what you missed!