Wondering how you can get your story covered by the media? Well we can’t speak for all media, but we can give you some tips for getting your mug in our mag. It’s not that hard. There’s basically only two rules
- you have to have a story (that’s why it’s called ‘the news’)
- don’t be a dick
Now that we’ve got the rules of engagement out of the way, it might pay to break them down a little.
1. What is news?
This is tricky for the music industry. There are lots of bands, releasing lots of songs and playing lots of gigs. Sometimes that’s news and sometimes it’s not.
The News Manual helpfully breaks down ‘news’ as something that is: new, unusual, interesting or significant, as well as about people.
A band releasing a new song isn’t news. That’s what bands do. ALL THE TIME. It’s your job (or better still, your publicist’s job) to make the release of a new song interesting. That might mean telling some of your personal story, unpicking the lyrics to the song or how it was recorded, or some of the instruments played.
If you think that’s hard, imagine the job of the journalist who has an inbox with fifty emails from bands all trying to make their new single release interesting. No wonder we all have grey hair.
2. How to not be a dick?
It’s not the writer’s job to pull together all of your bits and pieces. That’s your job. And you’re much more likely to have a story written about you if you make the writers job as easy as possible. So what are those bits and pieces?
- Links to your band’s music and videos: If you’re plugging a new track, you must send accessible links – youtube, souncloud, spotify, .wav file, whatever makes it easy for the person to suss out your music / video
- Press photo: You must have a press photo – preferably a portrait (horizontal) version as well as a landscape (vertical) version. If you’re pitching to a print publication, you must have a high resolution image. Never tell the journalist to get one from your Facebook page. They will probably not do that and you’ll miss your opportunity to have a story published.
- Band / musician biography: A biography makes the writers job easier. They won’t need to visit ten other websites to find out band members’ names, your discography, major achievements or history. It will all be in one handy document. If you don’t have a biography, you should consider paying someone to write one for you. A biography tells the story of your band.
- Press release: Finally, you need a press release. A press release tells the ‘news’ that you’re trying to share far and wide. It might be the story of your new single, new video, new tour, festival announcement. It will contain quotes from band members as well as pertinent details about why this particular thing is news at all.
If you’re interviewed, there are some other things to consider. You must know what sort of interview you’re going to have. If it’s for a print publication will they be interviewing you face-to-face, by telephone or by email? If it’s for radio, will it be live to air or pre-recorded? If it’s for TV, what program will the segment be aired on? Will it be news or some other program? Will it be live or pre-recorded? Who will be doing the interview? What sort of visuals will they want?
- Email interviews – if you’re interviewed by email and a journalist asks “please tell me about your new single”, they want words from you about your new single. They don’t want a link to your iTunes listing for the new single. They’re not being lazy, they’re INTERVIEWING YOU. Answer the damn questions. If they want links, they’ll ask for links. Sometimes your answers are published exactly as you submit them, typos, spelling errors and all. Make sure you have someone edit your answers for grammar and spelling.
- Radio interviews – radio is all about the audio. Be prepared before you go on air. If you’re performing a song in the studio, don’t mess around. Chances are you’ll also be asked some questions about whatever you pitched as ‘news’. Be prepared. Don’t um and ah. Have some standard responses ready to go for questions about how you recorded your song, met as band members, etc. There’s a standard suite of questions you’ll likely be asked every time you get interviewed. And here’s a tip… if you’re sick of being asked those questions, update your bio with some actual interesting information and the journalist will ask you about that.
- TV – if you’re being interviewed for television news, be conscious of the fact that you’ll probably only have five seconds of airtime. Even though the interview and filming may go for half an hour, by the time it reaches the newsroom, you’ll be competing with cats stuck up trees, traffic jams and ice addicts. Be brief, have a quick five-second catch phrase that’s likely to pique interest and be patient with the filming process.
Gold Coast gigs to promote?
Want to get your gigs listed in the print magazine and online for Blank GC? It’s very, very easy to do so. We’ve put this handy list together. TLDR? Just email us your damn (original, local) gigs already.