I've been doing a bit of PR for bands for a while now. And I was recently described as the type of guy who likes to "do things right and properly".
I did a Masters in Digital Marketing after working in a digital marketing role for 10 years.
But when I recently got to know a local PR guy who is making moves from more corporate PR into his real passion, music, I wanted to ask him a few questions about my approach and whether I was doing it "right and properly".
When I start to work with a new artist, or on a new song, I start by filtering through my contact lists to create a new one specific to that campaign. (The Unsigned Guide and Music Week Directory are good placed to start if you don't already have a list)
I pull the press release and EPK together and then start emailing one-by-one with personalisation where I know the contact or at least a first name if I don't know them but have it to hand. Mostly though, it's a copy & paste job to 150-300 individual email contacts. I could use Mailchimp or some other bulk email tool but most people don't like being added to lists like that unless they've asked to be and I'm not a full-time PR so I don't have lists of opted-in contacts!
Then for the next four weeks (I usually try to send the first email 4-weeks out from the release date) I try to add new reasons to reach out again weekly without it being a "just checking you got this email" type message which again can piss people off if they're already receiving hundreds of emails every day!
So my questions for Jamie (contact details below if you're interested in talking to him about your future projects) were as follows:
- I'm emailing via Gmail rather than Mailchimp so I can at least personalise them a bit where I can but do you have any advice on the best way to do this bit? I've got about 120 targets in the list at the moment. Need to add a few more but just wondered if you have an opinion on how best to do this bit? Thanks mate
- I guess my questions are really... is this gruntwork worth doing? Is this really how PR works? Send a bunch of emails to a load of people you've never met and hope that over time you will develop relationships or is there a better way?!?
- I mean... is this the way you would do it? Copy / paste the same message to 150 places with the Hi Whoever name swapped where you've got it? It's the way artists do it. But is it the way it should be done? Also... how would you do the email body itself? I usually just try to get to the point asap and bung everything else under my email signature!
And here is Jamie's answer (*he allowed me to publish it here because he's a really ace guy! So if you're an artist looking for help with your PR you should definitely drop him a line.)
Re getting the press release out there...
I think initially it is a case, unfortunately, of having to do the gruntwork! It's a lot of work and, you're right, a more personalised approach is definitely best, and even better if you know the name of the blogger or writer.
With all of this stuff, it's really helpful to have a CRM in place, or a spreadsheet, and try to grade the various blogs in terms of how influential they are - social media following etc - so you can target, record and track coverage / response.
You could cherry pick 30 or 40 of those smaller blogs - the ones that are more important to hit or that you think would appreciate the song - and do a more personalised approach, with a MailChimp email for the others? Just an idea.
The key thing, I think, is to start developing relationships with those bloggers who do review or feature the song. Thank them by email, on social media. Try and get a quick phone call with some of the more influential ones to talk about the future singles etc. Mail them back and thank them for the support and send them a Q&A if they'd like to use it, etc.
Thanks Jamie. And I hope it's helpful to anyone currently DIY-ing your own music PR even if it's just helpful to know that you're doing it "right and properly".
This is Jamie Summerfield 👇👇👇
I'm working on a new website and name for my music PR, but for now the best email address is jamie|at|digitaliscommunication|dot|co|dot|uk and my number is 07984 577179.