If you’re Sir Tom Jones then the chances are that you don’t need to try too hard to get publicity but if you are anyone else then it’s a bit more difficult
Publicity is the key to getting your music heard and hopefully bought. One way to get your discs to sell is to get them reviewed.
One of the most common questions we get asked is how to get a review for a new release. In this post we'll give our views on what makes the difference between a write up and a cock up.
Tip 1 - Release something. Sounds obvious but if you don't bother putting any new music out there then it's highly unlikely you are going to get reviewed. Our readers want to hear todays news and not something about a CD from 5 years ago.
Tip 2 - Tell people. Yeah really. It's amazing how many bands we see out and about who ask why we didn't do a review for them when they didn't bother to tell us and only put one post on facebook. The old saying 'if you build it they will come' is a load of bollocks from a crap movie. If you want people to notice you then you have to shout 'look at me'.
Tip 3 - Send a copy. Some reviewers like links. Personally if someone takes the time to send me an actual copy through the post then I am more likely to take the time to actually listen to it. But then I'm a bit old fashioned like that.
Tip 4 - Have a release date and send an advance copy. Having a date by which your release becomes old news gives the writer a subconcious deadline to work to. They know that if they write after the release date then people will already have heard it anyway. Set a release date, send your copies out around 10 - 14 days before and follow up with your email/card/letter/phone call/carrier pigeon
Tip 5 - Give them some clues. We listen to everything we review but to be honest a lot of publications don't bother because they either have too much to do or they can't be arsed. If you want them to write about you then give them some biographical information (your 'bio'). give them contact info, a couple of quotes from members of the band and any 'angles' that might make it easier for them to write about you.
Tip 6 - Have yourself a launch event. Everyone likes a party but you don't have to hire the Royal Albert Hall and have dwarves walking around with plates of cocaine on their heads to make a splash. Sort out a friendly venue, invite your potential reviewers and get your mates along for a bit of atmosphere. Make it a feel good night out and your publicity is likely to be much more positive as a result.
Tip 7 - Think creatively. You're a creative person right? You put loads of effort into writing your music, getting it nicely packaged and thinking up a meaningful or funny name for your CD. Then you send out a letter on plain white paper that looks like a gas bill. Come on guys put some effort in. Think about interesting and kooky ways to get your message across because it makes us bored writers sit up and take notice.
Getting your music reviewed gives you publicity, gets you more hits on the web and provides feedback for your work. It makes sense to give yourself the best chance to get noticed by using any edge you can.
Ooh just thought of Tip 7a - choose your market. Don't send your contemporary folk dirge to Kerrang. The best you'll get is ignored. you may even get ripped a new one. Choose reviewers that have looked at your genre before because they are much more likely to enjoy your ditty about a sailor lost at sea and his forlorn love.
Tip 7b - This happened this morning. Someone asked me to review their track and sent a link to something I have to pay for. I do this for free and for love but I'm not going to love your music as much as you do if I have to pay to do you a favour.
Tip 7c - Be nice. We don't expect you to tell us how great we are but at least you could be polite. The shortest review request I ever got was 'review this please'. I didn't.