HOW TO: Contact Local Media For Your Show
If there is one detail that many new artists overlook when they book a new show it is contacting the local press about the details. Some might be intimidated by this idea or they might just overlook it. But making an early connection and establishing a relationship with local media is key in not only getting the word out about your show but by creating an ally within the press.
So, how do you do this?
1.) RESEARCH: A simple Google search (seriously, what did we do before Google?!?) will show you a list of local media outlets for the area. For example, let’s say you are playing a show in Louisville, KY. Google “Louisville, KY media outlets” or “Louisville, KY newspapers” and a list will show up. Create a document or database where you can keep an ongoing list of possible contacts. Almost everything is online now so you shouldn’t have a problem finding publications. Some towns just have have more than others.
There are resources like abyznewslinks.com, 50states.com, or usnpl.com that have lists of newspaper outlets that are collected by city & state. They will more than likely show up in your search if you’re looking for newspapers to contact.
Some outlets that you might want to check out include:
Newspapers (both daily and weekly)
Local TV shows
2.) WHERE TO LOOK: Check to see if they have an entertainment or lifestyle section. If they do, check to see if they have an entertainment or music calendar that you can submit your show information to. Most of the time they have a “submit your show here” link and you can fill it in yourself. Some have a calendar manager that you need to send your information to. Again, it depends on the outlet. But look for an entertainment editor, a music editor or calendar manager. If they have all of these contacts, contact the music editor. No need to send it to everyone.
If they don’t have an entertainment section (like a smaller newspaper) contact the managing editor and if they are interested they will contact you. Every outlet should have a ‘contact’ page or ‘about’ page. Sometimes they make it hard to find but do a little digging. Sometimes they just have a general email but if you can send it to a particular person that is obviously best.
3.) WHAT TO INCLUDE: First of all, check to see if they have special requirements regarding timeframe, what they will/not accept, etc. Some publications require two or three week advance notice of your show, so be sure to respect the timeframe and send all the information they require.
And before you contact anyone, you HAVE to have the following information ready:
VENUE CONTACT INFORMATION
VENUE WEBSITE ADDRESS
OTHER BANDS YOU’RE PLAYING WITH
Be sure to include a copy of your CD, your bio and a short pitch (which we will cover later) that will grab their attention and tell them WHY they should pay attention.
4.) FOLLOW UP: Once you send them the needed information, if you don’t hear back from anyone for a week or so be sure to follow up with a phone call or email. Make sure that they received the information you sent and see if they would be interested in either reviewing your project or letting their readers or viewers know about you and your show. Be friendly, brief, and non-nagging. Be sure to invite them to the show and offer to put their name on the guest list.
5.) DON’T BE DISCOURAGED: Getting coverage beyond getting your show listed on their entertainment calendar might take some time...and that’s OK. You have to prove yourself, get your footing, and show that you are in this for the long haul. The next time you’re in town, be sure to check in again and see if this time they might be interested.
It’s great to establish a press database for you to tap into when you re-visit a city and work to establish your local fan base. But do note that personnel changes pretty frequently so be sure to check up and make sure that the same contacts are there when you re-visit them.