A music press release is one easy tool musicians can use to gain publicity. It's essentially a news article that tells an important story about a solo performer or group. It can be the launching of a new album, a debut performance, a major concert or any other associated event. The only requirement for subject matter is that it is newsworthy.
1. Define the target reader and consequently the media outlet. Publicity is the objective and therefore the article is only effective if it is written for the intended reader. The topic and the language of the article should fit the context of the musical style, its common listeners, and the specific media publication or broadcast organization it will be submitted to. For example, a press release that uses a lot of rock and roll slang words, is about a classical music performer, and is submitted to a teen magazine won't usually work. Not unless the performer was actually a teenager, dresses like a rock star during concerts, and aims to reach out to his or her peers. There aren't really any hard and fast rules when it comes to publicity and press releases. Figuring out what could work is often an intuitive analysis of subject, reader and medium.
2. Define the message. Music press releases aren't written purely for the sake of information. Their function is to help increase the popularity of the musician by associating him or her with some other interesting idea. What is the point that needs to be emphasized? The musician's virtuosity, politics, concern for social issues, personal struggles - the list can be endless. But there should only be one focus for the message to be clear.
3. Craft the music press release. Now that the subject, reader and media outlet are more or less defined, the writing process can begin. It will also be much easier, as it will be guided by the initial considerations. Press releases are still news articles, and therefore the rules of journalistic writing still apply. That means having a catchy headline, a first paragraph that will hook the reader and still convey most of the important information, and a body that can sustain interest until the final words. Some publications and broadcast agencies may prefer a specific format, so it's important to find that out too. In any case here's a sample guideline:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
First paragraph: who, what, where, when, and why.
Body: additional details and exposition
Concluding paragraph: 'About Us' information on the performer
For further information, contact (contact person) at (phone number)
### - this symbol marks the end of the press release and tells the editor or writer he has received the complete article
4. Send out the press release. Depending on what arrangements the media outlet prefers, you can send the music press release either through fax, email or snail mail. Just make sure that you address it to the correct person, spell his or her name correctly and include the proper professional title. It would also be prudent to give them a call first and let them know you'll be sending them a press release. Whether it actually gets published depends now on how interesting and fitting the story will be as perceived by the editors or radio station managers.
Since publicity is the name of the game, knowing and having a good relationship with many journalists, editors, DJs and other significant media personnel is very important. Build a list of contacts, and nurture this network. They can be the people who will either help make or break a musician's career.