Don’t Shout! Speak & They’ll Listen
Connecting with bloggers and online Influencers is a great way to generate hype and gain visibility for your band. But how to stand out from the crowd? How do you contact a complete stranger and get them to show interest in your and your music?
Compared to say, even ten years ago it is difficult to distinguish between journalists and bloggers. Some blogs are so well written and have such a large following, that they become the first port of call when readers wish to know what they should be listening to.
Because these Influencers have built up such as large following, they hold a lot of influence within their circles and it is difficult to get onto their radar. So how do you grab their attention? Here are 5 dos and don’ts:
Do Your Research
Don’t even say hello to an Influencer until you identify what that blogger’s topic of expertise is. You need to be able to connect with the Influencer on a shared interest or value. If they write about folk music and you’ve got a new folk album coming out, you can go ahead. If they write about the best ways to grow turnips, you might want to look elsewhere.
Online Influencers nearly always tend to be early adopters. So ensure when you do approach, that you are offering something new and exclusive. A sneak peak at your latest EP, or first look at the music video to your new single might just be thing that gets them to engage with you.
Do Pitch Yourself
The same way magazines and newspapers receive hundred of pitches a day from bands requesting reviews or features, online Influencers don’t have time to respond to every request, so here is a tip. Before your try to pitch, first break the ice. Instead of going in all about yourself, show consistent interest in themselves and their work by:
Engaging with them on social media, but don’t stalk them.
Commenting on their blog posts, with something substantial. A “Nice blog” will do nothing for them or you, make sure you add to the conversation.
Share their content over your social media sites, and be sure to tag, mention or link back to them.
It might seem like a lot to do, but when it comes to pitching your music you’ll stand a much better chance of catching their interest having done this, because they’d have read your name before.
The same way you wouldn’t follow a person in real life shouting “HEY @INFLUENCER, LISTEN TO MY MUSIC” at them, so you shouldn’t online. A big no-no (and something we see a lot) is posting comments that have nothing to do with the bloggers post. If they’ve posted content and you comment with nothing but a link to your music, you’re adding nothing to the conversation and they won’t care.
Don’t email them everyday, you’ll eventually find yourself amongst their junk mail. Also don’t come across arrogant or curt. Posting snarky comments isn’t going to win you any allies in any industry. When you engage with Influencers, be polite and genuine and use common sense, you’re speaking to a person after all.
However, people now tend to share more about themselves over social media, so its OK to bond and be more informal over these platforms, as long as the context is appropriate and you’re doing other things to build the relationship.
One main point: Bloggers and online Influencers use different social media networks for different reasons. So respect their right to do so. Work by this rule: If they don’t share blog or work related content on a particular social media site, don’t reach out for them on there and DEFINITELY don’t attempt to add them on Facebook.
Don’t Expect a Publication For Something They Haven’t Heard
A bloggers reputation is vital to them. So, if you’re trying for a review or feature don’t just ask them to write something without them having experienced some part of your music.
Embed media, either Soundcloud or Youtube into your emails, so they just have to press play to have a listen, don’t send MP3s. Similarly, if you’re posting your requests, make sure you include your EP or album within that envelope, along with a handwritten note (for that more personal touch).
As mentioned before, offer them exclusivity. First listen to your new EP for example
If you’re local, then offer them free tickets to your next show or album launch. If you’ve really built up a relationship, ask to meet up at a gig you’re both going to for a pint, the informal setting will work in your favour.
Don’t be shocked or angry if they don’t give you the five star review you were hoping for, like I said, their reputation is everything, so if they say something is great and it isn’t, then they lose their reader’s trust. It’s the music industry so you have to take the good with the bad.
Don’t Name Drop
The whole “it’s who you know” attitude may help in some cases, but when those people are shoved into the faces of others, you’re damaging your own reputation. By mentioning to another Influencer that, “So and so has written about our new EP in his blog” you’ve instantly wiped out the exclusivity you were offering this Influencer and they won’t care, its been done before, its old news.
Influencers want to be the first to know, especially if its something they love. So by listing a load of other bloggers, whom are essentially their competitors, you’ve just told this Influencer they aren’t important enough to be on the top of your list.
Try out these tips on your next campaign, its never too early to start building relationships, just be natural about it. The days of firing your link at everything that moves is over, be personal, build a connection and you’ve got a fighting chance of winning yourself some very helpful press.
About Tom SatchwellCommunity Manager at Fortitude Magazine. Read Tom's Industry blog at: www.BeatsOnToast.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter: @TomSSatchwell
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