Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Email Blogs

Over the past several days, I have been engaging in a New and Used Records email campaign. As a music blogger, I have received enough press emails to know what not to write. But the bigger issue is finding the right words to say when you are contacting websites that receive hundreds of emails of day from people just like you. Thankfully, some wise minds are willing to lend a hand in this area.

My friend Nick Fitzsimmons at Penny Distribution recently broke down the proper way to go about it, stating, "Do your homework," "Be relevant and brief," and "Try not to annoy." He adds:
Remember, you’re not looking for the front page of Pitchfork just yet. If you get any response from a blogger, even a “Thanks, but no thanks”, use that as an opportuinity to start a conversation - you never know where it might lead later on.
New Music Strategies recommends, "Know who you’re talking to on an individual basis, and tailor your communication....
There are some people who send me stuff that I talk about and recommend, even though I know, deep down, that they’re just doing a PR job. But they do it right and I feel like we have some sort of friendship going on.
This concept of building a relationship is also championed by Jeff Pulver:
Investing the time getting to know the bloggers who are in the space you are covering will prove to be a worthwhile investment over time. Take the time and make the effort to get to know us and some of us will be there when you need some help getting the word out about a shiny new product or service.
I still receive a number of emails regarding new releases from bands. Generally speaking, if I have not heard of the artist and it is just a mass email, I do not have the time to investigate the artist's work. That being said, I have actually discovered new bands because a PR company or the band themselves has contacted me. It is possible.

In talking to other bloggers about what works, I find that one key is to make the links to music as accessible as possible. I try and include a MySpace link in the first or second sentence. Keeping it brief is a plus - I generally write a short paragraph with the necessary information and paste the press release at the end for the genuinely interested parties.

As for following up, Fitzsimmons recommends waiting two weeks and that has worked for me in the past. I usually email a month before the album or show I am promoting and then follow up a week or two before.

Another thing to remember - it is hard to convince someone to like something. Take any response in stride, and do not burn bridges.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There must be a lot to bear in mind when mailing out to music bloggers. I've recently started pitching story ideas (and had a yes!), but there is actually a rather set protocol to doing that sort of thing. Music mailouts are still wild territory.