Hey Musicians, Read This Before Emailing Bloggers and Podcasters

by Ross Barber-Smith

I launched a video podcast with my good friend Marcio in October of 2014, and since we launched we’ve received many emails from artists and music business professionals who want to be interviewed on our show.

These emails range from good to bad – some really manage to hook us in and make us want to know more. Whereas others only make us want to delete the email and forget we ever received it.

I know it’s tough to get press, so I wanted to put together a few tips for reaching out to podcasters, bloggers, music websites, or any other outlet that may potentially want to feature you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Know Who You’re Emailing

If you’re contacting someone to appear on their podcast or to be featured in their blog, show that you at least know who hosts or runs it.

Recently, we received a lot of submissions for our video podcast which showed that the artists hadn’t bothered to watch an episode or even read our bios. We had emails starting with “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Sir/Madam” (yes, really).  This approach only demonstrates that you’ve most likely copy & pasted the same email to numerous others. It’s not appealing to the recipient whatsoever. In fact, it’ll most often result in your email being deleted. If you’re not going to spend a couple of minutes doing a little research, why should we spend hours scheduling an interview, doing OUR research, promoting your feature etc?

Take a little time to research who you’re contacting and make your email a little more personal. As a podcast host and blogger, I can tell you – it really does make a difference.

Get Involved in their Community

If you want to get on the radar of a blogger or podcaster, get involved in their community. Share their posts on Facebook, join in any discussions, retweet their Tweets – be passionate about what they do, and it won’t go unnoticed.

Of course this won’t guarantee you’ll get an interview or feature, but it certainly increases your chances when you go to contact them.

Get To The Point

No-one wants to read novel length emails. Especially not as an introductory email. Don’t include your full 3 page bio in that first email – keep it short and snappy. And personally, I don’t really like receiving full press releases in that first email either – by all means include a link to your latest press release or EPK, but don’t paste the entire thing in an email.

My suggestion would be to include a very brief introduction to you as an artist, hit on some key points and then let the person you’re contacting know why you would be a great person to interview or feature. Be specific here and give them a reason to email you back and want to know more. Keep it personal and relevant to the outlet you’re contacting and you’ve got a good chance of getting a response.

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up

We all receive a lot of email nowadays, but bloggers and anyone involved in the press side of the media is likely to receive twice as much (if not more) than the average person.

Don’t be afraid to send a follow up email after a week or two just to check if they received your message. It may be that they forgot to mark it as “to-do” or they’ve just been busy and not had a chance to reply.

For example, I’ve been trying to arrange an interview with one of my favourite artists and I didn’t receive a response to my email. I left it a few weeks and then forwarded my original email to his manager, changing the “FWD” in the subject to “Follow Up.”

Within a day, I received a response saying they would be happy to set up an interview. So it can work! Just don’t be too pushy.

Accept That Not Everything Is Going to be a Good Fit

Now for the tough part: accepting that not everyone you contact is going to want to interview or feature you, even if you think you’re a perfect match.

Using my podcast as an example again, we receive a lot of artist submissions and they just aren’t all to our tastes. As well as wanting to feature artists who have inspiring or funny stories to share, we also want to have a genuine interest and passion for the music or art they create, so our criteria is a little difficult to define.

Because of this, there will be a lot of artists who contact us that we won’t deem “right” for our show – but this doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them.

This may be true for other podcasts, blogs and press outlets. Often there will be criteria for inclusion that defers to the editor’s judgment that may not be made public. But don’t let this deter you – you should still go for these opportunities and reach out to places that you think will be a good match for you.

Looking for More?

You can check out my video podcast here: Bridge The Atlantic.

I’d also recommend Jesse Cannon’s excellent book “Get More Fans: The DIY Guide to the Music Business” for more advice and tips for getting people to write about you.

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