So if PR is so hard – how do you get blogs to write about you? It’s just a question of reaching out to the right people. One of the fascinating sides of the music industry is how many niche blogs here are. Not only are there, for example, thrash metal blogs, but there are also thrash metal blogs targeting thrash metal from between the years 1986-1993. The internet is a weird place, one that encourages hyper specialization and music nerds are the sort of people who love to do crazy stuff like that. So it’s a meeting of a few relatively extreme groups which culminates in the very strange blogosphere that we benefit from today. For the record – I’m not entirely sure who reads these hyper niche blogs, but what are you gonna do? Coverage is coverage.
A good exercise, not just for PR purposes, is to figure out where exactly your band fits in your genre and subgenre and then what genres parallel to yours you might be able to find a place in. This helps you when you are trying to figure out the keywords you want to use when hunting down blogs. If you’re a pop punk act, then you can probably find blogs that would be interested in your band that cover pop punk, pop rock, indie, and even a few more open minded punk blogs. It’s always good to remember that a lot of these genres run adjacent to each other and feed off similar sounds. Think about how you got into your particular niche – you probably fell in love with a few other niches of music along the way. So consider those other niches that you fell in love with and take advantage of them in order to reach out and figure out where you think you can fit in.
Beyond that – finding blogs in your microgenre can be surprisingly easy if you’re really connected. For example – just by virtue of having spent years going to music festivals and shows, I know bloggers from all over the world who are into the same sort of music that I love, and these people are willing to write reviews for me because they know me and know we love the same art. I got connected to them because we have hundreds of mutual friends – we are both folks who are super plugged in to our scene and it leads to a potent unification. It’s the sort of thing that you can generate just by being a friendly guy. That’s why it’s important to keep growing your network – because it can lead to the ability to craft unique opportunities to help out your band. There are doubtless many blogs in your genre who would love to cover you – but if you don’t partake as an active member of the scene then you aren’t going to really find people who are interested.
You need to take advantage of your scene – but also make sure that you are giving back. There should be a reason for people to know you – you can’t just be in an unsigned band and expect tons of reviews to come in. I mean – that works to some degree, sending out mass emails to blogs in your genre definitely is one way to get reviews. Sure the ROI is usually pretty low, but at least it’s something. The best press is going to come in when you are an active part of the community and are the kind of person who is always willing to buy a round of drinks, to critique a friends band, to produce a project for cheap. In other words – being a good dude. It’s a circle and if you expect to have your side of things respected and not get your just desserts then you are going to need to be a hard working and dedicated member of your particular music community.
I think what’s important to realize when reaching out to blogs is how many hundreds of submissions your average mid level blog gets every week. It’s easy to get lost in the madness. This is part of why it’s better to start off contacting more obscure blogs. Sure you might luck out and land a major placement – but the vast majority of the time it’s really only the obscure bargain basement blogs that are going to be interested. Once you start to gather a few of those it becomes easier to reach out to bigger blogs because press can lead to more and more opportunities and thus give blogs more desire to cover you. You’re going to learn along the way too. You’re going to learn things like how you need to showcase everything you have done in order to incentivize bloggers to write about you. You want to be hip and exciting band of the week because if you’re not you probably will be ignored. If you’re not showing off what you’ve been able to create people won’t care. I know that sounds bitter and tired but that’s just how it tends to be so often. I’ve done it I’ve tried to be the indie PR guy for my band and it is not an easy task.
Targeting the right blogs is a hard thing to do and being a friendly person and in the right part of the community is a crucial part of getting people to cover you. You need to realize that if you’re not targeting your hyper specific niche, at leas at first, you’re going to have a hard time getting coverage. You need to remain humble too – you can’t just expect the top publications in your genre to cover you right away. Instead you need to look at what you have to offer to the scene and go from there. This isn’t about you and your band, it’s about a greater collective and if you try to turn it around and make it all about you people will ignore you.