Once you have organised your gig, picked your line-up and completed all the gig paperwork (contracts, tech specs, stage layouts etc) you then need to promote and market your event. This could involve contacting local and national press, radio stations and music magazines in the genre you are promoting, as well as promotion through social media (FB adverts, FB events etc). In London one way to cover a lot of the major publications like Time Out etc is to use the Press Assocation's on-line event up-loader and portal called Muse. The information required includes all the gig details: Date, Location, Line-up, Ticket Links, Promo photos and a section which includes more details about your event.
MUSE Check list
- Date and date of event
- Promo photographs with permission from the artist (3 only allowed)
- Ticket link
- Press release body (2500 Chars only)
- Other info - Seating/Standing - General Admission or reserved seating etc
The best way to do this is to create an music event press release. When you write a press release, you need to "get in and get out" in other words; you have to communicate all of the necessary information in a clear and engaging manner without overstaying your welcome with the reader. Sure, it may sound like a tall order, but once you get the hang of it, writing press releases will become a breeze.
Identify What You're Promoting
Focus is your friend when it comes to press releases, and it helps to have a clear goal in mind. What do you want the people reading your press release to do? Do you want them to write about your new release, your upcoming shows, your Battle of the Bands win...you get the picture? Choose a very specific promotion goal to build your press release around.
Beware being vague. Essentially what you are always trying to promote is the event and your line-up and that should be your focal point. In other words, sending out a "hey, we have a gig in London" press release isn't going to be very useful. You're looking for a " ? is playing an exiting concert at ? in support of their recent album release'. You get the picture.
Often what will happen is publications will often "cut and paste" from the press release directly into their websites or printed media. This is often done due to time constraints. So here is a tip, write the press release in such a way as it sound like a newspaper article. If you were a music journalist what would you write about your own event to make people interested to coming?
Find Your Hook - The "USP" (Unique Selling Point)
And you thought you were done narrowing your message. Not quite yet. Once you know what you're promoting, look for the hook (the USP) that makes your gig the perfect one. What makes it stand out from the crowd! Why should people come to your gig? What makes it special and unique? A strong back story is also very important. In advertising terms you need to create a 'buzz' around the event. It's often the 'sizzle' not necessarily the 'sausage' that counts.
If you're releasing an album. That's excellent, but so are many, many, many other people. Why is your release (or tour or what have you) the one that should get the press to love it?
If you're thinking, "hmmm, well, I've got nothing" - you're wrong. You've just got to find it. Did someone on the album play on another release of note? What about the producer? Did you raise money to fund the release by mowing lawns? Did you write all the songs while training for a marathon? Did you quit a job at Argos to record the album? Find your story, so you can then present it as a story worth telling.
Write Your Intro Paragraph
Much like the first paragraph of a news story, the first paragraph of your press release should cover the whos, whats, wheres, hows and maybe whys of whatever you're promoting. Look at it like this, you want someone who decides not to read past the first paragraph to still know the basic information about your project. Of course, your first paragraph should also give someone a reason to WANT to keep reading, but even if they don't, they should still walk away from this intro knowing who you are and what you are promoting.
State your case and do it quickly and get to the point. Include a sentence or two about your news. What's the name of the new album, what song is getting the most buzz, the name of the tour, if there is one, and any special guests or opening acts who will appear as part of the show. Paragraph two should have the brisk feeling of this paragraph.
Get Their Attention. Use a large font and bold print. Don't make the headline cryptic or cutesy; no one has time for that. If you're sending your release via email as well as MUSE make that header sentence the subject line of the email.
Keep it short and sweet. Go for a few punchy sentences.
Write Your Second Paragraph
It is where the meat comes in. In your second paragraph, add some colour to your project. Obviously, what you include in this paragraph depends very much on what you're promoting, but for instance, describe the music. Comparisons are always a little tricky, but a few comparisons to other artists give the reader at least a frame of reference. Highlight the reason why your story is unique. Use this paragraph to give information that a member of the media could use to tell your story. In other words, your first paragraph tells them "Artist X is doing Y." The second paragraph might give them "Artist X is doing Y because of Z."
Dates and More Information: If there is anything special about you show, for instance if a show is an afternoon gig or if the show is 18+ only, include that information.
Paragraph two will be longer than your intro, but remember to keep it tight and on point.
Write Your Closing Paragraph
The final paragraph is the easiest part of your press release to write.
Tell the reader how they can get more information. That means you should include the email address and phone number of the person in charge of handling your press inquiries. Also, include links to the website and the social networking platform used most often by the artist (if applicable). That's it! Easy, huh?
Basically your closing paragraph is a 'Call to Action' . It includes the contact information of the person in charge of handling press queries about the shows. Make a suggestion of what you want the person to reading the press release to do with this information: "If you would like more information, or if you want to interview the band or review the show, please contact [so and so]."
- Keep It Short: If at all possible - and in 99.99999% of cases, it IS possible - your press release should not exceed one page. If you seem to be going over while you're writing it, don't sweat it. Just keep writing until you get out all of the information in your head. Then, go back and start cutting.
- Opt for Telling It Straight: Creativity in press releases is to be applauded. However, remember that a press release is essentially a sales pitch. Not only can trying to be too cutesy come off as cheesy to the max but getting caught up in the creative can sometimes obscure your message. If you have to choose between going all 'Kafka' and going all news copy, go for the news copy. Be sure your main points are crystal clear before throwing in those obscure references and the like.
- Dig Hard for Your Angle: If you had any idea how many people write about entertaining their parents by singing into a hair brush when they were kids or playing their first guitar at 6 years old in their press releases, you would be shocked. Spend some time thinking about what makes your visiting artists unique. After all, you're competing for coverage with other promoters. Look for interesting things about the back story of the artists, recording process, work history, tour plans and so on.
Important: Check your Work! Proofread your release, read it out loud, and if possible, have more than one person read it before sending it out. While you don't want everyone to get a chance to tweak every release, you want to make very sure there are no embarrassing typos or incorrect information on there.