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How to get more press for your band

Recent, wreckless PR stunt: band blocks L.A. Freeway.  Band arrested - mission accomplished???
Recent, wreckless PR stunt: band blocks L.A. Freeway. Band arrested - mission accomplished???
Photo by Associated Press.

This Sunday (10/17/10), Colorado Music Business (COMBO) will be holding a general educational/networking meeting called "How to get more press for your band" at the Cheeky Monk (Colfax & Pearl) from 7-9PM.  This seminar is all-ages, open to the public & free.

Guest speakers include: Peter Jones (Community Newspapers), Brian Johnson (Marquee Magazine), Brett “Dutch” Seyfarth (Westword and Relix magazine), Allison Diekhoff (Colorado Music Buzz), Eryc Eyl (Denver Post), and yours truely (on behalf of Examiner.com). Parking is free on the streets on Sundays, and there is a parking lot directly to the south of The Cheeky Monk as well.

Most bands are eager to start with the question "How do I get more press?"  But it's far better to start with "why do I want more press for my band?"  What is the goal?  Do I want more record sales?  Do I want to draw attention to a specific show?  Knowing clearly what your goal is will lead logically to the best channels of promotion.

Sure, it would be cool to have a your photo and band story preserved in tree pulp for eternity, or until it turns yellow.  But is it really worth killing off mother nature for a brief massage of the ego?  We live in the disposable, digital age.  And here are some obvious and effective alternatives to the printed press:

- Internet coverage (yes, like the Examiner).  Easy to produce, easy to link to your web site(s) and very timely.  What you need to do: 1) write a press release or get someone else to do this for you. 2) make sure the article has a hook (just like a song), 3) contact the writer and submit your article, 4) if the writer has not done a post on you, keep following up - make sure you know the difference between being  persistent yet not annoying.

- youtube.  This is the age of audio/visual.  The more you can incorporate the senses, the better.  The triple wammy: a music video shown on the McDonald's dining room video monitors so viewers can get a whiff of french fry fat while seeing and hearing your band (this is do-able).  What you need to do:  1) buy or borrow a video camera, 2) rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!, 3) find a good video editor, 4) post your video.

- Do you have a new album?  Does the band have a mission, a reason for being, like maybe your tour van runs on veggie oil?  Political advocacy?  Maybe a radio interview would be the best way to go.  What you need to do:  1) identify 1-3 radio stations that might give you an interview, ) identify the contacts and call them or visit them in person if possible, 3) be prepared to pitch your very engaging reason to be on the air, 4) keep following up.

- Finally, publicity stunts.  If you do something creative, all forms of press will gravitate towards you.  Sadly, the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity holds true.  What NOT to do:  1) Don't break any laws - it's not worth it (see photo insert to this article), 2) nudity will only get you so far...

For more ideas, please come to the Cheeky Monk this Sunday and meet some of your fellow musicians.

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