Media is constantly changing and evolving. In the music world, there are far fewer print publications now because it’s cheaper to maintain websites or blogs. Today’s top print media targets may not exist in five years, so it is not my intention to name drop lots of publications. It is really important to do your homework and find out where you believe your music belongs. If your music runs towards pop and mainstream, you probably won’t have much luck trying to get into magazines that cover major label releases and Billboard chart music.
Principle one is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Realizing the sort of people you appeal to will help you identify your media targets. If you skew on the electronic dance side, target media that covers this type of music. All genres of music have outlets that cover them, leading to our essential next principle.
PROPER RESEARCH is your new best friend. We are highly fortunate to have a library/encyclopedia available at our disposal 24/7 thanks to the internet. When I started in PR, around the same time dinosaurs wandered the earth, the web was in its infancy.
Research is so crucial that we won’t get to the other principles until next week. If you are seeking to publicize tour dates, start your work at least six weeks prior to the performance date. This is because you will want to get packages out to media five to six weeks prior to the show. Find out who the music editors are at the local daily, weekly and if appropriate for your style of music, college papers. You’ll also want to find local blogs and websites. A good source for finding media in tour markets is http://www.mondotimes.com. You can also use your favorite search engines as well and type in things like “San Francisco media” to find what you need. If you are playing a town in the middle of nowhere I recommend going to http://www.maps.google.com or elsewhere to find nearby media. Distances between towns can be found at http://www.ask.com or elsewhere.
If you are trying to publicize a new album on the national level and can’t find music or review editors on websites for print publications, go to bookstores or newsstands with a notebook in hand and look at the masthead which will list the address and editorial contacts. There’s also that old fashioned tool of the telephone to call publications for the correct contacts. Revisit your friend Google or Yahoo and plug in what you are looking for, such as “Gothic music websites” to find places you will want to target. Setting your album up nationally will require working three months prior to your “street date” but that will be discussed later on.
Keep files and records of your research to stay organized. Stop checking your Facebook, get cracking and see you next time.