Music blogs, there’s thousands of them out there, covering everything from the most obscure and underground genres to pop and rock but how do they decide what artists to cover? It can be a mixture of stuff but for blogs like myself who predominantly showcase smaller up and coming artists receiving pitches via email is an excellent tool in discovering and connecting with new artists.
However, as you can imagine once your email is out there in the public domain your inbox gets inundated with a constant stream of pitches which at times can become overwhelming especially if you are using that email for other business or personal reasons. Side note if there are any small bloggers out there reading this, really consider setting up another email address solely for submissions so you can keep them separate from everything else. Anyway, I digress so yeah when you are getting so many pitches it makes it almost impossible to read every single one as well as listening to the music. I am at the stage now where I can spot a pitch I want to read a mile off from the subject line and the short first line preview. So many come through that just instantly get put in the trash because I don’t like how it started, that’s how ruthless bloggers have to be.
This morning I posted an Instagram story stating some of the things that I feel personally make a bad pitch and I got a lot of DMs from artists asking what I like to see in a pitch so I thought I would put together a bit of a guide in 15 easy steps on how to source and contact blogs efficiently from my own personal experience. Please note I’m not speaking on behalf of every other blog/website, some may not mind the things that annoy me, every blog has a preferred method of approach but widely speaking I do think that this can be applicable for a large percentage of sites.
1: Finding the right blogs
This is arguably the most essential point and getting it right can actually save wasting both yours and the bloggers time. I really recommend having a look at what blogs cover the bands you sound similar to. Also, not just targeting it sound wise but I also think size wise as well, does the blog you’re looking at cover smaller acts or do they stick to the bigger well-known names. This will aid you in working out what ones are likely to consider covering you. I personally really hate when I get pitches sent through for genres I have never covered or expressed an interest in. I cover indie rock, pop and a bit of punk and metal occasionally, this is clear to see from both the blog and my social media feeds so it does frustrate me when an email starts with ‘We work with an urban R&B artist’. It’s just a waste of both senders and recipients time and the email will go straight in the bin so targeting correctly is crucial.
2: Finding how the blog wish to be contacted
Right so now you know what blogs you’re going to pitch your track, album or EP to, great! Next step is to find out how they wish to be contacted, most blogs will clearly outline somewhere in thier ‘About’ section how they want to receive pitches. Some have forms you can fill out, others want to use sites such as submit hub however, you will find that many will accept via email. Make sure you are getting the right email address, whether that’s for a particular editor or writer if its a multi-person team. If blogs have multiple emails for different purposes sending pitches to emails that are clearly for things such as brand partnerships/ collaborations is likely to annoy bloggers, it won’t make you stand out and instead will probably land your email in the bin. Getting on the right side of bloggers can really pay off so just make sure you are contacting them how they wish to be with the right music and you should be good. If you’re unsure how to contact a blog simply drop them an Instagram message or a tweet asking for a contact email for submissions.
3: Pick Your time
Timing, very much like a lot of the things I’m going to cover in this post is a personal preference of each individual blogger. For me personally, I prefer when I get pitch emails within typical ‘office hours’ between 9-5 on weekdays, I usually deal with pitches in the evening so I like to have that days bulk there for me to go through without any new ones popping up. I really don’t like pitches that are sent in the early hours of the morning I feel they have an air of unprofessionalism to them. If you’re sending to a blogger in another country/timezone make sure you are sending at an appropriate time for them.
4: Name in email address
This is probably one of the smaller less important points but I personally like to have the name of the person in their email address, wether its coming from a PR company or from an individual band member. For example BandMemberName@BandName.com or PrManagerName@PrCompanyName. I feel it adds that personal feel from the offset. This could be a bit fussy but it is something I appreciate.
5: Subject line
Much like the timing this is a bit of a personal preference, I personally like the subject line to be simple and clean. Maybe just the name of the band, the track and possibly a release date. Keep it short, I want to be able to read it all without having to click into the email, it just saves it looking messy. I also really don’t like emojis in subject lines, I feel they can look a little tacky.
6: Opening line
Finally, you are into actually writing the email, so how do you open it? A simple ‘Hello’ followed by the person your pitching to’s name will do. If you wanna spice it up a little a ‘Good morning, afternoon, or evening’ will do, obviously interchangeable, don’t go sending all three, that would definitely have the blogger questioning your intellect. Do not and I repeat DO NOT start an email with Dear Sir/Madam surprisingly for someone with a self-titled blog I get this a lot and it will get your email binned straight away, if you can’t go to the effort to find out my name then I won’t use my effort to read on. Simple. If you are sending to a magazine or someone of which you don’t know their name, then do your best to find out but if you really can’t then even using the name of the site works better than a generic impersonal opening. Then have a little ‘Hope you’re doing well’, ‘Hope you had a good weekend’ or another pleasantry alike, if you want to personalise it up maybe look at the bloggers socials, see what they’ve been up to, have they been to a festival or gig recently mention that, ‘Community looked amazing, hope you had the best time’ for example, you’re already racking in the brownie points are you’re only one line in.
7: Introduce yourself
It’s finally your time to shine, tell the blogger your name and who you are contacting them on behalf of, keep this short but clearly state your role wether thats band manager, frontman, PR manager.Let them know where you’re based, bloggers like to know who they are talking to so anything you can do to help them build a bit of a profile of you in their head is great.
8: Let them know what you are hoping to get from them.
This is something that I value in a pitch email, are you looking for a playlist placement, blog feature or review, let the blogger know what you are hoping to get so you can be on the same page. Even if it’s just a little ‘I’m looking for a blog to premiere band names new single’ or ‘ I am hoping to secure some Spotify playlist placements’. This is something I forgot to mention in the first step of making sure you’re reaching out to the right people, check that what you are asking for is offered from that blogger, for example I don’t tend to do too many album reviews but I do a monthly singles roundup, I have a Spotify playlist and a playlist tab on the blog that I update weekly with music videos, so mention specifically in relation of the blog you are approaching what you are hoping to get.
9: Let them know you have done your research
This ties in pretty closely to the previous step but show the blogger that you know them, I like when someone makes a reference to a blog post or tells me they enjoyed reading a specific one. Or even just letting me know how they found me even if it is slightly fabricated, if I feel like time has been spent on me I am more likely to return it. Tell them why you picked them, make them feel special, simple.
10: Band Info
If you have done all the steps above chances are the blogger is still reading, you’ve hooked them so this is where you can make the sales pitch. Mention the bands origins, accolades, stylistic influences, specially hone in on the track or album you are looking to get coverage on. If you’ve got them throw in some quotes from previous coverage, I love to hear what other blogs have got to say about an artist and I can usually gage wether I will enjoy something from what certain blogger think about it. Keep this as short as possible, as I keep mentioning bloggers get a lot of pitches and the ability to get all the key information in one paragraph is only going to make us very happy.
11: Song/ album link
If the track is unreleased then a private Soundcloud or Youtube upload is perfect, if you attach an MP3 that can become annoying as it does take up a lot of inbox storage and Dropbox means the blogger will have to download the track which takes time and storage, think if they are reading 50 pitch emails that night thats a lot of tracks and possibly albums to have downloaded so make it accessible and convenient.
12: Attaching an EPK
If you don’t already know what an EPK is then it is simply an ‘Electronic Press Kit’ this can include slightly longer bios on a band, quotes, photos, stats, tour dates, social media information, website links etc. Pretty much everything that a blogger would need if they decided to cover you. We don’t want to have to be fishing around all over the internet trying to scrape together information, that can be the make or break factor in deciding wether to cover a band/artist particularly if they are smaller indie acts who don’t have too much information out there yet. You can mention towards the end of the email that you have attached the bands EPK.
13: Wrapping it up
Keep this bit short and sweet, they have probably already decided at this point if they want to provide coverage or not but there’s always a chance to win them over with your pleasant charm. Thank them for their time, let them know that you value the bloggers views and welcome their opinion, before just signing off with your name and credentials. Or if maybe you want to invite the blogger down to a show or offer to send them a physical copy of the music put that in there as well.
14: Follow up?
I personally do not enjoy follow up emails, I see all the pitches that come through and you will know if I enjoyed it because I will cover it. The only situation I wouldn’t mind a short follow up would be in the case of a premiere, in which case it’s useful to hear back from blogs so you can cross them off the list and move onto the next, it can get messy when you’re looking for a premiere, but that’s another blog post in itself. Instead of a delayed follow up email I don’t mind a little Instagram DM from a band once they have sent something over like ‘Hey, hope you’re good, we’ve just sent our new single over to your email, can’t wait to hear what you think.’ That is something I really appreciate, engaging with a blogger socials is also a positive thing to do, a comment here or there on a post just letting them know you’re still engaging is nice, it can kind of break down the barrier that feels like they were just using you for gain. I have so many bands that I have connected with on a personal level through social media interaction and I am 10x more likely to feature them than someone who drops random emails now and then. At the end of the day, you are interacting with real people behind these blogs so always be conscious about that.
If the blogger you pitched to decides to cover the track make sure that you share the coverage on your social media, there is nothing more frustrating when as a blogger you spend time writing an article praising a band and they never show it any love. I guarantee it will make a blogger very unlikely to cover you again so don’t skip tweeting about anything positive someone says about you.
There you go, 15 steps on how to successfully pitch your music to bloggers, I’m getting ready to receive an influx of well written pitches. I hope I could help any bands/artists reading this and I wish you the best of luck in securing some coverage.