Press Releases: The Food Samples of the Music Industry. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for most of your life (we won’t judge you for that, cool people like Batman do it too), you’re probably familiar with food samples at supermarkets. Think for a moment: How many times have you felt compelled to buy a new flavour of nachos after taking one (yeah right, only one) from the food sample tray? Well then, that’s what your goal for a press release should be: Making bloggers, magazines etc. curious about your musical flavour and possibly binge on it on a Friday night.
Although the same principles we named on our tips for an artist biography apply for any press text you write (artist identity, storytelling, good structure, spelling and grammar), some specific rules apply here. Not all nachos are created equal! To be actually appealing, a press release must be:
- Newsworthy: A release is an event and it should be formulated as such.
- Relevant: To the genre and to the type of audience.
- Interesting: A text that communicates your identity is better than a bunch of dull facts.
Two to three paragraphs are a good standard for a press release (300 words is more than enough). You can structure them as follows:
- Since the main topic here is (duh) the release, that’s what the title, subtitle and introductory paragraph are about. Start by reviewing your “why” and your artist identity: What makes your song/album, different from others within your genre? It can be a geographical location, its relation to a current hot cultural/societal topic or a relatable experience etc. Can you sum this up in 5 – 10 words? That will be your title.
However, remember what we said about storytelling when we talked about your artist identity! Highlighting personal stories and anecdotes that communicate your artist identity will make the text way more interesting.
Current events or cultural references are SEO-friendly. Don’t force it though! If you don’t find any relevant connection to such topics, just leave them out. BUT if you’re gonna include facts, do your homework! Research and make sure you’re using accurate information.
- The second paragraph includes the relevant details. Keep in mind that everything you mention should be relevant to your artist identity! Why does your album/song sound like that? For example, you can mention how you got inspired by certain artists, and if your release follows a certain tradition within your genre or prefers to break it. A couple of relevant lines about your musical content and your creative process for this particular release are also welcome here.
Big names whose sound you can relate to are SEO-friendly and provide context for your audience.
- Finish your third paragraph with a couple of essential biofacts related to your artist identity and your two most relevant achievements.
- Accompany the text with a good hi-res photo of the release artwork.
- Don’t forget your contact info! Tell the reader where they can listen to the music (and how they contact you if it applies).
Since you’ll hopefully have many releases in your career, writing press texts is a skill you can practice and hone along the way. You can start by checking out some examples of well-written press releases on sites like ninjatune, 4AD, or True Panther.
That’s basically it. You don’t need to be a genius journalist in order to write a tasty press release text. You’ll be fine if you follow these basic principles!