How to publicise your gig in the press
One of the best ways to spread the word about your Give a Gig event is to contact the press, both online and in print. Getting a story about your gig published before it takes place is a great free-of-charge way to encourage more people to come along. You may also want to send out a press release after your event, to share your fundraising achievement and to encourage others to Give a Gig.
When you contact the news or arts desk of your local paper, a music blog or any other publication you want to target, they will almost always ask you to send something in writing. That’s why it’s often best to send them a press release before you contact them by phone so that they might already be familiar with the story of your event. If they haven’t read it, when you call you can refer them to the email you’ve sent with the press release.
Top tips for writing a successful press release
Writing a press release isn’t that difficult but there are a few principles to bear in mind. The less work you give the journalist to do in terms of editing your press release the better.
1) Make it ready to publish.
Write your press release exactly how you might expect to read about your event in a newspaper or magazine. That means no “I”, “we” or “us” – everything is written in the third person
2) Keep it truthful.
Good example: “[name of band] aspire to become one of the best-known bands in the North West and beyond, with a big emphasis on melody as well as lyrics.”
3) Look for an angle.
The journalist will be looking for something new and fresh which marks your story out as different from others.
4) Keep it simple.
To get people along to your event, they need to know who is playing, what to expect in terms of the music, where the event is on, why you’re putting it on (i.e. it’s a fundraiser for Give a Gig), when it’s on and most importantly how to book tickets. This should all be clear at the top of your press release and in the first line.
Additional background information can be included in a ‘Notes to Editors’ section of your press release. The journalist can use these notes for additional background information and decide to include some of it or not as appropriate.
5) Think about the pictures.
Don’t forget to include good images (and video material and links if you have them).
6) Be aware of deadlines.
Bear in mind that journalists are often working to very tight deadlines so the more groundwork you do to give them the information they want in the form they want, the more likely they are to cover your story. Monthly magazines have much earlier deadlines than daily newspapers.
7) Know your audience.
You may want to write different versions of your press release for different types of publication.
8) Add a quote.
You can add opinions or aspirations in the form of a quote from an organiser of, or participant in your event. This adds colour to your story and also helps to personalise it. A quote is ideally two sentences, three maximum.
9) Make it easy for the journalist.
Keep your press release limited to 300-400 words. Additional information can go in the ‘Notes to Editors’ at the end.
Send the press release in the body of your email, not as an attachment. A journalist may never get around to opening an attachment.
10) Include contact details.
Make sure you include a contact name, details that person’s role in relation to the event, their email address, telephone number, and social media contact details in case the journalist wants to follow up the story.