Getting press exposure requires ongoing effort and the right strategies. Here are some of the biggest mistakes artists make when reaching out to the press:
- Using a scattershot approach. This method assumes that if you send out enough emails to everyone, somebody will respond. It’s not very effective. Do your research and find out exactly what types of magazines, newspapers, radio shows, blogs, etc. are appropriate for your story, and why. Then, tailor your message to each one individually.
- Failing to address the recipient by name. “Hi there” is not a greeting that is going to inspire interest, and will probably get your message deleted. It shows you are using “copy and paste” to blindly send the same message to lots of people. This is insulting to the recipient, because you apparently expect them to craft an individual response to a message that you didn’t bother to individually write. Do yourself a favor: find out the name of the reporter, blogger or editor that you need to reach with your pitch, and address them personally.
- Not creating a narrative that matters. You need a compelling story that will be appealing to their readers. Why should their particular publication be interested in writing about you? Put yourself in the shoes of the reporter and write your pitch so that it resonates with them.
- Not contacting them in a timely manner. If you write a pitch on December 1st with the intention of being included in a story about Christmas gifts, you are far too late. Request the editorial calendar from the publication’s sales department, and find out the articles scheduled to be published in the next six months. Reach out to the contact on a story well ahead of time to be considered.
- Too much information. Sending an email with a 2,000 word pitch about yourself and why you deserve press coverage is putting the cart before the horse. A straightforward, short email with a clear subject line, and concise information with perhaps one or two images will suffice. Don’t forget the link to your website so they can learn more.
- Not following submission procedure. Sometimes, publications solicit submissions from artists who want press exposure. Make sure you read the instructions, and follow them. You would be surprised at how many people do not. Those are people who are eliminated before even being considered.
- Failing to take advantage of opportunities. Headed to a trade show? Got your press kits? If not, you are giving up a great chance to get covered. Here’s where the press heads to find artists to write about. Make sure you are represented there by a press kit that grabs attention.
- No follow up. Once a member of the press has indicated interest (whether you solicited them or not) it is up to you to stay in touch. If they don’t contact you, send a low-key reminder message to keep your work and your story in front of them. And, don’t forget that once you have gotten press with a publication, they know you and are more likely to give you more press in the future.