If you are not in a position to pay a PR agency for your new release, there is no other way than to engage in DIY music PR.
Even if you are without a budget you can still plan and launch a campaign on your own. But it means that you will need to invest a lot of your time in order to get your music featured on blogs, magazines, radio and playlists.
In one of my latest blogs I wrote about how to promote your upcoming release as early as you are writing it. Music publicity has become a continuous process. It’s important to stay in the focus as much as possible and keep that momentum by coming up with new content, touring, releasing music, merchandise, etc.
Build Your Media List
In early phases of an album creation it is important to focus on building your list of media contacts by looking for publications that have already covered bands similar to your genre. Be organized as much as possible; try to find contact emails of editors and journalists, and try avoiding general emails such [email protected], [email protected], etc. Having a direct contact with a real person behind is very valuable, and that’s something that shows in a long run. If you plan on using a service like Mailchimp, make sure to organize your contacts by including their names and publications they work for.
Create Buzz for Your Upcoming Album
This is something I already wrote about in the mentioned blog post. Sharing photos and videos from the writing and recording sessions will build anticipation for your album when you are ready to officially announce. Engage with your fans on social media and newsletters, in other words keep them on their toes.
10-6 Months Before the Release
You may think ten months before a release is a long period but trust me when you are involved in a creation of an album, and everything else, you usually end up with: “If we just had more time.” Therefore, don’t sleep on planning.
First of all, are you a touring band? Do you plan to tour in support of your album? If so, where do you plan to tour? Make a list of dates and cities you want to play. Get in touch with local bands in the cities you plan to visit and ask them to play with you. The more time you have to plan your tour, the better—your life will be easier.
But if you are not a live band, then you can simply skip over that. Still you have quite some planning to do.
High Resolution Promo Photos
Promo photos are crucial for securing press coverage both online and in print publications. Having professional photos tells that you pay attention to your work and you are serious about it. As a journalist of a print publication, I was in situations where we had to decline many bands. The reason: low quality photos taken with a cellphone. This just doesn’t work.
Obviously you will need an album art for your album, and having it in various formats is more than helpful. As a side advice, I would recommend having an artwork that fits well the overall concept of your album and lyrics. Build an image around your concept with artwork, photos and biography.
Another one of fundamental pieces of every band is a biography. You may be a new kid on the block without much of experience, but you still need to tell a compelling story about your band. It’s helpful to ask your peers to read the bio you have and let you know their opinion. Or you can Do-it-Yourself by using another band’s name instead of yours and decide for yourselves do you like it or not. Additionally, ask a journalist or take up on our bio writing service to do that instead of you.
If you mapped out your release and you know how many songs there will be on it, you should also choose singles that you will launch before and after the album is out. For a full-length release the usual practice is to release up to four singles, with two launched before the album, one on the release day, and one after the album is out.
Depending on your budget (more about it in the future posts), consider doing lyric videos, a music video, and playthroughs. Remember, more content you have during promotion makes for a successful campaign.
As you already know, you don’t need to have a label behind you for you to release your music physically. Of course, having a label support has its advantages, but that’s a topic for some other time.
If you do plan to release your upcoming album on a CD, it is wise to get in touch with pressing plants and ask everything about their requirements and involved costs. If you are set on releasing your album on CD, you should have your copies delivered to you at least six months before the official release date. Having said that, your album should be fully ready by that time.
6-4 Months Before the Release (A Real DIY Music PR Starts Here)
Have Release Dates for Singles and Album
By this time, you should have the release dates for your singles and album. Your first single should be launched four months before the album release, with the second coming two months apart. Use digital aggregators such CD Baby, DistroKid and TuneCore to schedule the digital releases of singles and the album pre-orders (pre-saves). Plan and write press releases accordingly.
Submit Your Album to Print Media
Print publications are not as online publications. They need time and carefully plan their issues in advance. That’s why it’s important to get in touch and deliver your release (CDs or digital promos) four months before your album is officially out. This period of the DIY Music PR process should be focused on print magazines strictly for the best possible outcome.
4-1 Months Before the Release
Online & Radio DIY Music PR
The time has come to get your album out to online publications. And your single(s) to podcasts, online radios, and playlisters. Pitch for album reviews and interviews, but also premieres of singles.
Let the Tour Hype Begin!
So if you are a live band with a tour ahead, apart from online and radio promotion, your focus should be at tour publicity at this time. Getting local radios and media outlets to run coverage and announcements about your shows may not result in audience, but it’s certainly helpful to be on the radar.
The Month of Release
Update Your EPK
With all the hard work behind you for the past few months and all your DIY music PR efforts, by this time you should have a certain amount of press clippings that you can use for your EPK.
Album Release Day
Finally the day has come. Ring the bells and announce the release throughout all your social media pages. Update your profile and cover photos. Send a press release with the album and video single announcement. Send a newsletter to your subscribers. And don't forget to celebrate before you embark on that tour.
Post-Album Release DIY Music PR
Now that the album was released, your goal is to keep the buzz for as long as possible. Communicate with media about the interview features, launch the remaining single. Engage on social media and answer your fans' questions about the album. Tour as much as possible in the support of the album. Offer a new (exclusive) merch design...
DIY Music PR: Bottom Line
As you can see DIY Music PR is possible, but it requires a lot of time and effort for it to work out. Next time you start working on a riff leading to your next release, start planning and brainstorming immediately. All the hard work pays back. That's for sure.
Still struggling? Scared from DIY Music PR? Don't be desperate. Get in touch with us and let's talk about how we can help you with the promotion and marketing of your next release.