Press Release Me, Let Me Go… 3/9/2007
Good day to you all.
This week I’m going to talk about Press Releases. Just what on earth are they, should you care and how to do a good one.
I must stress at this point that the blog is obviously a reflection of my personal feelings. I’ve no doubt people with more (or less) PR experience than me may read this blog and think I’m talking rubbish and if you are one of those people then just take it with a pinch of salt alright mate? There will be no need to vituperate me because you disagree with my humble musings.
Right then. Lets kick off: What is a Press Release?
In theory a press release is a document that contains all the relevant information regarding whatever the hell it is you’re trying to tell people about.
Not quite. People who tell people stuff (not the most sophisticated of sentences but you get the jist; reporters, journalists etc) and the people you want stuff from (e.g. record companies, publishing companies etc) receive loads of these things every day so the art of making a good press release can be much harder then it sounds.
First of all lets talk about press releases for people who you want to get exposure from:
A stereotypically good press release will make the reporters job a piece of piss. A surprising amount of literature you read (or ‘stuff’ if it’s The Sun) in newspapers is copy and pasted from the press release that was sent to them. This is down to lazy journalism which could be argued is quite rife in the tabloid industry. This lazy journalism however doesn’t exist as much in smaller music press, which as this blog is targeted at unsigned and independent musicians is what you should be aiming for, so as well as including all the relevant information in the press release you also need to make it interesting and different. I’ve recently starting doing some reviews for a music fanzine based in the northwest and I strive not to use any of the language used in the press release they send as I see it as a document sent to basically fool, dupe and con me. No press release is ever going to say that what I’m about to listen to is rubbish as that would make life too easy. Instead they inform me that ‘Ash haven’t in fact ‘lost it” and that the Royal We single ‘encapsulates their swagger perfectly’ and the fact of the matter is that Ash may not have lost it (they have) and the Royal We single may indeed encapsulate their swagger (what swagger?) but that’s for me to decide as my role as the reviewer.
I personally like to read a press release doesn’t tell me what I should think. I like to know what genre I should be expecting, maybe where the artist is from, a couple of quirky facts etc. Here is a press release that I did for CLIPE SEXO AMADOR this press release resulted in a couple of radio one plays, several smaller stations playing his track, a plethora of gig offers and a couple of other good opportunities as well. The only praise I put in the whole thing was the ‘and it’s actually bloody good! Imagine that’ line at the end of the which I think made people more interested in listening to it to make their own mind up about it. Again, I’m not a press release expert I’m just talking here as someone who receives a load of them and telling you what I do and don’t like.
If you’re writing a press release for labels or publishing companies or management companies etc to read then please try to be original. It is just simply boring reading a press release where every other word is a superlative because I know straight away that it’s not true. Now of course I’m not saying you should send a press release out which reads in a Joey Barton manner; ‘This is my band. We’re the worst thing you’ll ever hear’ (although I’d love for someone to try that as I personally would just see it as a meretricious tactic and if the artist was at least half decent then I’d tell everyone about them. Of course, if they actually were awful then the whole thing would backfire horrifically) as that would be a silly thing to do, but I cannot count the amount of times I’ve read the phrases ‘a wall of sound’, ‘anthemic chorus’ and ‘a cacophony of noise’.
It is desperately dull.
This is a press release that I did for the Alphites I took a mixture of their myspace blurb, added a few extra comical bits in and shoehorned the vital info in there. This press release was also well accepted by the vast majority of those who read it despite the fact that it doesn’t really tell you an awful lot. It leaves the reader having to actually search them out if they want to get a clearer understanding of what the bands about. This is a risk of course as if you do it wrong and don’t grab peoples attention then they simply won’t search you out and no one will end up hearing your music and that’s exactly the opposite reaction you want from a press release quite ironically.
Bad press releases are a real turn off for those who have to read several, if not 100’s a day. Be creative, be different, mix it up a bit, take a risk, live a little, go tits etc.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to berate me if I’ve angered you in anyway…
What I’m listening to this week: The Honeymoon Suite and Justice (going to see them on Friday which I’m rather chuffed about)
What I’m reading this week: The Fiver