Writing an excellent pitch letter is really an art form in itself. Popular music bloggers receive TONS of e-mail daily, and it’s impossible for most of them to read and respond to every single submission that they get from an artist. So how do you stand out in the crowd, and make sure that bloggers open up YOUR e-mail while scanning their inboxes?
First and foremost, your pitch letters have to be personalized. This doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch with every e-mail you send, but there should be at least a sentence or two (preferably a paragraph) tailored specifically to the blogger you are e-mailing. Your pitch needs to sound more like a conversation, and less like an actual pitch. If your e-mails usually sound dry and generic, then you’re e-mail will be instantly lost, forgotten about, and/or deleted from the blogger’s inbox. Here are (in my opinion) the ESSENTIAL steps to follow in order to craft the perfect music blog pitch letter:
1. Strong subject lines
The subject line of the e-mail is the one thing bloggers see before even opening your e-mail, so it absolutely needs to hook them in. I find that singing bloggers’ praises right off the bat usually gets e-mails opened up. Try a few subject lines with something like “Hey, your blog is the best!” If you don’t like the “kiss-up” approach, you could try being bold with subject lines like “Your blog needs this music.”
NOTE: Some bloggers ask that you include a specific subject line when you submit your music to them. If that’s the case, make sure you do that. It makes it easier on them, and shows that you’re paying attention.
2. Begin with a greeting
It is incredibly important to introduce yourself right off the bat. In one sentence, tell the blogger who you are, what you do, where you’re coming from, and why you’re contacting them. This is not the time to boost your ego with lofty descriptions of yourself. Keep it plain, simple, direct, and real.
3. Talk about THEM
The first paragraph is always about the blogger. Talk about a particular post that you might have liked, the layout of the blog, lightning fast page load times, or any related artists that the blogger might have featured recently. This paragraph is where most of the personalization will go in your letter.
4. Talk about YOU
Here is where you make your pitch. It’s pretty easy to get carried away, but resist the temptation to blabber. Keep the pitch to a paragraph or two (max), and mention the most important things about you and your music. If there is anything that clearly stands out about you, or anything cool you may have accomplished, mention it here. The key information you want to include is your band/stage name, your genre of music (and any subgenres), your location, any related press/awards/accolades, and a few well-known artists that sound similar to you.
5. Provide a link to download music, pictures, and video
This is probably the most important part of the letter. You can hype yourself up until your blue in the face, but if you don’t provide any links to the artist’s music, pictures, and video, the blogger simply isn’t going to care. Upload some .zip files of your albums (with artwork), pictures, and videos to a filesharing website like 4Shared, or Rapidshare, and paste the download link into the e-mail. Or, create an electronic press kit (EPK) on Sonicbids and upload your bio, music, some hi-res press photos, videos, and press quotes.
Tip: Place your download/EPK link right underneath your pitch. Call attention to it by inserting a blank line above and below the link, so it sits alone by itself in the middle of the e-mail.
6. Politely ask the bloggers to feature you
FINALLY, mention to the blogger that it would be totally awesome if he or she featured your music on the blog. Make sure you know what kind of posts the blogger writes (album reviews, song reviews, strictly MP3s, videos, pictures, whatever), and ask for that specifically. Whatever you do, DON’T BEG.
7. Thank the bloggers for their time
In the event that a blogger actually decides to open your pitch letter and read, it is vital that you include some sincere thanks for taking the time to consider featuring your music.
8. Include an e-mail signature with contact information
After thanking them, make sure to include a detailed e-mail signature that highlights the best ways to get in contact with the artist. This is also a good place to encourage the blogger to visit your official website, and follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networks that you might be active on. If you use Gmail, I highly recommend generating a professional looking HTML E-mail signature in Gmail with this convenient website.
9. Still no response? Send a follow-up e-mail
Always, always, always, ALWAYS send a follow-up e-mail if you do not get an initial response from a blogger. I have landed several job interviews from follow-up e-mails, they are SO MUCH more important than you would ever think. It is way too possible that the blogger accidently overlooked your first e-mail, or wasn’t impressed by your initial pitch. In the follow-up, briefly re-introduce yourself, and politely mention that you recently e-mailed the blogger in regards to featuring your music. If you feel it is appropriate, include a small blurb saying how important a feature on the blog would be for you, but don’t make it sound like your desperately begging for exposure. Begging will only hurt your chances of getting featured. Next, include a slightly re-worded version of your initial artist description. Say something like “In case you missed it the first time, here is a short blurb about the music I create…”, and try to squeeze everything into a paragraph. Finally, close out your follow-up in the same way as your initial e-mail.
If you think its necessary, offer the blogger something more exclusive the second time around, like a free MP3 download of an unreleased track, or some a photo that you have not posted anywhere before. A little bit of generosity can go a long way in the eyes of a blogger, and could be the tipping point that gets your music on the blog.
This post is part four of the “How to REALLY Get Your Music on Blogs” blog series here on Tight Mix. You can download the entire series for free in the form of a .pdf e-book here.
In the final installment of “How to REALLY Get Your Music On Blogs,” I will be stressing the importance of tracking all of your hard work!
In case you missed them, here are the links for the previous blog posts in the “How to REALLY Get Your Music on Blogs” series: