It’s been a solid 3+ years as a blogger here at evolvor, and because of that I’ve earned a ton of experience not only in the content development side of things, but also in the PR department. As I’ve continued to grow as a respected mind in the ever evolving digital music landscape, I’ve noticed that many still approach sending out press releases in the same fashion that has been used for years. And that approach, in my mind, is rather stupid.
Now that I have a solid understanding of the blogging mentality, I also understand how to communicate with bloggers and get them to pay attention to what it is that I am doing. Sadly, I get press releases everyday from record labels, artists, and industry professionals who want me to publish their release on my blog. None of these people really understand the blogging mentality, and I’d say because of that about 75% of what they send me goes unpublished.
There is one major reason why I don’t publish your press releases – I just don’t have the time. And I can assure you that most bloggers would also agree.
Unless you’re blogging for Mashable or TechCruch and actually getting paid to do so, blogging is more of a hobby then anything. And much like other hobbies of mine, I only get to them when I have the free time, and in my hectic lifestyle of juggling clients and Label 2.0 work, at the end of the day the last thing I want to do is jump back online to post to the site.
Now, if those sending me a press release understood this, and somehow made my life easier by eliminating the time it takes to write a blog post, then you can imagine how often I would add new content.
Herein lies the problem with a traditional press release; 9 times out of 10 it consists of the following:
Main Headline – always in capitals. Problem is, I DON”T USE ALL CAPITALS IN MY POST TITLES. So every headline I now have to re-write. Strike 1.
Main Text – no problems here, except that’s all it is, text. My blog readers expect multimedia posts – pictures, videos, streaming music and free downloads. Strike 2.
Links to Other Content – The “meat” of any blog post are the links to other resources. Did you forget to include any links? Strike 3.
So I get a press release about some new band or product and it’s formatted just like described above. Do you know how long it’s going to take me to digest this information, add the content, find video codes, upload and format pictures, hyperlink to resources, and publish the post? That’s an hour in my day that me and many other bloggers simply don’t have.
If you were to PRE-FORMAT said press release, I could just drop the code into my Wordpress CMS (or any other major blog publishing software), make whatever edits I want to make, and hit publish. 10 minutes of work and I’m done.
This is my battle cry for bloggers, and even more so those in music industry. We want to produce as much content as possible for our audience and want to help them discover as much new music as possible. And the labels and promoters of these acts need to wake up and understand how valuable our time is and that by providing us with pre-formatted rich media press releases, their success rate would jump through the roof.
And this is what I’m teaching musicians in Label 2.0 how to do. You’re not gonna get the attention of a blogger by sending them an email with a bio press release and a link to your MySpace page. We simply get so many of these everyday that we just don’t care.
Instead, send them a pre-formatted press release that includes pictures, videos, music widgets, and a link to a free download. If something like this comes through my email, I’m at the very least going to give it a look, and if the music is even mediocre, I still might just publish it for my readers to digest.
“But I don’t know html how can I pre-format a press release?” is the million dollar question. In all reality, this isn’t hard to do – you only need to use the paragraph tag and know how to hyperlink for the most part. It does take some time to put together.
Forget all of that though. I know you’re a musician and that most of you are lazy – who has the time to create a pre-fomatted press release and get all nerdy with html?
Not you friend. You see when we started Label 2.0 we wanted to someday provide our members with more than just education and direction, we wanted to start putting together tools to make their lives easier.
And so i present to you the Label 2.0 Press Kit Maker!
It’s pretty simple. You enter the text areas of your press release. You add the YouTube video code. You add a ReverbNation or Bandcamp widget. Upload a picture. Add the link to the free download. Hit a button and BOOM, your press release code is generated and you can easliy copy and paste the code into a Notepad document, save it, and you’re ready to go.
Here are some screenshots to show you how easy it is to create media rich, blogger friendly press releases:
I made a demo press release using content from Wikipedia for Metallica – here’s what it looks like:
American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California rocks!
Founded when drummer Lars Ulrich posted an advertisement in a local newspaper, Metallica’s line-up has primarily consisted of Ulrich, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, while going through a number of bassists. Currently, the spot is held by Robert Trujillo.
Metallica’s early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the “big four” of the thrash metal subgenre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax during the genre’s development into a popular style. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim, with the 1986 release Master of Puppets described as one of the most influential and “heavy” thrash metal albums. The band achieved substantial commercial success with Metallica (1991), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience.
In 2000, Metallica was among several artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material for free without the band members’ consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger.
Metallica has released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, twenty-four music videos, and forty-five singles. The band has won nine Grammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the first band to do so, this record was later matched by the Dave Matthews Band.[not in citation given] The band’s 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 22 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-highest-selling album in the country. In December 2009, it became the highest-selling album of the SoundScan era, surpassing 1997’s Come on Over by country artist Shania Twain. The band has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide as of the release of their latest album, Death Magnetic. As of September 2008, Metallica is the fourth highest-selling music artist since the SoundScan era began tracking sales on May 25, 1991, selling a total of 52,160,000 albums in the United States alone.
If you’re a Label 2.0 member, the press kit maker is live here. Go nuts and start creating your very own rich-media press releases. Just copy the code into notepad, and save it as BOTH .html and .txt files. Start contacting bloggers in your niche, write a nice personal email to the blogger about the press release and don’t forget to mention that it is pre-formatted and easy to publish!