“What the hell do I have to do to get my band covered in the Surge?”
The question first came to me in 2013 from a frustrated bandleader who was feeling left out of our Surge Music Notes coverage.
It’s a fair question that I’m sure more than one local band has wondered about. In case you missed the article’s first go-‘round, here’s another look: the inside scoop on how to get press, not just in The Surge, but anywhere.
Tell us a story
Just as our readers expect us to tell them a story, we expect bands looking for PR (public relations) to tell us a story.
It’s not enough that you have a gig coming up, or you’ve been playing out for three years, or your mom thinks you’re really great, or you have a new drummer, guitarist, etc.
You need a hook, an angle that is newsworthy, that our readers will care about.
- Is your band in the studio with a cool producer?
- Are you about to sign a record deal?
- Are you going out on tour?
- Are you planning a CD release concert/party?
- Are you part of a multi-band fundraiser or reunion show?
- Have you or your band been performing for an anniversary-worthy amount of time?
You get the idea. When you’ve got something newsworthy, really newsworthy, we want to tell your story. We need to tell your story.
Don’t email or call a week in advance of your big show or event and expect a half-page column. We work in advance – well in advance.
While you shouldn’t completely discount a last-minute, late-breaking opportunity, a minimum of three weeks’ notice is really appreciated and sometimes required, but four or five weeks is even better.
Even then there are no guarantees. Why?
Because you’re competing with other newsworthy stories. Previously scheduled articles rarely get bumped at the last minute.
Be early, be flexible, be patient and be friendly. Caustic emails don’t help your case for inclusion.
We have read unbelievably vague, confusing and/or misleading emails regarding band events. Don’t assume that because you’ve invited all your Facebook friends to a gig, or that you Tweeted or Instagrammed your event, that you’ve done due diligence in getting us the information we need.
Be your own publicist and your own advocate. And, by the way, NEVER use Facebook for communication to media sources. My email address appears at the end of every column, and my phone number is not hard to find, either. We’re not hiding from you.
So what exactly do we at Surge need from you?
The first step is a press release, which is a clear, concise, short email with the following: (note: we still get emails and press releases missing information. The following list are MUST-haves):
- Date it was written
- Who wrote and sent it
- That person’s cellphone number (most important)
- The subject (or the “what.” e.g. CD Release Party, etc.)
- The date of the event
- A brief description of why it’s newsworthy
- The when of the event (date and start/stop time)
- Is this an all-ages show? 21 and older?
- Cover charge?
The press release needn’t read like an article – that’s our job. Bullet points work best. Nothing fancy is required, just the five Ws; who, what, when, where, why and send it early. I have a sample press release I’d be happy to email anyone who asks.
The Surge Music Notes column runs every other Thursday.
We rarely review events, choosing instead to preview events, which is better for you and better for our readers.
We try to plan our stories to hit the streets on the nearest Thursday prior to the event.
(Note: today’s column is referring to editorial only, not the music listings found toward the back of the publication. Each issue contains written instructions on how to submit your items for that section.)
Be a squeaky wheel. Do it nicely, but feel free to squeak away. We get busy, so reminders are helpful.
After you’ve sent your press release, if you haven’t heard back in a few days, send another email asking if we received it. Ask us if we think the content is newsworthy for Music Notes, but be understanding if ultimately we don’t think the timing or content is right.
But keep at it and don’t give up. We’re ready, willing and able to help you help yourself make a musical mark on the Grand Strand and beyond, but the next step is yours.
Have a thought, comment or newsworthy item for Weekly Surge Music Notes? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.