If you've entered the difficult world of music PR, you've doubtless faced the bone-chilling silence which greets most of your pitch emails. Getting a response to your carefully crafted email can largely hinges on finding just the right person to contact - here we look at some helpful tips for finding cold contact you want.
Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo of the Symphonic Blog
If you’re just starting your journey into PR, booking, or even licensing inquiries, odds are you’ve run into the dreaded silence that comes from hundreds and hundreds of emails going unanswered. In fact, it can feel downright discouraging to take the time to carefully craft a pitch or put together a winning EPK for the venue down the road, only to hear back…. absolutely nothing.
First, let me tell you that as a music blogger for the last 10 years and a publicist for the last 5, sometimes pitches just don’t land where you want them to.
This does not mean your music sucks and that you’ll never make it as a serious musician. It could be that the writer at the blog had a busy week. Maybe to save their sanity, they’re only answering the most recent 50 emails. It could be that the your email got lost amidst 100’s of other bands emailing that same venue and they just didn’t see it. Or, it could be that you weren’t a fit for that blog/venue/company and rather than spending hours of their lives writing thousands of “no thanks” emails, they decided to just ignore everyone that didn’t spark their interest.
Whatever it is, it’s probably not personal.
But I know, it still kind of sucks. Obviously, you want to increase your chances of being heard and at the very least responded to. The truth is, there is a way to combat all the silence and increase your chances of getting in front of the right person. Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding the right email and targeting your pitch to a specific person. It’ll make a huge difference in response rate once you’re able to target who will be most receptive to your pitch.
In fact, it can be the difference between radio silence (maybe quite literally) and growing your career.
Here are a couple ways to get started:
Look on the contact page of their website.
Let’s start with the least creative but most obvious. Most places have a way to contact them and sometimes it even includes individual emails and preferences. Sure, some blogs or venues will just have one standard email, but others will get specific. Like “Jenny is our review editor and loves metal, folk, and pop. Email her at Jenny@blogname.com” If you’re in a rock band, and now you now Jenny isn’t so much into rock, then maybe you keep scrolling until you get to Anne, who happens to love rock and lists her favorite band as someone you’ve actually heard of and maybe even sound like.
Note: If by some chance there is no contact on the website, check the “About” section of Facebook. Usually, emails will be listed there.
Google their name
If you’re having trouble finding their email, but you know who the person you want to contact is (because maybe they’ve written a glowing review about a band you sound just like or you know they’re the booker at a certain venue) you can always try typing the email in to Google and seeing what pops up.
For instance, if you can only find info@BlogX.com as the contact for Blog X and you want to contact Megan there, see if Megan@BlogX.com comes up with anything in Google. Even if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean the email doesn’t exist. If other writers have that same email format, it’s a good bet that the one you’re looking for will too.
Do some digging
If you’re having a really hard time figuring out a writer’s email, ask around! If you can find a band that has worked with that writer or venue or agent and ask for an introduction, all the better. Even if you don’t know the band, this could be a good opportunity to forge a connection with them too. At the very least, take the time to scour Facebook groups and forums for anyone who might be able to either do a direct introduction, or who just knows the writer. A good way to get a feel for this is just searching these forums and groups for the writer or blog’s name. Then, contact anyone who mentions them to see if they might have a contact or advice.
Whether you’re waiting for a response or still crafting your email, don’t stress. Not every publication is right for you or your band. Once you finally get that coveted “Yes”, it’ll have been worth the wait.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.