It’s amazing that so many brands (which includes artists and bands as well as companies) don’t have a proper “Press” section on their website that contains all the information that a journalist or blogger might need when writing a story. I speak from personal experience as a writer in that I’m always surprised with what I can’t find on a typical site, instead of what I can.
Many artists, bands and brands think that just having a list of press releases is enough, but they’re sadly mistaken (especially when the releases are not well organized to begin with, which is quite typical). You have to make available anything about your brand that you think a journalist might need, no matter how mundane, because sometimes the smallest item can make the biggest difference in how an article is written.
Here’s an excerpt for the 2nd edition of my Social Media Promotion For Musicians handbook that outlines the essential items that every website press section should have:
1. High resolution color and black and white photos that can be used for print. Yes, print is slowly dying, but it’s still with us and can have a huge impact in certain situations. You never know when you, your music, or your merch will get a mention in a newspaper, magazine or book.
2. Low resolution color photos and graphics for websites and blogs. A picture says a thousand words and you’d rather someone use one of yours on their blog or website than just supplying a link. Make it easy for them, but give them a variety to choose from.
3. Your logo graphic in different resolutions. It’s surprising how often this is overlooked, but it’s just as important as your photos and other graphics.
4. A biography. Maybe you have an “About Us” or “About Me” section on the website or blog, but a more complete bio, or even a link to it from the press section, makes finding background info about you, your band or company a lot easier for the writer. The easier it is to find, the more likely it will be used.
5. Quotes from the media. Great quotes about you or your product are also big with writers, since it adds credibility. Limit the quotes to those that are unique though. Ten quotes that all say the same, “You’re the greatest,” have a lot less impact than one, but it’s OK to use several if they say the same thing in totally unique ways.
6. Links to any interviews. Include links to any interviews that you might have done, either audio, video or just text. No need to post the entire interview on your site as a writer will probably not read it unless he needs some additional facts that he can’t find anywhere else.
7. Scans of just three or four of your best press clippings. Once again, less is more. Ten press clippings that say the same thing tend to actually diminish credibility. Three or four seems about the right number to have in order to give the writer sufficient information.
8. PDFs of adverts, promo flyers and posters. This has a dual purpose in that its additional info for the writer but can also be used virally by fans. Many “superfans” will print these out and distribute them in their area if asked.
9. Web ready graphics and banners in a variety of sizes. If you’re doing any online campaigns (either advertising or fan-based viral), these can make it quite easy to be up and running in no time since everything is readily available.
10. Press releases. These are only helpful for a writer if they contain enough background information on a particular subject so details are important. It’s also easier for a writer if they’re grouped by type (personnel, products, events, etc.) instead of by date.
11. Videos: You need multiple types of videos – interview elements with the artist or entire band, and if it’s a band, individual interviews as well, your most recent music videos, any music video that you consider a “hit,” and a clip of a song from a show. It’s best to make two versions available – one with smaller web-ready files, and if you’re an act that’s breaking nationally, another version that’s available in hi-res.
12. Music: Your songs can probably be found online already, but make it easy for whomever is reading by adding links so they can effortlessly find them. If you’ve done music for commercials or a soundtrack for a movie or television, include that as well but be sure that you have the right to do so before you post it.
13. Web Links: Be sure to include links to any social media presence that you have on the web such as a Facebook fan page, Instagram page, blog, Twitter, ReverbNation page, etc.
14. Fan Endorsements: If you have rabid fans that do crazy things like paint themselves up with your logo, get tattoos of your likeness on their backs, or are just super enthusiastic, that could make for an interesting video clip or picture. Just make sure that the fans (three or four is all you need) are completely enthusiastic and really special or this element isn’t worth pursuing.
TIP: If you use any endorsement from a fan, be sure to get written permission that it’s okay to use it in any form, anywhere.
It’s a fact that the easier you make it for a writer or an editor, the more likely you’ll get covered. Having these tools easily available will increase your chances of getting media coverage.
By the way, I don’t believe in making this info available solely to writers. Make it available to everyone as it can lead to unforeseen viral opportunities. Just keep it up to date (I know how difficult that is, but you’ve got to try), and your press section will be good to go.
You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.