What Not To Send To A Music Journalist Or Blogger

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PR people seem to think I’m a music journalist because I write for Forbes and two of my own blogs (including this one). Just to be clear, I’m not a “journalist” by any stretch of the imagination. I’m a commentator and provide my personal take on music and audio production news or the big picture of the music business. That doesn’t prevent me from getting dozens of press releases every day in my inbox, so I feel pretty qualified in telling you what not to send to me, which I think will extend to other journalists and bloggers as well. Just to be clear, while the vast majority of what I get isn’t useful to me, some of it is, providing that it tweaks my interest. Here are my pet peeves.

Don’t Send Something That I’m Not Interested In

I don’t write about particular artists or bands, so it’s a waste of time when someone sends me a release about an artist’s latest release, tour or video. This automatically leads me to mark it as junk and unsubscribe so I never get another thing from from that PR agency again.

If you’ve read anything at all from me you know that I don’t care if you’re Lady Gaga or Blake Shelton or just starting out, I have no interest in writing about your music because that’s not what I do. If it’s about audio, recording or a studio, then I may be interested and will probably read it. Do some research, and send your release to only the people that might find it useful.

The Headline Is Too Long Or Not To The Point

I won’t even open an email release if I can’t figure out what it’s about. Some PR people insist on writing a small story for the headline, but that tells me nothing. Yes, I know – headline writing is hard. That’s part of your job so get good at it if you want me or anyone else to open your email.

Don’t Send Something I Can’t Read

I can’t believe how many releases I see that are totally unreadable for a wide variety of reasons. Copy with tiny fonts and paragraphs that run into one another so it’s just one big page of text are the ones I hate the most. It will take me about 2 seconds to hit the delete button on those, but I still resent the fact that you took up those 2 seconds of my time. Please, format your release so it’s easily readable and proof it before you send it out.

There’s No Supporting Graphics

I can’t believe that anyone would send out a press release and not include a photo or graphic image with it. If I do decide to write about the subject, I’ll need a graphic to go with it, so at least tease with one and give me a link where I can get more. The graphic may be just enough to get me to read your release!

A sub-peeve is a graphic that’s so large that it takes up most of the page and I have to scroll way down the page to get to the copy. Once again, formatting is king. Proof your work before you send it out.

Too Much Of Not The Right Info

I was taught that the best way to write a release was to include the who, what, when, how and why in the first paragraph, with each successive paragraph providing more but less important detail. You’re not writing an article or post for me so don’t make it a story that I have to wade through to get to the core of the release. Give me just the facts that I can use, and give them to me right away.

Some PR people are under the impression that I want them to do all the work for me but that’s not the case. Yes, I’ll take the info that you provide me but I’m going to always put it in my own perspective (I’m not sure that all journalists or bloggers are like this). Just the facts, please.

Like I said, most of the press releases that I get come from PR people, so I don’t get many from indie artists (but I do get some). If you’re an artist that does his or her own PR, you should read this article for more info on what not to do.

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