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#208780 - 10/09/03 05:01 PM "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,292
scottandrew Offline
scottandrew  Offline

Top 200 Poster

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,292
Hi all,

A question for the mentors and the folks on this board: when is the "best" time to send press releases (for things like CD releases) to ensure they get attention?

For example, should mailings/faxes/emails arrive Monday so there's some lead time before the weekend entertainment sections are compiled? Or Wednesday, to avoid getting lost in the certain Monday morning PR crush?

For the record, I understand there's no "best" time and that every news outlet is different; I'm just looking for a general best practice. Has anyone found a "magic" date?

(PR experts are encouraged to share.)

thanks,
Scott



------------------
Scott Andrew and the Walkingbirds
DIY acoustic pop and weirdo country thing
Hear it: http://www.scottandrew.com/main/music
Buy it: http://www.scottandrew.com/main/records

#208781 - 10/09/03 07:25 PM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 367
danny Offline
Serious Contributor
danny  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 367
Nashville, TN
Hi Scott,

I've forwarded your question to JPF mentor Nancy Moran. Both her and her husband work at major music magazine publications (American Songwriter and Performing Songwriter) so they probably have some advice in that area. Nancy also is an independent artist, so she can add her own insights from that angle too.

Best wishes,

-Danny

------------------
----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online


----------------------
Danny Arena/Sara Light
http://www.SongU.com
Songwriting Courses Online
#208782 - 10/10/03 11:01 AM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 14
Nancy Moran Offline
Casual Observer
Nancy Moran  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 14
Nashville, TN
Hi Scott,

Sorry. To my knowledge, there is no "magic date" to sending out your press packages. And honestly, in my experience, it's not about the day of the week that it arrives. It's MUCH more about "timing" - as in did it arrive before deadline? Is it too far before deadline to be remembered or too close to deadline to be usable?

Every publication that I know is deadline driven. So, your timing has got to be about THEIR deadline...which means, of course, that you have to find out what their deadline is--and it's different for each publication.

Also, pacakges don't necessarily get opened on the day that they arrive at a publication. They can sit in envelopes/puffy paks for days. So, again, it doesn't matter what day of the week it shows up. At my magazine, at least, no one will ever know what day of the week it showed up. And Monday is not necessarily the day of the week that we get the most mail. It varies each week. There is no pattern whatsoever.

Additionally, at my magazine (and several other publications that I'm aware of or have had contact with) the person who opens the mail and the people who do the reviews are different people entirely. At American Songwriter, one person opens the mail and "checks in" the CDs. They then get "filed" so to speak so that they are available to ALL of our reviewers. Reviewers might come check out CDs once/month. So, to them it makes no difference whether your CD arrived two weeks ago or yesterday...as long as it's in front of them when they're looking through the stacks.

Getting attention from a publication is more about developing a relationship with REAL people at the publication. Think long term. So that when your package arrives, they KNOW you and WANT to open up your package. There is one publicist that I can think of in particular that was so helpful to me on a story I did once, that every time I see a package or an e-mail come in from her I ALWAYS open it, listen to it, read it, etc. It doesn't mean I cover it necessarily. It doesn't even mean that I like everything that she sends us. But it does mean that I look at it and listen to it. And that's because of HER (the publicist) and the relationship I have with her, NOT because of the artist.

Getting attention is also about staying in contact with them. After you send your package, you should follow up with an e-mail or phone call to make sure the package arrived (cause quite frankly there are lots of times when the package gets lost in the post office somewhere). Then follow up again in a few weeks to see if someone listened to it and if it will be reviewed.

Following up and staying in contact are the best ways that I know of to get your CD package moved to the top of the pile.

Honestly, if you're an unknown, independent artist, you are still going to have a tough time getting someone's attention over better known artists who are releasing CDs at the same time. But I just read Brian's newsletter this morning about 2 legged cats...and he's right! You can't let any of that stop you! You never know when someone is going to listen to your CD--simply because they liked your CD cover or because you were nice to them on the phone--and find that they really like your music too so they publish a raving review!

So keep sending them! And if your CD doesn't get reviewed this time. Send them your next CD when it's available. And keep sending them things. Don't get mad and give up like the frogs in Brian's newsletter post. Just keep doing what you do.

Also, one last tidbit...don't ignore the smaller newspapers and magazines in your local area or local areas where you are playing. They often are desperate for stories/reviews/news items and they love to publish items about local residents (or special events for local residents if you're coming to their area on tour). So, send them a CD and a photo and a press release/story. Make it a good one, because often it will run pretty close to "as is." This is a great way to start building your press file and gaining quotes, etc. Other larger publications like to see that there is some "story" happening with you before they cover you. So, start small and work your way up. That's another way to get someone's attention.

Hope this all helps! :-)

Musically,
Nancy Moran
Singer * Songwriter * JPF Mentor
www.nancymoran.com

#208783 - 10/10/03 11:46 AM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,292
scottandrew Offline
scottandrew  Offline

Top 200 Poster

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,292
Nancy,

Thank you for your insightful response. When I begin sending out my music for review, I will definitely heed your advice.

I think my original question was misleading, so I feel I should clarify: what I'm sending out is not a press package for review, but a PR release about an unusual fundraiser I'm involved with. So it's more about the human-interest story angle than the CD itself.

I have a unique opportunity to send this release to several hundred media outlets, and I wanted to see if there were any unwritten (or written!) rules about doing a massive release like this, where it's more about saturation than getting material reviewed.

Perhaps the approaches are no different?

Thanks,
Scott


------------------
Scott Andrew and the Walkingbirds
DIY acoustic pop and weirdo country thing
Hear it: http://www.scottandrew.com/main/music
Buy it: http://www.scottandrew.com/main/records

#208784 - 12/09/03 11:27 AM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Joe Wrabek Offline
Top 40 Poster
Joe Wrabek  Offline
Top 40 Poster

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Garibaldi, OR USA
Let me come at this from the perspective of "regular" media (former newspaper and magazine editor, here). Yes, publications of all sorts are deadline-driven--but it's important, too, to have somebody *at* that paper or magazine who's going to protect, say, your interest--watch for your stuff, make sure it gets the attention of whoever it needs to get the attention of (*if* that's a different person--sometimes it isn't), and gets *printed* at the right time to do any good.

That said, there are som4e "packaging rules," because publications of all sorts, no matter how big or how small, are short-handed. To the extent you can write their story for them, so all they have to do is run it "as wrote," they're more likely to do it--and even more likely to do it again. Include a photo if you can--making sure it's the kind of photo they're going to want to run--because the photo will make the story take up more room, and get you a bigger headline.

And after your event, be sure to send the editor (and reporter) a thank-you note, even if they didn't come, and a photo of you-at-the-event they can run in the publication, and tell 'em you'll tell them when you're doing it again. People who aren't flashes-in-the-pan will get covered eventually if not immediately, because the press figures out they're not going away.

Lots of luck.

Joe

#208785 - 12/10/03 10:50 AM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 280
mastrose Offline
Serious Contributor
mastrose  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 280
Nyack, NY, 10960
Joe, I have a question about sending photos. Do you send hard copies of your press releases with 8x10's, or do you e-mail electronic versions?

------------------
Marian Mastrorilli
mastrose@aol.com
http://www.projectmercury.net


Marian Mastrorilli
mastrose@aol.com
http://www.projectmercury.net
#208786 - 12/10/03 02:32 PM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,827
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,827
Indianapolis, IN USA
Marian,

I think it's up to the receiver. Find out what format each one prefers and give it to them that exact way. It's the same with contact info. Give them phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, fax number (if available), websites, cell phones.. alternate people to call in case you don't answer etc... it's absurd that anyone would presume to force a media person to contact them on their OWN terms rather than making everything possible and open to the person, but people are given bad advice often about forcing people to go to websites.. fill out forms to send an email etc.. I think this is ALL bad advice. Make it easy and convenient, and provide all possible means so they can choose what they want. In the case of photos, I'd offer it via email attachment in several formats (windows and mac at least), via a photo CD, via an actual glossy 8x10, via a webpage with different sizes and formats on the page for download and also made viewable so they can easily pick and choose before downloading. If possible, have head shots, action shots, posed shots, group shots, VIP shots (i.e. you with VIPS of different types, including captions with names etc..).

I've heard of magazines asking for nearly ever configuration you can imagine. It seems like they inevitably pick the one I least expect.. but you shouldn't question their preference or try to make them change to your way of doing it.. they MAY do it.. but then their helping you becomes a pain in the ass.. never a good way to start your promotional support.

And the comment about having something pre-written is very true. It's kind of sad that newspapers and magazines not only don't meticulously research their stories but often they don't even write the stories OR check ANY of the facts inside. Even the AP is guilty of phoning it in these days.. it's very sad, but it's a reality you need to be prepared for when sending stuff in for press coverage.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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#208787 - 12/11/03 05:34 PM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 280
mastrose Offline
Serious Contributor
mastrose  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 280
Nyack, NY, 10960
Thanks for the photo advice, Brian!


------------------
Marian Mastrorilli
mastrose@aol.com
http://www.projectmercury.net


Marian Mastrorilli
mastrose@aol.com
http://www.projectmercury.net
#208788 - 01/18/04 06:04 AM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Joe Wrabek Offline
Top 40 Poster
Joe Wrabek  Offline
Top 40 Poster

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,403
Garibaldi, OR USA
Sorry to be getting back to y'all so late on this. Didn't notice the question had been asked. I would send 'em a disk with the story and photo files on it (or a CD, if the photo was too big for a disk), plus I'd send hard copy of both story and photo so they didn't have to go to the trouble of opening the file(s) to see what it/they looked like in real life.

Don't know as I'd send either by e-mail if they weren't expecting it--in these days of spam filters, it's likely to get blocked or destroyed anyway, even if it did get to the right place. If I had a Website (which yours truly does not, not at this point), I would make sure the URL was featured noticeably on everything I sent.

And a trick you might try (usually works for me): You can't tell (unless an editor or copywriter tells you) what word processor the publication is using; odds are it's either Word or WordPerfect, but the two mostly are *not* compatible (Word especially has trouble reading WordPerfect files). There's an old (1994) "universal translator" called "Rich Text Format" that was intended to encode a file so it could be read by any word processor in common use in 1994 (there were 4); the modern versions of both Word and WordPerfect can read and write to *.rtf.

Important to give 'em a digital photo 'cause nearly all publications print from digital these days; I think it's important to make sure your photo is going to print good in black and white (good contrast, in other words). Might send both color and b&w photos as long as they're both *jpg's.

Keep in mind I'm a novice as a self-promoting musician. As a former newspaper and magazine editor and production manager, I know what I wanted to *get* from people that made my job easier. (And I *liked* people who made my job easier. I 'spect editors still do.)

Joe

#208789 - 01/22/04 06:06 PM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 41
TravellingDog Offline
Casual Observer
TravellingDog  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 41
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Keep in mind that most local newspapers/media outlets are driven by the need to find a local news angle. In many cases, even if the editorial staff are interested in your story pitch/press release, they will assign a staff writer (or some weary intern) to follow up and identify a local angle for the story. That means phone calls and follow-up for you and them. Any other story with a clear local angle will jump over yours in the queue.

If you give them a local angle, ahead of time, you are far more likely to crack the lineup of stories. If you are trying to launch a broad scale media campaign, you would be well advised to look for a local angle that you can spin to the media outlets within specific areas. Prepare it in advance, with contact info and supporting materials. It's a lot more work, but you'll probably pick up about 50-75% more coverage.

Regards
Bruce Madole

#208790 - 01/22/04 07:14 PM Re: "best" time for getting press?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,257
Ray E. Strode Online content
Top 30 Poster
Ray E. Strode  Online Content
Top 30 Poster

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,257
Brunswick, Ga. USA
Most Newspapers as well as other publications will include information in the publication of how to submit a story. Check it out carefully and follow the directions. Weddings are a large part of articles Newspapers publish. True that many publications seek things to publish. So get your submission together and submit it.


Ray E. Strode

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