One of the best ways for musicians to get press coverage, particularly in the early years of one's career, is to go local. Local media in most areas is a vibrant mix of on and offline sources, from newspapers to radio to blogs, despite the struggles of old-school media. But pitching your story to local media means crafting your story to their needs.
Actually all media outlets require tailoring one's approach to their needs which can mean quite different things depending on the outlet. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council recently shared 8 Tips for Going Hyperlocal
which sounds like a great topic for a blog post.
However, the majority of the tips are focused on local media, which is typically city-wide and exists in some form in every town, rather than the neighborhood focus of hyperlocal media, which is not as pervasive. That said, I've taken some of the local media tips for entrepreneurs and adapted them to the needs of musicians by sharing specific examples.6 Tips For Musicians Seeking Local Press Coverage1. Offer Local Examples
If you're part of something national that's making the news, like EDM, then you're the local example. But make it clear you're not just following a trend and that you're bringing local flavor to the mix.2. Take Advantage of Your Roots
If you're a native of the area and bands move there to build their careers, craft a story around that difference.3. Make Local Reporters the Stars
Big up reporters that cover you locally via your social media accounts and your official website's press archives. Don't just mention the media outlet but identify the writer who covered you. Be sure to keep those stories up if you start making national news.4. Become the Local Expert
Keep in touch with the local scene and remember to talk about other local bands when you speak with reporters. Ideally you can become the go to source for what's happening locally.5. Make Your Band Relevant by Giving Back
Support your local community by participating in fundraising events. Add your own press outreach with reasons why you think musicians and other artists should be involved in the particular cause.6. Pitch the Angles You Want
Though you can't ultimately control the message, you can encourage the press to use you as an example or as a counter-example. So if a reporter comes to you seeking quotes about drug abuse in the local scene, see if you can turn it from an expose into a closer look at how your band members have overcome drug abuse.
Notice that none of these approaches feature your totally awesome music. The point is to raise your profile while establishing positive relations with local media. This builds name recognition that will encourage people to pay attention when you are publicizing your local show or CD release and will also set the stage for additional future coverage.
In addition to solidifying your local base, getting local media coverage will help when you're pitching regional or national media
which can then be used to generate more local coverage thus creating a virtuous circle.
Got more tips on getting local media coverage? Please share in the comments!