Posted tagged ‘Cincinnati’

How Do I Get A Journalist to Come to My Show?

October 27, 2010


THE ARTIST: MC Till (Cincinnati, OH)
THE QUESTION: So, I read your blogs about getting reviews.  Great stuff.  Instead of going for album reviews what I really want to do is get show reviews.  Have you heard of such a thing?  I want a journalist/blogger to come to a show and then write about it.  That might be a lofty goal, but I’m a lofty guy.

THE ANSWER: Yea, I’ve heard of this idea before and I think it’s a great one! I have to be honest though, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to score one of these so I’m not sure of the “proper” procedure. But here are some thoughts on the matter.

1. Give Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Think about it: not only are you asking them to like your music, you’re asking them to like your music enough to donate an evening to you.  If you want them to commit, it needs to be the show. What are some ways your show can stick out?

  • Incentive: Give them 2-3 complimentary tickets to the show. Pick up their bar tab for the night.  Is this bribery? hehe…
  • Lineup: Perhaps you’re opening for a really huge name and you think its worth a write-up. Maybe it’ll turn out that 60% of the write-up is about the other guy, but you’ll be 40%.
  • A Good Cause: These are the best…especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas (hint hint).  Papers love writing about food drives, fundraisers, and charity events. Think about partnering with a local organization and build some press opps around that.

2. Your Pitch is Twice as Important
Again, you’re not just selling one idea, you’re selling two. One: like my music. Two: come to my show. So take that pitch email seriously. Be respectful, be thorough, and be brief. Yes, its possible to be thorough and brief  – giving just enough information but not too much. Check out How to Score Reviews of Your CD for examples on how to write a pitch. Note that, in this particular case, your pitch will look something like:

  • paragraph 1: introduce yourself and say why you’re writing
  • paragraph 2: give some more details about you and your music
  • paragraph 3: give facts about the who/what/when/where/why of your event

3. Build a Relationship
Get to know your local music editors. Think of it like a relationship. You’re more willing to do something for someone you care about versus someone you’ve just met.  Maybe having a reporter come out to your show could be a long-term goal.

  • initial contact: shoot an email to see what their submission process is like
  • later down the line: contact them about your new album chock full of an appropriate pitch, press info, and a hard copy of the project
  • and even further down the line: hopefully you’ve been corresponding with him/her to the point where asking for a show review isn’t far-fetched. Note that this process could be a year-long situation where you’re simply on his or her radar. The key is to build rapport

4. Just ask
It doesn’t hurt to just ask if they do reviews. Being blunt is often the best type of communication. This might work best with bloggers who, by default, have a reputation for being more informal.

p.s. I like your T-shirt. I think you’re beautiful too.
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Tips for Touring: Just Some Recent Observations

August 3, 2009


Findlay Market, Cincinnati, OH (oh...and that's me)

Findlay Market: Cincinnati, OH (oh...and that's me)

Coming out of a short Ohio tour, I thought I’d write this post based on a few things I experienced.  These  tips also apply to your local shows.  If you have additional reccomendations, please post them in the comments.

Grab a City Paper in Each City You Visit
There’s likely to be a major alternative paper in every city you visit. If it’s Cleveland, pick up The Cleve SceneIf  it’s Baltimore, pick up The City Paper. If it’s Columbus, pick up Columbus Alive.  City Papers are one of the best ways to find out what’s going on in a city and learn about the most popular venues.  Reading and keeping a copy of the paper (to take home) will help you next time you’re booking gigs in that city.

Ask the Locals
Asking locals is probably a more reliable source than the city paper.  Ask people what venues they visit the most. Ask them what the most talked about coffee shops, clubs, and lounges are in the area.  Locals will tell you things you might not find online…i.e. summer concert series, underground events, local radio stations, independent record shops…etc.  On this particular tour, we met a couple people first hand that were direct links to radios stations and/or publications. Locals also gave us information on upcoming festivals that we definitely might not have stumbled upon online. (p.s. always carry a notebook around)

Don’t Expect Much from the Venue
Never expect a venue to promote an event for you. Just don’t.  You do the legwork.  We ran into several issues where one venue didn’t hang the posters we sent, another venue put the wrong start time on their website (even after repeated attempts of  asking them to change it), and another venue wasn’t so friendly because we were females. “You just never know what you’re gonna get”…is what it comes down to.

Play in Unconventional Places
Check out avialable markets before you visit a town (ex: Reading Terminal Market in Philly).  I’ve mentioned this in a past blog so just refer to  Jumping the Gun – Booking for the Spring and Summer. Outdoor produce/artist markets are an excellent place to promote while on tour.  And if you contact them ahead of time, they will often save you a prime spot at their market to perform. You’ll often have to provide you own sound equipment, but its worth it.  People tip well b/c they’re already in shopping mode…and they dobuy music. Its similar to busking but a little more formal.  Also don’t forget to bring your own merch table.  It will increase sales. I promise.

p.s. Findlay Market in Cincinnati is a hot spot!

If you have any additional tips, please feel free to recommend them to Grassrootsy readers.

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Writing a Press Release – PR 101

February 9, 2009



WAZ (scroll down to read WAZ's PR about airplay on Grey's Anatomy)

Press Release:
An announcement of an event, performance,
or other newsworthy item that is issued to the press.

Having a press release might not be something that you need…not yet. But having a release alway helps to make you look a little more serious than the average musician.  If you’re just starting out, consider building your resume a bit before creating a press release (so you have something noteworthy to talk about). 

The Basics

  • 1] If you don’t like to write or don’t trust your writing, have someone else write your press release. Either way, make sure to have at least two people in the picture. One person to write the PR. A second person to proofread and edit.
  • 2] Press releases shouldn’t be more than one page. If its too long, don’t expect the recipient to read the whole thing. If its too short, don’t expect it to be taken seriously.
  • 3] Write in third person.  Make it readable. Don’t put too much information to the point that its cluttered.
  • 4] Keep the recipient in mind while writing your PR.  Certain information will only be relevant to certain media outlets.  For example, lets say: “Jane Smith’s won third place for “best song” in her county’s annual songwriting competition.”  You can’t expect this line to carry much weight if you’re sending the press release to National or International media.  You can however expect it to carry more weight if sending to media outlets within your city…especial if the annual competition is recognized as a major affair.


The Layout
Consider having a 3 paragraph press release. 4 paragraphs aren’t bad either. It all depends on what you have to say and how you have to say it. 

Headline: What is your PR about? Are you releasing a new CD? Are you performing at a major festival. Is your song being used at part of the soundtrack of a TV series? Here are some one-line headline examples.

  • “Local Artist to Release Debut CD at Hard Rock Cafe”
  • “Jane Smith’s ‘Midnight Blues’ to appear in Season 4 episode of Greys Anatomy”
  • “Jane Smith Band headlines at SXSW  festival.”

Paragraph 1: Paragraph 1 should clarify the headline.  Explain your headline in fuller terms. Make it interesting so people don’t write-off the rest of the release. (See Paragraph 1 in the PR below)

Paragraph 2: Paragraph 2 can give details about whatever your talking about as well as share facts to build your credibility towards readers. ( See Paragraph 2 in the PR below)

Paragraph 3: Paragraph can give more non-essential details about the CD release…things that are worth knowing but not necessary. (See Paragraph 3 in the PR below)

When its all said and done, your Press Release should look something like this.



Local Artist to Release Debut CD at Hard Rock Cafe”

Cincinnati, OH – February 9, 2009 –  Hard Rock Cafe might not be prepared for the CD release of Cincinnati artist Jane Smith on April 1st (7pm). The multi-talented guitarist, pianist, and trombone player is a one-woman wonder who has taken Ohio by storm and will likely do the same on the 1st.

In just 5 years, the folk-experimental artist has impressed her way into the hearts of the independent music scene. Smith’s music has been called an experimental, progressive, and edgy combination of retro folk with the occasional acoustic sentiment. In a recent write-up,  the New York Times is quoted as saying, “The most refreshing thing is when a new artist emerges from the indie music scene doing something that’s never been done before. If you don’t know Jane Smith yet, you will.” Others, including BeatCrave and Patrol Magazine have said that Smith is “a one-of-a-kind musician” and “the new face of good music.”

Smith blames her lack of creativity for her creative sound.  When asked to explain she said, “I know it sounds unconventional but I start most of my songs with a blank slate…no preconcieved thoughts or topics.  I just put a whole bunch of sounds together and call it a song.”  The opener for her CD release, pop musician Joe Jackson, has a slightly more structured method so attendies can be sure to expect a wide variety of entertainment on April 1st.  Doors open at 6pm.  Tickets available at and Hard Rock Cafe.


Jane Smith Music
(address should go here if it is a business address)

Here’s a look at a few other press releases by independent artists 

Here are a few other links on How to Write Press Release


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