How to Write a Hip Hop
Music Press Release
Want to know why many
artists get mentioned in magazines and websites, while others
don't? It's not just about how the music is being
received, but whether or you are taking advantage of the power
of press releases.
I've rewritten a guide
using tips from music consultant
Glass, in order to better fit the
world of Hip Hop publicity.
What is a Press Release?
A press release is a common tool used to bring an artist or
business free publicity. A press release is a sheet or email
that provides news to music reporters,
editors, and other media people. If any website or magazine
uses your release, they don't charge you. So learning
how to write a quality press release is obviously a great
investment into cultivating your buzz.
Any record label can buy
ads on a website or magazine. But studies have proven
that people respond better to articles online and in magazines
better than ads, because they appear more credible.
When To Use A Press Release
You can use a release to notify the media about any sort of
A new album that you
A special upcoming concert
Signing to a new label
Your label has signed a new
Upcoming TV appearances
Award nominations or wins
Chart performances for your
Keep in mind that this is
supposed to be news. so your press release needs to be
newsworthy. So what exactly is newsworthy, anyway?
That requires a bit of
research. Ask yourself this question: what type of
articles are usually published to the Hip Hop magazines or
urban music websites that you visit?
Also consider different
angles for getting your press release noticed. When New
York rapper Jakpot
confronted immigration issues with a new song, it provided
him with an added angle for publicity. Not only could he
send a press release about the song to Hip Hop websites, but
also to magazines, blogs and sites related to Latinos or
Hispanic immigrants in America.
Let's say that you want to
announce that a percent of proceeds from your new album will
be donated to an organization that helps minority business
owners. This frees you up to send your press release to
business websites, or minority business owner magazines.
Just remember that when a
magazine or website editor reads your press release, they
don't owe you anything. They don't have to run your story.
So it's up to you to make the press release interesting.
If you send news that will appeal to the readers of a
magazine, or visitors to a website, it's much more likely that
your release will get run.
How To Write The Release
Most press releases follow a similar format. First, spend some time defining the
main message that you
want to get across. You will need to tell the who, what, when,
why, and where in your press release.
Start by preparing your release in a word processor program
such as Microsoft Word. The first lines you want to
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" (or FOR RELEASE March 10, 2012) and
"For more information, contact:"
followed by your contact info. (Make sure the phone number you
give will be answered promptly during the time right after the
release is sent out. Editors who are interested in running
your story may need to speak with you.) On the flip
side, you can also put your contact info at the bottom of the
Next, write your headline, which looks good in all capital
letters. The headline is the single most important sentence
of your press release. If the headline sounds
interesting, it compels people to read further. If not, your
release may be passed over quickly.
Spend some time and
creative thought on the headline. Read other headlines and
notice what makes you read an article. If your press
release is going out by email, make the email subject the same
as your headline. For this reason, a catchy headline may
get your release read by more people.
"MC JUAN TO PERFORM AT 2012
BILLBOARD AWARDS" might be as catchy as you can get for that
particular release. But "MC JUAN COMBATS HISPANIC
DIABETES WITH NEW ALBUM" is more likely to get an editor's
After you have crafted the perfect headline, you need to write
the body of your release. Here's where you give all the
details of your story. Write it in third person (using "He" or
"She" instead of "I") and make it read like a news story.
Special mention should be given here to the first paragraph.
Just like the headline, the first paragraph needs to grab the
reader's interest. In fact, many busy editors will only read
past the beginning if you have "hooked" them in the first few
Make sure you include ALL important details in this
paragraph, since websites, magazines and newspapers will
usually run your release word-for-word how you sent it. Use
full city and state descriptions (Los Angeles, California, not
just Los Angeles), and include the month, day, and year in
dates (May 4, 2012, not May 4th).
Here's one of the most
important things to stress about press releases. DO NOT
go over the top with adjectives. Magazines and websites
are likely to run your press release if it actually reads as
news. Your press release should be news, not
ridiculously glowing praise for yourself.
Here is the easiest way to
get a website or magazine to not run the press release that
you just sent them:
MC Juan is a lyrical
beast on the microphone. This amazing and
awe-inspiring rapper is taking over the rap world by
storm, after having set the San Diego rap world on fire.
His brilliant wordplay and amazing ability to rock the
mic will propel him to greatness.
This type of email is not
uncommon. But ask yourself, when was the last time you read an
article in a Hip Hop magazine or on a music website that was
worded like that?
Editors won't run it,
because it doesn't read as news. If you really want to
generate some buzz from websites, local newspapers and
magazines, focus on the facts, and not on personal opinions.
Quotes from the artist, or anyone related to the story, can be
a good touch though.
At the end of the release, summarize your story and add any
"About Us" information that is necessary. Follow it up with a
contact for further information.
End your press release with the symbol "###" (without the
quotation marks) after your last lines of text. This lets the
editor know they have successfully received the entire
Sample Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONTH DAY#, YEAR (CITY, STATE) -- Important information
answering the who, what, where, when, and why. Make sure the
first paragraph summarizes your news clearly.
Add additional details here.
About The Artist (Label/Group, etc): blah, blah, blah
For more information, contact:
Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
How to Send Your Release
Almost any newspaper, magazine, website, radio station or
other media can be an outlet for your music news release. You
need to build a media list that you regularly send your
releases to, and add to it as often as possible.
My best advice, however, is
that you consider hiring a publicity firm that specializes in
promoting urban music artists (and/or Hispanic music artists
and record labels). You might be asking yourself why you
simply can't do it yourself. The reason why is because
many publicists have spent years developing long-standing
relationships with journalists and editors of various
magazines, websites, radio stations, and TV programs.
When a recognized music
public relations firm sends out a release, it's more likely to
be read by editors and journalists. Not to mention that
many publicists have cultivated a large list of media contacts
already, meaning that your release may be seen by tens of
thousands of reporters, bloggers and music editors.
If you don't have the
budget for a publicist, you may have to tough it out.
Otherwise, it's a good investment. I've personally seen
record labels get serious buzz thanks to a few hot singles,
and waste countless opportunities by simply failing to have a
publicist send out releases or respond to press inquiries from
For more info on press
releases, or to send one to LatinRapper,