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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  Suzanne 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 happening:

  • A new album that you released

  • A special upcoming concert

  • Signing to a new label

  • Your label has signed a new artist

  • Upcoming TV appearances

  • Award nominations or wins

  • Chart performances for your latest single

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 include are:

"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 email.

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 attention.


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 lines.

 

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 release.

 

Sample Press Release Structure:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEADLINE

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 Name
Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone
Fax
Email

###

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 writers.

 

For more info on press releases, or to send one to LatinRapper, click here.

 

 




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