Writing Your Press Release

By Dan Carson, Music Publicist & Manager at Brace Yourself PR


An interview with Dan Carson, Music Publicist & Manager at Brace Yourself PR

What is a press release and when should one be used?

A press release is in essence you, or your PR (Public Relations) company making an announcement about you or your band, which will hopefully be picked up and run as a news story by a raft of publications. Easy! A press release should be used sparingly and when you have something genuinely interesting to shout about. You don’t have to be at a certain level to send a press release out, but you should have some important news to share i.e. a new single or support tour. It’s key to remember that it’s likely you’ll be sending your press release to people who haven’t asked for it. Make sure what you’re saying is at least targeted at the right demographic – if you’re a scuzzy indie band, don’t target pop blogs like Disco Naiveté, otherwise you’ll get a ton of unsubscribers if you’re using a mailing program like MailChimp, or just as bad: zero responses. Don’t send the same press release twice either. Music journalists receive thousands of emails a week – sending yours twice will only increase that number by one and wind them up in the process.


How long/many words should one be?

However long it takes to get your key points across. That said, always try to be as concise as possible. Make sure  the link to the music, tour news, etc. is at the heart of   the press release. It’s all well and good to sell your story beautifully, but if you don’t make it clear how or where to listen to the music itself early in the press release, writers will lose interest and move onto the next email. And don’t get verbose or use exaggerated adjectives. That’s the journalist’s job.


What’s the most  important  thing  to  include  on  a  press release?

A working link to the music. You’d be amazed at how many PRs and bands screw this up.


Is there a certain order information is normally presented in?

I would always lead with the band’s photo, followed by a big heading with your/your band’s name and a subheading detailing what it is you’re announcing. Then a link to the music or ticket link to the tour/show you’re announcing and your blurb or bio. Finally cap it off with social channels (Facebook, Instagram etc.) and your contact details.  Don’t underestimate the power of formatting. Get your keywords (track names, influences, bands you supported) to pop out in bold.


What tense should you use?

Email subject lines, titles and headings should be written in present tense (e.g. Wolf Alice release video for ‘Freazy’) but past tense could be used in the press release’s body text (e.g. London four-piece Wolf Alice have just released the video for their new single ‘Freazy’, via NME). You can be quite flexible but don’t switch every other sentence!


Is it good to include imagery?

Lead with a cool, eye-catching press shot. First impressions really are everything when it comes to getting ahead of the next email in someone’s inbox. Don’t use too many filters or effects. Keep it clean and natural and be unique, and don’t look too stern, unless you’re aim is to be the next Leonard Cohen.


Does anyone still send physical press releases, or are they produced for the digital world?

Brace Yourself are aiming to go entirely digital with the way we service our music and that applies to press releases too. We use MailChimp to send our digital releases – it’s easy to master and we have a template which ensures uniformity between everything we send out. It’s cleaner to establish one aesthetic and run with it.


Is there a standard format that a press release should be displayed in? Does this depend on the audience/recipients?

I’d avoid sending a press release as an attachment. Especially if you’re planning on sending a big file that will clog up inboxes. Use a mailing system like MailChimp to send to a list of contacts all at once, or copy your entire press release to the bottom of an individual email to a journalist. Say ‘hi’ and pick out the key points about your release in one or two sentences then point to the full  release below your signature.


Do you have any tips to help engage people in the press releases you send?

Get your subject line right. Nothing long or cheesy. Be clear and concise, putting music at the forefront. This isn’t necessarily all about the press release itself, it’s about the whole package you’re presenting. Have a look on Hype Machine and see who is performing well on the artists’ chart. What are they doing right? If you can get your music and your look bang on, everything else will fall into place and your press release should just be a means of highlighting your phenomenally good work!


Dan Carson (dan@braceyourselfpr.com)

Music Publicist & Manager at Brace Yourself PR

By Dan Carson, Music Publicist & Manager at Brace Yourself PR

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