How to Create Your Own Indie-artist Press Release
by Kathy Unruh

Creating a press release can be one of the best ways for an indie artist, or band, to gain some instant media exposure for themselves. And you know, as well as I, that exposure is the name of the game these days. Even though the world-wide web has opened up many new possibilites for the independent artist, the competition can be fearsome. So, if you have any news item worthy of print (i.e. a new CD for sale, or a concert coming up, etc.) then a press release might be just the ticket to give you an edge. It will provide the publicity necessary for people to know who you are, so that your music will get heard.

In order to make the best first impression on your readers, your press release should be well written, informative, and to the point. Be careful not to lose your reader's attention by adding too many unneccesary details. Stick to the facts by explaining who you are and what you have to offer.

I generally prefer to write in a third person narrative when I have to create my own press release (see an example). By asking myself the questions a reporter might ask me, I am able to think more freely and objectively.

Sample questions to ask and answer:

[Reporter] - Who are you- what is the name of your band?

[Band] - We have decided to call our band "Tangerine Sunshine".

[R] - What kind of music do you play?

[B] - It's somewhat eclectic and hard to define; kind of a mixture between alternative and rap.

[R] - I've heard that you have just finished recording a new CD. When will it be availabe to the public?

[B] - Yeah, it's called "Mixed Emotions" and we're really happy with the way it turned out. It will be available next week.

[R] - Where can a person get a copy of the CD?

[B] - It will be offered on our website (url) and through various other retail outlets (identify them).

[R] Great! How many tracks are on your album?

[B] Twelve.

[R] - Why did you pick "Tangerine Sunshine" for a name?

[B] - We like the colorful and positive image that it represents.

Of course, all the names mentioned above are fictitious and the illustration is only meant to show how you might organize the information you want to put in your press release. It can be modified any number of ways to suit your own particular needs. Once your make-believe reporter has gathered up all the facts, you're ready to write.

Here is a simple outline for you to use:

One of the most important things is to begin your press release with a catchy headline. You want to make sure that it will grab the attention of your reader right from the start.

Get the information about who you are (the name of your band, etc.) and what you have to offer within the very first paragraph. Keeping the who, what, when, where, why and how questions before you as you write will help to stimulate the creative process.

In the second paragragh of your press release you can go into a little more detail. Perhaps you'll want to describe the style of your music, or tell something more about your upcoming event. If so, this is the place to do it.

In this third and final paragragh you can briefly tell something about the other people who were involved with your project or event. Whatever you haven't covered in your press release yet, but feel is important, you can add here. Be sure to include any contact information you have, especially a website or email address.

When your press release is ready, after you've spell-checked it for typos and grammar, go ahead and post it on your website and/or in your blog. Then send it to as many free PR sites as you can find. Mi2n.com is a good one for musicians and indie artists to start with.

You should also send your press release, along with a cover letter, to all the local newspapers in your area. Put "Attention: Editor" above the address on the envelope and if possible include a photo.

Don't forget to send an email to all your friends, relatives, and neighbors as well. This is your time to shine, so reach for the stars!

Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on buying a guitar, songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit: http://www.abclearnguitar.com