When you’ve worked for a year on your musical project, you want everyone to hear it and know how much work and love you’ve put into it. You want everyone to remember it and share it. It’s only natural. And naturally, one of your reflexes might be to send a listening link to media outlets and other music pros via a DM on Instagram.
That said, you have to keep your feet on the ground because for it to work, you have to promote your music. And that’s a job in its own right: it has to be anticipated and it has to be done with respect to certain norms and unspoken rules. Without that, your music will only reach your close circles. They may appreciate your work, but it’s not their job to bring you to the top of the charts.
My name is Theodore, I’m the editor of NewTone media and I help artists in their development. My job is to listen to projects and relay them when I like them; or conversely, to help artists get media coverage or playlist entries on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Youtube, etc. On a daily basis, I see mistakes and hear preconceived notions about music promotion that keep projects below their potential. This is extremely frustrating and the purpose of this article is to replace bad practices with good ones.
This way you can promote like a pro and give your music the exposure it deserves! It’s going to take some extra effort, but logically, it should lead you to greater levels of exposure.
When to send a promo DM on Instagram and who should I DM?
Instagram is a social network of interaction. The media promote themselves on this network by publishing content: interviews, visuals, memes, debates, etc. Often, the person who posts is the Community Manager of the media outlet. Their role is to manage these posts and to react to comments, story posts and, of course, answer DMs. But it may not be the same person who makes the editorial choices. That’s the role of the editorial team, or the editor-in-chief: he/she decides which artists fit the editorial line of the media, in order to control the image of the media and to ensure the trust link with the community.
So, when contacting media outlets via DM on Instagram, the likelihood of you addressing the wrong person is very high! Some media outlets, like La Room or 1j1clip, consider promotional messaged via DM on Instagram and they indicate this in their bio. So there are, as with everything, exceptions. That said, remember that they are rare and that if you don’t see the mention “Contact by DM”, you can consider that Instagram is not the right place to send your project to the media.
On the other hand, the Community Manager should be willing to give you the email of at least one member of the editorial staff! So my advice is to show that you know the process and ask directly: “Hi, I’m preparing the promotion of my project and I’d like to share it with your team. Which email address can I use to send you all the info please? Thanks in advance!”.
In 3 lines, your message will be quick to read. In addition, you are asking for specific information, so it will be quick to offer you an answer. You understand it well, it greatly increases your chances of not staying on “seen” or “read”! By the way, here’s a little tip: don’t hesitate to interact with the publications and stories of the media you will contact one day. It’s always a plus to show that you are part of the audience of this media outlet before proposing a collaboration!
Have quality promotion, with quality tools!
Often, a promotional post or DM on Instagram feels very long, as they read your pitch and bio on a small screen. Unfortunately, this encourages skimming and your caller may miss crucial information. You won’t be able to highlight or bold important words (your music style, release date, for example). Sometimes artists even send their press photos or video teasers in their DM on Instagram. The problem is that the platform performs a compression of these files: that is to say that you lose in image quality. Too bad, if you worked with a good photographer and a good production team for your video! It’s also a pity for the media, which will always prefer good quality files.
Moreover, the phone is a tool of immediacy. But listening to your project will take at least 20 minutes. By sending it by DM on Instagram, you take the risk that your interlocutors will fly over your project to go faster. Moreover, your promo message is mixed with more conversational DMs, reaction from the community. Imagine that a medium receives dozens of DMs a day at least and that yours risks drowning.
On the other hand, if the media’s mailboxes are also quite full, they are however more orderly and, above all, only populated with professional messages. Many media outlets have an address dedicated to music promotion, on which they only receive singles and projects. Often, one or more people have the task of dealing with these mails. An answer is not guaranteed, depending on the philosophy and human resources of the outlet; but your chances to be read and heard are much higher than any DM on Instagram.
To find the email you should send your promotion to, be curious! Check the media’s website, you should find the necessary information in the “About” section. Don’t hesitate to stalk the people who work at the media’s editorial office on LinkedIn, to try to find their contact or ask them. Finally, as I said earlier, you can ask for it on Instagram or other social networks!
Bonus, even if you are still in the emerging stage, your name will be remembered as an artist who behaves professionally. This is extremely important for your reputation.
Be careful! If you use tools like Mailchimp or Sendinblue, your emails may end up in the “Promotion” tab of the media. So, don’t hesitate to establish a first direct contact with them, so that your address is already known. Furthermore, it is important to establish a personal contact with the media, for example by using the first name of the person in charge, or by mentioning the reason why you are contacting this particular media. It is better to contact 10 media in a very qualitative way, than 100 media in an impersonal email loop.
Groover: a good tool for really professional promotion!
It’s a good sign if you come across this article: you probably know Groover! This tool allows you to replace the contact by mail and to have the guarantee of a return by the media you contact. Moreover, you will probably discover many new media that could be relevant for your promotion. Before going further in the article or creating your campaign, I strongly advise you to read this article in which I explain how to optimize your Groover campaign!
One of the advantages of Groover is that all the elements you have to put in a promotion email correspond to boxes that the Groover team has prepared for you! Each of these boxes has been thought according to what the media usually ask for from artists in a promo email: release date, listening link, pitch, bio, social networks, etc. Where writing an email can sometimes be scary because you don’t know how to proceed, what information to put, Groover will be a great help.
There you go, you’re ready to promote yourself like a pro! If your music corresponds to what we relay on NewTone, you can contact us during your Groover campaign with this link.
– Translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –