Bands! Read me waffling on about shit you probably already know
Whilst The Monolith is in relative infancy in relation to a lot of other music sites, we’ve gained some semblance of experience in writing about the twangy/bangy/shouty stuff over the years, and it occurred to us in a bolt of extraordinary arrogance that it might be useful to any musicians who read the site, who are trying to gain exposure (from anywhere, really), to offer our advice on a few basics they can make sure they have in place to help not only those they contact directly for exposure, but anyone who might stumble across them and wish to write a masturbatory tribute to their prodigious caterwauling.
And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you:
Four Simple Steps For Basic Press Success
1. Have a band photo and a vectorised logo easily accessible
When presenting an article, be it a short introduction, a passing mention, a review or a full interview, one of the most essential components we want is a visual accompaniment. This can take several forms, from a custom band logo header to your album art, but one thing that is always noticeable is if you have a nice band photo.
This is an easy one to overlook – or get wrong – but remember that you’re selling a product, and that product is you – and presentation is everything. Professional shots can be expensive, but there are alternatives: you can get in contact with your nearest college or university’s photography course and ask if there is anyone looking to fill out their portfolio in return for lunch and train fare, or if you’re really lucky, you might even know someone who’s handy with a camera who’ll do it out of the goodness of their own hearts.
Whilst this next part isn’t essential, it will certainly be noticeable if you don’t: for Satan’s sake, dress for the occasion, and show some personality. The all black band t-shirts/tough guy arms-crossed pose is well done by this point, so mix it up a little. Protest The Hero are a good example of this thinking in practice; whether it’s staged or not, their current Facebook banner oozes charm.
Also important, and more often overlooked, is having a Photoshop/visual editor-friendly version of your band logo so that your brand is properly represented. If you’ve ever read an interview on this site, you may have noticed that we like to use them on the header image, and we’re certainly not alone in that. Not everyone will use it, but those who do will appreciate not having to trawl through the basement section of Google images to find it.
So most of all, make them easy to find. Put them on your website, Facebook page, Myspace, Reverbnation – whatever (preferably everywhere) - just make them as accessible as possible and we will love you for it.
2. Don’t hide who you are
There is a delicate balance to be struck here, for sure. Whilst no-one really cares about the three inconsequential bands you were in during high school, your 1-track bedroom project with your mate Dan, and the guest solo you performed for your e-friend from Arkansas, lack of any detail whatsoever can be mightily frustrating to those researching your band. Present a list of names and each person’s role, as it helps immensely, and Facebook pages (who doesn’t have one of those these days?) are perfect in enabling you to fill out these details; it’s all right there! 99% of the time, the only reason this section isn’t filled out is laziness. Don’t be lazy. I’m lazy, and all I got was this lousy gig writing about music. /s
It’s perhaps less important for the more established acts – those prominent enough for someone else to make a Wikipedia page about them – but even acts like The Dillinger Escape Plan make sure their profiles are filled in. Their only under-utilised section is the ‘About’ section – which is less about what you’ve done and more an opportunity to sell yourself – but Dillinger are of the level of notoriety now where this isn’t so important.
3. Have contact details readily available
What they do have, however, is a variety of ways to contact them. Aside from being able to message the Facebook page itself, there are social media links for all of the members’ Twitter accounts. Management, booking and press contact e-mails are also listed, which is excellent should someone want to speak to you or send a formal enquiry.
Do this. Not everyone will care about band member Twitters, so having one each isn’t strictly necessary, but you never know. Having a serious contact e-mail address is, and unless you have can read morse code, decipher smoke signals or know a pigeon
4. Have embeddable music
Whilst a writer talking about your music is all well and good, what everybody wants is to actually hear it. As such, you NEED to have something out there, readily available (even if it’s just one song) so that your music can be heard.
The three main avenues for this are Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube, as they all allow embedding within websites, which means that the readership, who are lazier than a cat meme and more fickle than your Wireless signal during a penalty shootout, don’t have to click more than once to get their ears around your sweet, sweet tunes.
Links are fine, but the immediacy of an embedded player is a big advantage to be able to illustrate your music, and best of all they are all free, so there really is no excuse. If you’re not ready for this step, there’s probably not much point in trying to promote yourself yet.
Essentially, the main message I’m trying to get across is this: make the job of the music press as easy as possible. There are loads of great PR companies out there doing just that, but at the very base level you should have covered all of these. We appreciate this stuff, we really do, and when we’re happy, you’re happy. Well, mostly happy. If you could stop with the dollyknocking on our front door, that’d be great.