How Do You Get Coverage in the Local Press?
It’s said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. That’s debatable, but for singers, the more you can get your work in the local press and the public eye, the better. So what are the tips and tricks for getting media coverage?
Social media is now a prolific method of marketing. Yet newspaper articles, magazine features, TV interviews and radio airplay are all still vitally important to artists. So, how do you get coverage in the local press? Well, it may not be as difficult as it seems.
Find out how to get a story in the local news, how to make the contacts you need to get on telly, how to increase your media coverage and much more, as we delve into the methods you’ll need, to get coverage in the local press.
How do you get coverage in the local press?
Getting the media to notice you
Have you noticed that some people are featured in the press and media all the time? Do you wonder how they’re getting so much attention and focus? Perhaps you’re feeling invisible to the world of journalists, editors and presenters.
The media is an industry, just like any other. And as such, there are methods of succeeding and ways to work with the existing system and people within it. The good news is, once you do break-in to the world of media, more doors open and it gets easier. In this article, we’ll detail the tricks of the trade, as well as groups, pages and links for getting seen and heard.
How to be successful with local press & radio stations as a singer
The sooner you build some solid contacts with local press and radio stations, the better. As a singer, these connections will mean you always have a place to go with news, launches and stories about your work.
Begin by paying attention to these media channels. Identify which presenters and journalists might have an interest in what you do. Do your research then approach them with that information. For example, if you reference an article they’ve written or artist they play regularly, they’ll feel you’ve taken more than a passing interest and will be more incentivised to strike up a rapport with you.
Whenever you’re doing something newsworthy is the time to strike. It doesn’t need to be the biggest gig either – a personal or local interest story works really well. Make sure you’re consuming articles and media yourself, so you know what sort of things get covered.
How to approach the local newspaper as a singer
Find out who covers new music at the local paper. Look at their website and find the list of editors and contributors. Then make contact with a specific story or feature in mind. Just letting them know you’re there isn’t enough. Provide an enticing bio and present them with a great pitch. This might be a new EP you’re about to launch, a contest you’ve won or a high profile gig you’ve landed.
Add in a nugget of local interest (where you went to school, local groups you’ve been involved with, charity or volunteer work you do in the area) and this becomes newsworthy to a local rag.
How to get an article written about you
It’s not as tricky as it may seem to get an article written about you and it is now easier than ever in fact. Everyone needs constant content to stay ahead and you can add to that. The key is, to approach smaller, growing publications first. Are there any online arts magazines or review sites in your area (town, county, or even with a wider range)? Check if they run interviews, artist features or Q&As on their site. If so, pitch the editor with an article about you, your work, or your band’s work.
Make sure it’s not coming across as a vehicle for free marketing -make it interesting and relevant. Discussing the music scene in general, or your specific genre can help with this. These journalists and editors are usually unpaid, but often passionate about the arts. Make it easier and save them time, by almost writing the article for them in your pitch, with bullet points and suggestions of what you could cover.
You should also make it clear that you’ll be sharing the content with your followers on all social media channels. This will benefit them as much as you and is likely to make them even keener.
Getting reviewed is another way to get column space. Be prepared to be criticised, although the feedback can often be very helpful to your development. To get reviewed, you’ll need to contact relevant music or arts publications with a press release and details of your album or live gig. If they agree to review you, you’ll then need to send on the album, or arrange free tickets, as appropriate. Always be professional, friendly and respond in a timely manner. Reviewers are usually unpaid, so will appreciate a bit of courtesy and access to some fabulous free new music.
How to get a newspaper to write an article about you
Getting featured in these smaller online publications is a good stepping stone to being written about in newspapers. And most of the advice for non-printed written media applies to hard copy journalism too. But bear in mind that their end goal is to sell papers – or if it’s a free paper like the Metro, to pique the interest of advertisers (as that’s how they make their money).
How to get a story in the newspaper
Present your press release in the form of an interesting article and you have more chance of it being included. You have two main options when it comes to getting a story in the newspaper. You could pitch an overview to a journalist, or another option to get an article published in the local newspaper is to write one yourself.
How to get an article published in the local newspaper
If you write lyrics, you may find you have a way with words that would lend itself to some journalism too. This won’t be an option for every artist. But if this seems like an option for you, check out if your local papers ever have guest columnists.
You could also pitch an idea to a publication like HuffPost, which accepts submissions from members of the public. Ideally, you should make it about music, performing or an aspect of your journey as a performer. If you’re writing your own piece, here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start:
- Who is your target audience? Who will read – and be interested – in your piece?
- How will your article be different from others?
- What is a unique experience or viewpoint that you can share?
- What is the aim? To inspire, inform, educate, raise awareness, entertain, provoke thought – or something else?
- How to get a press release in the local newspaper
A press release provides all the details of a new venture to media outlets and journalists. Writers, actors, singers and artists all use press releases. They are an important way of raising awareness of your work, as well as ensuring the media has the correct factual information.
You should send media outlets your press releases, especially newspapers. The press release must be fully accurate, with perfect spelling and grammar and be enticing. But to get it published, you may have to follow up with a call or email and sell yourself further.
You may want to hire a marketing guru or professional writer to do it for you or follow our guide to writing a great press release.
How to get media coverage for an event
There are a number of options for getting media coverage for a specific event. Here are some top tips to increase its profile.
Ask publications to come along and review it (if that’s appropriate to the event, such as a show or large scale gig).
Hire a media PR specialist- especially if you want TV coverage.
Send a press release to all media outlets, and don’t forget the photographers. Having visual images taken and shared is great for coverage.
Get someone to Facebook live or stream the event.
Give free tickets to music bloggers and vloggers, in return for posts and shares.
Hold a ‘VIP’ press reception before the event, or in a break/interval. Make sure you provide free wine, soft drinks and nibbles – and that the white wine is chilled!
Send out invites to press (including to the press reception) well ahead of time. Media people’s diaries fill up quickly, so you need to get in early.
How to get media attention for your cause
If you have a cause or charity you’re supporting or raising awareness for, it may well be easier to get the media to sit up and notice. You can also ask the charity/cause to help you out with press contacts if they have any.
Find media outlets who have existing interest or relationship with the topic and definitely include the cause in your pitches to newspapers, magazines and publications.
How to get your story on TV
How to get a story on the local news
The TV is often the holy grail of the media world. Everyone wants to be featured on screen, as it generally carries a larger reach than print and radio media forms. But as with papers and magazines, TV stations are continually looking for sources of content to fill out their nightly shows. Go in with the attitude that you can help them out with that, as you have an interesting story to tell.
You might be surprised to know that many news stations actively invite submissions from members of the public. The BBC has a page on their website dedicated to inviting stories of interest from anyone and everyone. These can be in the form of stories, pictures, videos and questions.
How to get on the local news
The BBC covers national and local news. There are also a huge number of regional TV channels and new programmes – with digital TV these are increasing all the time. Do check their websites for their individual guidelines on how to submit a story. Local arts or music magazine programmes are also a good place t start.
Here are some more tips for getting your face on TV
You can take the same approach for getting on other types of TV shows too. Be aware that anything prime time or high profile will be very hard to infiltrate. You’ll need to be well-known, have achieved something significant, or have a good agent or manager behind you.
How to get featured in a magazine
Approaching magazines is generally the same as newspapers. However, magazines provide more of a variety of specialist topics. Try contacting local magazines with your local interest angle. Music magazines may be keen if you can prove you have something their readers will be interested in.
You could also approach magazines for media attention that’s not directly connected to your career. It’s debatable whether non-related publicity is worthwhile, but it might help to get your name out there – and they might mention your music somewhere in there.
Feature Me is a useful third party tool for getting in the media. It recruits members of the public to feature in articles and even on TV programmes on all sorts of topics. Follow their social media channels for updates on who and what they’re looking for. These pages are updated frequently with new requests.
How to approach local radio and how to get on the radio for free
Of course for musicians, the radio is an ideal route to getting air time. And it won’t cost a penny unless you want to pay a promoter to market your tracks to the station.
There are two main ways to get your voice on the radio and which you aim for will depend on what’s going on in your professional life at the time.
How to get an interview on local radio
If you don’t have a new EP or album out but have something to say, ask for an interview. Perhaps you’ve planned a charity gig, set up a new open mic night, or are through to the final of a competition. Pitch the radio station with this topic and tell them what you’d like to talk about and why it’s of interest to their listeners.
You’re almost guaranteed to get an interview on local radio. The key is to start small. Approach the lesser-known, newer start-ups. Go on hospital radio to get your radio confidence. As you progress to bigger stations, you can let them know where else you’ve been interviewed and send them clips. They’ll probably play one of your tracks too, so getting an interview is a double-whammy for air time.
How to get radio stations to play your music
If you’re uncomfortable being interviewed or are more focussed on launching a new song, you might want to put your energy in getting your music heard.
Read our article all about this topic to land yourself plenty of air play.
Don’t forget that you do always have the option of hiring someone to do this for you. If you’re making good money from gigs, busking, or have won some cash singing, it might be worth investing in a PR person, so you can concentrate on writing or developing your act.
For those with no budget, don’t worry. Getting media coverage is definitely within reach with some investment of time and effort, instead of money. There’s a lot to be said for persistence in this world. So don’t give up. Always be polite and pleasant and make sure you’ve got something interesting to say and share and before long, the local press might just be making you a regular feature.
- How can I increase my media coverage?
Don’t expect media moguls to come knocking at your door. You are the one who must do the knocking. Keep putting content out there in the form of press releases and ask for interviews. You may even want to hire a PR or media specialist with good contacts to do your publicity for you.
- How do you get on a radio talk show?
Ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Find out which shows takes guests, especially up and coming ones. Do your research, approach them with an interesting angle and see if you can get a slot. Smaller radio stations will be likely to take it up.
How do you get coverage in the local press? Do you have any tips for others or links to your features and articles you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section.