An open letter to publicists (and DIY bands)

I’m not going to sit here and criticize publicists. After all, a lot of them contact me regularly and send me lots of good music I may not hear otherwise. Ultimately, what that means is I see enough press releases to know a good one from a not so good one. With that in mind, here are some tips for publicists (and bands who do everything themselves) to make their press releases as good as possible.

  • Lay off the cliches – This is true regardless of what you’re writing. If you overload your writing with cliches, then whatever you write tends to lose its meaning. Why? Because the reader spends so much time sifting through the cliches, that he loses the sense of the message.
  • Have someone proofread your stuff – Again, this is true no matter what you write. No matter how good a writer you are, you might have some spelling or grammatical errors in it. The last thing you want to do is leave some doubt about your abilities with something as basic as spelling and grammar.
  • Have someone read your stuff (part 2) – Maybe you are a really good creative writer, and there is a place for creativity in press releases. It can be part of what catches the attention of whomever is reading it. But here’s the thing. A press release is not a novel. Whoever is in your audience is not expecting to read the next great American novelist. Your audience wants to learn about the music you’re promoting. So that’s what your press release should be: a straightforward description of the music you’re promoting. To quote Arthur Schopenhauer, “One should use common words to say uncommon things.” Yes, you can mix some humor in there, but have someone else read your press release to see if it makes sense to someone other than you. Your initial audience will help you know what is effective and what misses.

Oh, and if you need help writing in a clear and straightforward way, contact me. I can help you write a press release that will not have the reader rolling his or her eyes, and my rates are very reasonable.


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