Whether in print or online, music magazines are a big deal to the careers of many. The exposure to new fans and further opportunities are well worth the legwork you need to get into the magazines. I’ve been featured in quite a few myself and have even written for some, so I’m going to give you my best tips to getting featured in top music magazines!
Contacting Music Magazines
We’re going to walk through each step carefully, even if it seems basic. A lot of these things are not basic to some, so if you feel like you’re past it, feel free to skip ahead! You can also pin this and come back to it later (while you’re at it, why not follow me on Pinterest?)
If you’re starting out on your magazine journey, put a tweet out to let the world know to look out for you!I'm going to be featured in magazines soon! Click To Tweet
1). Start Small
You don’t necessarily *have* to do this, but it definitely helps. If other magazines see you’ve been featured elsewhere, they’re much more likely to want to include you. If you have zero press, maybe get started by contacting smaller magazines and/or blogs. You can certainly contact me, but please read the rest before doing so! It will greatly increase your chances of being featured 🙂 Whether you decide to contact me or other smaller places, follow the same tips here to increase your chances of a response!
2). Use Templates Wisely
So many people send me a copied-and-pasted template that I just know they’ve sent to 300 other places. I usually don’t even respond, because I can tell they’re trying to cut corners and I don’t want to deal with that.
Now, you can certainly use a template and I recommend doing so to save yourself time, but you NEED to personalize it to everyone you contact. Here are two examples of emails I’ve received:
Dear Mella, I have a band that I would like you to feature. We are up and coming but rank #2 on the global ReverbNation charts. Let me know how to proceed. Thank you!
Dear Mella, I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog and loved your interview with Francie! I’ve seen that you’ve been interviewing more people lately, and I’m wondering if you’re still open to new subjects? My band just released a single and I’d love to tell you and your readers about how we wrote it (it involves flying squirrels). Let me know if you’re interested!
For the first one, they did use my name, but I can tell that’s the only thing they personalized. Also, we all know that those ReverbNation charts are false and mean nothing (I have a post on it here). I *might* respond, but it really depends on how stressed and busy I am that week.
The second one is great because it shows that they at least know who I am. They might be lying about reading the blog, but they did some research which I appreciate. Also, when I do interviews or features I like to have interesting stories for my readers, so they’ve already got me hooked by sharing a tidbit about their music (and it’s about animals so I’m already excited).
3). Lead with a Story or Similarity
As you can see from that email, they got me hooked with a story. You can do this if you have an interesting one, or you can look for a previous story the magazine did. For example, if your music is similar to Kesha’s, and a magazine just reviewed her latest album, you can mention that you saw it and wondered if they’d be interested in yours as well. It shows that you pay attention, and also gives the most important part, which is next:
4). What’s in it for THEM?
Obviously, you want your band or song featured. Everyone does. Your benefit from this interaction is obvious. What isn’t obvious to the writers is what THEY stand to gain from interviewing you. Do you have a ton of fans who will drive traffic to their website? A killer story that will hook regular readers? Do you have an important message to share, or a cause to promote? Those are things you’ll want to include when you contact someone.
5). Format Your Inquiry and Use Proper Spelling/Grammar
People, seriously. You are contacting WRITERS. We read and write all day long. When we can barely get through your email because it looks like your cat wrote it for you, it’s a hard pass. Especially if it’s an interview or guest post, because you’re guaranteeing a ton of extra work on our end to make your responses legible. Just don’t do this. Use correct grammar and spelling. There are free programs online to check things like this. There really is no excuse anymore.
6). Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
I was featured in a magazine about Diabetics because I’m a Type 1 Diabetic. If you wrote a song about a particular hobby or something a magazine covers, why not contact them? They may just decide to feature you and then that’s another magazine to add to your resume. Obviously, music magazines are the end goal, but on your way there you can find new fans and friends through other avenues!
7). Be Social
Follow the editors or writers on social media and connect with them. Most of my guest posts and swaps have been through someone contacting me on Instagram or email (such as my interview with Justine Perry here). When the writers know you already, they’re a lot more willing to say “yes” when you ask them for a favor.
Here is a simple template to use when contacting magazines:
Dear (correct contact person’s name):
[Backstory on how you know them, if they know you from somewhere, etc]
[The hook – what is your unique, awesome story you want their readers to see?]
[Links to proof that you have credibility, other articles, social media, song links, etc]
[Thanks and closing]
That’s it! It seems like a lot of work, but you only need a couple sentences for each block. Here is another great resource on contacting magazines. If you’re trying to pitch your own story, here is more info on how to do that.
Good luck and let me know when you get featured! Feel free to post a link in the comments!