Music Notes for Jan. 10, 2013

“What the hell do I have to do to get my band covered in Surge?”

For Weekly SurgeJanuary 9, 2013 

The headline for this week’s column expresses a verbatim quote from a frustrated bandleader who was feeling left out of our Weekly Surge Music Notes coverage, and finally blew a gasket. It’s a fair question that I’m sure more than one local band has wondered about, maybe even you? Here at the onset of 2013, having survived the much-hyped Mayan apocalypse, wonder no more. Here’s the inside scoop on how to get press not just in Weekly Surge, but anywhere.

Tell Us A Story

As our readers expect us to tell them a story, we expect bands looking for PR (public relations), to tell us a story. It’s not enough that you have a gig coming up, or you’ve been playing out for three years, or your mom thinks you’re really great, or you have a new drummer, guitarist, etc. You need a hook, an angle that is newsworthy. Is your band in the studio with a cool producer? Are you about to sign a record deal? Are you going out on tour? Are you planning a CD release concert/party? Are you part of a multi-band fundraiser or reunion show? Have you or your band been performing for an anniversary-worthy amount of time? Five years, 10 years how about 30 years as will soon be the case with local legends The Mullets? You get the idea. When you’ve got something newsworthy, really newsworthy, we want to tell your story. We need to tell your story.

Be Timely

Don’t e-mail or call a week or a couple of days in advance of your big show or event and expect a half-page column. We work in advance – well in advance. While you shouldn’t completely discount a last minute late-breaking opportunity, a minimum of three weeks notice is really appreciated and sometimes required, but four or five weeks is even better. Even then there are no guarantees. Why? Because you’re competing with other newsworthy stories. Rarely previously scheduled articles get bumped at the last minute. If Pete Townshend decides to do a solo show at Fresh Brewed Coffee House, the editor will bump your band profile – and that IS a guarantee. Be early, be flexible, be patient, and friendly. Caustic e-mails don’t help your case for inclusion.

The 411

We have read unbelievably vague, confusing, and/or misleading e-mails regarding band events. Don’t assume that because you’ve invited all your Facebook friends to a gig that you’ve done due diligence in getting us the information we need. Be your own publicist and your own advocate. And, by the way, NEVER use Facebook for communication to media sources. My e-mail address appears at the end of every column.

So what exactly do we need? The first step is a press release, which is a clear, concise, short, e-mail with the following: date it was written, who wrote and sent it, that person’s cell phone number (most important), the subject (or the “what” e.g. CD Release Party, etc.), the date of the event, a brief description of why it’s newsworthy, and the when of the event (date and start/stop time). Is this an all-ages show? 21-and-older?, cover charge? The press release needn’t read like an article – that’s our job. Bullet points work best. Nothing fancy is required, just the five Ws; who, what, when, where, why, and send it early. I have a sample press release I’d be happy to e-mail anyone who asks and it is also posted on this Web site.

Our Schedule

Weekly Surge hits the streets on Thursdays (and the Web by Wednesday afternoons), and the Music Notes column runs every-other Thursday. We rarely review events, choosing instead to preview events, which is better for you and better for our readers so they’ll have a chance to attend. We try to plan our stories to hit the streets on the closest Thursday prior to the event. (Note: today’s column is referring to editorial only, not the music listings found in our 7 Days A Week Calendar. Each issue contains written instructions on how to submit your items for that calendar.)

Persistence Pays

Be a squeaky wheel. Do it nicely, but feel free to squeak away. We get busy, so reminders are helpful. After you’ve sent your press release, if you haven’t heard back in a few days, send another e-mail asking if we received it. Ask us if we think the content is newsworthy for Music Notes, but be understanding if ultimately we don’t think the timing or content is right. But keep at it and don’t give up.

We’re ready, willing and able to help you help yourself make a musical mark on the Grand Strand and beyond, but the next step is yours.

Have a thought, comment or newsworthy item for Weekly Surge Music Notes? Send an e-mail to pgrimshaw@sc.rr.com.

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