An Artist’s Guide to Getting Press

We get a lot of strange, psycho, ignorant, cantankerous and [insert adjective here] phone calls and emails here at “Tha Office,” from people who want to get press–everyone from Up Your Ass Entertainment to Ya Momma N’em Productions (I’m joking but not really). The problem is, most of the time, people don’t even know who they should speak to or don’t really have anything worthwhile to push. So, here are some tips for artists, managers and publicists looking for coverage.

1. Don’t be abrasive, pushy and in a lot of cases, psycho.
For magazines: Don’t call the main number incessantly insisting on talking to an editor but not knowing whom. It would help if you’ve done your research and knew a specific magazine section, and the editor presiding over it–by the way, the Editor-in-Chief is never the right person to go for because he or she is almost always too busy to talk to you (go for assistants instead). Read the masthead (the page in the front of the book that tells you who’s who on staff), that’s what it’s there for. Timing is also important. Unlike the web, magazines are on a schedule so before you bombard anyone with music, find out what issue they’re working on first and plan accordingly. When it comes to the web, don’t e-stalk writers/editors via Facebook, MySpace (especially if their page is private), Twitter, and email. It’s a surefire way to get blocked and therefore, nothing accomplished.

2. Try, try again.
Your pitch may not work the first time but as you progress as an artist and get a bigger resume, you acrue a bigger interest-factor. Don’t be discouraged.

3. Be productive.
No one cares that your boys and Mom Dukes think you’re hot. You have to have some solid accomplishments in order to be taken seriously. You don’t necessarily have to be signed but at least work toward opening a show for a known artist, set up your own college tour, or sell an astronomical amount of music on your own (500,000 in the hood or along those lines). Just show that you’re serious about your craft and have a good following.

4. Be patient. Journalists are busy. Understand that when you contact us, you’re probably one in a long line of hundreds. You may not get a response for days, and sometimes weeks (and months in extreme cases), but just chill out. We need time to review your product. And in the case that you never get a response, there could be a number of reasons why. Maybe we never got it, maybe we intend to get back to you but got sidetracked, maybe we don’t like what you have to offer, or maybe it’s not appropriate for our audience (which goes back to doing your research). But no matter what…

5. Get thick skin.
Don’t take everything personal. Yes, certain people are assholes and certain situations suck, but it’s not always an intentional snub. And even if it is, keep in mind that you may come in contact with someone who did you wrong at some point, and have to work with them, but keep a business mind. You don’t have to totally sell out, but play your chess pieces right and move forward.

6. Check your ego.
No diss, but there’s really about a 2% margin for artists who say they’re hot and actually are. There’s nothing wrong with believing in yourself, but be realistic about your product. Is it really that original? Did you find a new way to flip something old? You gotta come hard (pause) if you want to get noticed, but don’t act like hip-hop’s next messiah, especially if your product doesn’t back it up. Hell, even if your product isn’t all that, sometimes a great personality (I refuse to say “swag”) is a saving grace.

7. Be professional.
It helps to have a manager or publicist. However, if you don’t, fake it ’til you make it. If you have to get a friend to pose, or create an alter ego, then go for it (just don’t be sloppy).

8. No friends.
Unless the friendship is a natural progression, don’t go out of your way to be super buddy buddy with a writer because chances are, we don’t trust you. We know what you want. And again, in the case that you become friends naturally, keep in mind that it might be harder to get put on for that reason.

9. Be professional (yup, again).
Have at least five songs for reference, and a solid, well-written informative bio with NO TYPOS. A bio with typos gets clowned and trashed along with the music. Sucks, but it’s true.

10. Connect. Politick. Diddo.
Network as much as you can. Go to events. Book shows. Use the internet.-Gang Starr Girl
Fin

  • macdatruest

    Deez Nuts need coverage.

  • JCITYHUSTLA617

    I JUST TOOK A MAJOR FUCKIN SHIT AND AS I WIPE MY ASS AND PROCEDED 2FLUSH I WAS MORE INTERESTED IN WHERE CRAP GOES WHEN IT SQUEEZE PAST DA CHEEKS N TAKES DAT DIVE INTO DEM SEWER PIPES DAN I EVER WAS READING THIS MOTHAFUKIN ARTICLE……………

  • FlapJack

    Nice post. Might wanna get into some more details, not just: Stop harrassing us!

  • Pierzy

    What if you’re trying to become a XXL online blogger?

    • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

      Good question P, lol.

      Also, how do you find out what a magazine is planning on doing? I’m been tryna do that for a second and don’t even know where to look.

  • http://SpeechIsMyHammer.com Ketchums

    FlapJack:
    Do you read blogs, or do you just skim through them? Not only did she say, “Stop harassing us” – she gave details on *how* to approach us: research the publication, get a hold of the right people, and be patient. She gave a lot of details here.

    And all you other commenters throwin’ shots at Starr, you only get half a bar: fuck y’all niggas.

  • FlapJack

    I gave her props yo!
    What I read between the lines was: I’m so fucking tired of these dumbass rude rappers calling me, I don’t care about your mixtape.

    Which is understandable

  • AVENGER XL

    How to get a write up in a Mainstream hiphop magazine

    1. Go to jail over dumb possion charges right before you album drops (guns,weed, bootleg cd’s it don’t matter choose one).

    2. Start beef with another rapper (remember go at a dude on your level of bum ass nigga see Joe Budden vs Ransom/Saigon). This will bring in the tabliod beef audience and feed the ignorant machine that is hip-hop “jounalism” these days.

    3. If you think you are 50 level metro (pause) try to have sex with when of the writers who is probably acting like big shit at a club near you with a big sign that says I write for a shitty rap mag.

    4. Payola: translation sell enough cd’s that you can buy enough ads to start the conversation about how you could use a write up in their magazine. Hey it works on the radio why not in print. Besides you cannot convience me XXL don’t sell covers.

    5. Do a sex tape with one of the D-List video Vixens but try not to get Ray Nathan Jayed in the process (wait a minute isn’t that brandies brother) LOL

    6. Get Web Savy and start doing Vlogs about how you make the best omlet and whatever bullshit detail about your life we don’t give two banna farts about. p.s. it helps your buzz if your girl has an ass like Joe Buddens chick. Best thing you have done on camera period Joe keep up the good work.

    If this shit don’t work you probably ain’t gone make it so try working on your lyrics and going through the backpack blogosphere.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      bwaahhahaha! sounds about right to me.

    • FlapJack

      I’m going straight for the omlet..

  • dusty boy

    What it do?

    http://www.myspace.com/dustyboyclick

    maan hol’ Up!!!!

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    yes. leave me the fuck alone. i can’t help you!

    just joking. this is actually very insightful. thanks!

    • Dub Sac

      But Mr. Balance Talent, I spit . hot . fiya!

  • http://www.gangstarrgirl.com Gangstarr Girl

    Forgive me for thinking people with an IQ over 90 would read this.

    • amar

      p-p-pants party…u wanna come to…wanna..pants party?

    • macdatruest

      No, Forgive us for not giving a fuck about how to get coverage in XXL. I never asked yall for coverage, and I doubt anybody who read this blog asked XXL for shit. Maybe the real problem is, this article is the literary equivalent of bad product placement. You sending the right message to the wrong people. And insulting people only makes you look even more desperate to seem important than this article made you sound. You should be happy the people reading this have no interest in calling you.Ever. Why are you mad? Because you wanted to jump on the “schooling these dumb rappers” bandwagon but it didn’t work cause it aint no rappers on here, so yea we jackin’ on this article cause it’s so irrelevant. Make a Bloggers Guide….yata yata and maybe you’ll be on to somethin’ sweetheart

      • avenger xl

        Cosign

  • Stevie B

    I have sent music to xxl via email and have not received a response which is cool it does not really bother me too much.
    But I would rather have someone respond saying that they did at least receive it or even telling me it sucks, or what I can improve on.
    That way I can:

    1 Give up
    2 Know I am heading in the right or wrong direction
    3 Look for another way to get my music heard

    More then likely know one will respond to my emails or this post but thats cool too. I will just keep grindin. peace

    • AVENGER XL

      Man just create your own site and promote the hell out of it. Get yourself a buzz and these glory hounds will crown you the next thing to blow. I still have a problem with them covering garbage like team black out(note rev run you are telling me that you didn’t raise your boy with no more respect for the culture than this) damn! Anyhoo try URB or murder dog if you want a write up. Try Ozone if you down to fight at an award ceremony for the wackest rappers alive.