Skip to main content

“In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”  Seth Godin

The flood of requests for attention when helping manage one of Canada’s Top Music Blogs, is overwhelming.  We recently received a request from an Ottawa artist called Charles Cleyn.

Charles Cleyn

Charles Cleyn

His approach was nearly perfect.

First, he started with a complement:  “I’m a fan of your site”

He then mentioned a specific interview from one of our writers.

His only ask was that we check out his single.

He went above and beyond to customize his introduction to us.  It stood out. My editor published a little article to introduce his latest single and he is now on our radar.

There are a few lessons bands can learn from this example.

Be A Purple Cow

Like the quote from Seth Godin above, you have to stand out.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

In his book, The Purple Cow, Seth talks about a drive through the countryside where you pass cow pasture after cow pasture.  All of a sudden, your eye catches something odd…a purple cow!

What do you think you will talk about, as you hit the next town for fueling?  Did you see that purple cow?

The lessons is that when you stand out from the crowd, you get noticed.  You can apply this to many different parts of the music business, but for now, we will focus on attracting attention from Media.

When Charles started with a compliment of the site, it stood out from the multitude of cut and paste requests we get daily for attention.

He reference a recent interview along with a specific writer, showing he paid attention to the site.  He did his homework.

He introduced himself very briefly.

He mentioned the reason for contacting us, the release of his debut single.

He then simply asked if we could check it out.

With 4 sentences, we received a compliment, information about him and a very simple ask.

1. Do Your Homework

Take some time to research the media outlet, journalist or person you wish to get attention from.  Have you read something they wrote that you enjoyed?  Do they stand for something you also believe in?  Do they support a charity you respect?  Do they have a common interest?

You can find all this information with some reading and browsing social media.

2. Be Specific

Where Charles could have really put this over the top was going deeper in the specifics. Writers put their words and thoughts into the world, hoping these will resonate with a reader.

If you can quote back a specific linein an article or post, you trigger a deeper emotional bond.

3. Be Brief

Charles explained everything we needed to know in a brief, 4 sentence outreach.  He didn’t ramble on…it was to the point.  We have busy lives…brief is good.

4. Make It An Easy Ask

His only ask was that we click on a link to a video, his latest single.  How hard is that?

If you have a different goal, make it known, but make sure you build the relationship before making a bigger ask.  Start small.

Getting The Attention of Influencers

You can go wrong with a compliment.  Generic or vague compliments will not make as much an impact as a very specific, well researched compliment.

If the Media outlet has a mailing address…why not get creative?

I’m stalking myself on Instagram (@netwark).  It seems I like vinyl, from a post about record store day.  Looks like I enjoy travelling.  Scrolled down a little farther…Star Wars fan.  Not sure what is up with that goat…but I get a general idea.  Family man, entrepreneur who loves music, Star Wars, travelling and experiencing a great meal/wine with friends.

So…considering what I found…I would send a bottle of wine (probably something around $15) with the label replaced with one that features my band and my website.

Would you stand out?  Of course.

Aim Higher…But Not Highest

Your band is playing the local bars.  Maybe you should wait before contacting Rolling Stone.  Start with local press or a local blog.

I’m assuming that if you are reading this blog, or listening to the Podcast, you are thinking bigger than simply hanging out and jamming at the local pub.

If you want Media to write about you, make sure you have an interesting story.

Why do you play music?

What do you stand for?

Who are you?

What makes you different from everyone else?

Who listens to your music?

What message do you want to transmit?

Take the time to figure out who you are as a band, before contacting the Media, so that you will have more compelling story.

Nurture The Relationship…Play The Long Game

If you do get attention from the Media, remember to nurture the relationship.  If someone walks into one of your shows, and the first thing you do before they even cross the threshold of the door is jam a CD in their face and say:  “Buy this!” …then most likely, they will turn around and head straight back out.

Every Media Outlet wants interesting stories to gather more eyeballs…just like you want more fans to listen to your music.  See how you can help them with interesting things they can write about. It may not even be about you!

Let’s say, you have a small connection with someone in Media and you occasionally send them an interesting band they should have on their radar.  It has nothing to do with you…but as the connector…you suddenly become more important.  Each little thing like this is like a small deposit in a bank…you are playing the long game.

When it does come time for a big ask, if you did your regular deposits, it won’t be so awkward to do that ask.


There is so much noise out there, and so few purple cows.  Stand out from the masses by nurturing your relationships with Media Outlets.  Do your homework and play the long game.  Next thing you know…you will be top of mind and getting some press.

What tips do you have to stand out?

Join our Facebook Group:  Rock Star Today Backstage Passand share what worked for you to get some attention.

%d bloggers like this: