1. If you want magazine coverage, contact editors five months in advance.
2. Be generous with press passes at the door. Make journalists feel welcome. Make journalists make your festival, venue, series their home away from home. Have a special table or row that is always given to members of the press.
3. Communicate your curatorial choices and reasoning in press materials and directly to journalists you meet. Build a narrative through your choices and how you present them.
4. Connect performers with local angles. It could be talking about things that happened to the performer last time they came to your town or facilitating a meeting or collaboration with loca l musicians or school children. Or it could be making a conceptual connection between a performer and a local community or historical event.
5. Tie out-of-town and travel press pitches to the overall experience, including where visitors might eat, shop, or stay overnight nearby.
6. Recognize that sometimes it takes a long time and many rounds of contact before convincing national outlets to cover your performances. By long time, I mean sometimes months or years.
7. Anniversaries are not enough to get press. So make sure your anniversary events have stronger angles than: we are still here.
8. It's better to get press information out early than to get it perfect. Curb your in-house perfectionist because giving the media enough lead time is more important than getting the words exactly right or making sure that every possible fact and sponsor is in every missive to the press.
9. Ask journalists questions. If you want to get better at pitching the press, ask journalists and editors about what your best chances are for coverage, what informs their decisions, and why you may have missed the mark in the past. You may find out that you are hitting the wrong person, you do not have enough lead time, or that you can hone your pitch for their needs.
DubMC is sponsored by rock paper scissors, which has worked with a wide range of concert presenters including Central Park SummerStage (NYC), Grand Performances (L.A.), Skirball Cultural Center (L.A.), Center Stage/New England Foundation for the Arts (USA), globalFEST (NYC), Calgary Folk Festival, Vancouver Island Music Festival, Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago), Rhtyhm Foundation (Miami), Pace Presents (NYC), Live365 (NYC), Beloved Festival (Oregon), and many other live music presenters. rps offers traditional media, press material development, branding, and social media support to concert presenters around the world. Presenters who want to set up a consultation can reach us here.