7 Tips To Sharpen your Promo Toolkit
As we’ve mentioned previously IMS are bringing their thought-leadership platform back to Malta across September 14-15 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Malta.
IMS College – Malta, a uniquely curated educational initiative aimed at emerging electronic music professionals and future industry visionaries, has now revealed its final schedule for 2018, bringing together a powerful collection of leading electronic music experts and artists to educate the next generation with their experience and knowledge.
We spoke to the head of Inflyte, Paul Hamill, for those that don’t know Inflyte is an award-winning promo delivery company trusted by some of the most important brands in the music industry. Paul is speaking at IMS College to give his 7 Tips To Sharpen your Promo Toolkit.
Sending promos is a hugely important part of the marketing & promotion process for any label. Getting it into the right hands, whether a club DJ, key radio show or online blog, can be vital in giving your release the exposure it deserves – driving the buzz and sales and streams as a result. For the people receiving the promos, however, it can sometimes be a chore. Any relatively active DJ/Tastemaker will be inundated with hundreds of promos in a given week. How do you make sure that your promo is heard? And who should you send it to?
Through both my career as an international club & radio DJ as well as heading up Inflyte, I both receive promos on a daily basis, as well as overseeing the sending of promos for thousands of labels worldwide on our platform, so I’ve plenty of experience on both sides of the deal to draw from.
Whether you are new to the promo game or are looking to simply sharpen your promo toolkit, here are a few guidelines for basic promo etiquette:
Quality over Quantity
Think of all the DJ’s that might like what your label does. Check their charts, playlists and the labels that they release on themselves. If you can really sense that they are the kind of DJ that probably would support your music, then find their details add them to your promo list. If not, then don’t. It’s much better to have a small, relevant and active list than a large and completely irrelevant list. Check your list properly, do you really need to include all those random people that you met once 10 years ago at a gig? Do they ever reply anyway? The average size record label mailing is typically in range of 500-1000 contacts at the most, but many labels stick to a list size of around 200-300.
Never use lists traded from other labels, or bought from promo services
While these lists may have some relevant contacts that you need, they will also be wildly out of date with very messy data and full of contacts who probably have absolutely no interest in your label or genre. They are full of duplicates, typos, out of date contacts and so on. Any DJ whose address is on a list that is being circulated online will have binned that address a log time ago.
It will take you a while initially, but the best way is to compile the promo list yourself. You’d be surprised how many DJs when asked, will give you their promo email address. Most DJ’s will have a promo email address on their websites, Soundcloud etc. You’ll also find that a lot of DJ’s will change their dedicated promo email every few years, because promo spammers have effectively messed up their inbox. Press and blog contacts also change regularly and need updated regularly. If there are important tastemakers that you simply cannot find a valid contact for, then ask someone you trust in the industry if they happen to have it.
A little bit of manners goes a long way
Reaching out and asking someone’s permission to send them promos first is the best way to build and maintain good relationships with your promo pool and ensure that your promos are reaching the right people. If a contact won’t reply to an email, it’s unlikely they’ll reply to a promo either. This is the essence of what Inflyte does with its opt-in function – only people who actively want to hear your releases will be on your list. Simply ask them what is the best address to reach them on. You also have to consider the recent GDPR regulations which came online in 2018 – which is another reason opt-in is not more important than ever. When reaching out to someone, always list the artists who have released on your label to highlight the kind of sound your label releases – it shows you’ve done your research. It’s too easy these days to just bulk mail every jobbing DJ and press contact on the planet, without any introduction or permission and seem completely impersonal in the process. Find out their first name, where possible and send them a short, personal introductory note. It goes a long way, trust me.
Junk in = junk out
There’s a direct correlation between the quality of data and email addresses you use for a campaign and the return that campaign will generate for you. so spend time tidying up your emails as much as possible to cut down on unnecessary administration.
If you have found multiple emails for a contact, do not add them all to your database – find out which one is the correct one. Additionally, if a DJ owns a record label, it is never ok to add every address related to that label (ie, [email protected], [email protected]) This is a surefire way to annoy people. Many labels are run by separate label managers and they do not appreciate being sent multiple invites/promos when they are trying to deal with their important daily business. As above, make sure you find the correct and most relevant email to reach that person on – and use only that one.
Be super organised
It is always good practice to keep separate lists organised depending on their type. Maybe organise them according to print media, online media and radio media and so on. Separate your DJ lists, maybe you want to email the A-list big hitters a couple weeks in advance. If your label output is more varied, you will want to separate all your contacts according to what styles and genres they most often play. Disco DJ’s are probably not going to be so interested in hard techno, just as progressive house DJ’s are probably not going to be interested in UK funky. Rather than blanket mailing everyone on your list with every single release, take the time to send to only some of the contacts. If you’re promo-ing a house EP, send only to those you have tagged in your house list, ditto for Techno. And for those versatile jocks, don’t hesitate to tag them in multiple genres. Treat your mailing list with care and attention and it will pay dividends the long-run.
Make the press release count
A good press release should really only contain the relevant info about the artist(s), remixer(s) and label where necessary. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages long, just a couple paragraphs will do, but it’s nice to have something interesting to read while listening to the music. Club DJs generally don’t care about press releases, but for Press, Radio and Blogs these are critically important and should never be overlooked. Radio DJs often use this information when preparing links for their shows, while Press contacts will refer to them for important release information when compiling reviews for publishing.
Consider using a PR Agency
If you are completely starting from scratch and the thought of building your own mailing-list sounds too daunting, then look into contracting the services of a PR Agency. PR’s can be especially useful for new and upcoming labels to help them establish some early traction and build their profile in the industry. The important thing is to find an agent who represents labels of a similar style to your label, that has good contacts in the industry and is within your budget. The key here is to shop around, get quotes, ask for a sample report of one of their recent campaigns to see who they are connecting with. Many agencies will also offer a discount if you commit to them for a set period eg 3 months, 6 months etc. They can be an extremely useful way to establish your new label in the industry.
At Inflyte we’re always happy to offer any support or guidance we can to help labels find the best solutions for the promo needs, so drop us a line if you would like some help.