Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

February 28, 2008

What's Your Music News Hook?

What exactly is a news hook? It's an idea that you pitch to an editor or writer. It's a story angle that is newsworthy and that should appeal to the readership of the publication in which you're wanting to get exposure.

News hooks are suggestions you make to media people via press releases, cover letters, e-mails or phone calls. If your news hooks are strong enough, lots of editors and writers will bite and cover you in the press.

So who or what should your news hooks be about? Most musicians put themselves front and center. And that makes sense, right? After all, they are trying to promote themselves. The drawback with this approach is that the focus is on the artist ... and not on the needs of the journalist.

To be a successful self-promoter, you need to learn to craft news hooks that keep the interests of the media person and his or her audience foremost in mind.

Want some good and bad examples?

"Great New CD Out Now by Local Band!"

Sorry, but this is not a very effective hook. Thousands of CDs come out every week. Yet another new one from another up-and-coming artist is not "news." Dig a little deeper.

"New Music CD Celebrates the 10-Year Anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal"

I know, this one is bizarre. But admit it, when you read it, you probably thought, "Now that's a weird concept for an album. I wonder what those songs would sound like?" Imagine what fun you could have with the song titles. A news hook like this stands out because it has a specific story that separates it from "here's another rock or pop or hip-hop CD."

"Look Out World: XYZ Is the Band to Watch in 2008"

This is a classic example of the over-hyped PR pitch. Most journalists roll their eyes at this type of bombastic announcement before tossing it in the trash (or hitting the delete key). Don't tell people how awesome you are. Paint a descriptive positive picture, but let the journalist determine the adjectives.

"Punk Rocker Offers 5 Tips for Overcoming Addictions"

If you have a significant personal story to share, feel free to make it a part of your news hook, especially if your experience can help other people. Have you overcome a personal obstacle, fought a deadly disease, feel strongly about a cause, or experienced something extraordinary? Chances are, people will want to know about it, and the music media may very well be eager to cover it.

So, let me ask you ... What's your music news hook?


P.S. For more music publicity tips and tactics, check out the Indie Music Publicity Home Study Course or Killer Music Press Kits: Deluxe Edition.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:33 AM   4 comments


At Feb 29, 2008 2:56:00 AM, Anonymous Matt @ Kurb said...

This doesn't only count for press releases now every band on myspace wants to give their stuff away free. You need a story just to get them to come to your page.

here's one:

Get involved with those supporting the blind, give the album away free to blind people, give half the profits to the blind, organise (and film) an event for the blind, get their reactions describing the music.

thats a start . . .

At Mar 4, 2008 8:13:00 AM, Anonymous Ruby Paul said...

I'm releasing my first official single 'Miracle Baby' soon, written after successful IVF treatment.
The media are only to eager to cover it, and linking up with local child related charities, and finding and assisting new talent have also proved good for media relations.
Anything seasonal or topical is always of interest too.
I got great local news stories setting up my Youtube channel over Christmas with an original'holiday' song' (as you American brethren call it!)Ruby Paul

At Mar 5, 2008 6:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a co-writer with an artist and about 10 yrs ago together with a producer, and a contract tied for 5 years, successfully produced an album and film clip. Now due to being held back by a man whos name soured somewhat, yet if I told you who he was you would know him, I am now tying to re-laucnh this artist. Only now have a MySpace for him and about to upload music in MP3 format, but just learning. I am 3 years into a journalism course and I just believe you need to learn by experience, Good on you for helpng so many young musicians through the turbulent seas of the industry.
Hooks, dedication and Passion!

At Mar 7, 2008 7:33:00 AM, Anonymous John of Celtic Ways said...

Charity supports, I think, are also overcooked. By choice, blind fundraisers I support more than others but it sometimes seems as if there are as many charities as bands looking for funds.

I think the one timeless hook that can never be overcooked is to work out some way your cd can offer something to the buyer. Every buyer of every thing has a mind flash of "what's in this for me", even before cost is considered. Sometimes a charity donation provides a momentary release of conscience and "feel good" but do not rely on that.

Limited time free gifts can be nice as long as they are timely. We had success before Brigid's day giving away hand made Brigid's crosses with cds.

Sometimes you can turn this around and sell something else you know that people want, and they get your CD free. eg. I wear Irish made "grandfather shirts" that I can buy dirt cheap. When I wear them people ask me how to buy them, and the mark up profit is enough to throw in a free CD. Its quite easy to publicicize I sell these shirts because unlike local bands I'm the only one locally that sells them.

Another great hook is we now have beautiful wooden USB drives and everyone is taking to these to move their files around, especially students. We sell these drives cheaper than the stores and they look nicer than the store brands, plus they have our music files on them and an autorun that flashes up our online music store. These floash drives are cheap to buy from Chinese importers, from about $6 each, loaded and engraved free. USB drive releases will still make hot news in local newspapers for a few months yet.


Post a Comment

<< Home