How To Get Publicity When No One's Heard Of You - EMusician
It's possible to get publicity when no one's covered you before. The key is to use what's within your arm's reach to begin building momentum.

File Under: Building Your Music Business, Getting Media Attention & PR

This article is part of a DIY Musician Starter Kit series that tackles starting out with no fans and growing it from scratch.

"How can you get publicity when no one's heard of you yet?" asked a musician at our recent talk at Carnegie Hall for New York Music Month. We answered her on the spot but thought it would make a topic for the column. Just as with last week's article about building your social media from zero followers, it's also possible to get publicity when no one's covered you before. The key is to use what's within your arm's reach to begin building momentum.

There are actually many options to get a publicity campaign starting from nothing. Follow these steps to generate your first coverage.

1. Get your press and media materials in order.

Before you reach out to the press and media, you need to have your materials together. We cover what you need for your campaigns in detail in our articles The 10 Things You Should Create To Get PR (Part 1) and The 10 Things You Should Create To Get PR (Part 2).

2. Put together your strategy.

All publicity begins with a strategy. Try our 14 PR techniques to get inspired as to how you should approach the press and media. Check out the 7 Techniques That Every Musician Should Use To Get PR and 7 More Techniques That Every Musician Should Use To Get PR.

3. Make a targeted press and media list.

The quick way to do this is found in our article One Simple Idea To Generate Tons of Marketing And PR Opportunities.

4. Find a press and media outlet that will get you your first story.

Your first coverage should ideally come from someone you already know. It doesn't need to be a major outlet; you just need one article to get started. The goal is to get some buzz and get you something that you can snowball with other outlets. Once you have your first coverage, you can link to it when you reach out to other press and media outlets. To get an outlet to cover you, try getting coverage based on:

  • Who you know -- friends, family, or acquaintances with a blog, podcast, vlog, or other outlet. Also, don't be afraid to ask your network if they can connect you with someone in the media.
  • Your location -- blogs or journalistic outlets that cover where your area, neighborhood, or town (the smaller and more targeted the blog, the better chance you'll get coverage).
  • Your genre or type of music -- blogs, podcasts, press, or media that cover your music scene (the more local, the better.)

Get that first piece of coverage, no matter how small, before moving on to the next step.

5. Use the laddering method.

Once you get your first coverage, use it to expand your publicity by targeting another press or media outlet, preferably one just a bit larger than the first. The goal is to snowball your coverage and ladder up. Something which is easier to do if you are releasing material regularly. This can be a Get Heard campaign, for example, but also can be the release of new music, videos, merch, and other newsworthy events. Each success then drives your next publicity.

And don't forget to use the coverage you get to drive your marketing campaigns. Plus, as we said in a previous article, make little bets and be ready to learn from what does and doesn't work and pair it up with techniques to build your fanbase once you have your first fans.

Check out our upcoming book Making Money With Music, to be released September 4, 2018. (PRE ORDER HERE)

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