Things NOT To Do When Contacting A Music Blog

As OTM has grown, the requests for reviews and coverage have brought with them a lot of experience.  For starters, I now have a firm sense of my limits in terms of ability to review, post and so on.  I have many life obligations and it’s sadly not possible to do everything.  It has also brought out the best and worst in people, from PR reps to artists.

For those artists and PR types out there, allow me to provide you with a list of good and bad behaviours.  Be well warned that exhibiting the bad behaviours will usually get you booted to my “sorry, but no” pile in quick time.

Bad Behaviours When Contacting Music Blogs:

  1. Contacting us more than once in a week:  For most of us, this is our second, third or even fourth job (that would be me).  I, for example, juggle 6 different email accounts due to my day job, my novel writing, my social service work and activism and this blog, all alongside my personal life.  Emailing me twice in a 24-hour period to pimp your band will immediately send you to the bottom of my list of people to respond to.
  2. Asking for a review and not offering a free copy or stream of the music in question:  This should be common sense.  Why would I pay money for your album simply because you asked me to?  You’re an unknown.  Not happening.  2b) Providing a free digital copy is far better than a stream.  It lets me boot it up in the iPod and listen on the go.
  3. Being rude, snotty or standoffish when turned down:  I love a lot of genres of music, but I do have limits and dislikes.  I also have a lot of requests in my inbox.  If I say no, I usually say why, with grace and diplomacy.  Being negative in return makes me remember you as someone to never assist again.
  4. Assuming a lack of reply means “send it again and again”:  I do try to decline everyone directly, but sometimes, I simply click delete because the artist in question has obviously not looked at my blog or checked my preferences.  Send once, leave it be aside from maybe one follow-up email, not a second press release.
  5. Blatantly copying and pasting a forwarded email you sent to every other blog:  A super personal touch is not always needed, but if I see the forwarding lines, I roll my eyes.  Save your standard email as a Word file and copy and paste from that.  Be professional.
  6. Pay attention to About pages:  I posted a notice mid-September that I was not taking any new submissions until late October.  I still received many, some of which claimed to have read my blog and liked it.  This message was above my contact email, so one wonders how well said people read.

Good Behaviours:

  1. A personal touch:  One PR company I’m very happy to work with took the time to comment directly on a recent review and tie that into why I might want to check out an artist.  Not only was said artist fitting for my usual tastes, but the message indicated that someone took five minutes to get a feel for my blog.
  2. Being willing to take what’s offered:  While backlogged, I often offered to do cursory reviews or promo posts, as that was all I had to give.  People who graciously thanked me for offering that promotion will be remembered the next time they contact me.
  3. Cross-promoting the blog:  Whether quoting my reviews on your press page, retweeting posts or similar sharing behaviours, I appreciate it.  I remember it.  I return the favour on Twitter.
  4. Sending at least a sample to consider:  I’ve had requests for reviews without any sort of sound links.  How am I to decide if I care to review work without hearing it?  Most artists and PR types get this right, but not all do.
  5. Saying thank you:  I put a lot of care and thought into this blog, and don’t review lightly.  A simple thank you means a lot to me.

Fellow bloggers:  what are your good and bad behaviours?  Share away in the comments section or on Twitter or Facebook.

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