Dear Record Label: I Don't Have a Publicist. How do I Promote My Music?

In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.

In our new series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.

This week, the advice comes from Roadrunner Records Publicist Amy Sciarretto.

Q: I don’t have a publicist. What are some of the best channels and methods for self-promotion?

AMY SCIARRETTO: If it is within your financial means, even though you are an unsigned band, hire a publicist. Many are affordable; it just requires a little elbow grease and some effort to find the right fit and you just might be able to work out a "bro" deal with someone, be it on the national or local level.

An independent publicist can cover print, online, blogs, radio and video outlets in one fell swoop, making it a very cost effective method of reaching a wide range of media outlets and targets. Try and work out a fair deal with a publicist; let a publicist concern his or herself with promotion, getting the word out, seeding content, securing features and providing information to the press so that you don't have to.

However, if it is not within your financial means to hire a publicist at this juncture, carve out an hour or two out of your day to self-promote online or locally.

This is even more key: make friends with local publications (weeklies, dailies) and local writers. Get to know local concert promoters and radio staff, like DJs, by mingling with them at shows or concerts. This will create a web of contacts and connections that will then grow exponentially. Make friends and fans in your region of origin. Additionally, local outlets love to support homegrown talent, so make sure to establish a relationship with them at the earliest phases of your career and they'll stick by you forever.

Also, send personal notes to local writers or websites or magazines, via Facebook or email. Do not send a cut and paste form letter; instead, write something personal. Send an MP3. Attach it to the message; don't make the recipient have to go track it down. Do the work for them, which is actually the title of my book on this very subject. (Do The Devil's Work For Him: How to Make it in the Music Business and Stay In It, if you are interested!)

In essence, develop relationships with the entertainment community in which you live. Be a local presence. Build a reputation there first.

And if you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!

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