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Festival Network Online

Festival Network Online Newsletter - Performer Edition -  May 2008

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A note from the FNO newsletter editor...

Greetings FNO Bands and Performers,

Pass this one on to your fellow performers, because writing press releases is a very cool skill to have.  Not only will you save a lot of money doing it yourself, but it's really not a great mystery.  This article lays it out nicely.

Then check out our featured FNO band for May, Deadwood Revival from Washington.

Have a great day!

Julie Cochrane
FNO Marketing
Festival Network Online

« Newsletters Archive - To view previous newsletters, check out our archives! We publish 3 newsletters each month! Art/Craft, Food/Commercial, & Performer!

The Guidelines For Writing A Press Release By John Moxey

   (photographed: article author john moxey)
John MoxeyDon't just submit a background on your band. You have to relate something which is newsworthy. Remember, you are telling everyone a significant piece of news, and trying to get the reading public to be interested in, and ultimately buying your music, your brand. Don't write an advert.

Just because you find something interesting doesn't mean somebody else will. Your audience has to find the news interesting. So ask yourself, why is the subject of this press release interesting? There has to be something unusual or unique. CDs are released all the time, what makes yours stand out? Was it recorded, mixed and mastered in 5 days? Did you take 10 years to record it? All the vocals were recorded backwards, and then reversed? The album cover has been banned and shops will only sell it in a brown paper bag?

You can see why publicity stunts often accompany new CDs, or videos.

The point is, pick an angle, and make the connections for the reader. The angle provides the hook. If you are writing about an achievement, connect it to you, and the events that lead up to the achievement, with the emphasis on the positive.

Your press release has to provide the media with appropriate information about your product, or event. Good press releases must answer these 5 questions:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
Get the message over in the title and the very first paragraph. Use the rest of the press release to go onto more detail, and give some context to the news.

When your write the press release, write it to be targeted at the media who will ultimately use it.  Journalists will often use a press release as source material for a fuller feature, so it has to contain a good level of information, and be well written. Commonly press releases will be edited before publication, but this is not always the case. Sometimes your press release will appear exactly as you wrote it.

Avoid clichés. Avoid hype! the exclamation point (!) is not cool. Avoid jargon, use the minimum you have to, to get the point over.

Make your release relevant to current events and issues. Stick to the facts. If you find that you are adding too much embellishment, yet again re-examine the need for this press release, or the angle you are taking. The media are a suspicious lot. If they think your story sounds far fetched, and too good to be true, it is your credibility that will be damaged.

Don't be too wordy. Use enough to get the point across. If you are struggling to get more than a paragraph you need to really question the newsworthiness, and/or angle of your piece. Don't use a passive voice "entered a contract with...". Say "signed to". Use strong verbs. Don't say "The band played a very good gig and went down well". Say "The band was brilliant and the crowd loved every minute".

Try to use quotes from band members and those associated with the band.

Before you use a quote, or use the name of a company, get permission before you use it.

When you finish the press release include a short paragraph that describes the band, with a very brief history. You know "Formed in 2002 the blahblah band have gained a large following. 5 guys and 1 girl playing the length and breadth of the country they were spotted in September 2004 by Chas McMac, CEO of Big Chewy Records. September 2005 saw them being voted "best band wearing jeans" at the much acclaimed Twisted Music Awards.

Press Release Presentation

DON'T USE ALL UPPERCASE. Use mixed case letters, otherwise it is likely to get ignored.

When writing your release, use the correct grammar. Not like me. If there are too many errors, editors will reject the release.

Write your release in a word processor. Don't type directly into an online form.

Don't embed HTML. If the press release makes it onto a non-html medium it will be unreadable.

Don't list your contact email address within the press release. This is an open invitation to spammers. However, your mail address may still be included by the publisher.

Include a summary paragraph.

Avoid using logos or trademark names, without explicit written permission.

Format your press release, like a press release:

Headline is Written in Title Case (first letter of each word is capitalized, apart from articles of 3 letters or less in prepositions)

Aim for titles of less than 150 characters. Don't End Titles With a Period

Use regular sentence form for the summary paragraph. Don't just repeat the title, say it in a different way.

Use the format: City, Region, Country,  Date -- Start your text here...

Include your contact details:

Role (if not band member)
Company (if not band)
Street Address (Optional)
Telephone (Optional)
Web Address

A contact email address is normally required for submission, and is often included in on-line publications.

Include any necessary statement to cover liability etc if necessary.

Songstuff staff member, John Moxey started Songstuff in 2000 and is an active songwriter and musician as well as a regular Songstuff author of music and music technology related articles.  John's Website:

Featured FNO Band -  Deadwood Revival
Deadwood RevivalDeadwood Revival have been FNO Members for 5 years.  The Port Angeles, Washington band has released two CDs in the past 3 years and have received radio airplay and excellent reviews with both efforts. Today, they are still winning over audiences with their superb musicianship, charisma, and infectious high spirits.

With their sweet melodies, old timey groove, and poetic lyrics, Deadwood Revival is an unsigned band with a full schedule, great press, and a very promising future. 

A few upcoming festivals where you can catch Deadwood Revival:

May 23-24: Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts - Port Angeles, Washington
May 26: Northwest Folklife Festival - Seattle, Washington
Jun 15: Washington Brewers Fest in St. Edmund Park - Kenmore, Washington
Jun 20-21: Amboy Bluegrass & Old Time Festival - Amboy, Washington
Jun 28: Shoreline Arts Festival - Seattle, Washington
Jul 18-20: Lavender Festival - Sequim, Washington
Jul 26:  Bainbridge Bluegrass Festival - Bainbridge Island, Washington

To be a Featured FNO Musician, email me!

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