These days, most publicity firms spend almost all their time emailing bloggers and writers non-stop, as everything seems to have gone digital…well, almost everything. There are still times when mailing something physical can not only be a good idea, but one that will get you the outcome you’re looking for when it comes to your outreach efforts.
But what should you send?
There are some suggestions that come to mind right away, which I have included below, but there are also a few you may have never considered, and those can be the best, as they will surprise and delight the recipient.
Here are a few items you may want to mail to journalists to help them remember you and your music:
The most obvious choice when it comes to mailing something physical to journalists and other tastemakers is your music, but I highly suggest you do something to make your effort stand out from the rest. Most well-known writers at high-profile publications receive pretty much every new release from dozens of record labels, so if you ship a CD without any notice, chances are it will end up getting lost, and eventually, thrown out.
So what can you do to better your chances of your shipment being noticed? Instead of a CD, you could mail a vinyl record or a tape or even a USB drive. Perhaps you could do something to the packaging to make it really pop in a mailroom. Or, you could let someone you’ve been speaking to know it’s on its way, and send it with a note that makes things a bit more personal.
There are never any guarantees when it comes to sending music, but there are times when it’s worth taking the risk.
Paper press releases have completely disappeared, but that doesn’t mean that sending things in the mail is a lost art. In fact, since emails and other forms of digital communication have taken over, actually writing someone a letter has become something of a novelty, and one that many people appreciate.
Any time you’ve been corresponding with a writer, if someone posted on social media about your art or wrote about it for a blog, or perhaps even if you got to say hello to a taste-maker at a show, feel free to send them a letter thanking them for their time, their attention, and letting them know what it means to you that they took an interest in your creation. I have personally received a few of these letters, and I have not only kept every single one, I remember the bands and artists who went the extra mile to do so as well.
The vast majority of people listen to music digitally these days, so sending a CD isn’t usually necessary…but people still love t-shirts and other common forms of merchandise! What better way to get people to remember you than by having them wear your name across their chest?
If you’re going to mail a piece from your merchandise collection to someone who writes about music, I suggest you reach out to them first and make them aware of your intention. That way, you can ensure they receive the correct size, or perhaps you can give them options from your store when it comes to what they would like.
If you don’t ask for these things first, the person you’re trying to connect with may open your package and immediately toss the item if it doesn’t fit their body or their personal taste (which is something I have unfortunately been forced to do before).
This is my favorite option on the list, since it stands out as something truly special and thoughtful and it shows you want to do something good for the world. Instead of spending $25 to mail someone a sweatshirt that they might not even wear, why not ask them which nonprofit they would like you to donate that sum to? Alternatively, there are a number of organizations that allow you to put up some money and give options to those who are receiving this donation as a gift, allowing the cash to go to something near and dear to their heart.
There is one PR firm that sends me a gift card every year that allows me to choose a school I’d like to help out, and they foot the bill. I go out of my way to open emails from the company as often as I can, because I am always so taken with their generosity. It might cost you a bit more money at times than, say, sending a CD, but this will absolutely be remembered, and it’s a great idea that benefits everyone involved.
If you have a new single or album coming out that you are trying to promote in particular, you may want to send packages to journalists that tie in directly with the music. Do you have a song called “Wine Drunk”? Send them a bottle! Looking to score a big summer hit? Why not have your logo printed on sunglasses? There are countless ideas here, and there are dozens of companies that will print your name, logo, or a line from a song onto pretty much anything.
Try to be clever, but also keep in mind that you want to send a promotional item that people will actually want to use. Otherwise, it’s just more stuff everyone will eventually get rid of.
Be creative and whoever is receiving your gift will appreciate the effort!