An enthusiastic industry press and/or nowadays blog review is the holy grail for any jazz musician whether they are rising or established. Attracting a journalist to a gig sometimes seems like ‘the chicken or the egg’ syndrome – especially if you are new on the scene or making a come back.
I always advise especially young and aspiring jazz musicians that along with quality photos and impactful videos a great review is an essential item in their marketing tool-box. But they’re not easy to procure. Beleagured journalists are spoiled for choice and have to be convinced to choose one performance over another.
The ideal solution is to engage the services of a jazz niche PR professional – an individual who has established relationships with the jazz press over a number of years and is therefore a trusted source. Many musicians dismiss the idea as being prohibitively expensive when in fact a deal can always be done – especially in these hard times – for a 3 to 6 month contract – an outlay that can pay dividends if a valuable quote by a respected journalist convinces a promoter to book your act. If your cash-flow just won’t stretch to that sort of ‘luxury’ it’s not difficult to research key jazz press contacts and draft up a well-written press release yourself or invest in the relatively low cost of a press release service like my E-Blast or any number of similar ones out there (who’s details I’m understandably reluctant to divulge in this blog).
In addition to the details of your event the press release should provide pertinent contact details. If you’re contacted by a journalist it’s important to offer free guest passes and if your budget permits even provide a drink or two. It’s acceptable to attempt to make personal contact either by email or telephone if there is a particular journalist that you’re keen to have in attendance – they’re often very approachable, empathetic individuals (many are musicians themselves) who love the music and appreciate the creative people who make it.