So you got a good review in a tastemaker publication. Not only that but you have all your shit set up properly so that the reviewer could link to your Bandcamp and you could start to collect some sales from it. So what do you do in order to capitalize on this and take the most advantage of the opportunity that you have been blessed with? This is an exciting moment in your career. It could be what breaks you through, like that Pitchfork review of Pallbearer early on. This could be the thing that people see that drives them to a whole new sphere. Or it could just be a small peak. Now odds are no matter what you do you’re not going to ge a huge amount of traction out of any one push or review, but there are ways to ensure that you get the most out of your individual positive review so you don’t look like a dumbass and hopefully prepare the ground for more positive coverage for your band down the road. Let’s dig in.
First and foremost, share the shit out of it, and don’t just post an excerpt from the review, talk about your own feelings and talk about how you’re grateful. This might seem like a no brainer but so few bands do this, or they share it and just post the link. That isn’t really helpful, that’s the base level. If this is truly a great review that is supposed to be pushing you to a new level you want the writer of the review to see that you are scratching their back by showing your gratitude by generating traffic for their post. This is how they make money (If they make money at it) or at least get validation. Regardless of their motives, everyone likes to feel appreciate, and this is the first and easiest way that you can show your appreciation to someone who took the time to write something nice about you. It’s just common courtesy man.
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Then I recommend you go one level deeper and try to find the person who posted the review on social media and get in touch with them directly. I know that to some of you this might sound creepy or insane, but think about it this way. If you hear a great record from a band you didn’t know before you want to get in touch with them right? Like that’s a basic tendency most people have, is they want to hear from the artists they love. If the artist reaches out first then that makes it all the more powerful. I have had some major artists reach out to me about reviews I wrote, members of Napalm Death and Leaves Eyes are two core examples of folks who just supported it from the start and who I was lucky enough to build beautiful relationships with. Those bands are huge, but they understand that they need to reach out to the people who write nice things about them, because by building up the community we all win.
Of course now that you have established a relationship with the writer you need to maintain it. Don’t be annoying, they probably talk to a lot of bands if they are an influencer, but they also probably will enjoy talking to you if you’re cool then offer to send them some free shit. Do not, under any circumstances as them to introduce you to some of their other writer friends, or at least not until the relationship is thoroughly developed. You don’ want to come off as a band who got done a huge favor by having a nice review written about them and who are now asking for even more. That’s just not a good look. If they offer to show you to people though the by all means follow up with that and check out what they are hoping to bring to the table. Realize though that you want your relationship with them to be positive and mutually beneficial, asking for anything is going to make you look like a dick. That’s just how it is.
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But what about the things outside of your relationship with the journalist? Well first and foremost, make sure that whatever platform you are using to make sales captures email addresses and note all the people who buy the record in the 48 hours after the review goes live. Send them an email and praise the site and thank them for buying the album. Not only that, but reach out to every single person who comments positively on the article both on social media and the blog itself.They WILL appreciate being reached out too, and who knows you might make a few sales. If anyone is concerned about the price of your album, then just offer them a free download code. You gotta remember that the key awareness above all else. As people start to become aware word of mouth spreads and you start to see opportunities to getting on cool tours and all that good shit. Again though, it requires patience and perseverance and constant fucking outreach.
At the end of the day, great reviews are great because they boost awareness. However it’s up to you to reach out to the people who have been made aware, you can’t expect people to come to you. You need to cater to them and help them to create something meaningful and powerful around it. I know that can be tricky or even a little bit over the top but that is part of the challenge and I gotta say that I love it. I love making new friends and finding new ways to make sales. This is the challenge of the music industry and if you’re not ready to directly connect with every fucking person then you are going to fall apart at the seams.
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