Being interviewed on music blogs is EXCITING! You have received an invitation from a media outlet to share your story and gain access to new fans and industry attention. This is cause to celebrate!

Throughout my years as a publicist I’ve encountered responses from my clients that, to put it frankly, were crap. Typically this stems from artists neglecting to invest the necessary thought and finesse into their answers. They’re either rushing or just don’t know any better, and the result tends to be short, lackluster answers or long, winding paragraphs.

This reflects poorly on your image but also diminishes the depth and richness of your message, leaving you sounding unprepared and un-engaging. This is the last thing we want!

Another thing that tends to happen is artists complaining that they’re constantly asked the same questions. But here’s the twist—even if you’re asked the same question, each is a chance for you to fine tune and hone in on your brand, your story, the message you’re telling the world. This consistency is important.

Interviews Are Your Opportunity to Define Your Brand & Control Your Narrative

Understand that any media interview poses a tremendous opportunity. Even if the questions seem mundane or annoying.

Because people believe what others say about you more than they will ever believe what you say, media coverage is incredibly important. An interview in any publication is an endorsement from others, and in an interview especially (rather than a review for instance) you get to control the narrative. It’s your chance to create responses that allow fans to go deeper with you as an artist.

Of course, you need to know what your brand is first but that’s a whole other post.

There’s another reason to be prepared and crush your interview. That reason is GOOGLE. Your responses will be indexed by Google and searchable for years to come. In the future when potential fans or industry folks want to know about you they will almost certainly search to see what’s out there first. Strong interview responses are seeds for relationships you will be developing in your future, so plant them well.

Convey Your Personality, Feelings & Values

This is an incredible opportunity to showcase your personality! It’s how you attract fans who will truly get you.

If you are dry-witted, silly, emotionally fragile, a hopeless romantic, or a rabble-rouser, show off your personality in your responses. Interviews are a place where you can relate your feelings and values, so don’t be shy about this. These are probably most evident in your songwriting and recording style, but it doesn’t have to end there. Use each interview as an opportunity to showcase all the little quirks that make you who you are. It will help others relate to you not just as a musician, but as a human being. That’s a whole lot more powerful.

Go Deep – Provide Through Responses

Not only is an email interview your opportunity to convey your brand and personality, but it’s also one of your best opportunities to give potential fans a reason to hit play on your music. If they feel connected to you through your responses, they’re more likely to check out your music. Remember, people become superfans because they’re drawn to the people—not just the music.

Relatability is the key to get fans to listen to your music. 

Always Expand Upon The Questions

For instance, if you’re asked who are you listening to these days? A terrible answer is simply the name of the artist – for example “Blondie.” This tells the reader absolutely nothing and does not give a WHY. Your job is to expand upon questions to make the responses more interesting and full of depth. Your job is to be a storyteller.

A better way to answer is: I recently saw Blondie Live and it made me go back to their records from the 70’s.  It’s amazing how they still stand up today production-wise and admire Debbie Harry because she came up during a time when there were even fewer women in the music scene and she managed to become a fashion icon, a feminist voice, and she supported AIDS research and advocated for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Here are two responses from a band and an artist from the blog Independent Artist Buzz.  Notice how one artist who shall remain nameless took the easy way out and there’s a typo (yes, most blogs won’t spell check – that’s also up to you!) and another artist expanded on her responses:

Q: Who are your musical inspirations; what artists inspired you to start your career and find your musical passion?

Oh I have so many! Inspirations… just a few… are James Taylor, Sara Bareilles, JP Saxe, Lennon Stella, Carole King, Ruston Kelly, I could keep going! I’m really inspired by other artist and how they tell their stories.

Look at this comparatively to Shelby Merchant’s response:

Q: Who are your musical inspirations; what artists inspired you to start your career and find your musical passion?

Amy Winehouse is someone whose songwriting style influenced me from an early age. She’s both blunt and tender in her imagery, and I like the sense of humor she brings to her lyrics. Carole King was also a big influence. Reading about her commercial approach to songwriting and how much time she spent writing every day gave me a sense of the reality of being a professional songwriter at a time when it seemed like an ephemeral dream. I also love her percussive approach to the piano.

Later in the interview Shelby expands on this and we can see why she resonates with Amy Winehouse, it all ties together.

Q: What is the most personal thing you have shared in your music or in your artist brand as it relates to being female?

I’m very open about my struggles with mental health. I have an anxiety disorder, and it’s a pretty big thing for me. I’ve written about it before, in fact my next single “today was good” is about my method of dealing with it. Mental health affects men and women very differently, but isn’t often treated as such. Two times more women attempt suicide than men. Mental health is terrible for anyone it affects, and I wish it was more commonly taught and talked about. In order to make progress with it we have to acknowledge that it treats different people differently.

Don’t Stray Too Far Off Topic

Expanding is good but straying wildly off topic is not.  It won’t make sense for the flow of the interview. So be sure to stay on point. Make sure you tie things together as best as you can. This is all part of strong storytelling. 

Showcase Your Tribe & Shine A Light On Others

One of the best ways to show that you are part of a tribe shine a light on others. So, when you’re asked to give some musical comparisons or you are talking about your local scene, mention local venues, and musicians that you know and already have established relationships with – perhaps you collaborate or play on the same bills. Mention artists who are within your reach to play gigs or tour with. Go the extra mile and hyperlink to these artist’s tracks or websites if appropriate. Then when you share the article on socials after it is published you can tag the venues and artists. It’s possible that they will share your posts and their fans may take notice.

This is how you build a strong network. It’s also just how you be a good person.

Respect The Writer’s Deadline

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened where we are hounding our clients to get us the responses for interviews we worked really hard to secure. I know you’re busy and sitting down to write responses may not feel natural to you. It’s time intensive and can be mentally exhausting.

However, you’re making your publicist look awful and you’re showing the music writer that you don’t respect them or their publication by not honoring deadlines.

One thing that can help is to avoid doing it in one sitting. Take fifteen minutes here and there to answer questions in spurts, and then review the whole thing when you’re done. It might make it feel a little easier and less daunting. 

Trust me, the writer will remember that you were a pain in the ass to work with if you miss deadlines or give terrible answers. When the next opportunity to feature you arises they may just go to one of the other 600 pitches in their in-box or go with an artist they know will respond punctually. Plus, journalists talk. To upset one is to potentially upset a whole lot more. 

Thoroughly Proofread Your Interview

It is not the bloggers or interviewers job to proof read and correct any typos that you may have made. This does happen of course (as does fact checking) at major newspapers and magazines who actually have copy writing staff on hand but a music blog will almost never do this work for you.  I advise you to show the article to a friend or two who have a keen eye for grammar, punctuation and spelling and get their feedback before submitting.

If you are working with a music publicist a good one will proof for you but don’t count on her to finesse your responses. You want her spending her time securing more features, not re-writing your responses. 

Thank The Writer

This should go without saying, but please thank your writers, and anyone you work with! Believe it or not, most musicians don’t take this extra step.

This is something you should always do even if you have a publicist. Write a little note to the blogger at the end of the interview and include it in the text that you send to your publicist. If you are working with the writer directly it’s a classy touch to show gratitude. After the interview goes live make sure to post on all of your socials and tag not only the publication but also the writer (and as mentioned the other artists and venues) in your social posts when you share the interview for added acknowledgment. This is a nice way to bond with the writers who took the time to care about you.

Share Your Interview

You (or your music publicist) worked hard to land this interview. Now it’s time to share it.  Not every publication shares every article that appears on their blog or site across their social channels so the interview’s visibility depends on you.

Musician Media Interview

Visualize Your Interviews

Visualize highlights using Canva. See how we visualized Shelby’s quote here. You can also simply take the logo of the publication and create a tile that says “featured in…”

On Your Socials

Share multiple ways and multiple times as assorted tweets, and Instagram Stories. And of course create thoughtful well-tagged Facebook & IG posts.

On your Website

Create a press page on your website and showcase your interview by sharing a screenshot.  I advise you not to simply link to it in case the blog goes away or takes your interview down you don’t want to lose a full interview. Repost an article to your socials months after it is featured to keep the interview alive.

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