Essential guidelines of how to write a friendly promo letter


Establishing a good communication between underground media outlets and up-and-coming artists is not always an easy task. Secret Thirteen identified essential points for making things smoother

Secret 13 as well as numerous other magazines and blogs around the globe gets hundreds of promotional messages and this is not quite surprising. Technology has developed in the last decades and it is not complicated to record or create music, because all the music making tools could be downloaded to even the smallest smartphones. However, we are not against these digital forms, but we would only like to state that due to this convenient way of creating music a new generation of artists emerged that by all means want to reach wider audiences. The world of music is turning like never before. Emerging talents change each other 24/7/365.

By using the following suggestions you could increase your chances to be seen by the media by at least 30%. The next step is to be reviewed and published. This depends on the quality of your material. We believe this information will be useful not only for the people working in the music industry, but also for designers, visual artists etc. By following these simple rules you will learn how to save your and others time and how to be diplomatic and write productive promo letters.


01. Be visible. Include a direct download link. Journalists are quite busy working 24/7 and cannot immediately stream everything you sent. However, it is advisable to include a stream link below a download link, because some journalists like to take a quick spin to see if the release is interesting for them.

02. Be reasonable. Make it exclusive and send your promo material well before the publishing date so that a journalist could have plenty of time to listen to your record and to prepare a proper review. Usually, if you are an upcoming artist it is a very bad idea to send your promo material first to well-known magazines and after some time send it to smaller ones, which do not have such a large audience. It does not look very respectable.

03. Be specific. Do not include tons of links, just the essential one or two. This should help you to pass through the spam filters and to stay coherent, more readable, accessible and friendly.

04. Be attentive. Double check if all the links work properly. In this case, both sides will avoid silly misunderstandings that ‘broken’ links usually cause.

05. Be literate. Double check your grammar. If you are not a native English speaker, do not hesitate to consult with your friends/colleagues when writing a promo letter. There is no need to rush ;)

06. Be friendly. Make it personal, do not forget to say “Hi” and “Goodbye”. This is one of the most important parts, because you would love to build an ongoing relationship, not only to show yourself as a selfish bastard. Right?

07. Be simple. Try to avoid HTML letters, because they are hardly readable and usually go straight to spam. Moreover, do not forget that many journalists use their smartphones to read their letters, so why not to save their bandwidth?

08. Be patient. Do not send your promo letter twice, if you do not get a quick reply. In many cases any type of forcing could turn to everlasting silence.

09. Be clear. Write your promo letter in few concise sentences explaining who are you, what are you doing, what are you offering. Include all the additional (e.g. biography, reviews, links etc.) information in the PDF file.

10. Be personal. Try to avoid big PR companies when sending your promo material to non-commercial e-zines. Believe us, commercial and non-commercial magazines are two completely different worlds.

11. Be diplomatic. If you are a label owner and send a regular newsletter, do not forget to ask if a recipient wants to get your promo material.

12. Be operative. Always be ready to provide a journalist with additional information if he asks and try not to delay. Do not hesitate to ask him/her if he/she need anything else. Politeness and great socializing skills will open many doors.

13. Be transparent. Try not to use URL shortening services (e.g. to trick journalists. By doing so you increasingly reduce the fact that a journalist will click on your link. If you do not trust the magazine, do not send them anything at all.

14. Be generous. If you are selling your record, it is advisable to send a physical copy to your beloved magazine or even ask a journalist if he/she would love to get a copy. Especially if the magazine is ad free. Treat this as an investment.

15. Be logical. Try to avoid weird text-formatting techniques. Do not forget that there are many different email-reading systems and not everywhere your email looks fancy. Moreover, hardly formatted promo letter could easily be treated as a spam message.

16. Be critical. Think twice before sending your promo material. Ask yourself such simple questions as “does this really fit into the overall magazine concept?” and “did I include all the information a journalist might need?”. Do not forget that your email address could easily be put into spam list if the letter is not purposeful.

17. Be creative. Why not to suggest something exclusive for a journalist who will cover your work? For example, an exclusively stream of one track or even the whole album on a magazine or an exclusive commentary about your record might be a good example. There are lots of ways to gain journalist’s attention. Just think about it!

However, of course there are exceptions and sometimes you might have to deal with very specific requests and forms of promo but here we focused on the essential mistakes people do when sending them. Hope this information was useful to all of you and if you think it is valuable, do not hesitate to share it with your friends and colleagues. Maybe they will thank you!

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An interdisciplinary journal, offering eclectic mixes and smart interviews with original artists and label owners as well as contemporary art reviews.

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