The system for CHILLFILTR is pretty set at this point: I spend my early mornings critiquing submissions, my late mornings writing coverage, and my afternoons doing promo and follow-ups. That's it. So my schedule is pretty easy to work out. Monday mornings are probably the best possible time to submit, with Thursday in second place. Now you know. But everyone has a schedule, and knowing the specifics about it is one of the many details that can help you get the most out of an investment in premium credits.
Top 5 Things That Will Help Make a Strong Campaign
Do Some Research
Sometime in the next month or so we will surpass 10,000 submissions since February of last year. I see a lot of the same mistakes, and we will talk more about some of the specific things you can do to bump up your profile, but it also makes sense to do some good old-fashioned due diligence - if you want to maximize the value of what you can get from a SubmitHub campaign, spend some time isolating the right people to submit to. Your best bet is to actually find a song that has already been covered by the outlet in question that you can draw a direct parallel to as an artist; it is tedious stuff, but it also makes the decision that much easier. So you could put in the note: Hey, I saw that you wrote a piece for artist A, I think my track is a good match for that demographic. I always love seeing language that is clearly tailored specifically to me, and that tends to give a boost to the campaign in general when the details are well-explained. So do that. Be the person that creates a custom campaign for each outlet that they reach out to; that can help tremendously. And this extends to genres: choose your genre carefully, and you shouldn't need more than 2.
Have a Nice Photo
I'm not going to name any names, but I have on many occasions been forced to turn down a song that I might have written up otherwise, specifically because the accompanying artworks was subpar. I hate to say it, but it happens. The internet is a visual place, and if you don't have a compelling, unique, and high-res image to go along with your release, you are not giving yourself the best chance for success. Hire someone, please: there are artists that need the work, and your song needs the bump. We so often spent thousands of dollars on the music production, and forget the visual aspect completely. If you need a reference, send me a message.
Give Us Some Info
Write something about yourself. Or, have somebody else write something about you. Cut and paste it from your website if you have to, but ideally I can get a very specific feel for the moment in time for the artist in question from the campaign description: things like who they are touring with, what's been happening in the last few months, any high-profile promo moments or coverage, and really anything to make the personality of the band unique. Posting links to social profiles is not enough - a bespoke campaign is an attractive one, and that includes answering questions about the band before we have to ask. At a bare minimum, who are the members, where is their local scene, how did the band get formed, and what other bands do they self identify with? If you just at least answer those questions, you have a better chance a generating interest with whoever looks at your campaign. More info equals more chances to connect or find common ground on a specific detail.
Know Your Numbers
SubmitHub is an immensely powerful platform that has brought musicians and publicists and record labels together in a way that was just not possible before. It is run by a small group of very intelligent people, that really believes in empowering the independent musician. They have created an ecosystem for meeting different kinds of promotional needs, at different price points. You can collect your two free credits a few times a day, and have a slow-growth type of experience. You can buy up 100 credits and scatter them around, and see where that gets you. Eventually, you will want to optimize your ROI, and that is where the numbers matter. Statistics matter. Take a look at my dashboard, as an example.
High Quality scores means good customer service, and happy clients; the quality of feedback figured in here too. If you really need to be hearing quality feedback about the evaluation process, you need to be looking for blogs with high Quality scores. If you care about raw numbers more, and are looking for only the highest-traffic sites, then you want high Reach. Ideally, you can find a balance between the two, and also incorporate the approval rate which I think deserves more scrutiny than it gets. I regularly see approval rates close to and even south of 1%, and that to me just feels low. And that is where the statistics come in: take a hard look at that approval percentage. I don't care how confident you are in your song, if the outlet that you are sending it to only approves 1% of their submissions, don't get your hopes up - a thick skin is essential in this business.
Have Realistic Expectations
To be fair, those same outlets with low approval percentages would reply to the tune of something like, hey, we are just keeping our quality up, and we like what we like. If you can't handle it, don't submit to us. Many of the blogs on SubmitHub get a lot of traffic now, and everyone has a different way of trimming down volume. The point is not that anyone is a bad actor, but it might feel that way to you if you have a problem with failed expectations. Being let down can hurt, and it can make you want to lash out at the blog, or label, or whatever. Don't do that.
Do the research instead, be honest with yourself about how your music stacks up against the competition, and always be respectful. If you follow the steps above, you have a great chance of connecting with the outlet that is right for your song. Below are a few of my recent favorites.