I got a promotional email from Big Machine Media today cc’ed to a list of 340 podcasters and bloggers, promoting their musicians.

Good try, gang.

Look, a lot has already been said about blogger outreach by better minds than mine.

Here’s where this campaign really fell flat.

First, please, please, please if you’re going to do outreach, at least BCC your list. I’d actually prefer that you “go pro” and use a mailing list service like Blue Sky Factory to manage your mailings, so that you have comprehensive blacklist and other filtering at your fingertips. On those occasions when I need to do outreach, I set up a segmentation that says, “Never, ever send this email to the same address twice”.

Second, put an obvious, functional opt-out in the email.

Third, if you’re going to pitch me, PITCH me. Show me why you deserve an ounce of my time or attention. The email I got had a relatively decent subject line, but a really poor payload. This company wants to promote their musicians to me. Fine and good, I love promoting musicians (like Rich Palmer, Matthew Ebel, Anji Bee, Rebecca Loebe, Black Lab, Natalie Gelman, Rayko KRB, and countless others) and I love hearing new, independent music, but the pitch in this message was about as exciting as getting my grocery bill via email, which is to say not at all. (perhaps you have exciting groceries? I do not)

What would make an effective pitch to me? Well, you could send me a link to an MP3 ( <= free MP3! ) so that I could hear what you have to offer – that’d be a start. Tell me WHY your musicians are so good, and whether or not musicians like to be compared to others, tell me at least who they kind of sound like – for example, Matthew Ebel sounds like the love child of Billy Joel and Ben Folds with a dash of William Shatner from time to time, and an ounce or two of John Mayer.

Marketing music is difficult under the best circumstances, and lord knows I’ve made more than my share of missteps. At least maybe this list of basics will help music marketers who WANT to do outreach be a little more effective.

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