To be honest, I was hesitant about posting this article.
As far as I know, this hack is something I came up with – and I’m proud of it! I wasn’t crazy about sharing this secret with the internet and the masses of other music producers out there (there’s a lot of us).
It’s competitive enough already. But, I came to my senses and here we are.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a ton of successful people and entrepreneurs (Neil Patel and Gary Vaynerchuk to name a couple) share their secrets with others out there. By no means am I a Neil Patel. But I want to help others who are in the same position I was in.
Before we get into specifics, here are some quick stats to prove why you should implement this method: If you’re a music producer like myself, you know how much it sucks to not get plays on your tracks. After investing so much time on your music, you want results.
Before trying this method, I was averaging around 600 plays total per track. And I had around 500 SoundCloud followers.
After using this method, I was able to get over 10,000 plays in 10 days on one track and as of writing this, I have over 1,000 SoundCloud followers.
What I’m saying is, I’m still a relatively new producer. But this little trick helped me gain so many new plays and real followers. And I only just started applying this method…Don’t be fooled. This trick isn’t a “do it one time and you’re done” kinda deal. You still need to put in the work.
If you are consistently releasing new music and building relationships with influencers, your plays and followers will grow exponentially.
Before we get started…
The first step in getting plays is to make good music. This isn’t an article on how to do that (there are plenty of other ones out there). This article will focus specifically on how to market your music in a way that is guaranteed to get bloggers to listen to your music.
Few people pitch to bloggers at scale because they think it’s too hard and time consuming. So I’m about to show you a major shortcut that as far as I know, no one has shared. Ever…
I’ll show you how to hire a freelancer to find at least 150 Hype Machine contacts — think personal email addresses, first names, and personal twitter accounts of bloggers on hype machine that post similar content to yours.
In a matter of 2-3 days.
Without much work on your part.
For a very low cost (I paid $31).
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not!
Here’s why I did this and why you should too:
- I wanted the list quickly so that I could start pitching tracks. It takes time to search for personal email addresses and twitter accounts. Freelancers often use teams and will get this done VERY fast.
- I wanted to dedicate my time to producing quality music, mix correctly, master my own music, understand how to market my music in other ways
- I found that finding personal email addresses is actually pretty tough. This is no accident. Bloggers get spammed all the time. They often don’t want their personal email address to be easily available
- There are freelance professionals who have tools at their disposal, such as web-scraping and have more experience with data-mining than myself
- Outsourcing is hugely popular. Successful entrepreneurs do this all the time.
If all of these things are in your best interest too, then keep reading.
Hopefully you already understand how Hype Machine works. It’s basically like Reddit for music. It’s a website that curates over 700 hand-picked music blogs.
The goal is to get a track charting on Hype Machine, where all the plays from various blogs lead back to your original track uploaded on SoundCloud.
Now before we get started, do check out the following article first, as it will make things a lot easier to understand.
It is an in-depth guide to manually find the contact information for bloggers and therefore manually build a PR database: Mastering Music PR: Getting On Music Blogs & Hype Machine
After you have read the whole article above and understand the steps that need to be taken when it comes to gathering personal data of tastemakers, come back to this article, as it will put things into perspective.
Quick Tip: Go ahead and find 10 bloggers on Hype Machine using the method in the above article. This will give you a better feel of how you actually build a PR database.
Done reading it? Good. Without further-ado, let’s get started:
Setting up Freelancer
First, go to this website: https://www.freelancer.com/dashboard/
Freelancer.com is the website I used and this article is written for Freelancer. But there are other alternatives out there, such as Upwork and Fiverr.
1) Click “Post A Project” in the top right corner and register as a new user. Fill in the information to create a free account.1) For the 1st question, “What type of work do you require?”, select “Data Entry”. Once you click that, another box will appear below. Select “Fill in a Spreadsheet with Data”
2) For the 2nd question, “What is your project about?” , you can call your project what you please. Be as specific as possible. I called mine “Fill in google sheet with data (personal email addresses, etc.) using research/data mining”.
3) For the 3rd step, “Tell Us More About Your Project?”, list some of the skills required for the task. I listed “Data Entry, Excel (there is no google sheet option), Web Scraping, Data Mining and Research”. You can also check the box that says “Require all bidders to be certified in English” below that.
4) Describe the project in your own way. Again, be as specific as possible. The key to getting a solid PR list is being thorough in describing the task to your designated freelancer.
5) Upload your Google Sheet by clicking the “Upload Files” box. I linked mine to get you started.6) Set a budget at a fixed price. Freelancers need to be paid. The beauty of this is that it can be affordable. Like I said, I paid $29 to have this done and worked with a very sweet lady who did a good job and communicated effectively.
If you have the means to pay more and are sure that paying more will give you a better PR database, then have at it. For example, you can pay a team of freelancers to build the database. If they have web-scraping tools, it may be worth the investment because they can find more personal contact information. Be aware, this will cost more.
7) Click “Post Project Now” at the bottom.
You just started your first project on freelancer.com! Oh boy!
Proposals will start coming in after a few seconds. Some freelancers will send you automated messages immediately. These are bids. I would wait a day or so to let bids roll in. Bids are shown in your notifications in the top right corner, along with your messages.
Additionally, you can set up email notifications in your account settings to alert you when someone has placed a bid on your project.
Look at your list of proposals
You can now see a list of freelancers who are interested in your project. You can sort by “Best Rank”, “Bid Amount: Lowest first”, etc.
Your job is to now find the right freelancer for this project. You need to get this right, by carefully screening candidates.
You can message freelancers that look appealing. The messaging system works a lot like Facebook. To narrow down your list of possible freelancers, I recommend first checking out the price that freelancer is asking for. Once you know how much you are willing to pay for the service, look at the ratings of the freelancer.
Definitely read the reviews given by other clients who worked with the freelancer. Also, look at the % of jobs they completed. Above 95% is good, but aim for closer to 100%.
Once you have your ideal candidate, message them. They will usually respond quickly. Start up a conversation. You can choose how you want to start the process. Once you break the ice, ask to have a quick Skype interview with them at their earliest convenience.
I strongly recommend Skyping with your freelancer before doing business. It builds trust and they will be much more likely to do a great job for you.
The Skype conversation doesn’t have to be long. You want to make sure that they are qualified and understand the project in its entirety. Ask them about 1 or 2 past projects they have done that are similar. Try to work with a freelancer who communicates well in English.
Checking the box that we talked about in point #3 will help with this. The quality of the result depends on how well you can communicate with your freelancer, and how well they understand the assignment.
Next, “award” the assignment to your freelancer. This will end all notifications for future bids on your project. Think of it as confirming a date with your new tinder match (do people still use tinder)?
Finally, create a “Milestone”. These allow you to motivate your freelancer, by rewarding them with $ for small achievements.
For example: You could create a milestone payment of $10 for your freelancer for gathering the first 50 influencers. You don’t make the payment automatically. Instead, you can validate that your freelancer delivered before you “release” your milestone.
It is a good idea to create small milestones so that your freelancer is motivated and trusts they will be paid in full at the end.
Depositing Funds Into Freelancer
Hover over your account balance in the top-right corner of the screen and click on “Deposit Funds”.
Deposit the amount of funds you wish to pay for the project. I deposited about $30 for mine. They charge a small deposit fee for the service.
Now you are able to pay out milestones and eventually, pay your freelancer in full.
Your Google Sheet Template
Creating an organized google sheets template is key. At the minimum, you want to include:
- Search tag
- Name of blog
- Personal email address of blogger
- First name
- Last name
- Blogger’s role (writer, founder)
- Link to blog post (for referencing)
- Blogger’s personal twitter account
Lucky for you, here is the exact template I used, with a made-up blogger name (for obvious reasons):
Notice that everything is neatly laid out for the freelancer. Insert their name in the doc and show appreciation in advance for their work. This goes in a long way in ensuring they will do a great job.
The “search tags” you use should be the names of the artists who are most similar to you
in terms of style and sound.
Pick 5-8 established artists for them to work with. I picked 5 random artists for the sake of this article.
Using established artists that have a similar style to you gives the freelancer the most ammunition to find 150 unique bloggers with.
Aim for around 150 because not all 150 are going to be perfect contacts. Some will be inactive bloggers, others just may not be interested. But you must reach out at scale. If your freelancer can find even more than 150 unique contacts, great! In my case, 150 was all I needed to get started.
Remember, this process will jumpstart your PR database. But to get the most success from blog coverage, you should add contacts with each release.
Awesome. You now have a qualified freelancer and a solid template. Now what?
You’ve explained the task and your freelancer understands it perfectly. While Skyping with your freelancer, you went over the Google Sheet together. In that Google Sheet, you clearly typed out the instructions for your freelancer to follow. Your freelancer can therefore reference the instructions while working to find the contacts.
Now, your freelancer can get to work. Your freelancer may have a team, which is why you included the instructions at the top of the google sheet. So that anyone working on finding the data has the instructions front and center.
Most freelancers will be able to get this done in 1-3 days. But the goal is quality, not speed. Let your freelancer know that you want this to be done correctly and that they can take a week if they need.
Monitor The Process
The beauty of Google Sheets is that changes are made to it immediately and multiple people can view and edit the document at once.Because of this, you can monitor your freelancer’s progress in real-time.If they are finding complete and correct information for everything, great. If not, politely help them out.
Be ready to monitor the Google Sheet in the beginning, so that once they begin working, you can quickly address any issues that may come up.
Take a look at the first few contact entries to check for correctness. If that looks good, ask your freelancer to find 50 contacts and then check in with you. This can be the first milestone. Review those 50 contacts with your freelancer and make sure they continue the same work for the next 100 contacts.Because you used Skype to interview your freelancer, you can use Skype to chat with your freelancer.
Pro Tip: Download Skype for free on your phone and turn on notifications, so that even if you are not at your computer and your freelancer has a question, you can assist them on the go.After the designated amount of time, the freelancer will complete the PR database for you. Review the Google Sheet and verify the information before agreeing to pay the remaining cost that is due after your milestone payment.
If for some reason they don’t do the job 100% to your satisfaction, you can negotiate on the price with them. In my experience, they are flexible.
Congratulations. You now have an entire PR database that would take weeks and even months to make. I’m not saying that once you do this, you are done building your PR list by any means. But this is a HUGE jumpstart. Continue to maintain it, as well as add new contacts over time.
After doing this process, in conjunction with using Submithub, I was able to secure releases on 8 blogs, including a premiere on EARMILK. And this was only my first time using this method!
Now it’s time to put your PR database to use. Check out this article on how to properly send submission emails and pitch to tastemakers.
How are you go about finding blogs to pitch? Do you have a specific strategy? Let us know your best approach in the comments below.