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The Free (Audio) Press – and You

by FOH Staff • in
  • December 2017
  • Editor's Note
• Created: December 12, 2017

No, this month I am not launching into a heated diatribe about restrictions on the freedom of the press, as outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Not that I won’t be addressing this topic in some future issue, but at least for the time being, let’s examine a quite different “Free Press” theme, this being the accessibility of FRONT of HOUSE to help promote your company and/or products.

‡‡         The FOH Mantra

As far as I see it, we exist as a means to serve the sound reinforcement and event production industry. We rely on a regular flow of tips, press releases and input from our contributors to help provide useful information for these monthly pages and our website at fohonline.com.

For example, consider our new products coverage (appearing this monght on pages 18 and 19.) I am occasionally surprised when some (usually fledgling) companies call, wondering what we charge to be included in that section. And they are typically equally surprised when I tell them there is no charge, it’s just part of the editorial services we offer to the industry. All it takes is sending a press release (a product description in paragraph form) along with a photo for consideration.

The same applies to news submissions about interesting tours, one-offs, events, installations and more — as well as the “On the Move” feature (page 16), which covers new hires and company changes.

We make the information transfer process even simpler for our monthly “Showtime” section (pages 20-21) that spotlights six noteworthy recent gigs each month. Here, to share the news with other FRONT of HOUSE readers, a sound company merely has to go to fohonline.com/showtime.html, fill in production details about the crew and gear on an easy online form, attach a photo and you’re done.

So far, we’ve talked about some DIY ways that companies can use to help get the word out about their products and services. Larger businesses will often employ some kind of marketing and/or public relations person — either in-house or one of many outside agents or consultants to help with the task. As far as we are concerned, it doesn’t matter whether the data comes from a DIY, in-house or other source, as long as the material is delivered in a clear and timely fashion.

‡‡         Back to the Future

One insider technique is to request our Media Kit (fohonline.com/forms/use/
mediakit-reg/form1.php), which includes our editorial calendar that lists topics we are planning to cover in the next year. For example, among the features in our January 2018 issue are spotlights on “New Club Installs,” “Drum Mic Packages” and a preview of new products debuting at Winter NAMM 2018. So in this case, the calendar provides an invaluable “crystal ball” view into possible editorial opportunities that might apply to your company.

‡‡         Insider Tips

If you’re submitting press material — we actually make it easier for you by providing the email pr@fohonline.com, which automatically gets routed to all our editors — you can also make it easier for us here at FRONT of HOUSE. We spend a lot of time here creating articles with great eye appeal, and always appreciate clean, high-resolution graphics. However, there really is no need to include a 96 MB image in an email; something smaller (like, much smaller) is more appropriate and it’s easy enough to include a download link to a larger image in your correspondence. At the same time, we do our best, but are not miracle workers and trying to create a stunning image from 20K thumbnail is beyond the wizardry of our graphics team.

When submitting text material, a Microsoft Word doc is fine; alternatively, the message can simply be imbedded into the body of the email. Please avoid sending brochures or PDF files. These are sometimes somewhat quirky (to say the least) in terms of us being able to export the text. I occasionally even receive locked PDFs, which prevent a text export. In such cases, the last thing I want to do is to manually retype 1,200 words of marketing copy to use to fill a space in our news section when I’m on a deadline.

‡‡         Get Regular!

Another point is to try and set up a routine where you are disseminating some info about your company on a regular basis. The reality is not every pitch you send will be a cover story, but at the same time, we have lots of places where we can use interesting stories, whether in the print issue, online or in our weekly Tuesday newsletter, so opportunities abound.

We’re here to help, so make us one of your 2018 New Year’s resolutions! Meanwhile, have a great (and safe) holiday season, and see you next year!

For George Petersen’s video introduction to the Dec. 2017 issue of FRONT of HOUSE Magazine, go to http://www.fohonline.com/main-news/17666

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