It's not unusual for the lead singer to also be the PR manager and the guitarist to be the booking agent. That's just how it is for bands trying to promote a new album or tour the country with limited funds only living on all they've got, their music.
I receive a lot of emails from bands touring through Nashville looking for a little extra press and I'm happy to help them out if I can fit an article into my schedule. Often times I receive an email a little too late or with insufficient information. So if you want to make the most out of your tour I recommend doing the following:
1. Expand Your Reach
Reach out to local bloggers, newspapers and other means of press at least 1 month before your scheduled tour date. If you want your show to make it into local magazines I recommend at least 2-3 months prior. Remember press has deadlines and they best way to make it into the papers in time is to form a relationship with the writers and staff by sending multiple emails over a period of months. I can almost guarantee the first email you send will not receive a response. Send two and that will jog the recipient's memory of the first email they discarded and then it might get opened. That's the ugly truth, so please don't get your feelings hurt if your emails aren't replied to right away.
2. Be Professional
When you begin to reach out to others for help, be professional. Have links to your website, music and videos available with a press photo and 3-5 sentence bio. The easier you make it on the recipient the better. I know every band starting out doesn't have videos, but that's the best way to communicate. Have friend film a show or practice, edit it on your computer and post to YouTube, having something is better than nothing.
3. Submit Your Show
Look for free listings on local event websites. If you want your show to be listed online, submit it! This step is completely up to you. Check out local event websites and enter the information about your show. Be prepared with press photos and a little write-up about what you'll bring to the event. In Nashville you can submit your shows to the Nashville Scene's event calendar through their partner www.backpage.com. Also check out www.nowplayingnashville.com.
4. Use Social Media
If you feel like your emails are being ignored, so straight to the source -- social media. Find your local press online and post on their facebook page and tag them on twitter. Again have links ready to direct traffic to music and videos. Also it doesn't hurt to make a peace offering with the stranger behind the screen and send a free download.
5. Make A Plan
The most important part to going on tour is have a plan. I know this sounds like a lot, but spend a day before it all begins on google doing your research and making connections. It might make a world of difference to do the extra work.
Please leave a comment if this is helpful or if I've missed something important. Also share with your fellow musicians if this might help them get the edge they need on their upcoming tour.