If you want it to be standing room only at the shows on your tour, then you need to publicize your band as much and as often as you can. Getting media attention, especially in a larger market like Los Angeles or New York can be very difficult, especially if you're newcomers without professional representation.
One tool, but certainly not the only one, is a press release. Keep in mind that most entertainment and music writers, even those in mid-sized markets are inundated with press releases on an hourly basis, so the window of opportunity here is very small.
Don't Send Out a Blanket Press Release
The biggest mistake you can make is sending out a blanket press release without knowing its recipient or recipients. Make sure if you're sending a release about your country band that you're not targeting a newspaper's transportation reporter or movie critic. Get to know a little about the writer or writers you really want to target before you email them, whether that's reading their work or following them on social media.
Designate a Person to Deal with the Press
Ideally, if you're working with a label, you'll have a publicist who has established relationships with music writers who can make introductions. But at the very least you'll need a point person, whether a professional public relations person or a member of the band, to handle all media inquiries. It shouldn't be left to whoever gets the email or has the group cell phone to deal with the press.
Building Your Press Release Template
It's not a bad idea to have a standard-issue press release with some contact information and details about upcoming dates. Try to be pithy, and get to the point. No one cares your band is on tour except you and your parents, so don't lead with that right out of the gate. You have to make them care.
Try to give a good reason for why a reporter in Pittsburgh would want to cover you: Is one of your bandmates from the area? Did you have a particularly memorable experience the last time you visited? Maybe you've already been reviewed by a given writer and want to invite them to hear your new songs. Whatever the case, have a template that can be revised with each new recipient. Otherwise, your carefully crafted press release is likely to end up in a spam folder, or worse, the trash.
And time your releases right. If you want to send out something at the beginning of the tour as a kind of "save the date" that's a good idea, but be sure to follow up with individual media as the relevant dates approach.
Here are a few tips for your press release template. Keep an electronic version available on a computer you'll have access to while on tour so you can tweak as the tour rolls on.
The Header: Get Their Attention. Use a large font and bold print. Don't make the headline cryptic or cutesy; no one has time for that.
"[Band] That Rocked Cleveland Brings Unique Sound to Buffalo" is a start. This format assumes you'll include some details from that appearance in Cleveland, obviously (and that you're appealing to writers in the Buffalo area). If you're sending your release via email, make that header sentence the subject line of the email. Don't bother sending faxes, because it's not 1992.
If your label has a logo, make sure that's prominent at the top of the page, along with a band logo if you have one. Make sure the contact person's info is bolded and easy to find just below that opening headline.
Paragraph 1: Get to the Point. State your case and do it quickly. Include a sentence or two about your news. What's the name of the new album, what song is getting the most buzz, the name of the tour, if there is one, and any special guests or opening acts who will appear as part of the show. Paragraph two should have the brisk feeling of this paragraph.
You can also include a sentence or two about the band to give the reader a point of reference. Tell them where they've heard of you but make it brief (and don't write "you may have heard of us"). If you need a more formal introduction, include your band bio separately, and only if requested by the recipient of your first press release.
Paragraph 2: Dates and More Information. List your tour dates but limit the list to no more than five or six upcoming dates. Indicate that the full list of tour dates is available on your band's website. Include the website address, as well as any social media channels you or the band use to promote your work. If there is anything special about any of the shows, for instance, if a show is an afternoon gig or if the show is 18+ only, include that information.
Closing and Call to Action. To close your tour press release, include the contact information of the person (again) in charge of handling press queries about the shows. Make a suggestion of what you want the person to reading the press release to do with this information: "If you would like more information, or if you want to interview the band or review the show, please contact [so and so]."
Check your Work!
Proofread your release, read it out loud, and if possible, have more than one person read it before sending it out. While you don't want everyone to get a chance to tweak every release, you want to make very sure there are no embarrassing typos or incorrect information on there.
Life on the road can be tough, but even tougher is playing gigs to empty rooms. Get the word out about your band with a well-crafted press release.