Written for Fans for Bands.
PR. Two letters that are batted around a lot in the music industry. But are they relevant? Does PR actually enhance you and your music? Shouldn’t the merit of your songs eclipse any zany release strategy that gets conjured up? Well, now more than ever PR is necessary if you wish to make an impact as a musician. With millions of outstanding artists releasing great content to the world daily, PR is the difference maker in helping you cut through the noise. So, step up because it’s time to show the world what you have to offer…
Picture this, you spent countless hours practicing your instrument, lost track of how many times you spat your dummy out while crafting some original songs, spent an unpleasant amount of money recording your music in the studio, press shots, shooting music videos and working on your artwork ect.. Now you’re ready to show it to the world; but how do you shove this in the face of your soon to be adoring fan base?
This is where your ‘ole pal PR comes in. Your work deserves more than just a few shares on Facebook, your work requires a full, structured campaign behind your latest release in order to get the most out of your art and achieve what you deserve!
In short, exposure. Popular outlets include, print media, television, radio, online magazines and blogs. Through these mediums, the gap between your art and potential fans is bridged. Their job is to get their hands dirty and drum up as much press as possible for your new release / tour / EP ect… In turn, not only does this advertise you and your product, it attracts potential fans and provides you with online content that you can share, build up your brand and scream about to the high havens.
Money, mullah, the dosh, the old green, the big buckaroos, fat wads of Wonga. PR comes at a price. PR can cost but remember what you’re asking for. A professional to tailor campaign completely around you and your product. In doing this they sell you to a list of contacts they have built over time and introduce you to a new platform of the music industry. Save as much as you can. Make a band fund. Have less tinnies at practice and invest in yourself so when you approach a PR firm you are ready to capitalize on all the results.
It’s foolish to think that this doesn’t come at a risk. A quick flick through blacklist music group will highlight the decent firms from the con artists, but it’s not always that obvious. Anyone can be stung by deceptive “PR Experts” that pray on the dreams of desperate and hungry artists. This is where word of mouth is your best friend. Talk to other musicians, cross reference firms with online reviews and research these firms before you contact them. By doing your homework you will hear the horror stories and avoid the pitfalls. You can also receive some helpful advice and insights about what other musicians have achieved through their campaigns, which will help you build a realistic expectation of what to expect.
Whilst firms can charge anything from a few hundred pounds to way over four figures, it’s important that you understand that the success of your campaign is reliant on you! Are your songs a bit forgettable? Is your branding on point? Is your artwork weak? Does your image look basic? This isn’t going to grab the press by the jugular and demand they notice you. If you’re going to drop those notes on PR, ensure that you have the best product possible in order to achieve the best results.
This is something you need to ask yourself before you go and blow a stack of change on promoting a sub-par product. Are you rushing into this? Do you have a full EP, tour or string of releases that will keep this momentum going? Do you have a unique story behind your release that people will remember?
Once you are confident that PR is the way forward, it’s worth asking, can do this yourself? If you are just looking for some reviews of your single, you can reach out to bloggers yourself, but if you’re looking for more mainstream exposure then its time get the professionals in. What you learn from a PR campaign is also critical in order to see what your audience engages with and tailor what works and most importantly what doesn’t; for future releases.
Get wired! Don’t just rely on the PR agency to do all of the work but use it as a platform and build on the momentum yourself. Get unconventional. Approach websites / Zines / radio / local brands with audiences that could fit yours and offer to collaborate. Get the easy wins by using the tools at hand such as BBC Introducing but why stop there? Look at brands and what you have to offer. Be likeable, professional and open a dialogue to establish yourself as a key figure in your industry. This will generate more engagement and interest, whilst growing your audience and establishing your reputation.
PR is crucial. It’s designed to highlight your hard work and introduce you to new fans. You have already put in the dedication to your craft, it’s now time to watch it connect with people. Use PR as a building tool to structure your career as a musician, learn from it, grow your audience and don’t be afraid to innovate and experiment!
Important things to confirm before hiring a PR Agency:
Confirm how long your campaign will last.
Do they have a busy roster or time to dedicate to your project?
Who have they represented / currently represent? Do they fit your genre / size / level of exposure you have in mind?
What media coverage has they generated recently? Do they ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to what they can offer you?
How much commutation do they offer? Will they send regular reports or take your money and disappear?
Do they have any testimonials or reviews to offer to back their reputation?
Always research and look for reviews and if in doubt, ask if anyone has used this agency before in music blacklist groups like this one here.