3 Things Your Publicist Can’t Do
When you’re a music publicist there are a few common sentences and questions you hear from a band.
“Why aren’t there more reviews?”
“What are the chances x blog will cover us?”
“When can I expect to start seeing coverage?”
Now, I think I’m pretty darn good at what I do. I’ve taken a lot of years to build relationships to know all the likes, dislikes and how a writer or editor wants to receive information. I know who will respond and cover and how long it will take. I know who doesn’t respond, but will still cover. And I also know there are certain things I’ll never ever be able to change.
Below are those things a publicist can’t control:
Make a Journalist or Blogger Like Your Band
My job is to find those contacts who would be most likely to love or at least like your band. Each and every press list is catered specifically to a band and no two are alike. Our press releases and pitches are written with the intention to grab interest based on why they’d like what we’re sending. But sometimes no matter what we do, the writer simply decides he or she doesn’t like the band. If I’m lucky, I’ll receive a response telling me that, but more often than not, the writer will listen and not respond. Music is highly subjective and personal, so I have to accept and respect the opinion and move on.
Manipulate a Journalist’s Time
The #1 reason why a writer may not be covering your band? Imagine receiving anywhere from 100-1000 submissions per week, all with music that needs to be heard. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine it’s impossible to listen to every band that hits the inbox. And even when the writer wants to listen, he may not be able to get to it because of all the other priorities required from an editor or bands he’s already aware of and knows he loves. Let’s say he does have time to listen and likes it. He still has to find the time to write about it because of his existing pressures and deadlines. There’s also the ones who are super organized (and I love these guys) and simply know they can’t get to it because they don’t have the time or space. No matter what I do, I’ll never be able to manipulate more time for them outside of giving them everything they need and making it as easy as possible to cover the band because of that.
Manipulate The Type of Coverage Given
Ok, you’re a bit frustrated because the blog covered your single and hasn’t covered your album. I once had a musician get mad at me because All Music Guide only premiered his album stream, and didn’t feature the album in their “Best new releases” section. Every single placement a band receives is discretionary and at the end of the day, they are doing you a favor by covering you at all. They are not going to make you a “best new release” if they genuinely don’t feel it is a best new release. The blog is going to base coverage on what they have time to cover and what they feel is the right fit for their blog. A publicist can suggest specific coverage and take the steps to encourage it, but has no control over how the outlet decides to cover.
Make Them Believe You’re Ready For Coverage When You’re Not
This also plays a major factor in coverage. If you’re a relatively unknown band, the bigger outlets may be taking other things into consideration. One may have to be head over heels in love with the band to cover. Another may feel like the music has potential, but it’s not just there yet. Another may feel there’s not enough of a story – and believe me, there are bands that have absolutely no story angle despite our best efforts to find one. And then others may take a look at your social networks and see you have a few hundred Facebook likes and virtually zero engagement. Their first priority is the image of their publication, what it represents, and/or how many readers you could potentially bring to them. Unfortunately, it is not your band’s success.
A good publicist can set a campaign up to work in your favor at the forefront which will increase the chances of overcoming these hurdles. There is a reason why every reputable publicist I know reinforces, “Press coverage can’t be guaranteed.”
Green Light Go: Feeling frustrated by the snail’s pace of your success? Take a step back and look at the successes you have achieved and continue to build from there.
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