Do You Have the Risk Tolerance for a Music PR Campaign?
Risk averse beware if you are entering into a music pr campaign, because it is one risky proposition.
If you are risk averse and have any trepidation, I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t hire a publicist. Yep, I own a music pr firm and I’m going to tell you not to hire us.
Your heart will break. You’ll go through every emotion under the sun from elation when that influential media outlet says your record is the bomb to utter despair when not a press coverage can be found. You’ll point fingers, blame, question and self-doubt. You’ll stay awake with anxiety wondering why you spent all your money on publicity that isn’t moving fast enough and then ask the publicist daily “Have you heard from…?” in the hopes asking the question will allow it to materialize at the speed of light.
Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t hire a publicist.
1. You are looking for fast results that will catapult your career.
Publicity is a painstakingly slow process that takes years to develop. Yes, I said years. Although, we have worked with relatively unknown bands who do see coverage from SPIN and Paste Magazine right out of the gate, that is rare and solely dependent on how in love the media is with your music, how much time they have at the moment, and if they think your band is the right fit for their readers. If you have no press or very little, just like anything you will start slow and continually build to get to the next level.
2. Your focus is on the future.
If you are the kind of person who has little gratitude for the moment and is always striving for what’s next, you will be miserable in the pr situation. Each step along the way won’t feel good enough because you’re “not there yet” and sadly you’ll miss out on all the little successes to build upon which will eventually get you there.
3. You are looking at coverage as the only barometer of success.
Publicity is a lot more than a media placement. Like I mentioned in reason #1, it takes a long time for pr to build to the level where an artist is being covered by the masses. This doesn’t mean you are going unnoticed however. Although many outlets may not feel you are ready for coverage at the stage you are at, they are paying attention and thus, you are receiving direct exposure with an influential media outlet by a trusted advocate on your behalf. Also look at your download rates, email signups, new fans and general traffic to your website and social networks? Is that happening? Are venues, music festivals, licensing companies, booking agents, and other people in the industry suddenly contacting you or showing interest? If so, that can serve as another barometer of success.
4. You are hiring a PR firm solely to get into Pitchfork.
Let me say this right now because I’m only going to say it once. Why would you give all your power (and money) away to one outlet who is known for giving snarky commentary on bands? Yes, they are one of the most influential outlets out there and can break an artist, but they also aren’t a one way ticket to success. You should be hiring a music pr firm because you need someone who has trusted relationships, experience to run a successful campaign, and your best interest in heart with the know how to receive results representative of your band’s story, sound, and where you are in your career.
5. You think your work ends when the campaign starts.
You are looking to someone who can take over the reins so you can sit back and enjoy the success. The publicist will have the expertise to know what works and what doesn’t so it’s important you trust that person working on your behalf. However, a successful pr campaign is a two way street where the artist and publicist are working in tandem to achieve goals. You should be communicating with your rep at least one or two times per week, building upon your own personal relationships and offering your ideas to enhance the campaign as well.
6. You are spending your last dime on PR.
If you don’t have a budget you feel you can comfortably pay for publicity, you should not hire a publicist. The stress on both you and the firm are astounding when you don’t have the money to comfortably invest in a campaign. Ask yourself how much you believe in your project and if you are willing to risk losing your investment if the media doesn’t react.
I like to equate investing in a pr campaign to investing in the stock market. You do your best to pick the right stock that will give the best return, but at the end of the day there are no guarantees you will see a gain. In fact, you run the risk of a loss. The same is true of a pr campaign. Even with the best music, best story and best press list catered to the artist, there are no guarantees the media will like the music, have time to cover it or the space.
You have to ask yourself if you have the risk tolerance to go for it and see where it leads. If you do, then give it everything you have with the partnership of a great pr firm you really trust where you get the instantaneous click it’s the right company for you.
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