5 Reasons Your Music PR Campaign Failed
Sometimes no matter what a music publicist does, he or she can’t get the music to react with media. I speak from experience when I say that's not the outcome I want to achieve for any band we're promoting.
Success and failure are relative terms. One band may look at five placements with positive reviews and be overjoyed by the positive response, while another will feel like anything less than a Pitchfork review is an overwhelming failure. For the sake of this article, however, I’ll focus on a general theme where the publicist can’t seem to get a footing with credible media despite every effort.
There are also a few things that may contribute to the lack of response. The good news is that most of them can be overcome with a little effort from band members.
1. Low Social Media Following/Engagement
The larger outlets who rely on advertising to fund their business and expenses have one major goal: to bring in new readers to sell their ads so they can stay in business. You may read that sentence and feel it’s unbelievably unfair because you’re just a little band and they are a big magazine with a lot of influence. They should want to help you out. Without you, they wouldn’t have music to cover. If that is your thought, then it’s time for a reality check. You’re just one of the thousands of bands who come their way and want to be covered. And there are a lot of factors at play when they decide to cover your band. You need to show them you have an active fan base who will read what they write about you. To do that you need to make sure you have an engaged fan base which is most easily demonstrated on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. If you only have a few hundred followers, then get busy and start building your fan base.
2. Genre is Past Its Prime or They “Aren’t Feeling the Music”
There isn’t a whole lot you can do with this one since it’s, well, all about the music. A good publicist will target the right people and listen when it isn’t responding to find a new subgroup who could be more receptive. If your music is in a genre that’s at the end of the cycle or oversaturated, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle because they're going to be overly discerning when deciding to cover. This is one of those cases where even redirecting may not change the circumstances. If you’re lucky you’ll receive valuable feedback to prepare for the next release and how you can make it better.
3. Bad Publicity Photos
You know what they say about first impressions. The photo is often the first impression of the band and if yours isn’t up to par, there’s a good chance you’ll be overlooked for someone who does have a captivating photo. Put careful consideration into your images and make sure they both sell your music and inspire whoever is checking out your band to give it a closer listen.
4. No Distinct Story
As mentioned, media is constantly inundated with new bands who want to be covered. If you don’t have a story that grabs their attention they're likely to pass you by for someone who does. If your current story is something about how your band sounds like no one else out there or you're a DIY band who recorded your entire album in your home studio, chances are you’ll just be more of the same and they’ll move on. Think about what truly sets you apart. Come up with five things that truly make you, you.
5. Not Active or Disengaged
If you think your work stops once the campaign starts, chances are your campaign will suffer a quick death. This could mean avoiding social media or utilizing it inconsistently so it looks like you don’t take your band seriously. It could also mean inconsistently communicating with your publicist or completely disappearing altogether. Maybe it’s that you’re not actively playing shows or touring. There isn’t a need to do everything, but you should at the very least be communicating consistently with your publicist and being active in one area that could help move your band forward.
Green Light Go: Identify one of those areas where you are susceptible. Think about a way you could resolve and then take the next step
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Want to know if your band is media friendly? Get access to our media audit checklist to ensure that your media presence is a good match for your music and will help elevate your appeal to music outlets.