How To Choose A Public Relations Agency For Your Band

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the beginning of a new week here on the official blog of Haulix. We are thrilled to know you have chosen to spend a few minutes of your time with us. We have a lot of great, in-depth content planned for the week ahead. It may be a bit heavier than some of the topics discussed in recent weeks, but it will make a world of difference in your career if you follow the advice offered.

This blog exists to promote the future of the music industry, and to do that we need input from people like you and your music-loving friends. If you have any questions about the content in this article, or if you have an artist you would like to see featured on this blog, please contact james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

When I first launched my PR agency, Muddy Paw PR, I knew I wanted to do things differently. Having founded music blog Infectious Magazine and spent the past five years running it, I had a pretty strong sense of what did and didn’t work when approaching bloggers. After all, I was (and still am) one myself. But as Muddy Paw has seen tremendous growth over the past year, I’ve become even more aware of how incredibly influential a good PR campaign can be for a band. And it’s become the most rewarding part of my job to hear a band say “thank you” and to see that excitement and passion shine through, as they start to see the features roll in. That passion is the entire reason I started Muddy Paw, and the reason that PR campaigns succeed. If you’re thinking of choosing a PR agency, then congratulations! That’s the first step in really taking your career to the next level. But with so many choices, where do you start? These 5 steps will help you get to know the PR agencies you’re considering.

Get To Know Your Publicist

One of the most important parts of getting to know a PR agency is to get to know the owners and publicists you’ll be working with. Currently, Muddy Paw is run by me, and me alone, and that gives me a direct connection to all our artists. I’m in communication with all of them, and the size of the company allows me to focus on everyone’s needs individually, without ever leaving anyone behind. For larger companies, getting to know your individual publicist before signing a contract is equally as important. You may love the owner of the company, but soon find that you and your designated publicist clash. That’s ok, some people don’t hit it off. But the time to find that out is not after you’ve signed.

Get To Know The Roster—and the Placements

One piece of advice I see doled out a lot, is to check out a company’s roster, and see if you recognize any of the names. While you should always check out the roster, I think it’s more important to check out a band’s sounds and placements, rather than focus on what name rings a bell. After all, with all the talented bands out there, can you really expect to know all of them? Take the time to listen to the sounds of current and alumni clients, and see the placements they’ve received. Is their sound similar to yours? Can you see yourself on those same sites? 

What is your view of success?

This one is very important and often overlooked. When I first begin working with an artist, I send over a list of questions that helps me get to know them. One of the questions I always ask is, “what do you view as a successful campaign?” You’d be amazed at how often that answer differs. For some bands, it’s as simple as wanting to see results in the way of placements and premiers. For others, they’ll point to album sales and Facebook likes increasing. It’s important to understand that what you view as successful and what the company views as successful, so that you can make sure your visions align.

Be Realistic About Placements

No one knew who Foster the People were before they got picked up by an influential German blog and went viral. This wasn’t Pichfork, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, or Billboard. As someone coming from a blogging background, I truly believe bloggers are the backbone of the music industry. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears that bloggers pour into their reporting is astounding. On top of that, almost none of them are getting paid. Yet at the end of the day, what you have is a tribe of really passionate people. So, even though you may really, really want to be on Billboard (and may be one day) try not to turn your nose up at the little guys. As you grow, odds are that blog will too, and when they’re suddenly hitting hundreds of thousands or millions of unique visits per month, they’re going to remember who was there in the beginning. You’re never too good for any coverage.

Have fun! (No, really!)

Music is a business just like anything else, and it’s important to keep that in mind for things like booking, sales, and even PR. But it’s also something we’re all in because we can’t not be. Because we love what we’re doing, and we love the people we’re doing it with. So when you’re searching for a publicist to help take your career to the next level, remember to find someone that you jive well with. Someone who’s easy to talk to, but knows how to get the job done, honest, yet constructive, and hard-working, but still knows when to laugh. Finding an agency that you click with isn’t always easy, but believe me when I say, working with someone you get along with for the next 3 months (or more!) will make all the difference. So get out there, take hold of your career, and for goodness sake, have some fun!

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up and coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, we’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunkProperty Of Zack, PureVolume, and many more. You can find us at www.MuddyPawPR.com

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.