The following is the latest post in an ongoing collaboration with the team at Catalyst Publicity Group. If you have a question related to Music PR that you would like us to tackle in an upcoming column, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to give you a timely response.
QUESTION: My band recently signed a contract with a publicist. What should we be doing to ensure we get the most out of our money (and their time)?
Good question. There are five things you need to remember when starting a new PR campaign…
1. Return press to publicist in a timely fashion
Many artists don’t understand how swiftly press moves. Social media mentions, blog posts, and online features go as fast as they come in. In order to keep your campaign moving fluidly, you need to be turning over press quickly and in a timely manner. This means it is within your best interest to return all written interviews and schedule all phoners as soon as possible – within a few days (if not within 24 hours!). If you have a lot – get it to your publicist anyway or provide them with an update. He or she can coordinate posting with the editors to ensure not too many features run the same day, or reschedule the feature according to their editorial calendar. Editorial calendars fill up, journalists work against tight deadlines, and writers lose interest fast. You don’t want to keep press waiting, and you don’t want to burn bridges with the people who are going to define your image. This is what a publicist is working against. It’s important to make sure that press is taken care of first and foremost, and that you communicate with your publicist every day.
2. Professionalism during interviews
Yes, you are in a band. Yes, being in a band is fun. We get it. You are allowed to have fun and be yourself, but don’t be disrespectful or unprofessional. That’s when you just look silly or immature, and the media will not want to waste their time talking with an artist who doesn’t know how to show them respect. Not to mention, the writers have every right to tell the world about your sloppy demeanor, overuse of swearing, or inappropriate gestures while you were talking to them.
Be sure to show up to an interview on time or call-in to phoners on-time (and on-time does not mean 5 minutes late! Sometimes phoners are radio interviews and you only have a short time between commercial breaks to get your story across!). Dress as you would for a show, acknowledge the interviewer, thank them. Don’t show up to an interview drunk or on drugs, and most importantly, always keep your hands to yourself (and keep it in your pants! – this isn’t Rock of Ages).
3. Produce content while on the road
As mentioned before press moves fast, and people lose interest fast. Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean your job with the media is over. Continue to produce interesting, unique content while you are on the road to keep yourself buzzing and keep your fans hooked. Tour diaries, studio updates, behind-the-scenes and beyond-the-stage videos, cover songs, remixes, etc. The list goes on. Produce enough content to keep your publicist busy while you’re out playing shows. It’s okay, we like that!
4. Continue being creative and offer story angles to publicist throughout campaign
This one we couldn’t stress more. The one thing that makes you stand out against other artist is – SURPRISE! – not your music. It’s your personality, your background, and your story. Contrary to popular belief, this is not something your publicist will “make up” for you. No one can tell you who you are but YOU. Are you a war veteran? Do you support LGBT rights? Are you speaking at a domestic violence event in a few weeks? How did you get your start in music (and please don’t say my dad bought me a guitar when I was 5 – everyone says that – see where we’re going here? Be original).
What groundbreaking and unique stories can you share that will tell the press who YOU are? What makes you stand out beyond your music?
5. Trust your Publicist! And be respectful…
Leave it up to your publicist to handle PR matters and more. You hired your publicist for their professionalism and expertise, and they will never work against your best interest. Your publicist should be considered one of your best friends, your most trusted teammates – after all, they are the ones who will highlight your best assets, cheerlead you on, and even clean up your messes. If you have an emergency that requires a public statement or other remedy, notify your publicist before anyone else – even your best friend. They will advise you on how to move forward with the best intentions.
Your publicist is your cheerleader always looking out for your best interests. Don’t forget to show them respect. Be kind and remember to thank them for their time and hard work. If you have a non-emergency late at night or on the weekend (i.e. you want their opinion on your new song or video), email them. Don’t hit them up on their personal social media pages or blow up their cell phones to review your content, brainstorm, or any other work after hours. Your publicist has a life too (and even though he/she is probably working anyway, after hours is our “quiet time” to get extra work done – email us and we will get back when we can). Be courteous, and trust that we will get the job done as swiftly and painlessly as possible.