Hiring a music PR company to promote a release is one of the best ways to raise the profile of your band (well, we would say that). But it can also involve a sizeable financial investment – and one which will obviously be felt most keenly by artists who are self-funding their projects.
As such, it’s important to make the most of any music PR campaign you commission, and in this post we’re going to give you some tips on how to do just that.
1. MAKE SURE THE MUSIC IS TOP-NOTCH BEFORE YOU APPROACH ANY MUSIC PR COMPANIES
It sounds obvious, but before you even go anywhere near a music PR firm it’s important to ensure that the music you are going to them with sounds as good as it possibly can. The best music PR companies are actually inundated with enquiries from bands and have quite a choice when it comes to which clients to take on – to work with your chosen company, you’ll need to make sure that the material you present to your prospective music PR company is as sonically robust as possible.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR OTHER BAND ASSETS ARE TOP-NOTCH TOO
Music PR firms won’t just base a decision about whether to work with you based on your music. They’ll need to see evidence that all the other aspects of your output – from your music website to band photos to the quality of gigs you’ve got lined up – are also strong. This may seem a little harsh (surely it’s all about the music, man?) but in fact it’s very important that a music PR company looks at ALL band assets closely…because journalists and bloggers sure as hell will. In short, if a music publicity company isn’t convinced by the quality of your band assets, then you can bet that newspapers and music review sites won’t be either.
3. APPROACH A MUSIC PR FIRM THAT WORKS WITH YOUR GENRE
If you’re in an metal band, it makes sense to look for a company with a track record in working on metal music PR campaigns. Don’t hire one that only does jazz. If a music PR company is interested in working with you, ask for examples of successful campaigns they’ve worked on in your band’s genre.
4. SHOP AROUND, AND BE CAUTIOUS OF PR COMPANIES THAT SAY YES TO ANYTHING
Some music PR companies will say yes to any project – because they care more about getting business through the door than promoting quality projects. If you get the feeling that this is the case with a company you’re talking to, ask some probing questions – why do they want to work with you? Which music publications do they see your music fitting into? What’s their track record in working with similar acts? Who’s on their roster at the moment? Are there too many bands on their roster for you realistically to get a look-in? Don’t be afraid to shop around – as when it comes to hiring a builder, get several quotes, evaluate them thoroughly and make the best decision based on the evidence. When you come across a music PR firm that’s incredibly enthusiastic about your music and wants to work with you, that’s great – but always let your head rather than your heart rule your decision on hiring them. Enthusiasm about a project is something you should definitely look for in a music PR company – it just has to be backed up with a sense that the enthusiasm is genuine and the company has a coherent plan to maximise publicity for your act.
5. INVEST TIME IN CREATING ASSETS THAT WILL HELP YOUR MUSIC PR CAMPAIGN
As mentioned above the music press take band assets heavily into consideration when considering what to cover. So the more great stuff your music PR has to work with the better – an EPK, strong website, great band photos and music videos with strong production values will all make it easier for your music PR company to do the best possible job for you. (Having great hair also helps).
6. LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC PR TEAM’S ADVICE
It’s easy as an artist to get so wrapped up in your own musical talent and creations that objectivity goes out the window – and a good music PR team can help put that objectivity back into the equation. Perhaps a particular track would work better as a first single than the one you’ve got your heart set on? Perhaps a different band photo would be the best shot to distribute to blogs? Maybe a different running order on the album might help? Your music PR will have worked (hopefully!) on hundreds of previous campaigns and as such should have a good knowledge of how journalists and bloggers will react to certain types of content – so be aware that despite you being sure your band is better than Bowie, Lou Reed and The Beatles combined their knowledge of the media might just trump yours. Be open to advice.
7. STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MUSIC PR
Without overdoing it, don’t be afraid to check in regularly with the person charged with working on your music PR campaign. The reality of the situation is that despite the best will in the world, when you hire a music PR team to work on a release, they’re inevitably going to be working on several other releases too and the band that shouts the loudest often gets the most attention…so make your presence regularly known and ensure that your project gets as much time as everybody else’s. Caveat: don’t be a pain in the bum about it, as that can make your music PR team find you annoying – and may affect the effort they put into your project. Strike a balance between checking in about the important stuff and giving your team the space and trust they need to do their job properly.
8. PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC PR COMPANY AND ALL THEIR WORKS
It may sound daft but as a band YOU need to promote your music PR company too, and the work they do for you. By that I mean ensuring that their contact details and website address are highly visible on any of your band assets – websites, promos, social media presences and so on. Same goes for any content produced or coverage attained by the music PR company on your behalf – you should ensure that the blog or news section on your site features your latest press release and any reviews, premieres or interviews secured by your music PR team (these should all be shared on social media / via e-newsletter too).