An Artist’s Guide to Finding a Music Publicist: Tips on Choosing the Right PR Firm
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Welcome to part two of our Must Know Strategies of Growing Your Fan Base in 2020. Be sure to follow along and sign up to receive each of the 20 articles of our series as they're released straight to your inbox.
It’s easy to invest in something you can achieve instantaneous results with, but with PR it’s more of a long game that’s equally as important. There are a lot of publicists out there that would be a good fit but you want to find someone who is the perfect fit for you.
First, you want to make sure you find a publicist that you vibe well with. You need to make sure you get along with the person representing your brand. You both need to have a mutual understanding of the objective you are trying to achieve and this will help make a strong PR campaign.
You should also check out the type of clients they work with or have worked with in the past. You want to make sure they have worked with artists in the same genre as your music so they understand the avenues of how to promote it. Also don’t discredit PR firms who have only worked with indie or emerging artists. Check out the success they have had with them, which is the most important part. Keep in mind that it is really difficult to get emerging artists Billboard, MTV, Alternative Press or Rolling Stone features. If the firm advertises that they have connections with these media outlets, don’t expect they can definitely get you placements with them. The fact that they HAVE these connections and they can try is what you should consider.
Don’t be afraid to ask for some case studies from the PR firm you are considering hiring. These will show you the objectives of the campaign, what the PR firm worked on and the results they achieved. Remember that PR firms can only control what they are able to do on their end. Checking out case studies is far better than seeing how the artist/ band is doing now. The artist/ band could have slacked off, aren’t consistent in posting on social media or haven’t released anything new in a year. Case studies are truly the best way to determine what the PR firm is capable of doing for you.
A huge part of choosing the right PR firm is figuring out what type of budget you have to work with. Most medium sized companies will likely charge around $1,000 to $1500 USD per month for an album campaign and require a 3 month commitment. Some smaller firms just starting out might fall closer to $500 per month, while the much larger firms will be $3,000 per month and up. Promoting a single versus a full album is also a big factor into how much the PR firm will charge. It’s best to reach out directly to the PR firm you are considering hiring to find out what their rate is.
Consider a PR firm that is in the same life stage as you. If you’re an emerging artist just starting out, you might want a smaller company that’s still building their contacts but is going to be a lot cheaper as a result, and you can grow together. Don’t underestimate how hungry young PR firms are and how hard they’ll work for you. If you’re a few years in, maybe you want a medium size PR firm who works with emerging bands but has had higher tier placements with a bit more experience and stronger connections within the industry. Just remember to not discount smaller firms thinking they aren’t a good fit. Smaller firms, about 1-5 people, are more likely to be hands on with your campaign.
Lastly, it’s important to be realistic with your expectations of the results you are hoping for with a PR campaign. Don’t expect your 5,000 followers or monthly listeners to skyrocket into the 100,000’s in a three month period.
The right publicist should be someone who believes wholeheartedly in your music, your message, has worked within your genre and seen success (no matter their level of experience), and will work hard to expose your music to the world.
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1. Checklist for Releasing Videos on YouTube 2. Planning Your First Tour 3. Guide To Building Your Artist Team 4. Guide to Copyright Law (Understanding the basics) 5. Creating Multiple Revenue Streams (Besides just Streaming and Live Shows...)
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