As an independent artist, you thrive at doing it all yourself; you write your own music, created your own blog or website and love working on all aspects of your ‘business’. However, it can sometimes be more than beneficial to work with experts in their field. When it comes to Public Relations, working with a professional can certainly serve you well. Why? Because while you may think that public relations is merely serving a marketing purpose, something you try to do on your own, it is so much more than that. Read below to find out more about what PR really is and how you can use it to your advantage by hiring an expert.
An Overview of Public Relations
By definition, PR is used to enhance the reputation of a company or individual and better make the connection between the company or individual and the public. For example in the music industry, PR experts are often asked to organize events, such as a CD release party, showcases or any other event that could lead to more visibility for an artist or band. So, in short, PR does look like a marketing machine at first. But have you ever heard of a PR professional’s Rolodex? The Rolodex is a prized possession (or at least it used to be before everything switched to digital!) for any PR professional and includes the contact info for all their connections in various industries. This means that while PR seems to be only a boost in marketing, your PR firm or expert can get in touch with reputable individuals or companies that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to approach on your own.
On top of offering you infinite resources in the marketing and ‘meet-and-greet’ department, a PR firm can also help you manage your reputation and image, which is unfortunately a big part of the music business these days.
Why should I hire a PR agent?
Because while you think you can do it all yourself, you’ll be missing out on the precious Rolodex. To a certain extent, PR agents can almost be seen as managers, in the sense that they can put you in touch with crucial players in the music industry. Think about it – if you were on your own and wanted to update your website, you’d have to put together a shoot with a photographer by yourself; from there, two scenarios are possible. You’d either end up paying more than you can afford for a professional result or be stuck with a cut-rate photographer who won’t give you the images you need to revamp your site. If your PR agent recommends that you revamp your website, chances are that he or she will have a photographer on hand to help you out or might even be working on the PR of a photographer who would agree to an exchange of services. This is only one example, but it certainly shows you that a PR agent has resources and connections and you can certainly use those!
When is the right time to seek a PR agent?
There is no right time – it is always the right time. How is that possible? You don’t even need to have a finished product to start using Music PR services; PR is all about creating awareness for yourself in the public eye. Let’s say you’ve just started writing new material. You can start a PR campaign for yourself and market yourself as an up-and-coming artist – the PR campaign will create a buzz around your name and once you are ready to release some tracks to the public, you’ll already have an audience to do so. This is why PR is so much more than marketing. With marketing, you need to have something to offer, you market a product. With PR, you can market yourself and put your name out there prior to having any music ready for the public! It can seem counterproductive at first but think about it; many individuals in the public eye had their name out there before we knew anything about what they were doing.
A prime example of PR well done is Kim Kardashian (and I am not saying that I endorse what she does and who she is, I’m just stating the obvious). Would her clothing line or perfume be such a hit if nobody knew who Kim K was? Probably not. It would be the same clothes and the same scent, but no one would buy it because no one would have a clue about who this Kardashian girl is; the only way all of her ventures are doing so well is because she is a public figure. Why can’t you use that model for your music? Of course this example is rather extreme and you may not achieve the same level of fame as this reality TV star, but you can still create a buzz around your name. Once people are talking about you and that the pubic is aware of your existence, you will have a public ready to hear your music when tracks are finally available.
In conclusion, just because you’re an indie artist, it does not mean that you have to go down that road alone. Do your homework and find a PR firm or agent that is interested in the kind of project you are working on and understands what your goal is. Before you know it, the PR machine will work in your favor and you’ll be able to connect with your audience and manage the exchange of information in a way that is beneficial for you and your music.