Like many aspects of the music industry, effective publicity is about teamwork and good communication. There are many great music publicists out there (and many more not-so-great ones) who’ll work independent releases, but that doesn’t mean just any publicist will do. You’ve got to find the one that feels like the right fit for your goals, budget, genre, and more.
Here’s a list of things to consider when you’re trying to find the right publicist for your next album or tour
1. Budget — Can you pay them the fee they’re asking? Even if you only hire a publicist for 3 months or so, it’s probably going to cost you thousands, so think about your band finances first. Then find the publicist who fits your budget.
2. Track record — Have they had good results doing PR for other acts? What magazines and blogs have they gotten other bands positively featured in? You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who has already established solid relationships with writers, editors, and media producers in the music press.
3. Genre expertise — Just because a publicist has a network of contacts doesn’t mean they’re the right contacts for your music. A jazz publicist is probably not the person you want to hire to help you get press for your latest folk-rock project. Just because a publicist got their last client on the cover of a Metal magazine doesn’t mean they’ll be able to get you featured on a Hip Hop blog.
4. Referrals — Have you heard good things about a publicist from other musicians you know? That’s a pretty good indicator of quality publicity, especially since those musicians will have paid this person lots of money; they’ll need to have seen real results in order to walk away feeling like the person’s PR services were worth the cost.
5. Clear communication — Are they forthcoming with info about fees, schedules, etc? If they use industry jargon or genre lingo, are they making their meaning clear? Now’s not the time for mystery.
6. Love for your music — You don’t just want to be a publicist’s client. You want them to be a fan of your music, or at the very least, believe that you have the ability to turn thousands or millions of other people into fans. That belief and enthusiasm will shine through when your publicist communicates with the press.
7. Responsiveness — When you first approach a publicist about working together, is she prompt in her responses? If you write him an email with three questions, does he respond to each of them thoroughly? This attention to detail and directness will be key when you’re both busy in the middle of a PR campaign.
8. Setting expectations — Will your publicist work for you for the life of the record? Only for 3 months surrounding the release? Will they handle tour press? Is it a local, regional, national, or international campaign? How quickly do you need to respond to your publicist in order to secure interview opportunities? Setting expectations goes both ways: you BOTH need to know what you’re getting into and what’s required.
9. The size of the publicist’s current client roster — Hopefully they’re working with a few other bands right now. You want to be sure they’re employed, of course, since that’s another sign of their effectiveness as a publicist. However, you probably don’t want to start working with someone who is in the middle of 25 other campaigns. They’ll be stretched way too thin to give your music the attention it deserves.
10. You’re “on the same page” as people — You don’t need to love the same sports teams or have read the same books, but can you relate as individuals on a level outside of your music/PR partnership? That’s a plus.
Are you looking for a PR person for your next album release or tour? If so, view this directory of professional music publicists.
Have you worked with a publicist before? How did you find them? How did you decide to work with them? What was the process like? Let us know in the comments below.