[Editors Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
You know that feeling you get when you’ve just completed your latest project and you can’t wait to share it with the world? When you know for sure, without a doubt this might just be the greatest thing you’ve ever created? That is a sign that it might be the ideal time to hire a publicist.
But there are a lot of other factors that go into the decision, some of which might not be so obvious. Let’s take a look at some of them.
You have something new to release
First and foremost, you need something new to require a PR campaign.
This can be an album/EP, a single, or a music video; but whatever it is, you must have some sort of content, and it has to be fresh. If you’re in the middle of a lull in your career where you’re just writing or recording, then now is not the time to hire a publicist.
You’ve given yourself enough lead time
Oftentimes artists are so excited to release their new material that they want to drop the album two weeks after its mastered.
Or, in their rush to get it out they forgot to consult a publicist and now it’s one to three months later and, with very little traction around their release, they’re looking to hire a publicist to generate some buzz.
I hate to break it to you, but in both of these scenarios, you’re almost certainly going to be out of luck. A proper PR campaign requires appropriate lead time. For an album that means starting a campaign 8-weeks ahead of release date to be sure to get the music to outlets prior to its release.
Once an album is out, it’s incredibly difficult to garner coverage. For a single, the lead time is a little more flexible. Ideally a few weeks ahead of time, so that the publicist can secure a premier prior to release date.
If your single has already dropped, (assuming it wasn’t more than a few weeks ago), you might still be able to get a decent PR campaign going around it. But again, being prepared enough to find a publicist and start a campaign well ahead of time will offer the best results.
You have your brand nailed down
This might be the toughest one for most artists.
Having a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for – and being able to effectively convey that on social media, in your bio, and in everything you do – is crucial to a successful PR campaign. While many publicists can still get coverage for bands who aren’t very clear on their brand, the clearer they are and the more it shows, the higher the likelihood of press coverage.
Your social media is full of engagement
Speaking of the importance of branding, social media is one place where it comes into play in an incredibly powerful way. To have the best shot at a strong PR campaign, especially for an emerging artist, your social media game has to be strong. This doesn’t mean you need 8,000 ‘likes’ (but that wouldn’t hurt), it just means you need to have strong engagement on your posts.
When a blog is deciding if they want to feature you, one of the factors they look at is your social media to see not only how many followers you have (more followers = more exposure to their blog) but how high the engagement is. If every time you post you only have one or two interactions, that’s going to show an outlet that your fans probably aren’t super fans, and maybe it isn’t the right fit for them.
On the other hand, if you only have 3,000 Facebook ‘likes’ or Twitter follows, but every post has 25 interactions, that’s going to show them your audience is incredibly loyal and that’s the kind of audience they want to get in front of.
You have the budget
This one might seem obvious, but if you don’t have the budget for PR, you aren’t ready for it.
PR is expensive, running anywhere from $500/month on the very low end to upwards of $1,000 a month on the middle end (and up to $3,500/month on the high end), so the first thing you need to do is figure out how to budget for it.
Personally, I think PR should be a built in cost to making the album. If you can’t afford PR, and you don’t have the skills to run a DIY PR campaign, then you probably shouldn’t be releasing your album just yet.
You want to release your album to a wide audience and generate plenty of buzz and PR is a crucial part of that. Be sure to budget for it and don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect publicist for you.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Substream, New Noise, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.