The Musician’s Guide: The Truth About Hiring A Publicist

All musicians wish that they had more ears listening to their records, and if you want to take serious steps towards growing your band’s audience, a publicist might be exactly what you need. But before you blow your band’s whole budget on a PR campaign, take a moment to understand exactly what a publicist can do for you and when it’s right to hire one. You may still have some work to do before you’re ready to reach out to your future fans. Frontrunner gives you the rundown.

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1. Make Music First

Before you're ready to get out there, you need some music to promote. This might seem obvious, but many bands fall into the trap of pushing their publicity before they've spent time actually creating their music. Typically, a full-length record will get more attention than a short EP, so if you've only got a few minutes of music ready to go, you may want to wait and spend more time in the studio before hiring for PR.

2. Set #Goals

Write down your goals. It's a good exercise at every step of your band's journey, but when it comes to spending money on a publicist, make sure you know exactly what you're trying to get out of the experience. You may be satisfied simply getting your name out to the right blogs and radio stations, or perhaps you have a concrete goal of record sales. Whatever your situation, you'll feel better if you've defined your desired outcome before you start spending money and time to get there.

3. DIY First...

Make sure you're doing everything you can on your own. How is your band's social media presence? Have you created a digital press kit? Written a bio? Held a DIY photo shoot? While a publicist can help you with all aspects of your band's public persona, it's good to make sure that you've done everything you can on your own first, so then you can get professional assistance where it will have the most impact.

4. Publicist or Manager?

Are you sure you don't need a manager? A band's manager is responsible for a much wider range of the band's activities than a publicist. If you're looking for a professional to help you scout labels, from a recording plan, or find you the right producer, you may need a manager rather than a publicist.

5. Hey, Big Spender!

Evaluate your band's budget and how much you're willing to spend. A good publicist will not be cheap, and many in the business will tell you to avoid working with people who promise outstanding results for a fraction of the cost — the truth is, you're better off saving your money and holding out for a higher-quality partner. Shop around for a publicist with experience that matches your goals, and expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars depending on how long you want to work together.

6. You'd betta WERK.

Be ready to work hard and stay involved. When you've made all the right preparations and you're ready to hire a publicist, the real work is just beginning. Be sure to talk with your publicist about your band's story, your goals, and what the plan looks like to get your name out there. The more involved you are, the better chance you have of getting the right results and making the most of your PR investment.

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