Many indie artists have no clue why they need a publicist and honestly, many don’t even know what a publicist is supposed to do for them or for their career. A publicist is kind of like having a sales representative for your company. They go out into the field and tell people about your product/brand and sell your product/brand to consumers. They are someone who goes “doot to door” trying to make opportunities for you that will help you to get noticed by the people in the industry you are trying to break into.
According to an article I read on ASCAP, “Publicists are responsible for helping you craft and tell your story to the public in a way that is compelling, relatable and unique. They make sure that the details are never missed, and that your brand is packaged and presented in a way that helps you and your music tell their best story. Publicists are there to secure media coverage and opportunities for exposure with the right outlets at the right time”.
Anyone can have a publicist, but you want to make sure that the publicist you have is there to help you with everything as it pertains to your brand. From how it is presented, to how well you can communicate with your potential fans, investors, etc., to how to brand your website and what to feature on there, and even when to release new music. Your publicist should be fully invested in what your music and artistry is all about. They should know everything about you in a positive light so that when they speak of you, they can speak knowledgeably and highly.
In the beginning, especially for most indie artists who are just starting out, you want to make sure that you build up your brand first, get solid gigs, build a strong fan base, and an engaging online presence in social media. You can even go so far as to get quoted or interviewed or featured (ahem, ahem), like on TCP. Build your momentum online and offline, and create that buzz about you. This is what will start the buzz to go buzzing. Most of the PR that you as an artist can have done (for free) should come from you. When you reach that threshold of not being able to keep up, or perhaps your day job gets in the way, or music gigs have you tied up, that’s probably when it’s best to engage someone who can help you to pick up where you left off and take it to the next level. And of course, you want to make sure it doesn’t break your pockets either so shop around.
Not every publicist will want to genuinely help you, such is the world. However, it’s the truth. Many want to get paid a ridiculous amount of money and then show nothing for it, or not enough. You want to make sure that whomever you hire to do your PR work, that they are fully invested in you. It’s the only way to make the business profitable for both parties. If they do their job right, and if you continue to put out a marketable product, then success will be equally shared and you can both be on your way to doing what it is that you both love best, one making music, the other selling your music on your behalf. It’s a win-win situation.
Some things to consider when looking for a publicist though, so you’re not wasting anyone’s time, because we all know that time is precious, make sure you have the following in order or ducks in a row:
- Mastered Audio Tracks
- Hi-Resolution Art Work
- Hi-Resolution photos
- High quality music videos and/or live performances
- CDs of your album, with cover art, exact track listing, record label (if any), release date, etc. Yes, CDs. I didn’t stutter. Publicists still want to see a physical copy that they can hold and review and see it’s marketability. I do realize that we live in a digital world, but the CD is not completely out the window…. yet.
- Fact Sheet (One Sheet)
So, if you think you are ready to get a publicist involved in your music career, take heed to the advice and prepare yourself to present your work to a publicist who can guarantee their full efforts in helping you to get to the next level. Now, we all know that nothing in life is guaranteed as far as results are concerned, but, with the right attitude, momentum, great marketable product, and excellent PR person behind the wheel, you can go as far as you can dream in this industry.– Jilli