Is Your Music Suffering from these PR Mistakes? | Public Relations Tactics for Musicians

November 14, 2017

We talk about promotions and exposure on this blog a lot. If you are an independent artist, you can’t really avoid it. Getting exposure for your music is an absolute must and one of the important facets of getting your music exposed is public relations. Not many artists truly understand what public relations actually is and how powerful it can be for their music. In essence, the objective of a good public relations strategy is to increase public awareness for a brand in order to positively influence the behaviors of its target market. That definition basically describes what musicians want to do with their music every day. So, if you want to get your music heard, earn fans, and get support, you should learn the basics of a good public relations strategy, the do’s and the don’t’s.

What does an effective public relations strategy look like?
How can musicians use public relations to get real results?
What are some best practices when it comes to getting exposure in the media?
How do you know you’re employing the right public relations tactics?

Dawn Jones of PRESSED PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in generating buzz for independent artists joins us today to share some tips and advice.

Anitra: Hi Dawn! I’m so glad to have you join us today. I’m looking forward to getting some great tips from you about how we as artists can use public relations to help build our career. Tell us, how did you personally get into public relations as a profession?

Dawn:  As a musician myself, I always knew I wanted to work in the music industry. While earning a music business degree in college I was fortunate enough to intern for a successful band in my college town. It was in this internship that I started learning what it meant to run a successful publicity campaign and fell in love with public relations. The band was constantly on tour, and even hosted an annual music festival in our town, so I quickly learned the ins-and-outs of contacting media to promote shows, events, and music. From there, I started focusing my career path on public relations in the music industry and launched Pressed PR. My goal is to empower other independent artists to be able to have an affordable and dedicated PR representative that knows the importance and particulars of PR in the music industry.

Anitra:  Wow! That sounds like such a fun internship. It’s great that you learned about public relations with that much hands on experience. It sounds like your company was birthed out of a real need that musicians have. Tell us a little more about your company?

Dawn: Well, our tagline is – WE CREATE THE BUZZ… SO YOU CAN CREATE THE MUSIC. My company, Pressed PR, is a fresh, boutique public relations agency founded by musicians who strive to support creativity through collaboration. We exclusively represent artists & musicians because that’s who we are too, and we want to empower other independent artists to share their music with the world. We provide clients with innovative promotion techniques, PR strategies, and our hard work ethic.  Most importantly, we are their biggest fans and passionately support the artists we work with.

Anitra: What is Public Relations and how can it be useful to independent artists?

Dawn:  Public Relations is most commonly defined as “using press to carry positive stories about your brand”… but we like to say it is “creating a buzz”. Independent artists benefit from public relations because it helps increase their fan base and get their music out to more people, thus creating a bigger demand for the artist…. namely, better music sales and larger audiences at shows.

Anitra: What’s the difference between promotions and public relations?

Dawn:  Promotions and public relations go hand in hand, but the difference is the method they are employed. Promotions is similar to advertising where you advertise a show, event, or album that is for sale or that you want people to attend. Public relations is when the press talks about your music and you as an artist, sharing their insight as an unbiased third party.

Anitra:  A lot of artists are focused on DIY methods until they can start earning enough money to hire outside help. In the meantime though, can you share some practical ways an artist can generate buzz about their music?

Dawn: Absolutely! If you choose to go the DIY route for public relations, I recommend starting on social media. Engage followers on all platforms by posting regularly about your music, shows, upcoming projects, behind the scenes, etc. to keep fans interested.

Anitra: That’s great advice! Additionally, in terms of interacting with the press, what are some common mistakes independent artists make when approaching the media for interviews or coverage?

Dawn:  Unfortunately, I’ve seen artists commit many mistakes as they try to interact with the press. Here are some of the most popular…

– Starting an email with “Hey, check out my new music!” … you should always be personable with your media contacts
– Not following the protocol each media outlet has for submitting music or pitching for an interview/coverage… protocol is there for a reason
– Mass emailing several media outlets to save time. Again, be personable.
– Not contacting the correct staff member for consideration. Be sure to research who the best person to contact is so that you don’t waste anyone’s time.
– Not following up. Follow ups are important because of the huge quantity of emails reporters get each day with requests for media coverage. If you don’t follow up at least once, your email will get lost among the masses. However, keep follow ups short, sweet, and to the point.

Anitra: How should an artist go about creating an effective public relations strategy for their music?

Dawn: The first step for every artist should be to ensure your online presence is up-to-date, cohesive, and engaging. In today’s world, the first place people go to hear new music and find new artists and shows is the internet. So make sure that you and your music are readily accessible and that your “brand” is cohesive across all platforms. Once this foundation is solid you can begin focusing on the finer details of public relations such as crafting press releases, pitching, and developing contacts in the media industry.

Anitra: Most artists have a really hard time getting radio airplay due to competition with mainstream artists. Do you have any good tricks for getting radio airplay?

Dawn:  Start by targeting local, regional, and college radio stations. These stations are generally more receptive to independent artists. If you play shows or go on tour, reach out to the stations in the towns you will be performing and pitch your music! And ALWAYS be sure you are pitching to the right person. Take the time to look up the correct staff member to contact for music submissions at each radio station and follow their protocol! It may be time consuming… but it will be worth it in the end.

Anitra:  There are so many promotions services available for independent artists. How can we tell the difference between a scam and a legitimate service?

Dawn:  In this day and technological age, it can be hard to tell who is legitimate and who is not. Don’t feel pressured to jump in too quickly with a company. Do your research and see how they are represented online, on social media, and if they have any personal contacts that you can reach out to. I suggest trying to schedule a meeting, whether it be in person, via facetime, or on the telephone. Also, never start paying money until you’ve signed a legally binding contract that you’ve read and agree with completely. Contracts are there to protect both the client and the business!

Anitra:  How much should an artist expect to pay for public relations support on specific projects such as a tour, album release, music video etc.?

Dawn:  PR campaign costs are quantified by the amount of time, effort, and strategy that the publicist makes on your behalf. Therefore, different firms have different costs because price depends on the project and the amount of time and effort required. At Pressed PR we aim to keep costs low and the work ethic high so that independent artists like ourselves can afford a successful PR campaign. Contact us when you’d like to launch a campaign of any kind and we’ll give you a quote.

Anitra: How can we connect with you to learn more about your services?

Dawn:  Check out my website, and connect with us in all of the regular social media spots! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Anitra:  Well thank you Dawn for sharing your words of wisdom about effective public relations tactics for musicians. We really appreciate your support and commitment to the independent arts scene.  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dawn:  It’s my pleasure! I’m honored to be a part of the music industry in this way. If anyone would like to try out our services, I’d love to offer The Crafty Musician Community a special discount!  I’m extending a limited time 10% discount for first time clients who mention the code BEACRAFTYMUSICIAN. We offer Tour Support, Press Releases, Social Media, Album Release, Press Solicitation, Radio Promotion and more. Join our mailing list to see first hand how we provide support to our artists and learn more about what we can do for you.

Click here to Join Pressed PR’s Mailing List Today.

More Articles:

How to Write a Press Release
11 Things You Should Do to Promote Your Show
How to Identify and Reach Your Ideal Music Fans [Free Worksheet]
10 Online Radio Stations to Submit Your Music To

About Anitra Jay

Anitra Jay is an acoustic soul singer-songwriter based in Houston, TX. She tours regularly up and down the US from Vermont to Texas and everywhere in between. Her music is a sultry down to earth blend of soul, pop, and gospel. After being laid off from her job in 2007, Anitra decided to pursue a career in music. She took her educational experiences in Public Relations and her professional background in marketing and applied it full force to her music. She's found significant success in establishing a lasting fanbase using her special brand of marketing techniques which she shares freely with other artists. In addition to being a full-time performer, Anitra runs, a blog for indie artists sharing actionable tips and advice on how to promote, develop, establish a fanbase, and more. Her passion is to inspire other musicians and build a community of like-minded independent artists to encourage and promote successful careers in the arts. She appeared on HGTV's Tiny House Hunters in May of 2017 to share her music story and her Tiny House Journey with the world. Follow Anitra on Twitter - @IndieArtistsDIY and @Anitra_Jay. Join the mailing list to get practical DIY tips and tricks in your inbox -

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