Many artists rush to Music PR without first having a solid foundation in place and this is a grave mistake. As the PR landscape continues to shift getting great PR is becoming harder to do without also having a brand, a social strategy, numbers and streaming also firing.
As an independent musician, a music PR campaign can be a critical component of an overall marketing strategy that will help you to:
1. Reach new fans
2. Increase online influence
3. Create new content that can be used to strengthen bonds with your existing fan base through social media
4. Better understand marketplace position
While all four of these goals are essential for you to have, and there is no doubt an effective PR campaign can help you achieve them, many artists jump into full-fledged PR campaigns a bit too early.
In order for music PR to be truly successful and achieve everything you want it to, you must do the 5 following things…
1. Have A Social Media Presence & Daily Posting Practice
Yep, I started with this and not with music – GASP! Too many musicians underestimate the importance of a social media presence and how it directly relates to the success of a music PR campaign.
There are two reasons why it is so important before you release and especially before you launch a music PR campaign that you also have a strong social media presence:
IMPORTANT REASON #1 – Music Bloggers Check Your Socials
With so many musicians and music publicists inundating the inboxes of bloggers and journalists, it is inevitable that they will check the social media presence of each submission as a filter for who to, and who not to, consider for coverage.
This certainly doesn’t mean that you need to have a HUGE social media presence with hundreds of thousands of fans before you start music PR, but it does mean that you need to be consistently posting content to your socials that communicates “you”, and you need to be engaging with your fans (and the media too!).
Ultimately, apart from being introduced to music, bloggers are also interested in driving traffic to their sites. A blogger wants to know that if he or she is going to take the time to cover your music, you will be able to return the support by sharing the feature with your fans, helping the blogs to build their followings as well.
IMPORTANT REASON #2 – Music Bloggers Expect Mutual Promotion
In order for PR to truly be effective, each feature needs to be properly leveraged through social media to mobilize the existing fan base.
In other words, music PR is a two-way exchange – each feature is new content that you can use to engage your fans without having to say ‘listen to my music’… this form of sharing your successes is a much more subtle form of self-promotion than the much dreaded shameless self-promo that
too many musicians practice (and no one likes).
Again, having hundreds of thousands of fans isn’t the point here, but rather you need to have a consistent content strategy in tandem with your music PR campaign that covers all 6 rooms of your social media house, which includes (but isn’t limited to) Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Blog, Newsletter.
Here is how often you need to post to each social platform in order to remain ‘consistent’:
3 posts per week – Boost at least 1
Post at 3-4 times a week. Try to post at least one STORY a day.
2 – 5 tweets per day and make sure to RT, comment and @
1 newsletter per month
At least 1 new video per month (note this doesn’t need to be a professional music video)
2. Release Music Consistently
The ideal scenario is that you have at least a few singles or an upcoming EP (containing at least 4 songs) that is set for release around 1 to 2 months from the start date of your music PR campaign. For the most part, bloggers don’t like to mention an upcoming release if there is too much lead-time between their feature and the release.
Don’t forget the blog readers (who are your potential fans!) With the web being the way it is, readers are confronted 24/7. Therefore, it’s really not in your best interest as an indie artist to space singles and EPs light years apart from each other.
Keep the rollout tight and the momentum up, while at the same time being flexible in case something takes off.
It IS certainly possible to do a PR campaign for music that has been previously released. When publicizing previously released music, understand that there will be journalists who will pass based on the fact that the music hasn’t been released within the last three months.
3. A Professional, Compelling, Telling Bio (We Call It A Signature Story)
A professionally written bio that weaves a compelling story about who you are and what makes you unique is not something to overlook. A great bio (we call it a signature story around here) is an essential asset to an effective music PR campaign.
Your bio should serve as a one-stop shop for bloggers to get the facts on you, your project, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. And, even though your music will speak for itself, you’re going to want to talk about yourself and your music in a way that will
entice people to click that play button.
Unfortunately, one paragraph saying that you are a musician from so-and-so making rock music that will blow everyone’s mind is not going to make anyone want to click that button. What will make people listen, is a bio that communicates your story
and pays acute attention to detail and nuance. A professional bio can run you a few hundred dollars, but it’s reusable and will come in handy long after your campaign has ended.
Note: There are bloggers out there who will repurpose your bio in order to create enough content for their blog post. This is, good news for you if you have a strong bio! The fact that many bloggers will re-purpose the bio means that you now have the opportunity to control the messaging of their features, telling their readers the important points about you that may stick out to fans as unique and intriguing.
4. Professional Promo Photos & Great Cover Art
Do you know what gets people to click on your write up? The promo photo or the cover art – EP / Single / Album – depending on what the blog features. It might be kinda sad, but it’s true. If you have any doubts, just think of your own initial reaction when checking
out artists who are not yet known to you. Because of human instinct and the fact that we are exposed to thousands of well orchestrated images PER DAY, you’ll want to pay close attention to the messaging in your photos.
Above you will see 4 band and artist promo photos from some members of our Cyber PR artist family. These photos have performed very well with the media and they capture the essence of the artists. I included photos with 4,3,2 and 1 artist for reference.
What do you want the takeaway to be for potential fans who see your promo photo and album cover?
You can’t get away from needing great photos. All bloggers, podcasters, and sites like Spotify will want a photo or cover image. Many new media makers have a quality standard to uphold and poor photos of you and/ or your band could actually be a deal breaker
On the other hand, unique, creative and well thought out promo photos and album covers can be the ice breaker needed to get bloggers to check out your music.
Here is some cover art we love…
5. A Niche to Conquer / Some Serious Consideration of Genre
Identifying a specific niche to target and/or pinpointing your genre is a critical component to any successful digital music PR campaign.
The media is getting to a point where it sees “singer-songwriter” and eyes glaze over. You probably are a singer-songwriter, and that simple categorization may not work for everyone.
It’s important to think of the publications you want to be in, read them, and see how they describe/talk about music. If they label everyone as a singer-songwriter, you’re good to go! If they are approaching things from a more intricate perspective, you might want to think of yourself in those terms as well. You don’t have to be a music journalist yourself. You just have to be conscious.
There are many more genres (and sub-genres) than just rock, pop, country, jazz, EDM, etc. You want to get specific and it’s okay to reference other artists that you get compared to give bloggers a sense of who you sound like (but do note: getting compared to someone is
DIFFERENT from being influenced by another artist!
It is important to note that your niche does not, in any way, need to reflect your genre of music. Anything that you are passionate about, anything that has inflicted you as a person (such as a disease or social plight) or any part of your upbringing that has helped to define who you are as a person and a musician can be a great niche.
The idea here is that on music blogs, you are just another musician being covered, however on, say a positivity blog or an anime blog, you are the one or one of the very few musicians being covered making your story and your music far more unique which can help it to resonate with the reader-base.
BONUS: Strategies for Building Traction on Spotify & On Soundcloud
“If you don’t have fans, listens and consumption on Spotify (that you have to create) you are dead in the water.” – Brian Vinikoor. This means you need to understand the Spotify Basics first!
Also, know that you need SoundCloud for PR and Spotify for fans – 2 separate platforms with 2 separate functions!
Recap…for successful music PR outreach you will need music that’s ready to go, a professional, compelling bio, great promo photos, a niche to conquer, a social media presence, and a strategy for BOTH Spotify & SoundCloud. If you don’t have these five things, get to it!
I have recently launched an online class that will teach you how to do your own Music PR – it’s part of a 12-month series called CYBER PR LABS – click below to read all about it and join me.
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