Hiring a publicist: when to bring in the big guns

How do you know if it is time to bring in the big guns to power-up your new release or event with bangin’ media exposure? Kylie Cobb, a professional music publicist, gives Blank GC her expert advice on the matter.

There’s so much to think about and do when creating your music and having it heard. Artists see the value of investing in the recording process – you have control over the outcome after-all and know that it all starts and ends with the music. But, when it comes to the critical promotion of the record, allocating those final, non-existent dollars can seem overwhelming and a big unknown. Right?

There’s no question you can secure bonafide media coverage yourself, and in my previous BangON columns I’ve told you how (check it out at blankstreetpress.com.au). So what can hiring a publicist do for you?

Just as you spend all of your waking hours studying, playing and making music, a publicist invests all of their time to knowing what makes news, building relationships with journalists and becoming world-class word-smiths.

THINK OF A PUBLICIST AS AN AMPLIFIER. They can totally crank up the quality and quantity of the coverage you receive, maximising the impact and reach of your music…if you meet the following criteria. 

Do you have a story? Publicity starts and ends with a good story. There are exceptions, however the fact you are releasing new music, isn’t in itself news.

Do you have industry profile? How well you are known around the traps can impact how receptive the media will be. That said, a killer story, strong fan base and brilliant song can definitely outweigh that.

Do you have a strong, activated fan base? Publications need readers. If you can show that your fans, whether that’s 5,000 or 50,000 will pick up, click, read and share your story, that gives a publicist power to pitch you.

Does the production value of your supporting collateral meet the standards of the media you want to be in? The editor and journos WILL check you out. They will only publish you if the quality of your products (songs, videos, website etc.) and branding reflects theirs. After all, they have their own branding and reputation to uphold and what/who they publish affects their readership.

A publicist worth their salt won’t work with you unless you can tick most of those boxes, as their reputation and relationships with the media are KING and totally depend on their reliability to present stories that reflect the values of each publication. And, of course, this is why working with a publicist can help you.

Tick all the boxes? Then YES, investing in a professional publicity campaign will be worth your while.

If you don’t tick the boxes yet, don’t fret. Understand that publicity is a journey and is best treated that way – by strategically taking one step at a time. Until you’re ready for a full PR campaign, consider:

  • Having a publicist create a killer press kit for you;
  • Doing some media and marketing workshops (check out The Power-Up Series, Q Music and Music Industry Inside Out);
  • Reading more BangON columns at com.au – they’re packed with powerful (and free) media & marketing advice.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lamp Photography

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