It’s hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on a service you can’t tangibly touch. You might be able to see the effect translate to beautiful things and experiences in your life, but can’t draw a direct connection.
This is the problem of PR.
It’s one of the most valuable services you can pursue for yourself, your company, your products, yet it’s often moved to the backseat due to prohibitive costs and low priority.
I want to counter that thinking. You will have a higher return-on-investment in your organization, company, or your professional life when you hire a publicist.
PR IN KINDERGARTEN
I use these terms interchangeably—PR, public relations—to describe the noun of promoting someone or something. I use these terms interchangeably—publicist, PR person, PR firm/agency—to describe the person or company that implements the PR or public relations.
“Public relations” is just that—relationships with others. We all have relationships on different levels with different people. From an early age, most of us realized that if we played our cards right with key people, we’d achieve something better than if we did not. This could have been with a teacher, parent, or the popular kids at school.
By developing good rapport with others, we learned early on that it could take our social life to new levels. As we grew older we realized this translated into money. The better we played our cards with certain people in certain positions, we got rewarded—with money from a job, social perception, or both!
From kindergarten to adulthood, we’ve seen the effect of PR on a small, personal, one-to-one approach. We know it works through experience.
Yet, most people struggle with it when they have established their career. Either consciously or subconsciously they realize something has plateaued—organizational growth, income, project success, social perception, etc.
From my experience running a PR firm, most clients have good ideas and intentions, but lack the expertise to synchronize everything at a high level. They also lack the ability to develop the best strategy for their current situation.
WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A PUBLICIST / PR FIRM
You should contract a publicist or PR firm to breakthrough your own limitations and plateaued results. It’s not admitting defeat, but simply realizing you can’t do everything yourself and need the extra level of expertise to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling.
You should also hire a publicist/PR firm (contractor) because it will cost less money than hiring a part-time or full-time employee to do the same work. One of the best moves for arts organizations and artists/musicians is contracting (outsourcing) services such as marketing, PR, and communications to a professional team.
You will receive higher levels of specialized skills for less money than paying mediocre employees.
WHAT A PUBLICIST / PR FIRM WILL DO FOR YOU
What exactly will the publicist/PR firm do for you? It’s a changing world all the time, but one thing is certain—the age of “traditional PR” is over. Let me explain.
I’ve heard so many clients state something like this: “If I can just get into The New York Times, I’ll establish so much credibility. More people will hear about me/my organization and life will be great.”
Unfortunately, these days are over for most people and organizations—particularly arts nonprofits and classical musicians (my area of PR expertise).
Arts coverage is severely lacking in today’s media landscape. Any coverage on traditional platforms—print magazines/newspapers, radio, TV—is like winning the Super Bowl. Most arts coverage now (from a traditional media perspective) is relegated to niche publications and radio, blogs/websites, and local news.
Due to changing priorities at media corporations, coverage for the arts is almost nonexistent. Even at legendary media companies like The New York Times, arts coverage continues to decrease. For example, there are less critics to review concerts than ever before. The New Yorker magazine won’t even publish an arts blurb if it’s outside of New York City—even if it is an historic performance with a legendary musician.
You’re probably wondering, where does a publicist fit in if these big media corporations are turning their backs on the arts with rare exceptions.
Because of many digital platforms like Google, search engines, social media, email, and websites, YOU can disseminate information as if you were a media company.
Most people know this, but within the classical music industry, many still haven’t adopted that mindset completely.
To preface this perspective, there are three things to note:
1. You do not need the traditional press exclusively to communicate your message.
2. You can communicate directly with anyone—no third party needed all the time.
3. You need to build a massive fan club to whom you disseminate your message.
I’ve developed a method that is grounded in real-life experience, with real people and organizations, doing exceptional work. Simply listed, the process is:
Identify your brand archetype and communications strategy.
Develop content aligned with the branded archetype and tailored for multiple platforms such as traditional media, websites, social media, and email.
Mobilize this content on a frequent, consistent timetable.
It’s very simple, right? But, most people aren’t doing this. They place high value on traditional print/TV media, when you can build your own direct-to-fan communications system by using the digital platforms and resources available.
As a disclaimer, this isn’t saying traditional media isn’t valuable. It is! Considering how limited coverage is for the arts, musicians and organizations need to take a strategic and bolstered new approach harnessing digital platforms that you control.
The new mix for PR strategy fuses compelling content on social media, email, and websites with thought-leading articles produced by a ghostwriter (or you), brand partnerships, and traditional media. Roll this into one cohesive communications machine and you’ll see massive results.
PR DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COST-PROHIBITIVE
I’ve developed an internal process that saves money and reduces overall costs for clients, yet produces valuable results.
Working with a virtual team of contractors, my firm doesn’t have high overhead costs for which so many large firms need to accommodate. Remote working (i.e. no physical office space) plus contractors (i.e. no “employees”) is a recipe for velocity.
Working remotely/virtually and with contractors is cost-savvy in many ways. The most obvious one being no major office rent. Secondly, contractors don’t solely rely on my firm for work. They also have other clients. This means everyone wins: you (the client), third-party contractors, and me (the publicist/PR firm).
In the end, you’ll most likely choose a publicist or PR firm based on their brand:
Do you like them?
Do you like what they offer?
Are they affordable?
Other than that, it’s quite simple. Most publicists and PR firms have had great success and worked with top people and organizations. They all have key contacts in the music industry and with the press. And they are up-to-speed on many new marketing/communication trends.
But, not all produce great results.
WHAT CAN MY FIRM DO FOR YOU
We produce great results with lower costs than other firms.
Check out three specialized service plans based on your marketing/PR needs.
Music Marketing Plan (for organizations)
Artist Promotion Plan (for artists)
PR Consulting Plan (for organizations and artists)
Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!