If you work in the music business, you probably have thought about hiring a music PR person many times. You want to grow your brand, sell more tickets, get more views, grow your social media following, etc. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish, the point is you want more people to care about you/your project.
Music PR people can certainly help you achieve this. But there are parameters for what can be accomplished. I’m often astounded by how many people write to me asking for PR services, yet they have little-to-no budget, their concert is NEXT WEEK, and they’re in panic mode.
The bottom line—these types of circumstances don’t yield anything good.
PR is a long-term game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Follow my tips on how to find the perfect music PR person.
Music PR person who actively executes a content marketing strategy
Traditional PR has always meant power lunches that cost way too much, landing gorgeous feature stories in prestigious and glossy publications, and manipulating people to superficially care about something.
Fortunately, there is hope for those who have goodwill remaining or have entered the music business after this period of madness.
Today, music PR looks very different for one simple reason: the decline of traditional media and the rise of digital technology (social media, email, websites, apps, podcasts). People aren’t aggressively consuming newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV because “new media” has replaced it. Hence, the budgets are slashed at traditional media to cover things like classical music.
If you want to publicize classical music concerts, find someone who will build content marketing into the overall communications for the organization.
Content marketing is just that—selling something based on informative or entertaining information in the form of anything, really. It could be beautiful photography of the concert venue; sizzling text that provides context for why an artist or ensemble is worth seeing in concert; podcasts and blog post stories on the historical meaning of Schumann’s famous motive in his concerto. You get the point.
An effective PR person today is different from what most classical people assume. They need to forever-adapt to the changing media landscape. It’s more about what the organization publishes on their platforms, rather than what the media puts out about them.
Read that one more time…
It seems counterintuitive, but if you’re going to see progress made at an organization over time, you need to build this mindset within your marketing/communications team.
Overall, this topic is not just about finding the right music PR person, but how an organization can effectively reach their audience and grow it.
Traditionally, “PR” might have been the problem and you needed “better press” to change the narrative or expand your reach, hence selling more tickets. I think this model is archaic now that traditional media has become a dinosaur—not by choice, but because of reality.
It’s better to embrace change and restructure how an organization communicates at-large. PR people and marketing/communications staff are all included. This is how you solve the issue of “better PR” in today’s digital-driven world.
Music PR person who is budget-conscious
PR is expensive by nature and depending on where you fall in the classical music spectrum, you might not know how much. It’s common for New York PR people to charge $30,000 or more per year to maintain clients’ public image.
Obviously, there are projects that are short-term and under one year. In that case, the price tag isn’t as shocking—think more like $6,000 - $10,000.
I’ve found so many people perceive PR as a luxury or as an optional service to their organization. As I described above, it needs to be a built-in strategy. It doesn’t matter if you hire “outside people” as contractors to supplement what is happening internally at an organization. It matters that the leadership treats marketing, communications, and PR as one system that influences development (fundraising) and ticket sales. Good PR is a good development strategy, but that’s a whole other topic!
Music PR person who you trust
PR is often intangible by nature. Yes, you can measure statistics from email open rates, social media reach/impressions, website click-through rates, and video views. However, how do you know this all “works”? How do you know you’re making the right move to spend money on something that’s hard to directly measure?
Trust. It’s the foundational human quality that is needed more than ever in business today. When you trust your music PR person to deliver, hold them accountable. But also, realize that their work is part of a larger organizational structure.
Music PR needs to be at the core of an organization presenting music—not an after-thought.
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