While bands or artists may be inclined to jump ahead to hiring a PR company in hopes of having their career made, they are often disappointed by the results. Here we look at ten essential questions to ask yourself before making the decision to have a PR agency take you on.
Guest post by Maddy Raven of music PR firm Burstimo
“Our last music PR company didn’t seem to get any results” is what we hear from most our new clients. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on something that doesn’t get results so don’t! Do your research, ask questions and make sure you’re in the right hands. A PR campaign is an expensive investment, just like buying a car, but you’d never purchase a car without asking a few questions and knowing every detail about it first, so why would you not with a PR campaign?
We’ve created a list of questions that every band, manager or label should be asking a music publicist prior to hiring them so the promotion of their next release is as successful as possible.
How many clients do you currently have on your roster?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask a PR firm as it will determine how much time the team will spend on your project. If the company has a small team but many clients, this is usually a warning sign that the company are more focused on their love of money than their love of music, outlining their lack of passion and honesty.
How big is your team?
If you’re hiring a PR company this should be more than one person, especially if they’re advertising multiple services e.g. radio plugging, TV promotion. Once you’ve found out how many people are on their roster, you should learn more about the team and who does what. You can work out how many artists they work with per publicist, seeing if your campaign will be work on thoroughly, rather than pushed to the side.
Who are your previous clients?
If it’s your first time working with a publicist, don’t be afraid to ask who their previous clients are and look into what level those artists may be at. Usually, strong music PR companies will have testimonials on their website or Google reviews. They may drop in some big names but ask for artists that are at a similar level or style to you so you can see what to expect from working with that agency.
What music do you specialise in?
Part of having a successful music PR company is making sure they get you as an artist and are a true fan of your material. The key to finding your dream team is to make sure they specialise in your genre and style, working with bands similar to you. If a company states they work with ‘all genres’, this really means they work with anyone that has money!
What are your recent success stories?
Although a publicist’s past success stories may not be relevant in your campaign, knowing what the publicist is capable of shows where they have their contacts, meaning you could be their next success story!
What are a few examples of outlets you think would be fitting for my band?
You want to make sure the publicist is an honest music lover that has a passion for your band so test the waters, get their thoughts on your music and where it could be fitting. If you’re an acoustic singer-songwriter and they suggest Kerrang, it’s fair to say they haven’t listened to your music so get specifics and make sure they get you as an artist.
How often do you send reports?
Reports give the client the facts and figures on how a campaign is going, it’s pretty difficult for an agency to hide the truth if they’re sending them. Get details on how their report system works and how often you’re sent them, there are so many unknowns when it comes to media that your PR team should be entirely transparent with how everything is going.
How much do you cost?
The most expensive publicists aren’t always the best. Ask their costs early on into your conversation so nobodies time is wasted. Get a breakdown of all their costs so you can pick apart what you feel is right for you, rather than paying more for a full package that isn’t essential for your release. Also ask about their payment scheme so you’re not surprised by a random invoice once the campaign has begun.
What can your agency do that others can’t?
At the end of the day all music publicists are going to say they’ll gain you publicity but how will they do it more successfully than others? PR is never guaranteed but a good PR company will be creative, passionate and think outside of the box to gain you promotion in areas you’d never even think of. What services do they offer that others don’t? How can they guarantee your music will get seen by major journalists, producers and music supervisors?
Why do you want to work with us?
Although you’re paying for their services, the company should want to work with you as much as you want to work with them. A PR company’s roster represents them and their brand so ask them ‘why us?’.
Ultimately, you are the client paying for a product so make sure you have all the answers you need. Listen to what the publicist has to say and ask as many questions as you feel necessary. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and trust the company you end up working.