So, you have decided to hire a music PR company to promote your project. You've written the check - now all you have to do is sit back and become famous, right?
Er, not so much. In addition to the obvious fact that there are absolutely, positively no guarantees that even the best PR campaign will be successful, there are many things you can do to help - and hurt - the progress of said campaign. To get more bang for your PR buck and help your music PR company out, keep the following in mind:
Make Sure Your PR Company Has The Materials They Need - If they ask you for 50 promo CDs out of their jewel cases, don't say, "here's 100 copies of my album with full liner notes in a colored jewel - I thought that would be better" or "no one listens to CDs anymore! Here's an MP3." Your PR company request the things they requests for a reason, so it's best to defer to their expertise - that is why you're paying them after all. Likewise, if they ask for new photos, for you to update your site or anything else, the sooner you do it, the sooner they can get to work.
Keep Them Updated - Booked a new show? Tell your PR company. Decide to release a single? Tell your PR company. Get your friend at the local paper to write a review? Tell your PR company. Don't expect them to keep up with your news via your website, newsletter, social networking platform or anything else. No matter how much they like your music, you can't communicate with them like they are your fans. They need to be the first to know when something happens, both so they can use it to promote your music and so they don't sound like morons when a journalist informs them about some news about your project that they found out elsewhere.
Let Them Do Their Jobs - If you have a personal relationship with a journalist/blogger/other media person, and you think that an email from you would be better than an email from your PR company, then tell your PR company that you will cover that person so they don't. Otherwise, don't try to jump in the mix, follow-up with people that your PR company has approached about your project or anything else. Journalists get TONS of emails and calls daily from people looking for coverage/reviews. It doesn't help to double up. An email from you when your PR company has already reached out will almost always be confusing, be annoying and actually hurt your chances of getting the coverage you want. It may seem like a call from you would encourage someone to give you that coverage, but really, no one - not your PR company and not you - can MAKE someone write about your project. Instead, at best, you'll be putting the journalist and the PR company in an awkward position. At worst, you'll annoy someone so much that you'll help them decide once and for all NOT to write about you.
Be Available - Nothing is worse for a PR company than to set up an interview for one of their clients and then to get a call from the writer that no one answered the phone/answered the email questions/showed up for the interview. You may not get another chance, so if you tell your PR company you can available at a certain time, do it.
Be Patient and Realistic - PR campaigns can move slowly, and some may end up not moving at all. Brainstorming about new approaches with your PR company is a good thing. However, remember to be patient and realistic about how your campaign is coming along. Any number of factors, including the time of year of the campaign, the other releases you're competing for coverage with, how early you started your campaign and whether or not this is your first big PR push, can affect the success and speed of success of your campaign. You'll have a much smoother relationship with your PR company if you work with them to develop a plan to try to tackle your obstacles instead of expecting them to magically make your obstacles disappear.
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