Should you hire a PR company? | 8 Signs it’s time to bring in the experts for your Music Marketing

BookingAnyone who is serious about their music career knows that it isn’t just about making good music. With over 35 million songs on Spotify competing against yours for streams and fans, the industry is fierce but there are many ways for you to get your music out there, but when is the right time to hire a team to do this for you?

Many artists don’t have the budget to hire a music PR team, so you can simply try to promote your own music, as long as you have the time, drive and creativity. Honestly, any artists can run a DIY PR campaign for their next release but often you do hit a wall, which music PR companies can help you overcome, so here’s our guide to help you decide whether hiring a music PR company is for you.

1.You have Given it a Go Yourself

Why would you pay for something that you haven’t tried to do yourself yet? I’ll tell you why, because you’re lazy! You pay for people to clean your car even though you can easily wash it, but you just don’t want to because it’s easy to pay someone else to do it. It’s similar with artists wanting to promote their music. Firstly, try your own DIY PR campaign, promoting your music on online platforms, radio and social media. Just read our blog post on how to do just that here –

Don’t give up on your first attempt though. Your first release and DIY PR campaign might fail but that’s okay, that’s only normal with anything you do first time! Many thought Elton John’s self-titled LP released in 1970 was his first release but actually Elton released ‘Empty Sky’ the summer before and it was a total flop so try again and learn from your mistakes.

2. You have Clearly Defined your Goals

If you’re planning your release strategy you need to have goals. You don’t know which blogs you really want your track to feature on? Then research! You don’t know which radio you’d love to hear your track being played on? Then research! As I’ve mentioned numerous times before in this blog, this does mean you need time and if you don’t have the time or effort for this, then hire an agency to do it for you but if you have the time, then work out your goals.

Setting goals can be difficult as you’re always going to think your own music deserves to be covered in every publication all over the world but be realistic. If you struggle working out targets, music publicists specialise in this as they have to do it daily. Music publicist set goals for their clients and campaigns daily, so will know what is right for your genre, style and which stage you’re at in your career.

Once you’ve set your goals, you also need a method of measuring them. You can measure your goals in whichever way you wish. Where do you want to see most success? This may be in social media followers, Spotify streams or pieces of confirmed coverage, but whichever way this is, make sure you measure it to reflect after the release.

If you’re measuring your success by social media followers, don’t be so harsh on yourself. Social media followers aren’t as big a deal as they used to be, especially on Facebook. With Facebook’s algorithm changing so drastically, your posts don’t even reach most of your audience, so perhaps reflect on social media interactions and shares instead of the actual likes/followers itself.

If you’re measuring success by Spotify streams, use the Spotify for Artists tool to follow where those streams are coming from. Fantastic you got 1,000 streams on Monday, but where did those streams come from? You want to be able to repeat a successful move, so work out where they’re coming from and replicate this.

3.You’ve Already Created a Buzz on your Own  

So you’ve run your own campaign and started to create a buzz, but now what? Often, PR companies will struggle to work with a completely blank canvas, so if you’ve already created a buzz and drummed up some excitement, you’ll find that outsourcing your music promotion now will be a lot more beneficial. Plus, you’ll probably get to a stage where you can’t do much more as you’re not a PR professional who has worked in the industry for years and you’ll probably lack those relationships that a music promotion team will have.

The Kooks website

Music writers, bloggers and producers are extremely busy and receive thousands of emails per day from new artists, so to capture their attention, they need to believe there’s a demand for you. If you feel that you have successfully captured an audience already by yourself, it may be time for you to outsource, to help you tell the story of how you’ve been able to generate so much of a buzz on your own.

In this digital age, most of your engagement with fans and the media will be online but this isn’t just online reviews, features and interviews. Make sure you’ve also started to create that buzz on your social media platforms, you’ve got a website and even started an email newsletter. A journalist will look into all of these things when considering if they want to feature you too.

4. You have the Budget

Music promotion companies charge for their services, but not every artist can afford this. Do not pay for a music promotion company if you cannot afford it. Don’t get a credit card or use Mum’s money, just wait until you have the budget to hire and feel comfortable with handing over that money.

A reputable publicist cannot guarantee anything but will work hard to craft your story and image to represent you to the media and accumulate press. A good PR is more than just hitting send on a mailing list.

5. You Feel this Project is ‘The One’ 

So you’ve just heard your final mixes back and they’re sounding amazing, but you’ve done these DIY music campaigns before and they’ve only come back with average results – time to outsource. If you’ve created something that you truly believe is ‘the one’ and could be the project that kick starts your whole music career, then it’s worth investing money in to and that money is best invested in a team who will be behind that release, promoting it to a wider audience and giving it the recognition it deserves.

Be critical. Make sure you’ve picked apart your release to a point where you’ve had it on repeat for hours and hours. You want to give your audience the best possible product, so make sure it’s at its highest quality production wise as well as representative of how you wish to come across as an artist in the long run.

6. You have the Time

Once you’ve hired a music promotion team this doesn’t mean you can just throw everything onto them and put your feet up. When hiring a music PR company, you need to be at their beckon call. If they secure an interview, get those answers back as quickly as possible. If they ask for social media content, collaborate with them. If they need a certain image, get it over to them as soon as you can. When you have followed all the tips above, plus you have the time, then you need to outsource a promotion team.

Remember that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes months to see results from a campaign, whether it be a publication running a review late or a radio station giving your track a spin weeks after the release. A PR campaign is for the long run and to create long term results, not immediate results that don’t translate into any form of success.

7. You’ve Found the Right Company for You

You’ve followed all the tips above and you think it’s the right time to hire a music promotion team, but which one do you pick? This can be a daunting experience as there are so many out there and more than a handful of horror stories too, but if you do your research and ask the important questions beforehand, you’ll find the right agency for you.

Make sure they give you feedback on your music, you want to know that they’ve listened, and they specialise in your genre. If you look at their previous clients and they’re all rock and you’re a singer-songwriter, the alarm bells should be ringing. They need to specialise in your genre and style to have the contacts there.

Ask for success stories. Case studies from previous campaigns will show you that they have the capability to run a strong campaign that could potentially be similar to yours.

Finally, push to find out why they want to work with you. A PR company’s roster represents them and their brand so ask, ‘why us?’ and it’ll soon become clear whether you’re just a way for them to make money or they actually believe in you as an artist.

8. The People are Coming to You

This final tip is for those who have really aced the DIY PR campaign and have already secured some fantastic coverage alone. You’ve built up your fan base over time and now you’re getting emails and calls for interviews, sessions and live reviews but you don’t know which ones will be the best use of your time. A music publicist not only secures press, but they manage it too. If you’ve got to a point where you’re in demand, a publicist will know which opportunities are right for you, guiding you through interviews and ensuring that your release is getting pushed into the right places. Of course, you may know how to do this yourself but really make sure you do as this can put your career in jeopardy, embarrassing your band and ruining any future releases. A music promotion team behind you can help you as an artist to take hold of every beneficial opportunity you’re given.

If you think you can do this yourself, great! Research every enquiry you get so that you know how it’ll benefit you as a band. You want your press to match your image and sound so if you’re a heavy metal band, best not do an interview with PopCrush! Have your goals constantly in your mind so that if something doesn’t fit within these targets or doesn’t seem to benefit them, think long and hard at whether it’s worth it.


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