You have to trust that the PR company will do their job, or don’t choose to work with them in the first place. Trust - I think - is the most important commodity in business, particularly so in PR as we’re always trying to reach that ‘trusted advisor’ level with a client. It is on the same level as reputation when it comes to working with clients - it takes a long time to build, but just like reputation it can be destroyed overnight; there is some degree of vulnerability involved.
But how do you know if you can trust your PR company? Well as Ernest Hemingway once said “the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”
Josip Pešut (Through Infinity) Michael Eastwood & Mel Gaynor (RISK & Ex Simple Minds drummer, working at Mastermind HQ
2. Good PR is an investment, there are no cutting corners to excellence
Yes, professional high quality PR is a paid-for service that requires a team of people to work and ensure the best results for every project. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for, whether it is in quality of material, expertise or time. If there was one thing i’d advise someone who is looking for a world class PR company, it would be not to push their price down. A top professional company such as Mastermind wouldn't take on, let alone value a project it didn’t think was realistic and worth it’s time. Reputation is more important to us than a one off fee and we'd rather not take the work if we didn’t feel like we can spend the proposed attention on it.
But how much does PR cost? Well that depends on what you want to get out of it.
The cost of PR varies depending on the size and scale of your project, and how much involvement you want the PR company to have.
Michael Eastwood talking at music industry conference 'Springboard' in Huston
3. Branding starts before you know it
All good PR campaigns tell a story, and that story is portrayed through your brand. It helps people invest in the product emotionally as well as financially. A brand image isn’t created immediately. It takes time, work, and investment to gain awareness from the public. As soon as you upload your first press photo, make your first social media post, upload a website or display your logo / cover art. Your branding is already in development, if you are not aware of your over all picture, make sure a good PR company is. They are here to help.
Having personality in your product is a must. Ultimately it helps drive sales when people can relate to your product. When we apply this to a music brand, it’s the steps you take to relate yourself to the interests of your target audience. You won’t find Metallica endorsing a hair product, despite their long luscious locks, because it doesn’t lend itself to their brand image or their target audience of moshing metalheads.
4. Keep a record of your history
It is important to supply to your PR company information about all previous press for a number of reasons. It helps a good PR firm understand your current audience - what level you are at - and how they can raise the bar. This can aid in the success of targeting future publications, upscaling previous press. It also gives us a benchmark when it comes to writing progress reports, to measure the success of the PR campaign.
These are called the ‘Big Ticket Selling Points’. Previous achievements help convince press that your brand is at least moving forward and aiming with ambition. No press will want to promote an artist thats not progressing in their career.
Prepare all information for exposure
All good PR tells a story. A background of the brands history, and information on where its ideas have been drawn from, all helps to paint the picture and create an image for the brand. All of this sort of information can give us a good insight into what sort of press we should be contacting.
5. Believe in yourself
Ask yourself, where do you see yourself in 5 years? Write it down, visualise it.
A good PR firm are there to help you raise the bar. One of the main questions we ask is where you see yourself in 5 years, is because you need to believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect your PR company to? And if your PR company doesn’t, how do you expect them to portray this to your target audience or the media?
Although don’t expect your music to become an international sensation after just one month, or one release; make your goals realistic. Using Mumford and Sons as an example, they spent nearly 3 years working as a band before they were signed to Island Records and became international stars. I’m not saying every artist will become famous in 3 years, but that it takes time to accomplish goals.
We will write progress reports that will accurately analyse what we have accomplished, but it starts with an idea in your head and expanded upon by your PR company. This is important to establish at the beginning of a campaign with your PR company what you want to accomplish so that the terms of success are agreed upon and we share the same visualisation of your long term objectives. The sky isn’t the limit.
6. Social Media is not an option.
If you haven’t already make sure you have a Facebook fan page and Twitter covered as a minimum for the brand. As it stands for music artists, this is where your main fan base lies. Although this isn’t set in stone; other artists have made careers solely out of using other networks - however this is rare. It’s better to focus your energy of getting two platforms right than spreading across every network you can think of.
You might think that Google+ isn’t worth the effort as it’s smaller than other social media sites right now, think again. Google+ has 300 million active monthly users. But not only that, if you use Google+ for regular posts, it improves your ranking when people search for you in google search. Google+ is actually very powerful and you’ll be missing a trick if you don’t use it.
Finally, should you outsource social media, or do it yourself?
DIY Social Media Outsourced Social Media
- You can grow on your own. You know your product because you made it, and you know your current audience.
- You control the quality
- Saves money
- How do you know if your social media is performing as well as it can be?
- Your social media might not be bringing in new business.
- How do you measure and compare the analytics in social media
Outsourced Social Media
- Immediate presence on social media
- Less work - Managing social media is a very linear job. If you get someone to manage it, you have more time to work on creative content.
- Content could suffer unless someone inside the business collaborates with the provider.
- Nobody watches your brand the way you do, no matter what the salespeople tell you.
7. Website up to date?
Please tell me you actually have a website. Everyone knows social media is an important tool to use to contact your fans. You might think that the majority of your fans solely use social media, when in fact your website provides so many good uses.
Primarily, is a hub for your fans to go to in order to find all the information they need regarding you and your brand. It directs people to your presence across all social media, which links up your fans across the platforms (for example, some of your facebook followers might not be following you on twitter; vice versa). It is also a place where you can provide information on upcoming releases and tours etc.
Most importantly, directing people to your website improves your ranking when people search for you in Google. This will increase your chances of new fans finding you on Google, which is what most people use to search for an artist/brand.
8. Understand that you have target audience
As PR Professionals, it is our job to Understand your target audience and even think of ways of expanding it. Although it is useful for you at all times to understand your own target audience. Top PR companies will always have methods to discover your current audience, and will give you advice about your target demographics. Your prior knowledge will be useful in liaisons with the agency, so you can both work as a team to effectively reach the right people.
There are tools built in to your social media - that are completely free - designed to you help you understand your target audience better:
- Twitter Analytics
- Facebook Insights - Just click the Insights tab on your profile.
- Google + Insights - On the dashboard of your business page.
- Google Analytics - Provides insights on your website
9. ‘Social Proof’ yourself
Like a flock of sheep, people follow the crowd. As a building brand you must understand the importance of social proof. There's a number of ways to achieve this. One tip is giving memorable quotes regarding your brand from people of influence, its what’s called a ‘big ticket selling point’. It helps define the brand, and gives it something unique that press can draw to when the press release is published. Not only does it help draw press to your brand, it also draws in fans through the means of ‘Social Proof’.
Social Proof is where someone, or a group of people, have already invested into your brand in some way, and rated it highly. This gives new fans that have never heard of you before a foundation of trust in your product - because someone they know or heard of has already used it.
Another article will be forthcoming that goes into this subject further.
10. Have an idea of what you may actually want to promote. Be open for suggestions.
This might seem like an obvious one, but we do get phone calls from people wanting to gain exposure, without having any content to gain exposure from. Make sure you have something yet to be released, or upcoming, so we can draw media attention to it.
If you don’t have all of these things ready and want to prepare for PR, we can help. Mastermind Promotion doesn’t just do music promotion, we also offer a 360 degree service to get your brand ready for exposure. Whether it’s a music video, tour management, or a complete reimagining of the brand, we can source services to make your brand look professional in preparation for PR.
For a full comprehensive look at what you need to prepare your brand for PR, check out Mastermind Promotion brand new E-Book 'Get Seen, Get Heard (The Right Way).