We all need advice at one time or another to learn and grow into the person we want to be. The same goes for musicians, advice from reputable people in the music industry will give you the tools you need to get yourself out there, get your music heard, and grow into the musician you want to be.
Are you attempting to decide if it’s time to hire a publicist? Not sure what you should have prepared? We have answers for you!
Ten Publicists have teamed up with Canadian Beats to make your life a little bit easier with these bits of advice.
My number one piece of advice beyond having great music that can compete in today’s market is GREAT PHOTOS! Often media outlets have a lot of tough decisions on what they will cover, and the decision may come down to who has the best or most compelling promo photos. Be prepared to provide your publicist with a minimum of five to seven great colour photos (a selection of both horizontal and vertical).
Side note: Always shoot promo photos in colour. Colour photos can always be turned into black & white but not the other way around!
Contact Hype Music:
I overuse two words, Stockpile, and Consistency. Artists are often releasing music in a never-ending cycle these days. There is also an expectation for a steady flow of social media posts.
To do this in real-time is madness. Having a stockpile of music and social media content keeps the pressure off. It’s also a safety net to make sure you’re able to stay active even when you don’t feel creative.
Listeners have expectations too, but the last thing you want to do is make music that you’re not excited about. Or to be engaging with your audience in a way that feels disingenuous.
80% of your content should be built before you launch, and 20% in real-time. That way, you’ll be able to react in the moment but also not worry about disappearing for long stretches.
Everyone is going to have their own comfort level, but a stockpile of content makes being consistent a whole lot easier.
Having a website with up-to-date information is so important. Many artists don’t have one these days and think it’s not needed, but I cannot stress how wrong that is. If a journalist, blogger, or curator wants to find out more about you, they will first google you, and having a website with everything that person might be looking for could be all that stands between you and getting press coverage.
Think of it as making things easy for the person who wants to give you coverage. Having a professional-looking website with a current bio, information on your music (including release info/discography), downloadable high-res press photos, links to your socials, etc., makes it that much more likely that they will cover you.
On the flip side, if they can’t find any information about you after about 2 or 3 link clicks, they probably won’t continue looking. And if you don’t have a website at the moment, make sure you have as much info as possible on all social platforms that allow it. For example, have a current bio and up-to-date info on places like Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube.
I advise folks to know what they want out of the experience before jumping in because I regularly get artists who want publicity but have no specific goals (outlets/mediums/focuses) for their own projects. Let me know what you need from me, and I’ll send it back!
Also, reach out early. I often get emails from folks looking for me to work on an album that releases in three weeks, whereas my calendar is usually booked solid at least three months in advance.
I would recommend having a well-written biography organized early. It is one of your key assets. No matter how good a writer you consider yourself to be, hire a professional who is experienced in writing bios. It is really difficult to write your own, and it will be money well spent.
Your biography is the framework for any interviews you do, and portions of it will be reproduced (hopefully) many times over in media outlets, so make sure that you are happy with what is included in it. If there is a part of it that makes you cringe on the first read…imagine having to read that line re-printed everywhere over the course of your album campaign!
Contact Take Aim Media:
Instagram Stories is a fun way for you as an artist to share short videos and images to a temporary “Story.” You can add stickers, time stamps, and doodles to each Story and apply certain filters and effects. That’s cool. But don’t forget about posts. Stories are designed solely to keep readers coming back daily and help the social media network sell ads, not you.
Your fanbase coming back is the offshoot of this. If all you’re doing are stories and your last post was three weeks ago, the media and industry who check on what you’re up to before deciding on if they’ll cover you, or add your song, might have the impression you’re not active on social media and move on.
Remember, if the product is free, you’re the one being sold. Use social media in YOUR best interests, not theirs.
An informative, well-written bio is important as another publicist pointed out but outside of a bio, getting talking points or specific interests from an artist is really helpful. We like to ask new clients to answer a questionnaire for us highlighting hobbies, interests, social causes they support…anything that isn’t typically found in an artist bio. Knowing this information helps us explore any unique or lifestyle angles outside of traditional music-related angles.
As an example, we have facilitated many interviews and coverage on major national sports outlets that we may not have pursued if we didn’t know the artist was a sports fan. One artist we work with (Sam Coffey) is a big Dungeons & Dragons fan and was able to take part in a print monthly column about artist hobbies.
If you are planning to work with a publicist/pitch a publicist, don’t approach them a month before your release date. The best campaigns are planned (and schedules are laid out) at least six months in advance, but I always encourage artists to think about a window that looks more like 12 months.
Even if you don’t have all your elements together yet, getting the release on the radar and in the calendar, working on the strategy collaboratively, identifying what pieces need to be built/created, and working on the storytelling component in conjunction with your publicist should begin well in advance of any release.
To grab the interest of the media outlets that your publicist will be contacting – and their readers – have some great quotes ready. Is there a story behind the song? What lyrics are important to you and why? Why is the song special to you?
This is your chance to connect with a new audience beyond just having a great song. Take advantage of the opportunity to differentiate yourself and introduce yourself to new listeners.
I receive thousands of emails about music from bands/labels/PR people for my show. It still astonishes me how some of these emails are convoluted, and it is difficult to find a link to listen to the music!
Somewhere near the top of the email, you should have a link to listen and a separate link to download the song/album you’re plugging. Always presume the person opening your email is extremely busy.
Contact Raison d’être Media:
Most of these also apply if you are contacting media to get coverage of your music. Give the person you want to help YOU get your music out all the information they may need. Don’t make them work for it. They are doing the same thing for many other people, and chances are, they won’t cover you if it adds to their already hectic workload.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.