Rap Rehab, asked super publicist Nancy Byron, why a music artist should hire a publicist?

By Nancy Byron

I was asked to explain why a music artist would need a publicist, and that’s a good question, but first I want to explain what a publicist is for those that don’t know (and there are plenty.) A publicist is a trained professional in media relations and branding who will be your liaison with journalists, editors and producers. Lately, that heading has also evolved to include social media expert due to the emergence of so many blogs and websites that have replaced many print publications and the fact that so many of them live on Facebook, Twitter etc.

A publicist is the person you entrust to reach out to media and social media outlets on behalf of your brand to secure content postings and interviews in order that you may gain exposure for yourself and your project. They are an ambassador of you and the teller of your story to newspapers, magazines, television producers, radio shows, websites and bloggers. Ideally, this person has spent years cultivating contacts and relationships with journalists and bloggers and is able to professionally present your project before the outlets that are apropos to your brand and convince those outlets that you are worthy of the limited editorial real estate available. This is what makes a publicist so valuable; their relationships and the ability to know which outlets will be most receptive to your project and story.

The next logical question then would be, when do you need to bring a publicist on board? The answer would be ‘when you have a story to tell.’ Most media outlets survive by selling advertising and this means they have to sell either newspapers or magazines, or the ratings of their show or site must be worthy of advertisers’ money. This means that all content must be be of a quality that maintains their brand with their audience, or their numbers fall and it becomes difficult to sell ads. With that in mind, your story has to be something of interest to their audience that will keep them coming back for more. It cannot simply be that you are an up-and-coming artist with a music project of some kind dropping. The world is chock full of those. Be sure that you have done your groundwork and built a healthy buzz for your brand, starting in your own region and working out. If the folk in your own neck don’t give a damn, you can’t expect people in other regions to care. Expect to start slowly and build as your buzz and story build. It is important to keep your expectations realistic to the level that you are on in your journey. Be wary of publicists that over-promise to get your check. Do your research and find someone with a proven track record for your type of brand and the level that you are on.

When deciding on whether or not you need a publicist, ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly; have I built a decent buzz in my town/city/state? Am I a draw for shows in my area? Are my mixtapes/EP’s moving respectable numbers? Do I get support of any kind from local radio? What is it about me and my brand that stands out above the rest of the striving artists trying to get on? What am I doing or have I done to make me different?
Remember, a professional costs money, so be sure your money is well spent and gets you the results you seek.

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