Musicians, their managers or record companies hire public relations professionals to help generate buzz for their artists. Publicists are typically hired to help publicize a musician or band's new music releases, music video, tour or other special event. Before you begin working as a publicist for a band or solo act, familiarize yourself with the type of music they create, as well as their past press, reputations and musical career trajectories. This information helps you determine if you're a match for a musician, as well as how to pitch the artist to the media.
Schedule a meeting with the musician, record label, manager and all decision makers to determine the purpose of the public relations campaign they want to launch. During this meeting, find out if the artist is releasing a song or video, going on tour or publicizing a new sponsorship deal he acquired. Identify the project launch date so that you can create a timely plan for attracting publicity.
Identify the musician's target market. For example, a musician may hold a music showcase to attract the attention of potential labels or managers, do a college tour to increase awareness about the band or release a special-edition album to fans. As you consider target market, also think about the musician's musical genre and the characteristics of his fan base, such as where they go for music news.
Build a list of contacts based on your knowledge of the event or release and the target market you're trying to reach. You may use your personal contacts, as long as they're relevant, but you may also use Vocus and Cision media databases to build your list. For inexpensive ways to build a list, search blog directories, such as Technorati; social media directories; Help a Reporter Out, or HARO; and LinkedIn to identify which media professionals may have an interest in your client.
Prepare a press release that outlines the event or album launch, and provide the media with an overview that's interesting enough to make them contact you for additional information. Focus on making your press release newsworthy and engaging by including quotes from the musician and firm dates for the launch. If you want certain media to do album reviews or interviews, include that in your message when you send the official press release.
Update or create the musician's press kit, which should include a bio, discography, select pictures from photo shoots and performances, videos of the artist performing and clippings from previous media. Make the press kit digital, hosted on the musician's website, so that you may include a link to it on the website.
Distribute press releases to the media on your list of contacts via email or regular mail, depending on their preferences and the availability of their contact information. Modern media expects to receive targeted press releases and pitches via email.
Respond to any questions and interview or music requests you receive from the media. Keep track of any scheduled radio, television, magazine or online interviews the artist needs to participate in during the campaign. Accompany the artist to promotional events and interviews leading up to the launch of his event.
Track all media mentions during the campaign, including interviews, social media mentions and reviews. At the end of the campaign, submit this information to the artist and his management team so that they may gauge the success of the campaign.
2016 Salary Information for Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $58,020 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, public relations specialists earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,450, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $79,650, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 259,600 people were employed in the U.S. as public relations specialists.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Public Relations Specialist
- The Buzz; Nine Critical Things You Should Know About Music Publicity; Ariel Hyatt; January 2010
- "Christ Community Music" Magazine: Are You Ready to Hire a Publicist?; August 2011
- "Entrepreneur" Magazine; Developing a PR Plan; Rachel Meranus
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Public Relations Specialists
- Career Trend: Public Relations Specialists
Miranda Brookins is a marketing professional who has over seven years of experience in copywriting, direct-response and Web marketing, publications management and business communications. She has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Towson University and is working on a master's degree in publications design at University of Baltimore.