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Episode 105

Should You Hire A Publicist? (with Colin Smith)


Session Notes

There comes a time in every musician’s career when you ask yourself: Should I hire a publicist?

A publicist can be an essential part of a musician’s team!  Here are some important things to consider when hiring a publicist:

1.  Affordability

Publicists come at all price points, and for many indie artists, the bigger agencies that charge thousands of dollars a month are simply out of reach.  Consider reaching out to a smaller, independent PR agency like Fresh Paint for a more affordable option.

2. Be a good communicator

Publicists are by nature communicators - they spend most of their time emailing and contacting others.  Make sure you are also a good communicator by staying in touch in a timely manner when working with your publicist or press requests.

3.  Remember: Publicity is for significant events

Publicity isn’t just for “getting your name out there” - you need a specific reason for the publicity.  Do you have a new album coming out, or an event on the horizon?  These are good reasons to hire a publicist.

4.  Timing is important

Publicists need time to arrange press coverage. If you are releasing a new album, Colin recommends reaching out to a publicist around the time you complete mastering, to give plenty of time to develop a press plan.

5. Get your ass(ets) in line

To get press coverage, publicists will share your assets.  Your job is to assemble and organize your assets, which include photos, bio, website, music files, etc.  This isn’t a time to be humble!  Present your accomplishments with pride.

6.  Understand the needs of the press

Music journalists and bloggers need things to write about!  They are constantly looking for new albums or events to share.  Consider if what you’re creating - whether it’s a new music video or an upcoming release show -  might be valuable to the press.

7. Ask for recommendations

Maybe you have some other musician friends, or musicians you admire, who are getting good press.  Reach out to these friends, or look on their website’s contact page, to see if they have contact information for their publicist.

8. Keep your expectations realistic

Sure, there are some bad-faith actors out there, but most publicists want to help you succeed. Your publicist will have a conversation with you about your goals, and what they reasonably think you can achieve together.

9. Your publicist isn’t your therapist

This may sound obvious, but being a musician is an emotional journey, with both successes and disappointments along the way.  Keep your publicist relationship professional, and talk to your support system - and tune into the Music Therapy podcast! - for mental health support as a musician.

10.  Tag your publicist!

Many musicians like to keep the fact they have a publicist quiet - it might feel more “organic” to share press coverage without mentioning your publicist.  But, you’re missing out on big promotion opportunities by leaving your publicist out of your posts!  Tag your publicist when you have something to share - they can share your achievements too, and it also elevates their visibility to other musicians.

Listen to this episode of  Music Therapy to learn even more about publicity, and what it can do for you! 



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