As the owner of public relations company Muddy Paw PR, I all too often have bands come to me weeks after their album release or months before they have anything going on. It’s a constant case of being a day late and a dollar short, and it begs the question: when is it the right time to consider hiring a publicist?
The short answer is: when you have something new to promote. Be it a new album, a music video, a single, a really cool cover series idea… you have to have something to promote – besides your awesome selves.
From there, figuring out the timing is key. Most PR agencies require a start date of somewhere around two months prior to an album’s drop date, so it’s best to get in touch at least three months ahead of your release. The reason we need this lead time is to secure track premieres and get your music to blogs before it becomes available to the general public. Because, as unfortunate as it is, once it’s made public the interest level of blogs tends to drop. Remember: they get hundreds of new releases a week, so they have to focus on what’s coming up more than what’s already happened. With a new single or music video, a few weeks’ lead time is often enough to secure a premiere.
The other important thing to consider when looking into PR is budget. Prices will vary widely, but expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $600 per month for a campaign with a small- to medium-sized agency. If you have a heftier budget, there are larger companies out there that charge upwards of $1,000 a month. This is not a case of “you get what you pay for.” While it’s true that larger agencies might have connections with higher profile outlets, that doesn’t mean your band is going to get into them. Take your time and find an agency whose publicists and message you vibe well with, whose artists you can see yourself listening to, and who you get a good feeling from. Don’t choose an agency based solely on price or just because they placed a band you like in a blog you read. It’s so much more than that.
And remember: it’s crucial that, when you begin recording your album or video, you factor PR into your budget. Otherwise, you’re going to spend a lot of time creating something that not a lot of people are going to end up hearing. And we definitely don’t want that!