Hiring a music public relations company to promote your project is a positive step, but you still need to be proactive, both before and after writing the check. It's not enough to sit back and wait to become famous. There are no guarantees that even the best PR campaign will be successful, but multiple actions you take or fail to take can help—or hurt—your campaign.
Start out by researching available firms and asking the right questions. What other artists do they work for? What are their success stories? How do they prefer to communicate? To get more bang for your buck once you've decided on a firm, keep several tips in mind.
Provide Needed Materials
Give the PR firm exactly what they ask for. A request for 50 promotional CDs out of their jewel cases should result in exactly that. Providing 100 copies in jewel cases with full liner notes because you thought it would be better just creates more work for the representatives handling your campaign. They request the things they need for a reason, so it's best to defer to their expertise. That is why you're paying them.
If your PR form asks for new photos, for you to update your site, or anything else, the sooner you do it, the faster they can get to work.
Booked a new show? Tell your PR company. Decide to release a single? Tell your PR company. Got your friend at the local paper to write a review? Tell your PR company. Don't expect representatives from your PR firm to keep up with your news via your website, newsletter, social networking platform, or anything else. No matter how much they like your music, you can't communicate with them like they are your fans. They need to be the first to know when something happens so they can use it to promote your music and so they aren't confused when a journalist informs them about some news they weren't aware of.
Staying Out of the Way
If you have a personal relationship with someone in the news media and you think an email from you would be better than an email from your PR company, then tell your PR company that you will cover that person so they don't. Otherwise, don't try to jump in the mix, follow-up with people that your PR company has approached about your project, or anything else. Let the firm you've hired take the lead on sending press releases and making other contacts.
You're paying your PR firm to do a job. You need to stay out of the way and let them do it. Trust that they are the experts with the best contacts and proven strategies that work.
Journalists get tons of emails and calls daily from people looking for coverage or reviews. It doesn't help to double up. An email from you when your PR company already has reached out will almost always be confusing, annoying, and detrimental to your chances of getting the coverage you want. At best, you'll put the journalist and the PR company in an awkward position. At worst, you'll annoy someone so much you'll help them decide once and for all to not write about you.
Nothing is worse for a PR company than to set up an interview for one of their clients and then to get a call from the writer that no one answered the phone or answered the email questions or showed up for the interview. You may not get another chance, so if you tell your PR company you can available at a certain time, do it.
Be flexible. If the PR company is expected to book interviews or any other appearances, be as accommodating with your time as you can.
It's OK to have certain times that are off-limits or to have other commitments but communicate about your schedule with the representatives from your PR firm so they know when they can book you with confidence.
Be Patient and Realistic
PR campaigns can move slowly, and some may end up not moving at all. Brainstorming about new approaches with your PR company is a good thing. However, remember to be patient and realistic about how your campaign is coming along. Any number of factors, including the time of year of the campaign, the other releases or artists you're competing with, how early you started your campaign, and whether or not this is your first big PR push can affect the success and speed of success of your campaign. You'll have a much smoother relationship with your PR company if you work with them to develop a plan to try to tackle your obstacles instead of expecting them to magically make your obstacles disappear.