PR in Gospel Music By Phyllis Caddell-M
Music professionals recognize that a well-conceived, well-executed publicity plan is a valuable and integral part of an artist’s career schematic.
Publicity and recognition are vital for a number of reasons, not least of which is the state of competition in the music industry. It exists in every aspect of the business: the competition is stiff for radio air time, TV slots, and the public’s purchase dollar for concert tickets and recorded music.
A well-rounded publicity approach can be tremendous in cutting a path through competition. Exposure in the print and electronic (TV) media, for example, can favorably position the artist and thus enhance product sales. Similar publicity can also boost the volume of business at a recording studio or provide information that may incline an artist to sign with a particular label.
Recognition is a key element. Consumers who have only been exposed to the music of a new artist via radio, for example, are normally not that eager to go out and buy the CD. But if the same consumer has also read about the artist in their local newspaper or national magazine, they are often much more prone to make that all-important purchase decision.
Building up a “psychological imprint” of recognition and familiarity is imperative in developing a new artist. It’s also essential to the longevity of an established artist's career. Similarly, public perception that is enhanced by media exposure can help define a “great” record label or an “in” studio - separating them from the pack.
The viewpoint and insight provided by feature articles in newspapers, magazines, and TV talk show appearances play a crucial role in other ways. Information about an artist’s musical, social, spiritual, and political outlook can be of immense interest to a fan or consumer and again can lead to a buying decision.
Media exposure can also be valuable for non-performing and corporate clients. Recording artists cannot be expected to have an interest in a particular producer or songwriter unless they’ve read about the person in some way. So publicity in trade and technical publications as well as entertainment publications offers a vehicle through which people on the production side can reach their market.
To generate a significant amount of good publicity a well-crafted press release distributed to a media list will rarely be enough. That is only part of the process. Just as the salesperson cultivates a territory, for PR the environment is studied and preconditioned, the approach carefully developed. And like sales, you have to tell the consumer what you’re going to tell them, tell them what you want them to hear, and tell them what you just told them.
A message to be received under the best of all circumstances must be presented to an audience ready and willing to hear it, well stated and with enough consistency and follow-through to make certain that its impact and effects register.
In order for your publicity efforts to be consistently effective you must have the eye, ear, goodwill, and current phone numbers of media outlets.
In addition, integrity and ethics play are a major factor. No matter how bad you want to be on the cover or the featured story in a publication, never fabricate the truth or manipulate a situation to where it could be interpreted as a bribe. Ethics and integrity are rarely assumed, and the nature of the media is to be wary of those who ask for coverage. Getting around this is simple but it comes with time. Your job is made significantly easier when your ethics and integrity are beyond condemnation. This status comes from you having created relationships with the media and from building a reputation.
Information is an essential PR tool. You cannot effectively disseminate and manage information if you do not have the right information. Before embarking on an effort to publicize, you must know where and how you fit into an overall plan; what, if anything, else is being presented relative to the same subject (advertising, direct mail, promotional literature); and what, if anything, has been or is being done within your genre that might affect your publicity efforts.
Bottom line - exposure through publicity leads to increased business and revenue.
Phyllis Caddell is CEO of Pc Public Relations & Management, Inc. launched in 1995. She is the author of “Do-It-Yourself Publicity: For Those Too Cheap Or Too Broke To Hire A Publicist,” and the DIY Publicity Newsletter. For more information go to www.phylliscaddell.com
My colleague and friend. Buy her book. It's a blessing! Pam Perry