PR is something I knew very little about up until I had to start doing it myself when I started to release music. The only other experience I had of PR was way back in 2004 when a song I wrote was a runner up in an Irish series called ‘You’re A Star’. The song got involved in a little bit of controversy over the level of production put into the song. Word was put out at the time that Brian McFadden, who was the writer of the other song had received a much bigger studio production than mine and as a result meant that it wasn’t fair on the contestants, the songwriters or the voting public. I was advised to get a PR company involved so that I knew how to handle the situation if asked about my thoughts and views on it. I was so naive, and wasn’t completely sure what really was going on behind the scenes. I was also naive to the HUGE amount of money that PR was going to cost me and boy did it cost me. Not hundreds, THOUSANDS!!! Whilst having my name broadcast to a million people over a couple of nights was a huge achievement for me, the experience left me broke as I made very little money from the song and single release! So not only did my song lose the competition, I lost a lot of money!! An eye-opening experience for sure.
When it came to releasing my own music, 7 years later I decided that I could give the PR side of it a go myself. A very risky move I know but there was no budget there for PR so I had to bank on myself. The result were better than I had hoped for or imagined. I managed to secure a national TV and radio appearance from one particular press release and reached a radio audience of around 400,000 people without spending a penny!!
The downside is that PR really is a ‘luck of the draw’ kind of thing and something that is relevant today might be completely irrelevant tomorrow.
I believe that for PR to work really well, you need someone in that role who is as good at spotting an opportunity as they are at writing and presenting the press release. For example, the horse-meat issue is huge at the moment. When that story broke, that became a priority in the news and any ‘horse’ related items would have been swallowed up 🙂 by the media for those couple of days. It’s all about timing and finding an angle about your event or your release that is going to have an appeal about it right at that moment in time. It is however a pain in the backside too if you are doing it by yourself. Obviously it takes a lot of time to get the release ready and then get it out. You also need to be in a position to stop whatever you are doing right at any particular moment and jump on the PR bandwagon whilst the story or your angle is still hot!!
By the way, these thoughts and blog posts are just my opinions. I don’t claim to have the right answers but I can tell you about my experiences and perhaps there is something in there you will find interesting or useful! Till next time!