Part I in a series, Getting the Bang for your Publicity Buck
Listen. We publicists are an accommodating lot. We’ll try, we really will, to get you press, no matter what.
But there are ways you can wildly increase the chance that our efforts (which are really your efforts) will translate into media response. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about some of the most straightforward ways to maximize your publicity investment.
One of the main ways—and one of the aspects many artists, alas, flub—is timing. Seriously, you should never find yourself looking at a box of nice, new, shiny CDs (or a successful upload to an online retailer) and thinking, wow, wouldn’t it be nice to hire a publicist. Especially if you have a reasonable shot at making it into a national music magazine or onto a popular national radio show.
Here’s the best time to start reaching out to the media:
Long lead: Fashion and lifestyle magazines are a challenge for non-A listers to begin with. They often look for content way far in advance. We’re talking 6 months, on the short side. If you’ve missed that window, you may still have a chance at some online love from a major mag, but don’t get too fixated on print coverage.
Same thing goes for major TV shows; your chances plummet if you don’t plan very, very far in advance (and can make a show’s particular slot, not always an option for international touring artists). National TV can take as much as a year, sometimes.
Other outlets—music magazines, some freelancers with big-name outlets—should also be pitched very early in the process. Think 4-6 months for ideal results.
Short lead: This includes national papers (give them no less than 6 weeks), national radio (think 8 weeks), and tour-related press (alt weeklies, blogs, regional and local papers, etc). Ideally, you want to have your materials ready (and mailed, if you’re going to send out physical product) and raring to go 7-8 weeks before the first tour date or the album release.
In other words, if you want your album reviewed in a national music magazine, you need to be ready 6 months (at least) in advance. Even rough mixes and/or video can work, if you’re making appealing music or have a strong visual element. Then you need to bank on at least two months if you’re after some good coverage on tour or in national papers.
One month out? Your publicist may be biting her nails and praying for a miracle. Two weeks out? Good luck.
Dub MC is brought to you by rock paper scissors, inc., a global music publicity firm.
And yes, we will help you time things beautifully.