Let’s pull the dark mask off this old wives tale once and for all. Or at least give it a try.
Most people think of investing in PR as a short term, quick payoff to a long term goal.
What’s the long term goal? Name recognition.
How do you achieve that? There are a number of ways this happens and each is as different as the artists themselves. There are some who just rise to the top like cream. The path for others is sometimes a little longer….but with persistent effort, everyone arrives at their chosen destination.
Being fearless in the pursuit for widespread name recognition takes guts. It takes money. It takes absolute focus on the goal over a long period of time. Household names don’t invent themselves, they are created with the help of many people who believe in the person behind the name.
My experience is PR is scary because the results are a true reflection of an artist’s work in the eyes of those whose job it is to build name recognition. If the artist didn’t hit the mark hard enough or loud enough that everyone can hear it, that’s when things start getting scary. To figuratively add insult to injury, the artist needs to pay publicists and marketing people to solicit and collect the opinions. Sometimes there are few opinions….mostly silence, which means the project didn’t resonate loud enough to warrant a reply.
The best analogy I can think of is much like if you need to hire an attorney to handle various affairs in your life. That can be scary depending on the circumstances. Attorneys don’t work for free, and there is absolutely no guarantee what you want to happen will actually occur. Your unique circumstances make your case one of a kind and often there is no silver bullet that will make things turn out exactly like you wish.
You take a case to an attorney full of details you were involved in creating. Right or wrong, the attorney amasses the details to present your case.
With music you take a new project to a marketing person or publicist full of details you created. The marketing people are responsible for amassing and presenting the information to a more benevolent, yet no less demanding jury for their opinion.
In either situation, what you created is going to be tested on a public platform.
To take this one step further… and I hope you see the humor here…if someone needs an attorney often, they are building name recognition in the court system. If you’re a recording/performing artist and need a publicist often, you are building name recognition within a wide ranging system that will begin to recognize what you stand for. These gatekeepers, judges, and juries need to know your name. They need to see it often, hopefully with new work and a measure of growth in your art they’ll want to talk about until the next time around.