PR, Marketing, Newsletters, & Social Media
In today’s digital age, many young artists wonder about how to best go about marketing themselves – especially if they’re just starting their careers as musicians.
What do PR and marketing really mean?
PR, of course, stands for “public relations”. It isn’t just about working WITH the public; above all, it’s about the relationship between the public sphere (audience/media) and your business (the artistic project).
Shaping this relationship in an ideal manner requires us to address the fundamental questions of marketing:
- How do I position my artistic project within the market?
- Which market segments (musical genres / scenes) are relevant to my project?
- Where is my target audience, and through what media or distribution channels can they be reached?
There are a multitude of good online services that make it possible to reach one’s audience independently. And given a sufficient budget, PR agencies can also be hired on a project-by-project basis – for an album release, for instance, or for a tour.
Digital media vs. the traditional media structure – What makes sense?
Ideally, one should use as many media channels as possible. The advantage of digital media is that they’re easily accessed by producers and by consumers. And as far as posts on the Internet are concerned: a picture can definitely achieve more than a thousand words. Pictures should be eye-catching and contain clear content, with any text kept short and to the point. But even so, many campaigns disappear in the flood of posts – and it’s in such cases that classic media (print, radio, TV) can help.
In any event, it’s important to have a well-designed press kit that contains:
- (Credited) press photos in printable resolution
- Audio and visual materials (here, streaming links are better than giant files)
- (Well-formulated and easily shortened) texts for the press
As far as artwork and informational texts are concerned, be aware: facts may be important, but so is their visual appearance!
The press kit should (also) be available on one’s homepage for download by journalists and event organisers. And for press releases aimed specifically at journalists, labels, or agencies, it’s enough to just include a fact sheet with the most important information (brief biography, references, photo) plus links to one’s homepage and to audio examples.
Newsletters – Worth it?
On average, newsletters get read by around 40% of their subscribers, a share that no other medium can match. The best way to obtain newsletter subscribers is directly at concerts or via one’s own website.
But do remember: sending out mass mailings (E-mails to over 50 recipients) for direct advertising purposes is legal only if the recipients have explicitly agreed to their being sent. Furthermore, such messages must include a convenient option to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
- mica – Music Information Center Austria: www.musicaustria.at/praxiswissen/promotion-selbstvermarktung
- Austrian Music Council (ÖMR): www.oemr.at
This series of articles, an initiative of the U30 Network of the Austrian Music Council (ÖMR) in cooperation with mica and the mdw, aims to provide help to young artists as they launch their careers. You can find the entire series at: www.mdw.ac.at/mdwclub/diplom-in-der-tasche