Music PR Campaign Didn't Work? Here Are 5 Publicist-Approved Moves to Try Next

Posted by Amy Sciarretto on Jun 1, 2016 06:00 AM
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So, you launched a PR campaign for your latest release. It didn't work – or it didn't yield the results that you were hoping for. You didn't get a ton of press hits or you didn't get any cool, hip, or positive coverage. It's done. It's in the rearview mirror. Now's the time to refocus your energies and think about what you need to do next based on your budget and where you are in your career. Here are five things to try if you had a failed campaign.

1. Change teams

Maybe your publicist wasn't the right fit or the PR agent didn't "get" you, your music, or your message. Maybe an infusion of fresh blood or someone a little more understanding of what you're about will work better next time around.

It's also worth mentioning that you could have had a publicist who hit it hard and worked his or her tail off pitching and trying to get you some coverage, but the media just didn't respond. That happens a lot, so you need to consider that as well. 

[How to Measure if Your PR Campaign Was Successful]

2. Change the pitch angle

Maybe it was the right PR person but not the right angle. And no, I don't mean 90 degrees, either. For example, perhaps you went too hard on lifestyle or non-music pitches. Maybe you need to go back to basics and do straight-up music PR. A narrower, laser-like focus might serve you better next time around.

3. Super-serve your media friends

Rather than go out and try to find brand-new outlets, or rehash the ones that passed, or try to force a press hit with an outlet that didn't jump on your music, how about super-serving the media outlets that did support you? Focus on those supporters, even if they are smaller fish in the big media pond or aren't super "sexy," and give them more!

Be readily accessible and available. Give them premiere content. Create content for them. Do an exclusive interview. Something, anything, for someone who has your back.

[Why Small Media Outlets Will Do More for Your Music Career Than Big Ones]

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4. Rethink your goals

If you were expecting huge sales, then you had the wrong expectations from the get-go. Press is not a sales driver; it's just one of many marketing tools that are utilized in the selling of records. You need to consider that press is a building block that will create a lasting impression and a recognizable profile.

Think about creating a specific image, one that you won't look back and regret, and then foster and nurture that in everything you do moving forward. But be prepared to commit to the imaging you select.

5. Take a break

Yes, being in the media's face consistently keeps you relevant and remembered. But sometimes going away gives the media a reason to miss you, or a reason to forget why they missed the boat on you.

You can come back with new material and your PR rep can craft a new, refreshed pitch angle based on what happens in the interim, and can work to corral coverage that did not come last time. It may be as basic as a big media outlet being on the fence and waiting to see growth and development.

So give them time to embrace you as you grow. Do not fault anyone for not boarding the train before it left the station.

And remember, even if a PR campaign didn't "work" in your eyes (which can be very subjective), you need to consider it a learning process and an experience.


Next up: 7 Reasons Why Your PR Campaign Didn't Work


Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to to Revolver to Bustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.

Topics: ask a publicist, PR, Music Business 101


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