Consider It Handled: When to Hire a Publicist

by Cree Armstead & Darriell Butler

Olivia Pope, a.k.a America’s favorite fixer, dodged more fictional bullets and disasters than anyone in the game. While we here at The Sound Machine hope that you’ll never have an OPA-sized problem, you can still benefit from a PR team going on the front lines and handling your business. Today we will share ways to know if you need a publicist and what to expect when you hire one.

1. Your Phone is Ringing Let’s keep it real-brand new artists with very little content or following are not going to benefit much from a publicist. Publicists help manage the relationship you have already begun to form with the public, rather than create it for you. Say you’ve established a following and now your phone is ringing for interviews. Do you know what to say? How do you decide which gigs are valuable to your brand and which ones might be detrimental? An experienced publicist will go through these opportunities with a fine tooth comb. They will help polish your image and prep you for press releases, live interviews and other important events. They will also be speaking on your behalf often, so make sure you’re represented well. Look for someone who is articulate, organized, works well under pressure and knows how to read and rule the room. Basically all of Olivia’s best qualities, no white hat necessary.


2. You Need to Elevate Your Brand  Okay, so you have a look to serve and something to say. How do you ensure the world will listen? When it comes to elevating your brand, marketing is half the battle, and it takes more than a good IG aesthetic and uploading your songs to Soundcloud to do it. And while we all have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé, Queen Bey has a PR team to manage much of that essential marketing time for her. Once you have an established product, a publicist will be tasked with creating a solid marketing plan to make sure your music reaches your target audience and your image is understood. Publicists are essentially the ringleaders of your marketing strategy. They are critical to refining your brand. Rihanna is Bad Girl Riri and it’s more than just a handle. Her PR team has helped craft her image as a free spirited musician who don’t give no f*cks, and we love her for it. Publicists will use their knowledge of PR to help you realize the full potential of your brand and market it successfully.

3. You Need Better Connections  They say if you’re the biggest fish in your pond, move to a bigger pond. If you’ve done a good job networking, you’ve already built up a solid circle and have likely exhausted your resources at that level. That means it’s time to get like Ciara and level up. A legitimate publicist will have an extensive network of valuable contacts-we’re talking film and TV music supervisors, your favorite rapper’s manager, the higher-ups that you wouldn’t be able or don’t know how to gain access to yourself. While social media makes connecting much easier, personal relationships with industry contacts are priceless, and a good PR team should absolutely have many to offer. Your publicist should push you out of your comfort zone so you can grow. Expect to be sent to different events and placed in front of cameras. Fortunately, if he/she is doing their job, you will be prepared to slay these new opportunities.


Do you want to elevate your brand and begin marketing yourself but aren’t quite ready to hire a publicist?


Set up a session with one of our Music Marketing Consultants at The Sound Machine ATL and take the next steps towards earning your very own Olivia Pope. No scandals, y’all.

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