I believe that reality and expectations should not always reside in the same space. Some may disagree but I am of the belief that we need to be realistic and have a clear understanding of our situation/s. Managing our expectations vs reality is quite important in my opinion.
Recently, a number of Public Relations inquiries was an indication that creatives are starting to get it! However, most of the interactions left me a bit peeved, let me tell you why. Approximately 80% of the creatives I interacted with were all looking for quick fixes and immediate gratification. Maybe they were told that Public Relations works like magic? Maybe?
I came across a post on IG from C.J Carter, a young USA based publicist who has his fair share of experience in the entertainment industry. I saved the screenshot and have shared it on my IG stories a few times. There is no denying the truth. While brainstorming my topic for this week the idea of expectations vs reality kept lingering then I remembered his post.
As a publicist, I believe that an honest conversation with your client is one that must occur. The reality is that everyone wants to be successful but not everyone understands the steps to get there. Our clients are going to hold us to our words so it is important to share honest words to assist them in managing their expectations vs reality.
Let’s look at some expectations vs reality scenarios.
Publicists cannot work miracles. We can introduce you to the media and of course, assist in strengthening your brand however it is not just a shake of a wand.
Publicist Does Everything
Ahha! Many clients assume that it is the publicist responsibility to do everything? *Laughs* That really is not the case. You have to keep your publicist busy with angles, stories and events to work on during the time managing their campaign. A publicist is only as good as whatever and whomever she is publicizing.
A Publicist Handles Social Media
It is not mandatory for a publicist to handle your social media management. Honestly, I do not know much publicists that provide social media management as part of their package. What many of us do is look over the social media strategies to ensure cohesiveness.
Personally, I pay attention to social media posts, stories, comments, responses, hashtags and interactions. Recently, an artiste that I am familiar with posted a really disturbing story on IG. He is not a client but his manager is someone that I consider. What did I do? I saved the story, showed it to his manager and well his manager was also in disagreement with the post. They removed the post in less than 5 minutes.
It is not a publicist’s responsibility to secure bookings or gigs on behalf of a client. Sometimes based on the campaign persons may become interested in booking the talent that is being represented. However, it is not a publicist responsibility to engage with promoters regarding work for hire.
You Pay For Results
No my friend, you are paying for effort, time and strategy. That’s the truth. Of course, you should see results but you never know when your publicists’ efforts will begin to show. It may show up months after the completion of your campaign. PR takes a lot of time and effort!
Publicity Sells Music
PR is not what you need if your focus is on selling music only. While PR plays an important role in assisting with your music campaigns is not solely the role of a publicist to spike your sales. If he/she tells you that it can be achieved solely with PR, that’s a lie! To be even more honest, I am not even certain if there has been any real proof that only PR can be linked to music sales.
What I do know is that for music to sell a strong and loyal fan base is required. There has to be an established relationship between fans and their favourite acts for them to even feel compelled to purchase.
All Publicity is Good Publicity
Anyone who knows me really well would attest to the fact that I absolutely dislike the statement “All publicity is good publicity.” It’s not the truth! I am going to drop three names here and I want you to tell me if they were positively impacted by bad publicity; Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Negative publicity can really hurt a brand instead of helping it.
I would admit, however, that there have been instances where negative situations have been spun into positives. It does not happen overnight though!
All Coverage Is Created Equal
Being newsworthy is what it’s about! Simply releasing a new song, EP or album is not necessarily grounds for coverage. Now, in saying this, we need to be mindful of the publications, journalists, blogs etc that is most appropriate for pitches. Even with amazing personal relationships coverage is not always guaranteed. What a publicist can achieve for a popular and larger act he/she may not be able to do for an upcoming act.
Great Music = Success
Huge misconception. There are the one-off situations where an artiste would come out of nowhere and go straight to the big time. That may have been a matter of luck. Most of those acts that have been labeled as overnight successes have been grinding behind the scenes for a minute. Start small and build your reputation. Let things build organically. Smaller blogs, websites and less prominent features are still great opportunities for coverage before the huge publications start to happen.
My Tools Are Best
No! Your tools may not be the best and may require work. Do you know which tools I am referring too? Your bio, images, press kit, social media etc; THOSE! When you bring your tools to a publicist it is our job to review them. Sometimes you may require edits in your bio or may need a new one altogether. Your images may not be an appropriate representation of you and you may require a do-over. Your social media may require a purge and a publicist would point those issues out to you also!
That’s it! 10 points that highlight the discussion of Public Relations: Expectations VS Reality! I hope that I was able to dispel some of your misconceptions. The topic of expectations vs reality plays deep into the way some compare the success of others. They want the same as their peers not considering the factors that their peers endured to enjoy success and all the different variables involved in their processes.
Until next time!
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Manage those expectations to prevent confusion.
This did help clear up some od my thoughts on the role of a publicist
Yes yes yes
A very real and concise overview of the topic at hand. This was a reality check indeed. I couldn’t agree more with all points shared.
Thank you Fabien
I agree with every point listed here!
Damn! What an eye opener for me as an upcoming artiste