Author: McNeal, Brian


Please note: This is not a how-to article. The headline only says "GET"! HOW you do it will depend upon you.

Ever notice that the bands who appear to be the most successful are often the ones who seem to be in the headlines most often? It's a "Catch 22" because the ones in the headlines seem to get more success coming their way more often.

Never under estimate the value of a good publicist or public relations person: Even if you handle the chores yourself or share with other members of the band, getting yourself in the news is going to help your career.

I was talking to a young band member about this recently and the thought he had was that he wasn't really willing to get himself into a vehicle accident or to rob a bank just to get in the news. I wondered if most bands would think that way too. I asked him what he thought constituted news. “Well,” he pondered for a moment, then said, “politics, disaster, crime and death”. Isn't it sad that, often, that is what we think constitutes a majority of the news.
However that is never all there is. Weddings, births, promotions, grand openings, triumphs and human interest all make the news on a daily basis as well.

“So you mean like when we're gonna play somewhere we should do up a press release?” he said. Yes, that is news but it may not be what gets you noticed. Every band is going to “PLAY SOME PLACE” - that's what bands do. So it becomes news to just a select few – your fans.

What get's you in the headlines is the OUTSTANDING things you do – or should be doing. The things that make your band different than all the rest – even if only for the moment.

Many bands donate their time and talent to charity. But for that very moment that you are teeing off, shooting hoops, running a marathon or bungee-jumping for a cause, you just may be the only one in your league doing so. That makes you special and worthy of a headline.

Getting your band in the news has long-lasting positive effects: find that the more you're in the news, the more your music is heard on the air, the more CDs or downloads you'll sell and the more shows you'll book. And it's like compounding interest at the bank. The more you get of any one of those things, the more the others will also follow along.

If you find it hard to “pat yourself on the back” so to speak, you're not alone. And that's exactly why you need a publicist or a manager to do it for you. If you can do it all by yourself, great. But is that what you're best at doing? Could someone other than you do it better?

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” - Fred R. Barnard in the December 1921 trade journal Printer's Ink : ...Often said but not often enough put into practice. On average, 50 percent of the press releases received on this desk don't include a picture. Never underestimate the power of the camera. Why does every bride want a photographer at the wedding and reception?

Even if all you shoot is video, always generate a set of stills from the file to be sent with press releases.

Again, Never under estimate the value of a good publicist or public relations person! But also, remember to GIVE them something to work with. They're going to do their best at writing up a killer press release but it can only be as good as the deeds you have done. All the flowery language in the world used in a press release announcement that your band is going to play this weekend at Sam and Sissy's wedding in Austin is still only going to say that your band is playing.

All bands play. Some play every weekend. Where's the news in that? Yet you'd probably be surprised at how many newsletters, E-Blasts and Press Releases are recieved here that say nothing more than that. Honestly, do you think someone in Poughkeepsie, NY reading your E-Blast really cares that you're playing somewhere in Austin tonight? But add in the fact that your band will be on hand at the airport to perform for some National Guard troops just returning from Afganastan and you have the makings of a news story. Now make it one notch better. Make the press release about playing for the Troops and then add in the regular gig at the end.

GIVE your publicist some material with which to work: Find something else that is special and unique to your group. Even if it has nothing to do with music. It still has something to do with YOU!. Donate your time to a local cause that is making news on it's own. You'll tag right along plus you'll have your own story to tell through your own publicist. Many charitble organizations are looking for folks just like you who have talent to donate or time to give for a cause.

Don't forget that you also have spent a lot of time and energy into building your NAME: Lending your name to an organization for a cause can get you a ton of mileage.

"Sally Ann's Bluegrass Menagerie supports the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®"
If you'll do a House-Concert and donate 100% of the proceeds to Susan G.Komen Race for the Cure® our band will donate all of our time playing at your House-Concert"

Start with something like that then build by filling in the details. You'd be surprised at how many inquiries you'll get and how many you'll need to reschedule due to time commitments. The next time you want to do something like that, you won't have to go looking for a cause to support, they'll be coming to you. And all the while you'll be getting your name in the news and continuting to build upon the good name you've already estabished. Talk about Win-Win!

So if we use the Foot Bone is connected to the Ankle Bone connected to the Shin Bone - theory, getting your band in the news can get you more airplay on the radio. Getting more airplay can get more record sales or more bookings or both. Getting more bookings and more sales can lead to increased fees and awards which can lead to more increases in fees. It's a domino effect for sure.

Double your mileage: Always think Pre- and Post- when submitting a press release. Before you jump off the bridge, tell the world you're going to do so. Then afterward, tell the world again what you did and what changed because of your actions. ... Now 55 kids will eat dinner tonight because of the money raised ... 100 homeless will have shelter thanks to the funds donated ... etc., etc.

Here are a few quotes to ponder and keep in mind:
“I don't care what they say as long as they spell my name right” - P.T. Barnum
“Don't hide your light under a basket” - Mathew 5:15
“All I know is what I read in the papers” - Will Rogers

Have A Great Week!

-Brian McNeal / Prescription Bluegrass

Posted:  10/27/2012

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