Author: McNeal, Brian


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?

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 not long ago and the thought he had was that he wasn't really willing to get himself into a vehicle accident or willing 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 the 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.

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. Always think Pre- and Post- when submitting a press release. Double your mileage!

Getting your band in the news has long-lasting positive effects. You'll 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. It's really a lot like all the dominoes standing back up again.

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.

Here are a few quotes to ponder and keep in mind:

“I don't care what they say about me 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

Contact Rick Bowman Send email for screenings or comments. Additional information about “Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B” can be found at < A HREF=””target=0>Backyard Green Films. Click here < A HREF=””>Send email to reach James Reams. For more information about his film “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass” check out his < A HREF=””target=0>website and click the Pioneers menu to see the film trailer, reviews, and more.

Posted:  2/18/2014

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