So you have recorded a killer new song you want the whole world to hear, it’s the best thing you’ve ever written and you’re ready to be bombarded with all those sweet, sweet radio plays, interviews, album reviews and accolades. So how do you do it? You just hire a publicist and let ’em do the rest – because you’ve got more creative things to work on – right? Wrong.

Knowing when, why and how to hire a publicist to help get your stuff heard presents itself with a whole swag of questions: How much do you pay? What can you realistically expect from them? How do you know who is the right PR for you?

We chatted with industry expert Evan Alexander the Director of boutique music marketing agency Heapsaflash to find out everything you need to know about hiring a publicist for the first time.

Evan Alexander is the Director of boutique music marketing agency Heapsaflash, which provides professional music publicity, media representation, strategic efficiency and expert advice for bands and festivals acres the country. With over a decade worth of experience, Heapsaflash provide professional music publicity and media representation services in, radio, television, digital and social media. Some of their ongoing Australian clients include Katie Noonan, Thundamentals, Tuka and Graveyard Train.

Make Sure You Love What You Do

Seems obvious, right?

Double Check You’ve Got Your Shit Together

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I feel like a thousand articles like this have been written on the interweb since time immemorial but the reality is if you don’t have your shit together then you’re not going to get the most out of hiring a publicist.

[include_post id=”417104″]A good publicist will tell you this straight up, as much for them as for you ultimately, we don’t build reputations and businesses by wasting peoples’ time – media or yours. It’s like anything in life really, go into it organised, aware of realistically what you’re trying to achieve and equipped with the tools you need in order to give yourself the best chance of success.

What does having your shit together look like? In brief – the tools (recordings, photos, socials, website, live shows, ideally a fan base), a plan and the means to roll it out – financially and otherwise. Every single act I’ve ever worked with that has achieved a notable level of success has ALWAYS had at least one person either in the band, or a manager, who has their shit together. Every single one.

Have A Plan

One of the first things I say to potential clients is ‘Where do you want to be in 12 months? 18 months? Two years?”

Start there and work backwards. That way by the time you get to this impending campaign you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and where it needs to take you.

Don’t overthink it. A ‘business plan’ can be two pages long if that’s all you need. Ultimately a business plan just means; what are you doing, where is the money coming from, what could go wrong and wtf are you going to do if it does? Business is about cash flow – and this is a business, so where is your cash coming from? Working day jobs can often be a feasible option but how much do you actually, REALLY need? Work it out.

How are you paying for the studio? Don’t spend all your money on recording and then think ‘Maybe we should promote this now’? Even if you’re thinking grants, most will require you to apply at LEAST six months in advance of when you’ll be spending the money. What’s your plan?

Ensure you’ve Got Runs On The Board

[include_post id=”441602″]A bit of a catch 22 I know and this isn’t a definitive pre requisite, but it helps. Blood, sweat, tears and all sorts of other forms of bodily fluids combined with passion and a fair bit of hard earned cash go into building a career in music but ideally, by the time you come to a publicist you’ve got at least a few runs on the board. Why? You’re just going to get more bang for your buck.

‘Runs’ is a fairly ambiguous term I know but deliberately so. It could be 60 heads at every show you play, a good track record around town, good supports, management, previous airplay, a Dad in the business, or any combination of the above.

But I reiterate, this one’s not definitive – everyone’s got to start somewhere. If you’ve got an absolutely killer track and a few grand then hey – the worlds your oyster, just bear my next point in mind.

Be Ready For The Long Haul

I deliberately didn’t say ‘You’re IN For The Long Haul’. Lots of people are, or think they are, IN for the long haul, a lot of them might not be READY for it though. I often say to people “if you’re looking for a quick fix here you’re probably wasting your money.”

Don’t get me wrong, the campaign will go fine, we’ll get you a bunch of interviews, a stack of airplay, articles on websites like this one, and blogs, and newspapers (yes they exist) etc etc – but if you haven’t got a plan, or staying power, what then? Interviews, airplay and articles go as quickly as they come.

A sustainable career in music is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s not a negative, au contraire in fact – it just is. Be ok with that. Revel in it, you’re one of the lucky ones.

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