The decision of whether to outsource media campaigns or not may weigh heavily on you when you are about to promote a new CD, a tour or other projects.
Most artists I speak with cite cost as a main factor in their decision-making process. I would like to offer a few additional considerations for you to add to your process before launching into your next campaign and spending huge amounts of money.
Clarify Your Goals:
Of course you would like the broadest recognition for your project. But, let’s examine what that means given where you are right now in your career. A great question to begin this assessment might be to ask yourself, “What is the best result you have ever achieved from a media source?” For instance, did you get a review in Billboard magazine or make it onto the top 100 on billboard charts? Or did you get a write-up in your home town local weekend edition or weekly arts paper? Or did you get a mention on a college radio show in one of the towns you recently played? What was your greatest media result to date?
If you did a previous media campaign by hiring a professional publicity company, what were the results of that campaign? How much did you spend? Did the campaign help you achieve tangible results such as more gigs booked in areas where you received articles or airplay or more CDs sold or tickets sold? Please think back to the numbers that you are able to directly correlate to the efforts from the campaign.
What were your original goals you framed when deciding to do the campaign with a professional company? Did you achieve those goals?
By starting the process with clear goals in mind, you will be better able to justify any expense or determine whether the company or outsourced help is actually able to help you reach your goals. Without clear goals set up front, you’ll never be able to determine if the potential outsourced service is the right one for the job or whether you are ready to use their serve effectively.
Here’s an example:
To receive recognition for a new CD and get airplay in the areas where you tour.
If the company sends your CD out nationally to over 1500 stations, can you really benefit from their efforts if:
- you don’t tour in most of the markets where the CD will be sent
- you don’t have a team in place to do the necessary research or follow-up in the markets where the CD has been gaining some airplay
- you don’t have a following in most of the markets where the CD has been sent
- you don’t have the ability to tour immediately to follow the airplay progress.
If your goal was to get chart recognition on specific charts in your genre, then please consider how chart recognition translates into CD sales or booked gigs before you make that goal a main determining factor to outsource your media campaign.
Getting a feature story on NPR’s Weekend Edition or All Things Considered however, is a sales driver for anyone who has had the good fortune to be featured. That sort of concentrated, target marketing nets more sales results than a scattershot general radio chart campaign. Is your goal sales or a number on a chart? Which one pays the bills? Which one actually gives you your intended result in broadening your media recognition? Which one ought you put more focused attention towards to achieve far greater career benefiting results?
What are your resources?
- Do you have the financial capability of outsourcing your campaign? Is outsourcing the most effective way to use your money given the results of your determination of goals from above? Might there be a better use of your money to achieve more specific goals?
- Do you have the support system in place to help achieve your goals? This could be in the form of hired assistance, members of your act, friends and family or even super fans committed to your success.
- Have you determined your target markets for best results to book gigs, reach current and new fans and get the best media coverage?
An Alternative to Outsourcing Media Campaigns for Now:
Based on the information you determined from above, I’d like to offer an alternative process for your media campaign strategy. You still need to specify your goals and your target touring area.
Let’s say that you mostly tour in one region close to your home base or you have a few choice areas in your country that are where you have built the bulk of your fan base. Then let’s maximize these areas and concentrate your media campaigns where they will actually matter to your bottom line.
- Set your touring time frame to coincide right after your project is released.
- Determine the number of dates or events in the areas where you have the highest concentration of fans, previous touring history and concentration of media outlets.
- Send advanced PR and product to the main media outlets in only those areas. Perhaps you would have a few radio stations, community and college and a few local print media. Certainly not like the national campaign of over 1500, instead perhaps you are looking at 10-15 outlets within your hot markets. You can handle outreach and follow-up to 10 or 15 outlets, adding your personal touch to each and every contact.
- Target appropriate mainstream or alternative or niche type venues in the markets surrounding the media outlets. Again the numbers will be much smaller and more concentrated. Follow up with your fan base to cluster some fan-driven house concerts or events within this targeted market area.
Now your focused efforts will result in paying gigs, potential media recognition, reviews, interviews perhaps on-air, in-studio interviews and more likely sales of merchandise while on tour. You will succeed in expending out from your already focused concentration of fans.
This pattern can be repeated in your multiple other, already developing markets each time you plan to tour in that area. The momentum won’t be lost on a campaign that happened months earlier since you may do this outreach when you plan the tour in that market. Moving from one market to the next using this marketing plan keeps the campaign fresh and ongoing throughout your determined time frame, rather that blowing it all in one shot many, many months prior to getting to a specific area to tour.
Remember, outsourcing to any media company means that you are relying on their lists of media outlets. Those lists may or may not be the right ones for you in your career at the time you are doing your campaign. Determining your target markets, reaches your targeted media outlets resulting in a more effective campaign for you.
Whether you are ready to outsource your media campaigns or not begins with you knowing what your true goals are and where you are in your career. Just because other artists are outsourcing their campaigns, doesn’t necessarily mean it has been the best use of their resources.
I often ask artists I know who have just completed a campaign about their results and how many gigs did they get or CDs did they sell. So often their end results were simply stations added in certain markets, but no follow-up was done to book gigs in the areas and no CD sales were determined to be a direct result from the campaign.
I’m a fan of using the right outsourced media company when the conditions are right for the artist. Until such time, I prefer concentrating efforts and resources on a focused market expansion, based on where you are in your career at the time you are planning your campaign.
Plan carefully and thoughtfully so you and your career may benefit.
How do you plan your media campaign? Have you outsourced your campaigns in the past? What were your results?
Leave me a comment below or on the Performingbiz Success Strategies Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/PerformingbizSuccessStrategies.
I can’t wait to hear about your success.
Now, Thanks to the Band Curfew from the UK for providing the Biz Booster theme Music, Future Dance. Check them out at www.curfew.co.uk
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