Last month we brought you our industry interview with Mark Rose of Downwrite Music Platform. This month we chat with founder of Buzzin! PR, Shane Richardson in one of what will be many industry interviews with PR professionals, label staff, tour managers, festival promoters, and many more with advice for bands, aspiring industry professionals, and those who just want to learn more about the field. Check it out below.
Infectious Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How are you?
Buzzin! PR: No worries. I’d like to thank Infectious Magazine for your interest, it’s nice being the one interviewed for once! And I’m doing great thanks!
IM: Could you tell us a little about your background, and what led you to create Buzzin! PR?
Buzzin! PR: Sure. Well I’ve always been an avid fan of the alternative music scene growing up, but initially I planned to go down the route of sports journalism for my career. So I did some work experience while still at school and studied journalism at university.
While I was at uni I decided it would be great to start writing some music reviews, so I started reviewing albums for Gigwise.com and Glasswerk.co.uk. This lead to me then being able to interview bands, write live reviews and even cover music festivals for the site.
That’s when I really got the bug for the music industry. I felt there was more freedom in music journalism than sport and found musicians so much more interesting to interview!
After graduating I decided to launch my own music website, LiveTheScene.com in 2008. It grew from strength to strength and I’m still proud of what I achieved for the site; interviewing bands like Paramore, Angels and Airwaves, Billy Talent, New Found Glory, All Time Low, Asking Alexandria and many more.
In 2012 I decided I’d like to get involved in the other side of things. I had been one of the first to interview bands such as You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Enter Shikari and Deaf Havana when they were first starting out, and so felt I could spot bands with huge potential and wanted to help them gain greater exposure using my knowledge and contacts I’d gained.
This is when Buzzin! PR was launched. I thought about doing some work experience or applying for a PR job with an established firm, but I’d always done things myself so thought I’d continue this way.
So I went about listening to countless bands and making a shortlist of the ones I’d love to represent. I also wanted to make PR affordable for the less established bands that just need that extra help to kick on to the next level.
I can’t believe the amount Buzzin! PR has achieved in such a short time and I thank the many bands and publications I’ve had the pleasure of working with so far.
And the best thing is we are just getting started!
IM: What advice do you have for bands seeking PR services?
Buzzin! PR: I’d advise any band to draw up a realistic plan of where they want to be and what they want to achieve in the next 12 to 18 months. Then they should decide if they need outside help to reach these goals.
There are some highly-driven individuals in bands that are so adamant they can do it all themselves, and some do, but it can be a thankless task when you add on usually having a full time job, sorting gigs, writing songs, constantly pushing their social network presence etc.
Timing is also vital. You always need to plan ahead and not rush things. Bands are sometimes so eager to show the world their new songs that they just post them all up. Then they may seek help from a PR agency but it can be too late to set up exclusive streams or gain reviews as the release is already out.
We always start our campaigns with bands around 6-8 weeks prior to the release date of their album/EP.
So plan ahead and have something new to push is the main advice.
IM: What is one of the biggest misconceptions bands have when they first begin looking to do PR?
Buzzin! PR: I think some bands may feel if they throw money at a PR agency then they can just sit back and watch their profile soar.
As I touched on in my previous answer, it is crucial that a band seeking PR does it at the optimum time regarding a new release, tours or new music video.
A lot more can be achieved when a band is organised and has a set plan of upcoming releases.
Bands also need to do their part, so if interviews, acoustic sessions etc are arranged for them, then they need to be punctual and embrace the opportunities set up for them.
IM: You stress on your website that you partner with a lot of up and coming publications. Do you think clients ever underestimate the power of up and coming publications vs. larger publications?
Buzzin! PR: Absolutely. I don’t blame them for this as it’s basic human nature to want the best and be a little blasé about the smaller things.
But especially for a band starting out, it is very important to hit up as many relevant publications and websites as possible. You’ll find these emerging publications actually take more time writing album / EP reviews and if a band can take any constructive criticism on board then this can certainly help them kick on when they head to the studio again.
For a lot of the newer bands I work with, they may have only gained feedback from family, friends or fans previous, which, of course, will be a little bias. So although not all reviews may be five stars, they are all worth reading.
The other important point is, everyone starts out somewhere; meaning the editor of MTV.com or Kerrang! Magazine didn’t just walk into their job with no experience. They would have worked their way up and contributed to many different websites and magazines in the scene.
So you never know where the reviewer or editor of a blog may end up and if they’ve dug your band from day one, then it will be easier to gain their attention further down the line.
I remember when the likes of PropertyofZack.com and Alterthepress.com first started, they would give chances to any bands that would send in reviews, and now they are scene heavyweights so it’s never a good idea to turn your nose up at something that might not be a renowned name just yet.
IM: Without giving away your secrets, what do you think is essential to a succesful PR campaign?
Buzzin! PR: First off, you need to believe in what you are pushing. Especially if the band is fairly new and doesn’t already have the backing of many publications.
It can be very hard to gain the trust and time of the bigger publications who, of course, get thousands of emails, so if they do give you that chance you need to be sure they will be impressed.
As previously mentioned, planning and a firm schedule is crucial to gaining the most coverage of a release. So everything needs to be in place to hit the ground running.
Gaining exclusive streams and video premieres on high-traffic sites can really help, but it’s an overall push including all the emerging publications that makes a successful PR campaign.
The rest is indeed a secret!
IM: What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer aspiring publicists, regardless of field?
Buzzin! PR: There are many highs but also plenty of lows and frustrations in the work life of a publicist. So the biggest piece of advice is to stay strong and stay positive.
IM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Buzzin! PR: I’d like to thank you again for requesting this feature and I hope it has been useful to any bands or aspiring music industry people reading this.
I also want to add that many bands believe they can’t afford PR, and this can sometimes be the case. But from day one I decided I would make it as affordable as possible and believe Buzzin! PR gives excellent value for money.
So please get in touch if your band would be interested in teaming up! You can check us out here.
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