PR IS… My PR journey of of 30 years
I came into PR via the music industry in the mid 80s around 1985 friends and I decided to start a band because that is what you did in the 80s. My best friend at the time was a drummer by the name of John Robert Ruhly, to be honest I don’t remember how exactly I met him. I think it was via JA (Junior Achievement) but it escapes me. We were really good friends, I played the guitar and sang and he was 0ne banger of a drummer; I was 16 and he was 18 we hung out all the time and one day decided to form a band, I got some mates from school (all girls and one other guy) introduced everyone and Amethyst was born. Long story short we cut a 45” at a recording studio and played a few gigs but disbanded about 88. After that other friends and I started a Progressive band called Kamus Trust. It was with some guy I was “fooling” around with, his mates were in the band too; that one didnt last long. After that I moved into creating fanzines featuring local bands that I did for a long time
Flash forward to my trip in 1990 to the UK where I sat next to this woman who turned out to be a huge publicist by the name of Shirley McLean. We spoke a long time on the plane and kept in touch while I was in the UK (she was from Glasgow and I was staying with friends in Trowbridge) she set me up scouting talent for EMI Records (UK) Basically going around listening to bands then I would write reports for EMI and once they got their deal I would get a commission, Needless to say I got tired of that really quick so i 1992 I asked her how do I bec0me a publicist? She talked about it all the time and it seemed exciting. Shirely took me under her wing and taught me the ins and outs of the biz, how to approach editors, along with that personal touch. About a year into it she introduced me to PR legend Lynn Franks (that is who Jennifer Saunders based Eddie of AbFab on) , Lynn taught me even more including the style I use in my press releases etc. She assigned a gal named Tilly to work with me. This was done all remotely as I was living in Toledo OHIO USA and they were all in the UK
It was up early, a lot of phone calls, going to the library to look up periodicals, scouting mastheads for editors names etc. Typewriters, carbon paper, a rolodex and going to the post office every other day with a stack of envelopes is the way of doing things.
Fast forward about 1996 I went on my own and with this biz it is always ups and downs, it has changed alot but some things are still core. It is that personal touch, it is being tenacious (something both Shirley and Lynn instilled in me) along with slow and steady wins the race. Some publicists metaphorically throw everything against the wall to see what sticks IE send out a bunch of stuff and something will come of it. It is not what I do as I was not trained that way, there has to be something said for doing things properly.
There is so much of everything out there today from musicians to actors to authors and fashion designers that a Publicist is the only way to really get you out there and keep you there in a relevant way. Some people go with Influencers but they are not Publicists, they do not have the skill sets or know how and in my opinion are nothing more than a flash in the pan whose flame will burn out.
One really needs a Proper Publicist to make any impact on any scene from music to movies, books to fashion and beyond. It is Publicists that are the original influencers, sure we use social media one has to in this day but it is more that just that “oh look at me with XYZ” the posts are strategic, impactful sometimes looping more than one thing together so interest is expanded into something you may have not known of before.
It’s not throwing out a press release to 5,10, 15 or more blogs and or magazines at one time, that is an oversaturation, it has to do with strategic placement for the best impact. The rules that applied to print fanzines and magazines still apply to blogs, not everyone is going to read everything that day that it comes out over the next 1-2 months people will discover that press release or interview or review so more and more people will continually know about you. Added in with strategic social media posts people will be on the lookout for you . It’s all a circle, it’s continual and that is why PR is continual. PR is not a one and done, it is not just about that new song or album that is out, PR must be and is meant to be a continual basis for it will be new to someone forever! That is one thing that both Shirley McLean and Lynn Franks, along with Tilly who I worked with daily, drove into me, it is what I try to drive into clients. Most get it, some think that there has to be something posted in a blog or magazine every week or every month and that is just not the case.
Sure the industry has changed a lot in the past 30 odd years of doing this and there are some “new trends” like how much one shows up in a google search, do I have that blue check by my name, how many followers do I have, etc etc. The secret is none of it really matters or has an impact on how good your PR is being handled. As long as your publicist keeps putting you out there in a variety of ways, more people will know about you and the ones that already know about you will keep knowing about you. That may sound like a double entendre but there is no better way of doing it.
To wrap it up before this becomes a book because I could go on and on and on about things but if you want to know more about PR and how it is impactful along with how vital it really is just email me firstname.lastname@example.org