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PR vs. Advertising: Promoting Yourself as an Artist

Updated on October 5, 2012

One of the goals as a musician is to have people know who you, your sound, and your over all brand are. There are many ways to promote your music and your brand as a whole but they are essentially broken into 2 categories: PR and Advertising. The simple way of explaining the difference between the 2 techniques is, advertising is what you pay for while PR (Public Relations) is free.


When you are doing your PR you should keep in mind that it is just a way to connect with people and hopefully they will remember you from this technique to find out more about you. An example of a PR campaign could be something as simple as a reblogged post or RT.

La'Rayne Flyer
La'Rayne Flyer

It could be a song that you give away. Everyday this is done on the radio and TV. You hear a song and you like it, the you find out more about that artist or band. Companies pay thousands of dollars just to have it's brand on radio, tv and now the internet. Find free ways to do what they are paying for. Make fliers, have a download available, show up at events with goodies. If it connects you and your audience and potential audience, then it's worth a try.

Your PR does not have to be what I've already mentioned. The first thing to do is remember that PR can be incorporated into your daily musician routine. I've talked about having a routine before because it is so vital to set things up in an organized fashion. While you're getting your business done, make some time in your daily to do list or weekly list to send an email to your mailing list.

PR is great when someone else is vouching for you. Then, it's not just you telling everyone you come into contact with just how great you are. It's other people recognizing something great in you and genuinely sharing it with others. Having this type of recognition is not always easy to come by especially when you are just starting out, but there are some things you can do in the p.r. realm that will help and possibly lead those recommendations to you.

When you do reach a point that your music is known enough or a specific product of yours is just that good, find some local media. Newspapers, entertainment magazines, blogs, vlogs, and the like are always looking for news so give them your best. Starting small like this is a great opportunity to fine tune your music, your show or what ever it is that you are promoting so when bigger opportunities come you will be ready to take full advantage of them.


Before you start advertising your music and brand, know what type of budget you have as well as who and where your target audience is. The last thing you want to do is waste money and focus on the wrong audience. Identify where your audience likes to go, what other products they may like, really dig into who they are. Once you do that, you will know where and how to reach them.

What is your favorite social network?

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You may have great success with a Facebook ad campaign or you may need to advertise in your local entertainment magazine or newsletters, and you can even put ads on youtube or use google adwords. Do you have money for a commercial to go on radio or TV? If you do, then your lucky because not many musicians trying to break through have that. For those of you who do not, I would suggest coming up with a impactful campaign to cover any mediums you can afford.

A great example is from the Black Eyed Peas when in the early 2000's, they came out with the song "Where is the Love?" They had one simple image associated with the song, so when they released the song and the accompanying video, people would associate the simple question mark image with their music.

Make sure once you've spent your money and have seen some increase in popularity and traffic to your website and networks that you continue to engage your audience. The last thing you want is to get people interested in you and then you forget about them. The thought you were interesting enough for them to give you their attention so use it wisely and be thankful. Continue to give them reasons to want to know more about you and like you and tell their friends about you.

The bottom line is connect with your audience. No matter if you are paying or not paying for promotion, your time and your audiences time is valuable so make it exciting and make it rewarding. Let me know some of the ways you've promoted yourself and your music in the past or any new ideas you may have.

Have you ever had paid advertisements?

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