Public Relations for Artists I – You Need to Use PR!

PR can be one of your most powerful marketing tools!

Every artist or creative professional should be using some form of public relations to build their business and personal brand. According to the Wikipedia article,” Public relations (PR) is a field concerned with maintaining public image for businesses, non-profit organizations or high-profile people, such as celebrities and politicians.” 

Public relations is not advertising! With advertising you craft you message and you pay have it appear in some media venue such as a magazine or television station on the day and time you choose. Advertising is not free and nor is public relations. Public relations requires an investment of your time and possibly money if you choose to employ the services of a PR professional. 

The world is hungry for news and to know what is happening. Although some media venues have been shrinking such as newspapers and magazines they have been replaced by a multitude of cable television channels, internet radio shows, online publications, newsletters, social media, journals and blogs. The world is hungry to hear what is new – it might as well be YOU that is new in the world! 

Some of the areas public relations address are:

  • Communication between you and your audience(s) and target customers
  • A bridge between you and the media
  • Setting up speaking engagements and involvement with public causes or charities
  • Positioning you as an expert in your particular field by being quoted and sought after
  • Building rapport with your stakeholders such as customers, employees, critics and the public
  • Refining your social media management and engagement
  • Developing third party endorsements for your art, company or organization
  • Crisis management (if you do things right you will probably not need this one – think BP and the Gulf oil spill)

Some examples of how you can use PR to tell what is going on in your world:

  • New projects, art or products you have developed or you are currently working on
  • Your shows, exhibits and where you will be
  • The hiring of new employees or opening a new studio or retail location
  • Awards or honors you have received.
  • Collaboration with other individuals or organizations
  • Community activities or groups that you are involved with
  • Panels and group discussions you participate in
  • Feature articles about you and your work

Like all things marketing you need to have a firm grasp of the basics and a strategy for what you are trying to accomplish – PR is no different. Before you start on your PR efforts make sure that you have a good idea of where you are heading with respect to the following: 

  • Know who your target customers are
  • Have a good feel of how to connect with your target customers such as what they read, what websites they visit, what blogs they read, which people do they respect and who influences them
  • Know your message, your strengths, weaknesses, your competitive advantages and of course “your secret sauce”
  • Have something of interest for your audience – in short something newsworthy!

Ok now think about and write down some ideas of what you could tell the world about your art, your activities or events and the things that you are involved in. In the next part, Public Relations for Artists II – Outlets for Your Message & Working with the Media we will explore the various media venues and how to work with the media. In the third article Public Relations for Artists III – Your Press Release and Media Kit we will take a look at a basic press release and what you need to prepare in order to get your story published.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

4 thoughts on “Public Relations for Artists I – You Need to Use PR!

  1. Lady B

    These are great tips, I’m very happy to have found this article as I am in the process of doing public relations for a hair and makeup artist so the more ideas I am given for how to put her on the map- the better!

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