About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Separating Yourself From The Pack - The Story of My 450 PR Contacts
Monday, May 28, 2012

Last week I cleaned up my contact list and found I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 publicist email address, the vast majority of which have been obtained through receiving emails promoting artists. When you work with that many people at once, and that many people are sending you emails on a regular basis, a lot of it can become a blur. Since there isn’t enough time in the day to read every press release and listen to every album download sent, an obvious question is how have some publicists made it so that I always open their emails, listen to the music they send (even if it’s not in my preferred physical format), and set up features for their artists on a regular basis? The answer is - it’s all about the relationship.

Everyone starts out with an email relationship. The publicists that go beyond that are the ones who win. With that in mind, I’ve put together a quick list of four ways I’ve witnessed publicists make themselves stand out from their peers, and separate themselves from the pack. These ideas don't just apply to the publicist - writer relationship, though, they apply to all business relationships, so extrapolate away!


Picking up the phone

I can count the number of publicists that call me on one hand. Because of how small that number is, I can tell you a lot about these folks, from whether or not they have kids, to the names of some of their pets. Most importantly, I can tell you a large chunk of their client roster. These are the few, the far, the between (the between?) that have created a real relationship with me, and they’ve done it with only one or two phone calls per year. Yes, you read that right, per year. It’s a tiny investment of time that reaps huge rewards.


Being social on social networks

This may sound ridiculously trivial, but it can actually result in some nice benefits. When a publicist replies to a tweet of mine, or a Facebook status update, or even just “likes” a Facebook status update, it not only shows me that they know I exist, it reminds me that they exist, as well. It takes all of thirty seconds, and instantly makes me welcome seeing their email address in my inbox. You’d be hard pressed to find a more effective way to spend half a minute.


Sending physical product

Everyone has read, or heard, me profess my love of the physical product. A handful of years ago I was already being called a dinosaur for preferring CDs to downloads (hopefully they thought of me a really rad meat eating dinosaur!), but now with so many publicists only sending downloads, the ones that send CDs really stand out, and not in a “damn, they’re old” kind of way, in a “I know their name because of this” kind of way. With 450+ publicists pitching me I don’t have time to listen to everything being sent to my inbox. In fact, sometimes I’ll download things and never end up listening to them. The CDs that sit on my desk, simply by virtue of having been in a package that I’ve taken the time to open, quickly separate the publicist that sent them from the rest of the pack. I read the press release, I am reminded of the previous times I’ve worked with them, and I am 100% more likely to respond to their emails.


Meeting and greeting

This is the optimal way to connect with anyone, but depending on where you’re located it can also be the most difficult. Nothing beats a handshake and a hello (or a hug and a hello depending on the gender of the contact and the business you’re both in), but not everyone is lucky enough to live right around the corner from where the majority of their contacts work. These kinds of connections are a 50/50 responsibility, meaning the publicist can only do so much, it’s also on the writer to make an effort to elevate the relationship to this level. I make it a point to meet as many contacts as I can in person. I’ve even flown to LA a few times just to connect with the people I work with that aren’t local. Every single one I’ve met in person I have a better working, and personal, relationship with, and, again, I open up and pay attention to all of their emails.

These are the four primary ways I’ve experienced publicists creating more effective relationships with writers. If you have any others you’d like to share from your own experiences, please leave a comment!

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