Secrets of a PR and Publicity Pro

Do you crave free media publicity? Learn how to identify a story idea about your brand or business, and then promote that idea to the media for publicity. Every business owner dreams of free media publicity, and why not.

After all, a story on the nightly news service promoting one of your new products or services is far more credible than a paid commercial. And it’s free. You’ll also learn how the media works, how a reporter thinks how a newsroom operates, how to build relationships with reporters, how to write a news release, how to set up a media conference, as well as tips and strategies for when you appear on camera.

Mark Aiston bio: Mark is a television host in Adelaide Australia. he has worked with the the ABC and the Ten Network as well as with the Australian Radio Network.

How to Copyright your Material

The most important thing in the large world of art and entertainment is making sure that your hard work or original idea is protected. What you are really accomplishing with this task is granting yourself, the creator of the work, exclusive rights to use and distribution, and the ability to generate revenue from the product. This can be in the realm of music, art, writing, photography, and many others. In a larger structure or entity of work, the rightsholders are individuals that may have paid a fee to attain some rights to a work or holding, and adapt the work to other forms, perform the work if it is music, or financially benefit from it. The origins of copyright in Britain were due to the invention of the printing press, and the fact that more in the general public were beginning to read. What began in the 1700s as a way to make sure rights of the creator were protected grew over the next few centuries into something farther reaching and much more universal.

What Qualifies as material?

There are some minimal standards that a work has to meet to be deemed as property. Different nations have varying requirements and traits for work, but a few general rules of thumb apply. In the United Kingdom, “skill, labor, and judgment” are key components of a work, and in the United States, you are going to want to go through the copyright process for any work that has the potential to generate income. During the last few decades, slogans, and things like smartphone applications have taken the center stage. With the level of use of technology devices and internet on the ever expanding rise, special care will need to be taken by the creators of works to make sure their idea isn’t duplicated. Especially during the creation of video games and other graphic achievements, it became more important than ever to make sure your bases are covered. If you are spending money on research, development, and testing, there is not a chance that you can weather someone taking it all from under your nose. It is more important than ever to know the steps to copyright your material under current rules and regulations.

The steps in registering your work

To properly register your work, send a completed application form with a 35$ registration fee and a copy of the works you want to protect. You also need to send a deposit and visit the Library of Congress’s web site, and the current fee is 45 $ for registration. If you use the web portal, you will receive a return email telling you that your application was received correctly, and perhaps a phone call asking for any additional information to complete the process. If the work is accepted right away, you’ll receive a certificate of registration, and if it is rejected for any reason, a letter explaining the reasons why. As with many important duties these days, the online registration is preferred by most owners of property, with a lower fee, and faster processing time.

You can track the status of processing quickly and efficiently online, pay by credit or debit card, and get easy access to “RE” forms, or renewal of copyright claims. The features for group registration are very efficient and user friendly, but be careful to thoroughly check all fees involved to secure prompt acceptance or renewal. As with any process, being prepared all the way before submitting your works will streamline the steps to getting your work copyrighted and make the road much less full of things blocking you from your goal. This is one of the most important steps you will ever make: saving yourself from the ultimate headache of the finger pointing game when something you created yourself may be breached. Not feeling like you are in jeopardy all of the time, especially as an author or otherwise creative individual, who has a lot to lose.

There are those that will tell you that as soon as any piece of intellectual property or song is created, that you can come back at later date and claim intellectual creation and trademark. Just like a prenuptial agreement in a marriage, you really owe it to yourself to do this the right way and not cut any corners. All works created in the United States are subject to mandatory deposit under standards governed by the Library of Congress, and the year of publication may actually affect the longevity of copyright protection.

The address for the Library of Congress for postal mail is as follows:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559


How to land a Weekly Paid Gig

Usually taking place on the weekends, the weekly paid gig is coveted by many musicians. Your dreams of having a confirmed show every week in a great place with patrons pouring in the door and selling tons of merchandise would be awesome to have become reality. Regulars coming back every week, a national tour much more within your grasp because of local prowess, and tons more fans could potentially await you. If your skill is in the DJ realm, this is also just as valuable; weddings and other events that will park you in front of other future clients, and help steady your stream of ever-needed cash. Especially as valuable in the winter months, these steady gigs can account for your “base” income, what you need to stay gigging, fresh, and keep your gear updated. And once you really prove your skill set, the owner of the venue sees it as a win win opportunity because he has a solid act that he knows he can count on to sell alcohol, get people inside, and cross promote the venue. Here we will take a look at some great tactics to use for finding a weekly paying gig.

Frequent contact with other bands you like

After speaking with an agent out in LA who is still very successful in promotion, he told us one thing to keep in mind: booking agents and bar personnel get demo CD’s and requests all the time, but how many do other bands really get? We know that since social media really blew up and bands started contacting each other the number has moved up a bit, but contacting other bands has one main edge on other methods: sometimes they have their hands so full that they may be able to offer up prime gigs. Yep! It’s true; the biggest show I have ever played in my life was done using this route. The band was not even from my town, and on their schedule it did not even appear that they were playing there in the future. I sent them a message telling them that I was booking shows in one of the premiere venues in town and thought that they sounded similar to us, and it just so happened 6 weeks down the road they were in fact coming through and on a Saturday night no less.

Direct contact with booking folks

In many towns like Athens, Georgia or Austin, Texas, there is an area that you can really target where almost all the hot venues lie. Having a well recorded demo and or/press packet should be dropped off at all these venues. Yes, you can leave the material with the bartender if you really wish, but the owner/booking individual is best. Never seem too eager, just convey the idea that you really want them to hear your sounds, and don’t expect the weekend residency up front. You may have to play on an earlier weekday to get the ball rolling, but that’s not all bad. If ten or twenty people show up and you act is if it’s 100, don’t apologize on the mic for low turnout, and plain rock hard, they will be able to envision your performance on a weekend night. Social media contact can work for this purpose, but a face to face is so much better; and if your press packet has photos of you playing crowded houses, all the better.

Respecting perks of the venue

While you are playing your way up to the point at which you could be ready for steady paying gigs, do not abuse the privileges the venue will give to you. How you act during a Wednesday night crowd will reflect on how you may very well act if offered a weekly paying spot. Yes, rock and rollers are known for alcohol and drug use, but only a few beers and maybe a shot should be consumed on stage. Once a band starts to gain some local momentum, it’s easy for them to start to abuse the freebies that come their way. Keep in mind that the club owners have dealt with huge acts coming through town, and you as a local band needs to be low maintenance.

Put yourself in their shoes and realize that for all the people that want to act fussy when they play the club, there are brand new bands that may have a very hip sound that could easily bring more people in the door. One misconception about bands just getting started is that they won’t have a following, and so don’t be surprised if when you abuse the guest list or other freebies if your spot is bumped for a newer act who is hungry to play. If you follow these pointers and are able to land a weekly paying gig, the residency will reward you in many ways; it is 100 percent worth the patience, finesse, and good manners to get to that coveted spot.

How to Get a Music distribution deal

Without a doubt, your main objective as an artist is to reach as many potential fans possible, and gain revenue from your recorded material. With a music distribution deal is to get it into stores and online portals. Once this is accomplished, you are bound to make more sales. Reaching larger entities and portals to entice buyers to purchase your material, a distribution deal really is the way to get someone working for you while you perfect your songs and your craft. When asked many times what their major goal is for longevity and survival, almost all hard working artists will tell you to make money off of their recorded material. Touring, merchandise sales, and other opportunities like in store performances will always be a crucial part of your success story, but distribution deals really are where much of the lucrative ability begins for you. Whether you are a band trying to self release an album or a label looking to get distribution for a few artists, a lot more doors open up for you once you succeed. Here are some tips on getting a deal and making sure that it fits you as an artist.

First steps in finding distribution

Even with the internet as a prime tool, there are still some great face to face resources in finding distribution avenues. One method that can really work well is finding independent record stores in your city and have a chat with the owner. The real value of this is that the record store owner can give you some insight as to which distributors really hold a stake in the product, which ones give the extra push to have an artist succeed, and which ones may not really provide the necessary support for an artist to succeed. Some of these store owners will know which distributors may not follow through on their promises to the artist as well. Having a lot of press clippings can really help in the beginning solicitation stage as well. The more established you paint yourself and the better prepared you are, the framework for distribution and organization will be noticed by the companies you are targeting.

Strategies to Increase your odds

Every once in a while when a band has trouble finding distribution, they have to go back to the drawing board, and look at the big picture. If you suddenly release a single that really gains attention, you have to have a blueprint in place to capitalize on it. When a distributor looks at your track record, sometimes a self release needs to be backed by your own PR person. As shallow as it may seem, some distribution companies want to be talking to an experienced professional, and this is where your own PR company could do quite a bit of good. There are times when it may not seem feasible, but without these professionals carrying some weight for you, distribution companies may want to see that you have a bit of a plan for your future. Someone who plugs radio (or at least internet radio) for you will be an unbelievable asset, and will show that you mean business in your future endeavors. Right before you embark on a tour is also another good time to seek distribution, as they will see that you are spreading your talent across the nation, or hopefully even the globe!

How to really finalize the negotiation

When you have a distribution company interested and you are finally ready to hammer out the details, don’t just sign away and agree to everything! There are some “close-up” aspects of things that should be looked at closely to make sure all parties involved are getting what they need to flourish. You will need to look at the amount you are paid, how often, and a close up of all percentages involved. You need to also look closely to see who will pay for manufacturing, the process in which stock is re ordered, and how long before the release date promo materials are needed. These things are of dire importance in your new agreement, and cannot be ignored in the least. One of the most important issues that artists have brought up is the “on sale” debate. Will the distributor have the authority to put things on sale without the artist’s permission? This is a huge issue. There is not anything wrong with putting product on sale, as it helps move it and when everyone is in agreement, can be a benefit. But this one specific detail is the one that is most overlooked when negotiating a distribution process. When times get tough, your pipeline may be able to edge down your product to sale price, in different locations, and without your approval. Having a distribution deal is in your best interest as an artist, and following these tips will keep you steered in the right direction during one of you biggest decisions as an artist.

How to grow a fan base on Twitter

The social media site with the highly recognizable blue and white bird is reaching worldwide users with staggering proportions. At around 140 million users in America, 50 percent of these users use the mobile phone app. What this means to any marketer is that tweeting about your products, what you are doing, or your ideas will absolutely reach people on the go who are giving their news feed a quick scan. 40 percent of marketers have generated leads on Twitter, which later convert to buyers. Another statistic of dire importance to the brander or marketer is that 56 percent of direct tweets to companies are being ignored. As the platform becomes rabidly more popular, this will change, but for some brands it is relatively uncharted territory, with a lot of mysteries. 69% of new follows are suggested by friends, so once you have followers they will absolutely do some of the work for you. But just like Facebook, the crucial stage of the game is building a fan base, or organic followers. Here are some tips to get that little white bird singing out to the masses with confidence!

Having targeted material

The 80/20 rule of advertising is one that tells us to focus on ourselves and our products 20 percent of the time, and the other 80 percent of the time is reeling viewers in with other popular topics. This can really work in your favor, especially as a freelancer or someone who has samples of their own work like a life coach. Constantly tweeting about yourself or your brand can turn people off in the long run, so there is another strategy to make it more legitimate. Let’s say that you are a site that provides recipes, or sports enthusiast information. You can keep your material strictly to the subject matter, tweeting only about recipes and sports events, especially if some of them are from other users, even competitors. That way, when new people come to your page, every single tweet they see is relevant to the subject matter; even if it is not your own home brewed content.

Having real interaction

This is one of the toughest things to master. Even on very successful companies’ Twitter pages, you see them just broadcasting out links about themselves or other relevant matter, and not much back and forth. Actual conversation, or tweeting “@” other users, is what really drives interest and gets people checking out your brand. A common mistake is thinking that followers on Twitter just want to devour new information, and not be a part of the process of thinking and creating. You can definitely get by with just the bits of information, but other great strategies exist. Retweeting someone who you may want as a new client, or someone whose products are similar to yours is a great start. Most large companies use metrics that alert them whenever they are retweeted, and with one click, it will draw them right to your page. Other very successful users gently joke with their followers, and show the world positive reviews of their work. If you love another brand or want to do business with them, show them your love by tweeting right on top of their page with the “@” function, letting them know you are taking notice.

Critique your own Profile

When you look at your profile, get introspective and ask yourself if you are someone that you would enjoy following. It really seems that posting what you had for dinner and very personal details about your relationship has gone the way of the axe… for good. In the writing community, engagement is at an all time high. There are so many authors cross promoting each other, asking you to come to their signings, and tweeting out excerpts of each others’ material. It could be considered a bit more close knit, and not as cutthroat. One of the best ways to get your profile looking like a good follow is valuable information, like how to articles.

Now that we are in peak travel season, vacation guides and series of photos are always a big hit. When you are critiquing your profile, do you ever sound negative and bored? This can boost views a little, but in the long run people enjoy following someone happy. As far as adding organic followers, by Twitter’s suggestion or by searching through other’s, a general rule of thumb is that 60 followers a day is what Twitter deems non aggressive. Using Twitter’s own recommendations of “Who to follow” is also a great start, to the left of your dashboard. It may seem like a long wait for tons of traffic, but trust us (and the little white bird), it’s worth it!