Our interview today focuses on an area of the industry that is one of the most important pieces to an artists campaign when planning a new release. This area is PR.
We have been lucky enough to have a discussion with Jess Lamb from Lander PR about the various roles and responsibilities that someone who works in PR has.
Also, furthering this we go on to shine a little light on some techniques and the reasoning behind them in order to get artists placed in the correct publications.
As a bit of background and as found on the Lander PR website:
“Lander PR has been established for over 20 years. Prior to the creation of Lander PR, Judd Lander was a leading session musician who has contributed to a host of No.1 hit singles and albums over the years.
His wealth of experience (as director at a number of the major record labels) coupled with appearances as both a musician & PR executive has allowed him to build up a great rapport with all the leading National TV & Radio executives and decision makers and with it, the creation of a much sought after database”.
We would like to personally thank Jess for taking time out to answer the questions below.
How have your experiences growing up helped to shape you in undertaking a career in music PR?
For me personally, maintaining an interest in music in a variety of ways. Growing up I always played instruments, from the good old primary school recorder to later moving on to the piano and now I play the drums. Although, educationally, I didn’t pursue music – I actually studied English and Philosophy – I was still very much active on the music side by going to gigs and hosting a show on my University Radio. I then spent my summer breaks escaping the overdraft via working at various festivals and from there, the decision was easy…
What does music PR mean to you?
To me PR is like a fifth limb – it’s that extra arm that reaches out our media with our artists product in hand. To continue the metaphor… not everyone has one (which is fine!) but those who do understand it is an integral part, which I why when I work with artists I ensure a close working relationship and that we are all of the understanding that it is a collaborative process and together we are a team!
What is the most memorable campaign that you have worked on to date and why?
That’s hard – every campaign is memorable for their own reasons!
However, working with Hanson… There’s something very surreal having grown up watching them on screen as global popstars to then standing face to face discussing camera’s with Taylor in Starbucks, super casual!
At what point in an artists growth would you advise them to seek out music PR?
I think this comes down to a number of things…When:
They have a product – whether this be an EP or album, with lead/follow-up singles in mind. We get sent A LOT of demos from bands, which although we can advise on, we can’t actually do a lot with in terms of PR.
They’re willing to listen – as PR we have best interests at heart and so any advice we give is for the benefit of the artist! Those who are able to put their ego’s aside and take on board feedback are those who will grow and develop!
They have a get-go attitude – the more you get, the further you will go! Obviously, for every artist, the aim is sky high – we’re not silly… we know a spin on Radio 1 or having an article in NME is the dream but it’s the crumbs that make a loaf. We encourage our artists to be involved on as many levels as possible, from that local regional station to supporting the independent blog who popped your track on their Spotify playlist, it all counts!
What important qualities do you feel should be reflected by an individual working in PR?
There are, of course, a couple of the basic qualities for PR. Being organised would be a good start – you’re not just looking after yourself, you’re also looking after your artists. Being resilient is key, for every front door, there is a side door – when you can’t get through the front, try the side…and if the side’s locked… then start building your own door. And being confident, you can’t convince the media if you don’t sound like you’ve convinced yourself.
These aside, I think most importantly, you bring your own flavour. PR is about building relationships and human relationships – you are a person behind the e-mail, you have a personality – use it!
There is a lot of flavour in our office…
How do you approach a new campaign and what elements are crucial to seeing success?
I approach every campaign differently, as every artist campaign has different requirements. The one thing that remains consistent across the commencing of all campaigns is that the goals are clear from the start, meaning my focus is tight from the get-go!
For me communication is the most crucial element for success; communication between me and my artist and communication between me and the media. Of course, me and my artist need to have a mutual understanding of our direction and goals and to achieve these goals, it is essential I am communicating with the media – in the right way! Unlike advertising, where you can buy space/time*, PR requires justification as to why that space/time should be given to your artist – which is where my communication comes in!
*by space and time I mean placement in magazines/websites and slots on the radio.
How important is client strategy and how do you factor this into your direction for the campaign?
Having a strategy is important – as with most things, you can’t move forward effectively without a plan of action in place. What this strategy is, however, is less important – every artist has a different strategy and that is totally fine! There are no real rules anymore as to how an artist should release, which is the beauty of it. Some artists approach us with a clear release plan, which is great, whereas others don’t and together we can form one, which is no problem at all.
In terms of factoring in to my campaigns, it just means I am ever adapting my artist timeline – a little variety doesn’t hurt anybody!
How do you incorporate the ever-changing social media landscape to benefit your clients?
For us, the ever-growing social media landscape is a benefit to music promotion. With platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we can connect our media and our artists in a whole variety of ways! We often use these pages to share our artists achievements, whether this be a video premiere or radio spin, and to pass our thanks on to those involved, for example the publication or particular radio show – at the same time connecting the two! The overall aim is to guide media and fans to the social media pages of our artists.
What media sources do you follow regularly and why?
Working for a PR agency specialising in radio, online and television promotions, it is essential I am regularly engaged in all. So in short, my day to day means that I cover all of these and specifically what one’s are purely dependent on the artists I’m working at each point.
From a personal side, I source a lot of my ‘music news’ from the larger sites ie Pigeons and Planes, Clash, i-D etc. but when it comes to sourcing new music, I know the smaller sites are where the real gems lie!
What is your best advice for those who are looking to enter the world of music PR?
Don’t expect a 9-5, no homework job – PR doesn’t stop when you walk out of the office! Clocking out of this type of job, when you’re constantly surrounded by both media and music, is hard. All it takes is one idea to stem from a radio show I’d been listening to on my journey home and I’ll be straight on my e-mails trying to make it happen or in the gym on my mobile talking it through to one of my artists. Full-time involvement is key.
But aside from that, I say go for it! I love my job – I get to talk about music every day, it doesn’t get any better than that for me! I work with so many amazing people from musicians, to media, to my barmy office here at Lander – who make sure no day is the same! I feel very fortunate. J