Feature Image: some artists working with Fritz Media. Clockwise from left: Bukola, Buckman Coe on CTV, Neon Empty and Sarah Jickling
Jen Fritz has spent many years at the helm of publicity for music artists – including for Debbie Harry, Nikki Sixx, and the Barenaked Ladies.
We asked her to share her top tips for singers as they seek to share their music, their lives and their projects online.
It’s such a crowded place out there online! What is something you’ve seen a singer or group do to punch through?
It is really hard to punch through the noise these days and to be honest, the best thing you can do is just create the best music you can. If you have an incredible song or album, people will find you. It may take longer than you’d like but, believe me, if you are creating good music – you’re half-way there.
So there is no “secret” to online fame?
That’s right – there’s no trick to it or easy way to get there. I mean, of course, there are some ways to punch through to get more people to hear your music, but all of that starts with having music that connects with people in the first place. I think the best advice I have for punching through the noise is to create amazing music and BE AUTHENTIC. If you start there, you’re on the right track.
One thing that singers and groups should keep in mind in their online sharing?
CONTEXT. Something that I see over and over again, is musicians sharing their music to their social media channels with absolutely no context. They might share their new video and not say anything about it. Or, they just say something like – “Check out our new video!”.
What steps do they need to take when sharing?
It’s important to remember that you have control of the narrative at all times and are creating your story for your fans. If you’re sharing a new song or video, say something about it when posting. Add information about the song or video (maybe tell the story behind it?) and tell people when it’s out and how they can purchase or stream your music.
Common fails when it comes to singers/groups promoting their music online?
Musicians sometimes don’t think about the bigger picture when they’re promoting their music. If you have a new single or album coming out and you and your team are promoting it, make sure that all of your online information is up to date. What I mean by that is – if I was a journalist or blogger and I wanted to find out more about you, would I be able to do that if I went to your website or Facebook page?
You’re recommending that singers do a kind of quick online audit?
Yes! All of your information should be current on your website and social media channels. Your bio should be up to date everywhere and you should have a well-written bio, downloadable high-res photos and album art, and tour dates available on your website. And make sure your social headers say that you have a new single or album coming out! The branding should be clear and concise across all online platforms.
A singer has worked hard to produce a single. They want to share it with the world. Should they just go ahead and post it on their socials?
It depends. Is the single part of an EP or album that you’re planning on releasing? If so, you should develop a release plan with your publicist/team and have a well thought out strategy in place before just putting it out there to the world.
So singers should pause and think through a plan before they share a new song…
Always remember that once it’s out there, that’s it. You can’t pull it back in. We have many artists that contact us after their single is released to ask for our publicity help. Sadly, we can’t do anything once it’s released. We work with our clients in developing their single and album roll-outs months in advance of the release date, so keep that in mind when contacting a publicist to work with you. We recommend our clients contact us 3-6 months ahead of their release dates. You get one shot to release your new music to the world. So, isn’t it better to have a well-executed plan in place instead of just shooting it out into the ether?
Are there exceptions to this well-executed plan?
Yes – if the song is just a fun track that you wrote that weekend and you want to share it with your fans, then by all means, go ahead and share it on your socials via something like IG live or reels or even TikTok.
A story of a singer/group who had a small local audience which they reached beyond…
I don’t have a specific story to tell here but I will say that in the instances where I have seen this happen, it has all started with the artist creating great music and being authentic. I know one singer-songwriter who started doing an email list right at the beginning of his career. He’d have email sign-up sheets at every single show and he’d send out personal and authentic email updates to those people on a consistent basis. He continued to do this, as his career took off. As a result his fans see him as a friend because they’ve been a part of his journey from the beginning. Making smart choices at the beginning of your career can often make a huge difference in how your music career progresses.
Musician comms on Socials – common fails and your top tips?
I would say the most common fail I see from artists is just an overall lack of posting and engagement on their socials. I know it’s hard to be a musician in 2021 because there is so much that you have to do. But it’s important to make sure that you post and engage on your socials on a consistent basis. You don’t have to post every single day but you should have some sort of schedule or idea of how many times you’re going to post on each social media platform every week.
What do you recommend to help with regular posting?
A scheduler like Buffer or Facebook Creator to schedule your posts in advance, so that you can pre-plan and don’t feel so overwhelmed. I would also recommend spending 15-20 minutes every morning, engaging with your followers on each platform. Reply to or like the comments on your posts, and engage with other people on each social media platform. Engagement and activity is rewarded by the algorithm on most platforms (especially Instagram), so this is a must!
When should a singer think about hiring a publicity/PR firm like yours?
I always recommend that artists DIY it for a while so that they can learn all aspects of the music industry by doing it themselves. If you understand exactly what it is that a music publicist does because you’ve spent some time acting as your own publicist, pitching your music to blogs and playlisters yourself, you’re going to be able to see the value in having a publicist when you finally do hire one. And after you do it yourself for a while, you’ll KNOW when you’re ready to hire someone to do it for you. It’s hard work!
Ahhh – you’ve used the word “publicist”. Can you define that word?
Of course! So we do “music publicity” which means we reach out to media outlets on our client’s behalf. We pitch them and try to get them to listen to their music and write about it – or do an interview with them or book them on a TV or radio show for a live performance or review the album or whatever other opportunities there may be. Depending on the campaign – we pitch traditional media outlets (print, TV and radio) and digital outlets (blogs, podcasts, etc). We also do some Spotify playlist pitching as well. Some publicists do this and some don’t. There are playlisting/marketing companies that do this specifically. So basically, we help you to craft your story. Then we pitch it to media outlets to see if they’re interested in helping us get the word out about your music.
And digital marketing is a part of this work?
Yes. We also do digital marketing which for us means you can hire us to help with your social media strategy and/or social media advertising. Terms like “digital marketer” or “social media consultant” can mean different things depending on the person/company. There’s no one set meaning. For example, we have a social media side to our business but we don’t do social media management. We help with strategy and content but we don’t do the posting for our clients. So basically, when hiring a company to help with your publicity or social media, you’ll have to clarify with them to see what exactly their services are.
So you want singers to be self-educated marketers?
Yes – it’s important for artists to educate themselves on all aspects of the music industry as much as possible. If you’re hiring a company for publicity or digital advertising, make sure you understand what those services are before you ask someone to do them for you. There is a wealth of information available for musicians on the internet – especially on YouTube and TikTok – so search away!
When do you decide to take on a client?
We look at their social numbers and online engagement, the amount of press that they have to-date, and we listen to the music. If we like the music and after looking at their socials/press we feel comfortable moving forward, we then check to see if it fits into our schedule. So when approaching a publicist, make sure you all your ducks are in a row!
Produced by Fritz Media, The FM Podcast is all about the music industry! Hosted by Jen Fritz, The FM Podcast features a different music industry guest + topic each week. Increase your knowledge + learn how to navigate the ever changing business of music, while enjoying a great conversation!