An Interview with Janelle Rogers of Green Light Go Publicity: What is PR and how can it help your band?

An Interview with Janelle Rogers of Green Light Go Publicity: What is PR and how can it help your band?

For the independent artist there are numerous decisions you have to make on a daily basis. From the amount of information you post daily on social media, figuring out when to release music (as well as figuring out how you’re going to pay to record said music) the task may seem daunting and a little overwhelming. Luckily for you there are people out there who would like to help and want to see your band succeed. If you’ve ever thought about hiring someone to do PR for your band but weren’t quite sure how to get the ball rolling this article is for you.

Recently I 30822_397142031985_1510834_n had the chance to talk to Janelle Rogers of Green Light Go Publicity. You may recognize quite a number of artists we’ve featured are a part of the Green Light Go Roster. From Vincent Colbert, to Victoria Canal, to We/Or/Me just to name a few; Green Light Go is one of our allies in the fight to keep independent music and musicians afloat. Founded in 2002, Rogers and her team have provided coverage for album and single releases for bands and artists all over the world.  Rogers talked to me all about what PR is and how helpful it can be to musicians who need some help getting their music out there. From how to submit, the warning signs to watch out for, and tips for those who want to get into PR themselves, Rogers was a bevy of useful information. Read the interview below, and take the poll to let us know if and how PR has worked for you and your band!


 What is PR and how can PR benefit the independent artist?


PR, which stands for public relations, is how your music – typically an album, EP, single or video release is disseminated to the media and general public. This can include mp3 posts, single reviews, album reviews, airplay or interviews. It can also include direct contact with fans through newsletters and social media.


The ultimate goal of PR is to increase public awareness on a band by increasing their fanbase, social networking followers and potential revenue. If you find yourself continuing to play to the same family and friends, a good pr campaign can potentially grow your fan base outside of that and increase how many people are hearing your music.

DO’s and Don’ts you can tell us for how to submit your band to a PR company?


First, make sure your music is the right fit for the company you are approaching. For instance, we focus solely on indie folk, dream pop, indie rock, synth pop and folk/Americana. These are the genres we feel most passionate about and also where we have the best relationships with media to deliver results for our clients. We often have hip hop bands approach us about working together and while I personally like hip hop, I often tell them hiring us would be the biggest mistake they would ever make. This is simply because we don’t have the relationships with the type of media to deliver a successful campaign.

Make sure you include links to your website, social networks and a place where they can stream the music you want them to promote. You should NOT send attached mp3 or even worse wav files without permission from the pr company first.

You want to make sure the company will be passionate about your music and not just take the project because they need to pay their rent, mortgage or payroll that month. You should also not bring your own financial situation into it or start off by saying, “We don’t have any money, but want to work with you.” That tells the pr company you aren’t ready for the type of assistance they can provide.


What services do you offer at Green Light Go?


Our forte is national album and EP releases which also include individual single releases within the campaign. This is where we have the strongest relationships, have proven results and have developed effective strategies to increase our success rates. I take quality very seriously and only want to do what we do best. We also do something a bit different than other pr firms where we look at it as a partnership between both parties. I’ll give the client tips on how they can help achieve the goals on their end while we’re increasing efforts on our end to hit those goals. When we work in tandem there’s always a greater chance of success.

What we don’t offer is tour press, individual single campaigns or radio, and video promotion campaigns. That said we can recommend companies for those types of campaigns.

.               There seem to be just as many boutique PR companies as artists who need them. What tips can you give to help an artist find a good publicity firm that isn’t out just to get their money? Are there any warning signs right off the bat they should be aware of?


This goes back to the second question about making sure the company is the right fit for your music. We turn down a lot of bands who come our way. However, if time permits I will send a query to a publicist group I work with to help the band find the right fit.  Because I don’t always know who contacts them I wrote an article “5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Firm” to help with the process. Ultimately you should make sure they know who to target and they’ve seen results at outlets where you want press. It’s much easier to get a large outlet to cover a band who is known than who isn’t known, so you need to look at what type of track record they have with unknown and emerging artists as well.

What advice can you give to anyone who wants to get their foot in the door in the world of PR


First and foremost, be able to handle rejection. When I first started 14 years ago I thankfully had a mentor to help me learn everything I needed to know. I remember calling her and telling her that I had contacted 100 people and only one had responded. Her response, “That’s what happens.” It’s still true to this day that my first round of pitches may only round up about 10 responses after 100 pitches. You just have to keep chipping away at it.


Second, I often say I think more like a journalist than a publicist. I’m not just looking at how it will benefit me, but also considering the journalist’s time, what he or she would be interested in hearing or covering the band, and what would most be appealing to the journalist (which can be very different to what is appealing both to the band and the publicist).


Lastly, if you work in PR you are a mediator more than anything else. You have to be ready to be the bad guy in most situations. If you don’t secure press at an outlet, the band will first blame you before they blame the outlet for not covering the band. If you follow up with the media contact, the media contact may blame you for being an annoying pest before blaming the band for pushing the publicist into it. Over the years, I’ve learned how to weather those two sides by doing two things. One, as annoyed as the blogger may be that I’m following up, bands pay us a lot of money to secure press for them. And although I understand the blogger’s frustration especially when they aren’t being paid or work another job on top of it, this is the job they chose and publicist’s annoying follow up emails unfortunately come with it. On the flipside, I also have to balance being persistent without pestering, so oftentimes I will be frank with the band and tell them I can’t go back to the media contact yet (or sometimes at all).


Are you taking on any new clients? If so, how would an artist go about contacting you?


We do limit our roster size so we can provide quality, so we often book a minimum of a month in advance. That said, yes we are taking clients! We are also very specific about the types of clients we add to our roster. Like I’ve mentioned earlier we only work with indie folk, dream pop, indie rock, synth pop and Americana. And we have to feel passionate about the band. In addition, we look for hard workers with definitive goals and the understanding of the importance of giving back.


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