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If you’re in business, you’re probably familiar with the term PR, short for public relations. In a nutshell, PR refers to the process of managing how others see and feel about a person, brand, or company. Simple enough but the implications are far reaching.

For example, if people feel good about a certain company, they’re likely to conduct business with it. If they like a performer, they’ll buy their music, etc. If marketing is about communicating a message, PR is about communicating a feeling. As you can imagine, there’s good PR and bad PR. A news story comes out about a chemical company that dumps its waste into a local river … bad PR. Another chemical company hosts a town meeting and presents different ways in which they’re trying to reduce waste while investing in community projects … good PR. The following are some considerations to help generate good PR for your music business.

First is to be true to yourself. Don’t try to anticipate what your customers or audience will want to hear. Convey what’s real for you on your website and via social media posts, and that will attract those who share those values or qualities, or at the very least respect your honesty. Pandering is almost guaranteed to backfire and there’s no need. Authenticity and subsequent transparency will help build trust and garner genuine interaction with customers or fans. People can relate to the truth. Today’s customers or fans also want to know what’s behind the person or business with whom they’re engaging. If you support certain charities or causes, make it known how and why you support them. Collectively, we tend to support people and companies who pay it forward, especially if we participate in the same causes.

PR often involves media and the press. Afterall, that’s how word gets out. If you’re a popular performer or run a sizable music business, consider hiring a PR agency. Not only can they help create articles, stories, and press releases that can generate positive PR, they can also help with damage control should you receive bad PR. Often times, you can turn bad PR into good PR by addressing issues with a professional approach. If you receive inquiries from journalists, podcasters, influencers, etc., always respond in a timely manner and make time to address their inquiries.

Social media is the PR wild west. As you’ve probably noticed with this medium, people will say or do almost anything. And when it comes to reviews, people tend to leave bad reviews more readily than positive ones. Regarding you or your music business, respond to reviews quickly. A professional and action-oriented response can turn bad PR into good PR. For example: someone leaves a bad review about an instrument they recently purchased from your store—let’s say the mouthpiece on their new clarinet is loose. Your response: I’m sorry to hear about the issue you had with your recent purchase. Please contact me at (email address) and we’ll arrange a time at your earliest convenience to fix the mouthpiece or replace the instrument if necessary. Would you continue doing business with a music store that responded that way? Absolutely!

In the digital age, it’s more important than ever to cultivate solid PR practices. Once something appears online, it will exist somewhere in the cloud indefinitely—and that applies to positive PR as well. PR is a tool. Use it wisely and your music business will run like a well-oiled machine.