11 PR lessons culled from a failed music career

How free pizza and ‘flyering the gig’ translate into smart marketing communications.

It might be hard to believe, if you looked at me now, but a full-time music career and pursuit of rock-and-roll stardom preceded my foray into marketing and public relations.

But what I learned as a starving artist back in the early ’90s taught me the basics of nearly everything I do today as a marcom professional. In order for us band members to survive, it was all about promotion … and I mean “survive” literally. Here, then, are the 11 lessons I look back on and draw upon even today (musicians always “go to 11”):

1. Video killed the radio star. The birth of MTV in the early ’80s reshaped the music industry. Video gave adoring fans instant access to the personalities behind the music, and labels had to rethink the way they packaged their artists. It was not enough to sound good anymore, you had to visually appeal to your fans and give them a side of you the music couldn’t otherwise convey.

Brands and B2B marketers need to do the same. Video conveys personality, passion, and persona far better than the written word, yet many businesses are reluctant to leverage the power of what can be extremely affordable video communications.

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