The role press plays in an artist’s career is often misunderstood and mismanaged. Too frequently teams shell out thousands of dollars with lofty expectations and are met with disappointment. But it shouldn’t be that way.
Enter Danielle Quebrado Jimenez, founder of No Other Agency. The PR firm – which prides itself on values like community, warmth, and profitability – serves as the mouthpiece for a roster of some of music’s most respected acts, including Carla Morrison, Baby Rose, Sevdaliza, Jean Dawson, and Vans.We spoke with Danielle to help us create a unique set of criteria you and your team should consider to optimize for the best working dynamic with a publicist, and how to give them the best chance at success.
Do you have a unique world worth attention?
Publicists can’t do their jobs if they feel as if the message they’re promoting is half-baked or non-existent. Checking the box to make sure the music is top quality, your social media presence is up-to-date, and there’s a fresh narrative to tell beyond just being an artist is the first step to getting the most out of your investment.
“You probably have seen artists who are talented, but their [social media presence] is messy and all over the place. It turns you off, right? If you see someone that has great visuals, great artwork, there’s a world. Many artists think, ‘I’m just going to make these songs, give them to publicists, and make it work.’ That’s not how it works anymore, especially after Covid when bandwidths are so much tighter. It’s very hard to have someone believe in something that isn’t a thing yet.”
Do you have credibility?
“Creative collaborations and [individuals] you align yourself with can be key for you because of the association they can create. Brand opportunities aren’t necessarily a press thing, but it gives a sense of credibility to an artist’s career, which pushes things along.”
“You’ll see big brand partnerships with different artists that are bubbling, and then they get that partnership and it takes them there. For example, I work with Serena Isioma, who’s very much just getting going, and they have this really beautiful Vans partnership for Pride month. That’s a big deal and that definitely catapults their profile into a bigger mainstream space.”
Large followings and streaming numbers don’t necessarily dictate whether or not you’re press-ready. Still, publicists need talking points. Brand collaborations, features, touring news, and the like all aid in giving your publicist the best opportunities to succeed on your behalf.
“There are also a bunch of things you can do on social media. A lot of artists think a publicist is the only way they can get their message out there, but there are several artists who don’t have [PR] teams and build a cult following just off of their social media voice.”
Is the relationship genuine or transactional?
Building a relationship with your publicist that’s predicated on consistent communication and transparency can get them more inspired about what you’re trying to do as a public figure, artist, and individual. With that invigoration comes a champion who’s willing to go to war to make sure your message is heard.
“It blows my mind that so many artists don’t have relationships with their publicists. They don’t even know them! That is so crazy to me, especially if you’re an artist that has something to say that has some depth. You want to say something with your art but you don’t have a relationship with a publicist – that seems pretty tough, right?”
Are your goals realistic?
“I’ve had both big and small artists come to me and tell me immediately that they want to be on a cover. That is a red flag for me. I pass on artists like that for the most part.”
We get it, if you’re investing a large sum of money into something like press, you want an ROI. But press is about the long game and there is no certainty that an outlet will pick your story up. According to Danielle, if anyone guarantees they can land coverage, “you need to run away because that’s not a good publicist.”
Why are you choosing this publicist?
“Certain publicists fit certain artists and clients. A lot of artists think [choosing a PR team] comes down to, ‘Well, they do cool stuff, so I’m just going to go with them.’ Then, what happens is that you see these artists and managers who are deeply unhappy with their experience with a publicist because there was a disconnect there.”
The process for choosing a publicist should include some research on their past work, but that shouldn’t be the only criteria for pulling the trigger. Danielle’s firm selects their clients based on conversation, rapport, and facts that can’t be Googled – they even go as far as to provide mental health support.
“Yes, we’ll get you press but we really do some real healing work, which is special and what a lot of people want.”