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The Value of PR

Vicky Pitchers of VJP Media blogs for the Musicians’ Union (MU) on the value of PR, and how doing PR well can help end the cycle of being asked to work for free this Young Workers’ Month.

For years, PR professionals struggled to assign a value to press cuttings which led to the creation of an ‘Advertising Value Equivalent’ (AVE). The AVE valued clips based on the paid advertising equivalent, essentially placing a monetary value on a PR placement. This was driven by a client’s need to understand the monetary value of what many considered a dark art. This proved way to simple a solution and did not take into account the fact that you cannot advertise in certain media, for example the BBC.

PR is so much more than the placement of a story or article. PR is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. It happens whether you want it to or not, when you communicate with others and not just the media.

The ‘value’ of PR means different things to different people, and can only be backed up by demonstrating an outcome. Your outcome could be different to your peers, and may be different for each campaign you run. You may want to secure a concert or CD review from a respected journalist, or you may want to secure an interview slot with performance on a radio show in order to share your story.

The key understanding the value of PR is to figure out what constitutes success to you. Is it visits to your website, the number of downloads of a new album, new sign ups to your newsletter or the contact details of a well respected journalist? All of these successes involve building and maintaining trust in the relationships you are developing; from your audience, to the media and funders. If you overlook this then it doesn’t matter how many articles you ‘place’ or interviews you secure, they become meaningless without an understanding of what you are trying to achieve by getting them.

Good PR done successfully communicates value in a number of different ways, and can play a part in ending the vicious cycle of being asked to perform for little or no money. At one end of the spectrum, when you understand the value of what you do, you don’t want to give that away for free. The stronger the relationships you have with your audiences, the less likely people will be to ask you to perform for free as you are more likely to sell CD’s or fill a club.

You can also demonstrate value by the type and breadth of coverage you have achieved as part of a campaign. A strong performance or interview on a radio show enables you to align yourself with the good reputation of that radio show.

Good PR used effectively will build strong relationships and maintain a sound reputation at all times, connecting you to your audiences through more than just your music and you can’t place a value on that. 


To find out more about Young Workers’ Month and get involved, email Maddy Radcliff (MU Campaigns & Public Affairs Official) via maddy.radcliff@theMU.org.

Published: 02/11/2017

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