Music labels often have in-house PR firms, but independent artists do not. This leaves indie rappers wondering whether to hire a public relations (PR) agent to help promote music, or if they should handle the marketing on their own?

Here is your answer.

Your budget

When deciding whether to hire a PR firm or self-promote on your own, the first thing to consider is your budget. Business owners on average, across industries, spend about 10% of their revenue on marketing.

If you are just starting up, you may need to pay a higher percentage of your income just to generate awareness about your sound.

Think about how much you are making per month, and then ask yourself how much of your profits you can realistically spend on PR. This should give you a good idea of whether you can afford to hire out.

What kind of marketing experience do you have?

Even if you can afford to hire a PR firm, you don’t necessarily want to. If you have marketing experience, it may be wise to do your marketing on your own. “Marketing experience” doesn’t mean that you worked as a marketer.

Your marketing experience could be related to the way you engage with people on a day to day basis. Do you have experience in building relationships and motivating and influencing others? You might have more marketing know-how than you think.

The grey areas

The decision to hire out or promote on your own is not black and white. There are some grey areas. For example, you might want to hire a social media manager, but continue to do all of your other promotions on your own.

You may also hire someone to build a website for your band, and then take over content creation once the site’s foundation is in place.

Trade time for promotion

When you are first starting out, and very few people know about your music, you might have a non-existent budget. You might need to work in exchange for promotion opportunities, like playing a gig in exchange for access to professional audio equipment, ad space, printing fees, or design costs.

However, make sure you don’t give away your time if you don’t see concrete returns. Heather McDonald, experienced in show promotion, states “As a general rule of thumb, you should never pay for intangible exposure”.

As you decide whether or not to hire help with your PR efforts, you’ll need to think about your budget. How much can you afford to spend? If you have marketing experience, it might make sense for you to self-promote.

You could also do a mix between the two– ask for help in the areas that you don’t know how to manage and do what you can on your own. Trading your time in exchange for exposure is a good idea only if you can see the results.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.