The moment someone speaks of his or her profession as a banker, minister, creative director or cinematographer, a reasonable clear picture of their occupation is painted in the mind. But for publicists, numerous people are mostly confused at the occupation, some even go to the extent of posing questions like, what exactly is the work of publicists?.
Till now, I’m mystified as to why the work of publicists in Ghana is seriously undervalued. Some or most of our music celebrities do not see the essence of employing publicists or PR specialists in their team(s). Employing publicists is not limited to only entertainers, every public figure in one way or the other surely needs the services of a publicist. Numerous public figures (musicians) are fortunate enough to swing from one success to the other, this is because they have apt management team running their affairs professionally and they also understand what it means to employ publicists; yet it’s not a norm. On a large scale, the few circle of people who fathom the importance and reasons of employing publicists is their zeal to tell the world their stories, projects, events, grow their audience & bridge a gap between themselves and the media (local / international). It works like magic.
The primary aim for this article is to clarify and explain what it means to employ a passionate and professional publicist. Before I throw more light on who a publicist is, just as artists work extraordinary hard to create their work and yield extraordinary results, same applies to publicists.
Who is a publicist?
A publicist is (also known as a public relations specialist) someone who generates media coverage for their client in order to promote them to the public. A publicist serves as a bridge between their client and the public, by the use of media outlets. Day-to-day duties of a publicist depends on who the client is, their goals, plans, etc but promotion is always the focal point. Basically the work of a publicist is to influence public perception by using strategic communication.
Below is a list of duties of publicists:
• Help write speeches, media alerts, biographies, newsletters, blogs etc.
• Manage any crisis.
• Oversee their client’s image (work with a fashion stylist if needed).
• Put together an EPK (an electronic press kit).
• Pitch their client to the media.
• Make sure all branding is cohesive.
• Scan the media for any mentions, both positive and negative.
• Draft press releases.
• Manage any social media activity.
• Plan events and press conferences.
• Schedule interviews.
With the points stated above, I genuinely believe I have attached weight to the duties of a publicist.
Take into consideration acts like Stonebwoy, Sarkodie, Samini and Shatta Wale. They are always in the news for one reason or the other. One would ask, why did I single out the acts? The answer is very simple, they’re not just ordinary acts; they are smart business men who understand the rule of showbiz and understand what it means to employ publicists. The relationship between the names mentioned above and their publicists is what stretches the creativity of both parties to find ways of tempting the media to bite. This means uncovering more depth and layers in their work than what the artist anticipates for.
Over the years, my checks as a publicist I have come to the realization that most ambitious public figures (artists, actors, djs, etc) who are striving hard to reach the apogee of their career do not understand the importance of publicity. They’re unsure of what to expect from publicists. The moment you find yourself in the creative industry particularly music, you need to understand how publicity works, it’s importance, impact and the weight it carries. If every artist, be it upcoming or already established should employ publicists, hold them in high esteem and value their services, there’s high chances of accentuating their brands and personalities in the public eye.
I believe this article will make for better cooperation and communication between artists and their publicists is pursuit of a common goal.
(Written by: John Claude Tamakloe)