The Catalyst Publicity Group | CEO & Publicity Director: Jen Appel
Muzik Lounge: What makes you different? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: I hate to think of other PR firms as competition but rather influences. I look at other firms and think “wow one day I hope I can accomplish everything and more of what they are doing”. I really look up to the other major music PR firms out there. I think what makes Catalyst Group different is my utter passion to help others. I am first and foremost a fan of all things music. The fact that I get to wake up and help these artists in their dream is the most rewarding feeling.
Muzik Lounge: Are you growing as a company? At what rate?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: I am growing rather quickly. I remember the time I told my family “I hope I have at least 3-4 artists” now Catalyst Group has 13 in just over one month. Talk about a hectic month! I’ve also added in a Publicity Manager (Chrissy Borsellino) who is just incredible to work with.
Muzik Lounge: What are you most proud/excited about your company?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: I am most proud that I started the firm. It has been a dream of mine since I was in college to one day open my own PR firm. But the most proud moment was having one of my very first bosses at a small-PR firm in my hometown (Fort Lauderdale) congratulate me on the start of Catalyst. It was a crazy feeling. I look/ed up to her and always wanted what she had. Last, I am most excited that I am proving my critics wrong. I had a lot of people tell me I wouldn’t make it, to go find a job doing anything, but I proved them wrong and that is the best feeling in the world.
Muzik Lounge: What is your day-to-day responsibilities?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: My day-to-day responsibilities consist of anything including finances, pitching, conference calls, drafting press releases, and handling social media. For my finances I have to make sure that any invoices have been sent out, checks are deposited, and everything is calculated properly. Next, I do any follow-ups with artists that have received proposals and set up calls to further discuss working together. Then, I go straight into my work (the thing I love the most)! I run all of my artists social media accounts, so I sweep through each artist do any updates, posts, and evaluate what will need to be accomplished for the day. After that, I follow up on pitches, confirm interviews/features with publications, chat up a bit with some of my artists, and send out any e-blasts/press releases. Honestly, each day is totally different!
Muzik Lounge: How many clients do you currenttly work with?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: I currently work with 13 artists!
Muzik Lounge: What approach do you take when promoting a client's product or service?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: Oh! This is hard! It truly depends on the artist, their style, and what level of artist they are. Also, it depends on the product I am delivering to the media. I take a lot of time really tailoring a campaign for the best results so when I promote it is extremely strategic and detailed. It has to be the right publication, the right editor, and the right feature in order for me to promote a single/music video/album for example to that publication/editor.
Muzik Lounge: What do you look for when approaching a potential client?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: First, I look at social media. Not for the numbers (that isn’t fair) but for what fans are saying. They are family to the artist and that is important to me. You could have 30 likes on Facebook but the craziest fans. See when you pitch a publication it isn’t just about landing the feature it is about the promotional aspect after the post. How are fans going to react when an artist gives their story behind a new single. Will they be excited, share the status etc? That is important. Second, I listen to the music. Now I am no A&R rep but I have to feel the music. I have to connect to the artist. After all I’ll be promoting it. See, when I am at work I only listen to my artists. It motivates me that if they put this time into their music I should be working just as hard (weird, I know). Third, I look at their attempt to brand themselves. Now, I know not everyone has the graphic design, social media, or website building talent/skill, but did the artist/band put an effort into their pages. It is hard to take a band seriously if they don’t have proper branding (logo, website, links to purchase music). Fourth and last, I have to have a connection with the artist/band on our calls or e-mail exchanges. This is imperative. Having that connection with a potential client makes the entire relationship function.
Muzik Lounge: How do you integrate traditional PR with social media?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: I always integrate traditional PR into everything I do especially social media. Before I started working in music, I worked for several PR firms that utilized traditional PR methods, not to mention getting my Masters in Public Relations engraved that method in my head. When it comes to social media there is a real strategy and having a campaign plan is crucial. What are your goals for the page (Facebook/Twitter/etc)? How are you going to convey your message to fans? How are you going to craft a solid bio/description that cleverly delivers who you are as an artist? And what initiatives do you wish to use when Tweeting for example. Will you only Tweet a few times a day about xxx or are you posting everything? There is a real strategy that is similar to traditional PR.
Muzik Lounge: Lastly, how proactive is your team?
The Catalyst Publicity Group: We are extraordinarily proactive. As I write this out, Chrissy is attending CMJ Music Conference learning from experts in the field at different panels. We have been discussing the various showcases/festivals/conferences we will attend in the future. Moreover, I am constantly roaming through Facebook/Twitter and major news outlets for everything trending. It is important to stay abreast of this industry. Not to mention staying on top of PR trends. On a monthly basis I sit it on various webinars to learn about everything from social media to re-crafting your pitching method. I am also a member of Public Relations Society of America where I attend meetings every quarter and mingle with other PR pros in my area. Chrissy is a current member of Women in PR, a group of out NYC where she does the same thing. Most importantly, we are proactive with maintaining our relationships within the industry. In order to have a presence in this industry keeping in contact with editors, making lasting friendships and connecting with them is imperative.
Thank you so much Muzik Lounge for featuring The Catalyst Publicity Group. For more information head over to our Facebook.com/TheCatalystPublicityGroup (new website coming soon).
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