Today I’ve been engaged in a healthy exchange with a PR person about a possible festival trip. The exchange centred around press accreditation for the festival and whether or not the associated travel costs would, in line with previous years gone by and other festivals I’ve attended be covered or not.
This year, those travel costs aren’t being met. Part of that is because this year I don’t have any 3rd party publications interested in taking any content. One of them responded to a pitch saying ‘we’ve done that festival to death’; another recognised platform doesn’t even pay its writers (though demands copyright – bizarre). There are only so many places for content. If no-one will pick it up then I reckon it has a more valued home on my own blog.
My beef isn’t necessarily about the festival in question. Rather the rusty views that underpin some operations regarding the credibility of a niche yet popular non-revenue generating publication like mine.
Many industry professionals regard this blog and others like it as not being legitimate because it lacks credibility – this compared to established brands who have expenses budgets but whose commissioning policy is odd, it’s journalism shonky, and it’s revenue model not geared towards the content providers it needs in order to maintain its ‘credibility’.
Many talk about how there’s no money in content. I believe there is. I’ve had many conversations amongst people being paid to raise awareness of artists and festivals about considering alternative revenue models which benefit the passioned advocate who has worked hard to build an audience. Only a few of them perceive an exchange of money between PR and content producer as being detrimental to the end product. A handful remain true. Others need to catch up. These people contradict themselves: they want people at the party but they only want the right people at the party. That’s the definition of a clique.
If you’re someone looking for coverage (whether you’re a PR or even an artist commissioning PR services) then stop thinking that mainstream brands are your only route to awareness-raising and reputation-building. Stop regarding independent writers who advocate your brand, write passionately and knowledgeably about your work as mere hobbyists. The time we spend to craft content that celebrates your brilliance has cost as much time and dedication as it has any musician, actor, or indeed journalist.