Muddy Paw PR is a full service entertainment public relations and digital marketing boutique based in Boston, MA.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! I’m Angela, I run entertainment public relations company Muddy Paw PR, as well as music blog Infectious Magazine. I have 6 years of music industry experience wearing many different hats, from publicist, to manager, writer, editor, interviewer, booking agent, promoter. I love every minute of it.
What drove you to choose your career path?
As with most amazing things in life, it was completely serendipitous. Six years ago I was waiting to see my favorite band, when the opener just blew me away. I was so enamored with their stage presence, their music, the way they catered to the audience, that I just felt so compelled to interview them. Then I thought, “why stop there? Why not do this for other amazing bands?” And so, Infectious was born. About a year and a half ago I realized that having been on the receiving end of press releases for so long, I had a strong idea of what did and didn’t work when approaching outlets. I decided to take my love of promoting bands to the next level, and open up my own PR company Muddy Paw PR. Of course when it came to naming Muddy Paw, it was a no brainer to involve my dog somehow!
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I’m self-employed, so luckily I didn’t need to worry too much about “qualifying,” though I will say that my experience in running a blog for six years, interacting with publicists and bands, and making those connections, was vital to opening and running a successful company. However, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
A lot of days it feels like I spend most of my time wrapped up in emails. Between Infectious and Muddy Paw, my inbox sees a lot of my time. It’s how I coordinate features, exclusives, and communicate with artists, so I suppose it makes sense. It’s kind of funny how much can get done from one central location like that.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
On the PR side of things, I’ve noticed a lot of artists think that PR=sales. This is not the case. I always tell people that the goal of PR is to plant a seed, and let it grow. To give influential people an artist's name, and make that name recognizable. So, even if they don't show interest in that artist today or a month from now, when they hear that name again in a month, 6 months, a year, they'll recognize it, it will mean something, and that is success. Of course we also want tangible measures and to secure placements such as interviews, exclusives, blogs, etc. But those are our short-term goals. Our long-term goal is to make influential industry professionals aware that the artist exists, and is on the rise. So PR campaigns don't always lead to Facebook likes or increase in album sales. But you better believe that when you work with us, your name is getting out there.
What are your average work hours?
I have a feeling a lot of people say this, but there’s no such thing as average work hours for me. I wake up at 6am and start nearly immediately, but that doesn’t mean I end the day at 3pm. I’m a morning person, so I take advantage of that. But you’ll also find me working in the afternoon, evenings, and weekends. I actually almost prefer working on weekends because the rest of the world is off duty, and it’s a good time to get ahead. There’s always work to be done. And when you love what you’re doing, working all the time is really more fun than anything else.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
It took me a while to learn how to not stretch myself too thin, and how to really put a value on the work I do. When you first start out, the urge to take every single thing that comes your way is strong—even if it’s not right for you or your vision. Turning down opportunity and especially money when you’re just starting out can be really nerve-wracking, but it’s really important to define your vision, define your worth, and then only take on projects that adhere to that.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
What sets Muddy Paw apart is that we believe that each artist deserves individual, one on one attention combined with a unique strategy that fits what they do. No two artists are alike, and because of that, no two campaigns should be alike. We cater our outreach to the artist's style, personality, and taste, because we believe that kind of attention to detail is paramount to a successful career. Because of this, we don't do mass press releases, but rather all our press releases are personally crafted to the individual outlet. This personalized, hands on approach, combined with our passion and my blogging background, is what sets us apart.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
Be passionate, and be excitable. The best artists to work with are not just the ones with the best music, (that’s all subjective anyway), the best organization, (though it helps), or the most experience. It’s the ones that are so passionate, and so excited about what they’re doing, that the energy they feel, we feel. When you’re so excited about your career and your art that you just radiate that, we want to work with you.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
I don’t know that there’s any one thing that really gets me down. I truly love every minute of what I do. Although, when artists get material to us late and we have to scramble to keep that campaign on track, amidst all the other campaigns that need to be kept on track, that can be really stressful. But that’s where clever organizational skills and the ability to be calm, and look at a situation objectively come in handy.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Hands down, when a band is really excited about the placements we’re getting them. Hearing that excitement in their voice, or reading about how grateful and/or excited they are about a certain placement is always the best part of the job. It’s really gratifying to know you’ve been able to make someone light up like that.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
I’m still trying to figure that one out! Inevitably it will depend on if you’re running your own company, working for someone else, the kind of artists you work with (major label vs indie) and a myriad of other factors. I will say, this field, probably this industry in general is not one you get into if you hope to be rich. You get into it because you can’t not do it. Because doing anything else makes you miserable. That’s why I do it. And I’d choose that feeling over being rich and miserable any day.
How do you move up in your field?
Again, this is going to vary depending on if you’re working for someone else or running your own company. I can only speak to running my own company, and with that, it’s just a matter of slow and steady. With how incredibly oversaturated this industry is, and how tight money is among artists, you can’t expect to see miracles overnight. Be open to change, learn to creatively organize, and don’t let go of your passion. Surround yourself with positive people that inspire you. Don’t feel bad if you have to cut ties with people who bring you down or no longer fit your vision. Keep yourself optimistic, keep moving forward, keep challenging yourself, and you’ll be alright.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
This is the same advice I give to everyone in every profession, but network, network, network. As a publicist especially, your relationships are everything. Don’t be afraid to get to know people, to ask questions, and to allow yourself to grow. Challenge yourself regularly, and don’t ever let your fear get the best of you. It’s a fast paced, intimidating field sometimes, but if it’s your calling, you just have to push through. You have just as much a right to be here as anyone else.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up-and-coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, they’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, and many more.