Public Relations and Social Media: Complementary Communications

Public Relations and Social Media: Complementary Communications

In this article, PR and social media experts share how their campaigns help promote singers and amplify their stories.

Some singers always seem to be in the spotlight—offstage. Newspapers and magazines feature them in stories. Thousands of people follow them on social media platforms. What is their secret? In many cases, public relations (PR) programs and social media campaigns are helping to augment a singer’s visibility. These tools generate attention among target audiences, some of which extend beyond the opera house and concert stage.

Most people know what social media is; it’s rare to encounter someone who doesn’t use Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), or TikTok, among other platforms. But they may not know how a social media campaign is structured or implemented. And fewer people understand what PR entails or how it and social media campaigns complement one another. To clear up any confusion, CS spoke to PR expert Mindi Rayner and social media expert Maya Rose Tweten to learn more about each discipline and its role in a singer’s marketing mix. 

Rayner has owned her PR agency, Mindi Rayner Public Relations, Inc., since the 1980s.  Over the decades, she has worked with prominent classical musicians, arts institutions, and such opera singers as Michael Fabiano, Marcello Giordani, and Joyce El-Khoury. 

Tweten established her agency, MayaRose Creative LLC, 10 years ago. It focuses on strategic design and marketing, including web design, photography, and social content. Like Rayner, she has worked with prominent classical musicians and arts institutions: her client roster (past and present) also includes Fabiano, along with Rod Gilfry and Patricia Racette.

Here’s what Rayner and Tweten have to say about PR, social media, and the relationship between the two disciplines.



Mindi Rayner

Public Relations

Rayner describes PR as “defining a professional narrative about an artist, and then finding the appropriate corresponding media outlets to tell their story.” A musician herself (she earned a bachelor’s degree in piano and a master’s in musicology from Manhattan School of Music), she knows how competitive the field can be. PR, she says, can help set a musician apart from the crowd. As she explains, “If you want to have a career that is more prominent—where people start recognizing you, pay attention to your progress, and come to your performances—then it’s a good idea to have a PR pro working with you.”

What does PR involve on a day-to-day basis? When Rayner works with performers for long periods of time, she aligns her efforts with their calendars, often collaborating with opera companies and symphony orchestras to shape publicity around an engagement. 

These efforts usually take place far in advance of the engagement. “You can’t just start a week or two beforehand, Rayner says. “There’s a lot of competing stories out there. You have to highlight that the performer is coming and essentially ‘hold’ a place for him or her.” 

In some cases, when a client is already generating significant interest, Rayner receives publicity requests from the companies and orchestras in the weeks and months before an engagement, and then works with these institutions to fulfill the requests. “Coordination is so important,” she observes.

Long rehearsal periods make coordination easier. Once Rayner has a rehearsal schedule in hand, she can arrange for someone in the institution’s press office to take the performer to an interview with a reporter, which might be held on the institution’s premises.

The end goal for much of this work is a story in a significant publication or newspaper in which Rayner’s client comes across as highly intelligent and articulate with perceptive things to say. Luck is not the factor here; preparation is. Rayner educates her clients on how interviews are typically constructed and helps them refine their narratives to align with the needs of a particular outlet. She also engages with the writer to shape a perspective for an article. “It’s a dialogue,” she says. “I see myself as a negotiator and an advocate.” 

Social Media

PR, in Tweten’s view, is a tool to enhance the public image or reputation of singers by spreading their message to the world. Social media, in contrast, “allows us to not only make announcements, but to connect directly with followers across multiple channels, giving a look behind the scenes with access to the performer.” 

When Tweten, who is a trained classical singer, starts working with a client, she conducts a social media audit to determine what’s working and what can be improved. “We discuss their hopes and dreams to establish appropriate goals,” she says. “From there we prepare a content calendar that aligns with upcoming performances, musical releases, and additional projects.” She also helps clients set aside specific weekly times for content creation, posting, and interacting with fans. With long-term clients, she handles much of the content creation, posting, and calendar planning herself. For shorter-term projects, she teaches clients how to use social media management tools to preschedule posts, which ensures consistency even during the busiest times. 

Combining Forces

Social media and PR make “a true power couple,” says Tweten. As she suggests, “Social media can be utilized to magnify the efforts of PR. For example, an article in a magazine or an event promoting the signer can have even more impact and reach if shared on a social platform by the singer, company, or event attendees.”  

The extent of magnification depends largely on collaboration between PR and social media providers. “Communication is key,” says Tweten. “The more a social media manager can engage with a PR rep to plan for known events, article placements, musical releases, etc., the better. These two roles or teams must remain on the same page to support their clients. This can be achieved through meetings, shared project management calendars, and the flexibility to act quickly when plans shift.”

Tweten and Rayner share the same attitude toward collaboration, which is why their combined efforts in the past have met with success. At one point, Tweten handled social media for Michael Fabiano, and Rayner handled his PR. Rayner recalls that she and Tweten spoke weekly and reviewed upcoming engagements, scheduled interviews, and planned announcements. These discussions enabled Tweten to highlight these activities on social media channels in a timely fashion. Looking back on this partnership, Rayner reports that social media “served as a strong and positive reinforcement of the PR.” 



Finding the Fit

Maya Rose Tweten

How do you know whether PR, social media, or a combination is right for you? And how do you go about selecting a provider? Tweten offers some suggestions.

“PR and social media agencies and content studios are not one-size-fits-all. It’s imperative to ask questions to ensure that you select a team with which you share common values and beliefs of integrity when marketing. Take a look at the content the team produces, who their current clients are, and how they present their work. Being a singer is one of the hardest jobs out there because you are your instrument and your brand is you. No one knows you better than yourself, and it’s okay for you to ask hard questions. Learn and be a key player in your marketing by surrounding yourself with a team that best reflects your values.”

It’s also a good idea to look for PR and social media agencies that have worked with classical musicians before. On the PR side, this experience probably translates into strong relationships with reporters who cover the industry. On the social side, it translates into awareness of important audiences and use of language that resonates with them. Such experience is not absolutely essential, but it helps shorten the learning curve. 

Like many PR and social media firms, Rayner and Tweten work with clients either on a project or long-term basis. Long-term relationships tend to better support a singer’s “narrative” because they enable the agencies to learn more about a performer—they can then hone their messaging and communications accordingly. But if budget is an issue, or if you’ve landed that one-time, high-profile engagement at Carnegie Hall and want to make the most of it, a project can help to jump-start the publicity and social engines and give you an opportunity to test the waters. 

Budgets for PR and social media vary widely. Some agencies establish a retainer, which is a recurring monthly fee over an agreed-upon period. Others bill clients on an hourly basis. Sole proprietors tend to charge less than large agencies, which have significant overhead. Costs also differ according to a client’s needs. Media training, for instance, might represent an additional cost in a PR program. Many agencies will offer a range of options and estimate a budget based on your choices. When determining the budget that meets your needs, keep in mind that these costs may be tax deductible. Talk to your accountant about this possibility.


PR and social media cannot create talent where none exists. No one appreciates exaggeration or hype. They might bring in the audiences, but a singer still has to deliver a strong performance or recording. But when the talent is there, PR and social media can amplify its impact and increase career momentum. Just like voice teachers, coaches, agents, and managers, your PR and social media reps are part of a singer’s “team.” Choose—and use—them wisely.

Rachel Antman

Rachel Antman is a communications consultant, writer, and mezzo-soprano based in New York City. For more information, visit