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The Rock Star Life Lessons Interview with Ariel Hyatt, Indie Music Publicist and Author of Music Success in Nine Weeks
by Carla Lynne Hall
Rock Star Life Lessons: How has your marketing yourself and your career changed in the last 5 years?
Ariel Hyatt: Wow – great question – it has changed radically…. Since the evolution of Social Media my own PR and marketing has shifted from making our promotion and marketing all about a one way conversation: Hey artists: We have been in business 12 years and look at our reputation! Coupled with the fact that I was very much in the background as the “pitcher” to the writers writing releases and telling a very one sided story using press releases and mail and phone call follow -ups.
Now the primary marketing tool that I employ my expertise and how I can share what I have learned being on the court to help musicians understand not only the value of social media but also how to do their own PR and Marketing. The more I share, the more Cyber PR seems to flourish because people buy from those that they like and trust and I have built up trust by sharing good ideas and having a two-way conversation in the musicians community in the form of blog posts, vodcasts and newsletters and well as real-life interaction by teaching workshops and bootcamps and paneling at music conferences.
RSLL: What is Cyber PR?
AH: Cyber PR is my online PR firm and we get musicians and authors featured on blogs, podcasts, Internet radio stations, and all over the Internet. We also help artists come up with a social media strategy that works in tandem with a marketing plan so they can take advantage of the new ways to build a fan base and a community online.
RSLL: What do musicians need to know about social networking and/or Web 2.0?
AH: Social media is a wonderful way to engage your fans, meet new people and use cool interactive technology to communicate BUT artists must realize that this is just one piece of the puzzle. The real money and profits comes out of having a strategy and setting goals and working towards them.
I see so many artists that have thousands and thousands of fans on MySpace and on Facebook and they are making no money. The reason is: no one comes to MySpace or Facebook with their credit cards out ready to buy music – they do that at iTunes and on Amazon – so there needs to be a strategy that gets engaged fans away from the cool Web 2.0 portals where we meet and chat and interact into an atmosphere where we are used to BUYING – Amazon, iTunes and live clubs are where fan pull money out of their pockets and buy so if you are only on MySpace and Facebook and you are frustrated about why you sold way less than you expected ask yourself: Where are you asking for money? and how are you asking for money? Is there a strategy behind your asking or are you forgetting to even put a plan into place around this? Or even worse are you forgetting to ask at all because asking for money means you are being too pushy and aggressive and you hate the idea of asking?
You need to look at the Internet just like you look at your telephone or your fax machine – its a way of communicating NOT a place where you just will magically make money without a strategy and some knowledge of how traditional marketing works and a willingness to employ real plans and actions.
RSLL: What are some of your latest product and service offerings for indie musicians?
AH: Aside from Cyber PR campaigns, My best selling product is my book that I released last year. It’s called Music Success in Nine Weeks and it is a Nine week program that helps artists do 3 things:
1. Build a bigger fanbase
2. Get more PR (via using Social Media)
3. Earn more money
The way I teach this is by taking artists through a process that helps them:
1. Laser focus their message so that potential fans can understand them
2. Start a two way engaging conversation with all fans
3. Capture vital information (email addresses)
4. Create a plan that is based on traditional marketing so that they are set up for making money
My book comes with a lifetime membership to my closed online forum (which in the interest of full disclosure I will say Carla helps me manage!) where artists can get direct coaching from me and Carla and get a plan in action with the support of other musicians.
You can buy the book here: http://www.cyberprbook.com
RSLL: What is one action a musician can take to build their music business?
AH: Being in control of your own mailing list and start a regular email newsletter and send it at least once a month! This has been the #1 technique that I have noticed works the most effectively for musicians.
RSLL: If you were starting all over today as a musician, what would you focus on?
AH: I was never a musician so this is a hard question but I would say I would focus on building a community of fans who are engaged and involved with me on a personal and authentic manner. The bands that I meet who are making the most money and having the most success during these weird and uncertain times are the ones who work really hard at knowing who their fans are and what they like, don’t like and what they will respond to. These artists also provide a steady stream of communication and music and opportunities to engage with fans – either online or offline.
Thanks Carla – it was fun being interviewed!
Ariel Publicity was founded 12 years ago, and has since represented over 1,400 artists. The publicity game has changed radically over the last few years, so the company went 100% digital to accommodate the new landscape in January of 2007. Cyber PR is currently handling campaigns for artists of all genres and at all levels of their careers.
Ariel’s bi-weekly ezine “Sound Advice” has over 6,000 musicians and music professional subscribers. Her first book, Music Success in Nine Weeks, came out in June 2008. She is a contributing blogger to New Music Ideas and Music Think Tank and her articles have been featured in the Discmakers and ASCAP online newsletters. Ariel Publicity also offers Band Letter, a musician’s newsletter service to handle fan outreach.
Ariel has spoken at dozens of music conferences including SXSW, The Philly Music Conference, NEMO, The East Coast Music Awards, OCFF, & Les Rencontres (Canada), A2A (Amsterdam), CMJ, BMI Music Panel Series, and The Connective Panel Series.