No shows booked at the moment.
Creating the Perfect Pitch
by Ariel Hyatt
Branding yourself both online and offline will really set up this coming year to be a break through one for your musical career.
To do this you must start with the most fundamental aspect of you as an artist: Your Pitch!
Two things happened recently to inspire this article.
Scenario #1: I was out at the Mercury Lounge seeing music and between bands I was standing at the bar talking to some friends and someone handed me a show flyer. I was taken with him immediately, I always appreciate anyone who is self -promoting because its not easy to do and it’s especially not easy to do at a crowded bar on a Wednesday night in downtown Manhattan. So, I looked down at the flyer and my heart sank. It said the following:
Name of artist (name is not mentioned to protect the innocent)
Venue (which was the Mercury, where I was)
Date & showtime
There I was, a perfectly primed potential fan, a customer, standing at a bar, out at a live music show, and he lost me forever. Why?
Because not one sentence was included about what genre of music this artist played much less what his music sounded like, who he was compared to (sound alike). In other words what I could expect by coming out to his show. In short I had no idea what this artist sounded like.
That was an opportunity totally LOST. Unbeknown to him he also handed his flyer to one of the most successful entertainment attorneys I know who was in the middle of signing 6 artists to record deals, an A&R executive and one of the best booking agents in the business.
We all looked down at the flyers in our hands, shrugged and carried on with the conversation we were having. He had totally BLOWN it.
Scenario #2: The second thing that happened was an artist called my PR firm to talk about hiring us for a Cyber PR campaign, and two minutes into the conversation started, my blood was beginning to boil. It went something like this:
Me: What do you sound like?
Artist: I sound like absolutely nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Me: (annoyed and now understanding why he’s not where he wants to be as an artist) Really? So you have invented a new genre of music, and you don’t sound like anyone else in the history of music?
Me: Can you at least tell me what type of music you play?
Artist: It’s old school Hip-Hop
OK finally we were getting somewhere and, I totally understood his point, but here’s the problem with having an approach like his:
People are constantly looking for a context to put things into. And if you don’t provide them with one, they will move on to the next thing that their little pea brains actually can grasp.
The critical that was missing in both scenarios was: The Pitch
So, you need a pitch or as marketers call it a USP (unique selling point), or, as my friend Bob Baker calls it a BIS (brand identity statement) or as my fellow mastermind group member Laura Allen calls it, a 15-second pitch. Call it what you want, this thing, my friend, will change the way you market yourself and your music and give everyone a context. It is critical that you have a concise and easy to understand pitch that will help you shape your brand. The rest of this article will help you focus on creating the perfet pitch.
It does not have to be lengthy to be effective, it just has to explain your sound in a few words or sentences.
Here are some of my clients’ pitches to help jump start your brain:
Leftover Salmon – Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass
John Taglieri – If Vertical Horizon and Third Eye Blind got hit by Train!
FIGO – Influenced by groups like Primal Scream, NIN, The Misfits, The Chemical Brothers, and The Ramones, the band fuses intense raw live energy with pounding beats and samples.
Devil Doll – Jessica Rabbit meets Joan Jett.
Girls Don’t Cry – An all girl rock band featuring edgy guitars polished with five-part vocals, retro synth sounds and danceable grooves.
Creating Your Pitch
First, take a deep breath, clear your head, and tell yourself that what you are about to do is exactly like writing a song. You do not record the first thing that comes out (or at least I hope you don’t but that’s a different conversation) it takes some honing and some tweaking and possibly some collaboration.
Take out a clean piece of paper, and write down the following:
(I suggest writing this by hand with a pen and paper instead of using a computer because the ideas flow differently through a pen)
1. Write out the type of genres you play. Roots, rock, reggae, folk, punk, jazz, AltCountry, Chillout etc. No more than two or three should actually be selected in the end.
2. Write down all the artists that other people say you sound like.
3. Write down a list of all artists (or authors or famous people) that influenced you.
4. Write down all of the feelings and vibes that you want to create or convey with your music
Use these elements as a guideline to help come up with a few words or sentences that sum you up.
Now, go to this fabulous website: 15secondpitch.com
This will help you structure and hone your pitch and it will TIME you too! (This site is more of a personal pitch site but the structure that it provides is very helpful)
Now write out on a blank note card or a small piece of paper your mission statement. Read it out loud standing in front of the mirror. Do you love it? If you don’t, then don’t use it. I once worked with a band that chose the term “Soul Rock” to describe their sound and after it was published countless times, they were hating it, so make sure it’s something that you can deal with in print over and over again, and something that you won’t get sick of. Now stand in front of the mirror and practice saying it. Does it feel comfortable saying it, or do you feel like a dork? If you feel like you’re speaking your truth, you will absolutely know, and then it is the perfect pitch for you.
Still not sure?
Read it to a bunch of friends and fans and ask them to work on it with you!
Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple and as concise as you can.
Where You Must Place Your Pitch
1 On your website’s homepage (yes on the HOMEPAGE not buried in the site).
2 On your MySpace.
3 On your Facebook.
4 On all social networking sites that you use and anywhere else you have an online presence.
1 On your postcards.
2 On your show flyers.
3 On your posters, and anything else you have in print.
So now when you’re out somewhere and you hand someone a flyer announcing your show, you’re handing someone your brand. People will know exactly what you do, and it will be effectively marketing instead of just spinning your wheels.
Not sure if you hit the nail on the head? E-mail me your pitch and I’ll give you my honest feedback.
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.
“This is just about the perfect service. It is really thought through to be easy for the podcaster to use. Oh boy, is that necessary in some cases! Good work and really, really cool.” – Peter Clitheroe, Suffolk and Cool Podcast www.suffolkandcool.com
Teaching and educating musicians is Ariel’s passion and a major part of the Cyber PR platform is to empower artists to take charge and get into action around their own online marketing. Several times a year, she leads sold-out workshops to musicians and music industry professionals looking to learn about community building and online promotion in the “new” music business.
Her bi-weekly ezine “Sound Advice” has over 6,000 musicians and music professional subscribers. Her first book, Music Success in 9 Weeks, came out in June 2008 and is selling swiftly. 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.
As promised, November 1, 2008 kicks off The Recession Proof Musician series here at Rock Star Life Lessons.
The Recession Proof Musician is my month-long series of articles and interviews with musicians, music biz and marketing experts, and other thought leaders who have all broadened my vision of success in some way. I feel it’s my duty, as well as an honor and privilege to share these ideas, as I know that if they helped me, they can also help other musicians reach their goals.
As a musician who’s lived in NYC since 1995, I have seen my share of musicians give up their dreams in order to “make a living”, and that always made me sad. Being a musician is not the easiest path, but as you musicians know, there’s nothing else like expressing yourself in words and music in front of an audience that gets you. To be a musician is a worthy goal, and I’d like to help you hold on to your dreams, and stay on your path. As the month continues, please return to Rock Star Life Lessons, and check in on the guest bloggers who will be chiming in with insightful thoughts and ideas that have the power to turn your music career around. I have hand-picked each of the great guest blogs that you’ll be seeing based on their ability to inspire at least one idea that made me take, change, or consider an action.
In other words, November 2008′s blog will be filled with powerful words that I am so excited to share that I almost wish I could just post it all in one day. But we must pace ourselves! Thought leaders like Bob Baker (Guerrilla Music Marketing), Ariel Hyatt (Music Success in Nine Weeks), Ed Dale (Thirty Day Challenge), and many more will be sharing their knowledge in my blog. Successful musicians such as Matthew Ebel, and bands like Beatnik Turtle will also share their knowledge and experiences, and I’m sincerely grateful for granting me permission to share their material.
I am a “Recession Proof Musician”, and I want to help you become the same. Stay tuned for an exciting month!
Last month’s Thirty Day Challenge with Ed Dale and Associates was an awesome online course that taught cutting edge internet marketing techniques to anyone for FREE. Although the Thirty Day Challenge started and ended in real time last month, all of the learning materials are permanently online you can still participate. When you sign up, you’ll get autoresponder emails that start at Day 1 so you can begin the challenge and not miss any of the great info. The Thirty Day Challenge also has a public forum so you can shorten your learning curve by reading posts from recent 30 Day Challenge veterans.
The actual Challenge of this course, by the way, is to build a niche website and earn your first dollar. While I did not earn my first $1 from my niche website yet, I did learn a lot from Ed Dale & Company, and I will be continuing my lessons on my own. Ed’s team taught me that the methods of earning $1 will not differ from earning $1000, so I’m going to keep working on this until I make that dollar.
For one thing, the 30 Day Challenge teaches manual ways of achieving tasks, as well as teaching automated methods using the Market Samurai tool. Now that I’ve taken in all of the lessons the first time through, I’m now going to work the Thirty Day Challenge lessons again, using the awesome and amazing Market Samurai tool.
After further thought, I’ve decided to use my music publicity niche website to document my second round of the Thirty Day Challenge. This way I’ll be able to write about the 30 Day Challenge as a tool for music publicity without it taking over RockStarLifeLessons.com.
Related blog posts for Further Reading: