Don’t sweat it.
Suz is joined by her good friend, Ariel Hyatt, CEO and Founder of Cyber PR, to debunk many common PR and Social Media myths for independent musicians and discuss what you can expect in her latest best-seller, The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity.
You’re listening to Episode 107 of the Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast.
Hello! You’re listening to Episode 107: PR Made Easy with Ariel Hyatt.
I’m your host, Suz, a mindset + productivity coach helping music professionals get clear on their goals, priorities, and next steps all while decreasing overwhelm and avoiding burnout.
Currently, I have two spots available this summer to work 1:1 with musicpreneurs who want to get clear on their goals and strategize their next steps as the world opens back up.
If you’d like to discuss working together and how I can best support you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to talk!
Today’s episode is brought to you by my Recommended Rocksources directory. It’s a page on my website that houses ALL of my favorite apps, courses, books, and other tools from companies and coaches who I love. It also includes all of my FREE tools for you to download so be sure to head on over to www.therockstaradvocate.com/recommended-rocksources to find your next favorite tool of the trade!
I will note that some links to download 3rd party apps or tools are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small fee from the 3rd party if you decide to upgrade to any pro versions, however it does not come out of your pocket and these are ALL programs and tools I have used myself and found value in, so check them out and see what works for you!
One of the BEST new additions to the Book section of the page is a brand new pre-order link to Ariel Hyatt’s upcoming-already-an-Amazon-best-seller book The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity! No affiliate fees here just PURE FANFARE as I’ve had the pleasure of getting an advanced copy and I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.
She was not kidding when she called it the Ultimate Guide – she leaves it all out on the table and discusses PR & Publicity in a way that’s digestible and actionable with incredible case studies to show you the strategies in motion, and I’m SOOO thrilled to have a 1:1 sit down with Ariel today so she can tell you all about it first hand.
Now, Ariel is not my typical guest. She’s not a musician and I’ve only had a non-musician guest on this podcast once before when I sat down with Rick Barker. Sometimes, when the info is this good, ya gotta bend the rules a bit and stray from the blueprint in order to mine the gold.
I knew I had to have her on not only because I see my clients struggle with PR on the daily, but because when it comes to having compassion, respect, and admiration for what musicians go through on a daily basis, no one is more of a champion for seeing musicians succeed than Ariel.
For those of you living under a rock and unfamiliar with Ariel Hyatt, she is the founder Cyber PR, an international speaker, and the author of many best-selling books. Her award-winning Cyber PR® process marks the intersection of social media, PR, and online marketing and is taught at several universities. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) recognized by the Rolling Stone College Guide as having “one of the preeminent music business programs in the country,” offers an official Cyber PR Class based on principals used in Ariel’s day-to-day business.
She has been invited to present at over 70 conferences in twelve countries, including SXSW (where she has appeared 15 times). She has also toured Australia, teaching artists across the continent her 8-hour marketing master class. She’s appeared on Oprah, and featured by CNN, Wired, Billboard, Forbes.com, and The Washington Post.
Cyber PR makes a radical departure from the traditional PR approach because the process is transparent. She created software that allows clients to monitor the progress and success of their own campaign. This takes the smoke and mirrors aspect away from the process and holds her agency accountable. She is an obsessive world traveler, a chocolate chip cookie baker, and a 1980s lunchbox collector. I’ve eaten the cookies and I’ve seen the lunch boxes – both are incredible!
As a new mom she has learned to juggle a growing agency amidst a global pandemic and has managed to write yet another best-seller that we’re going to dive into today. Please excuse my mic going out about 1/3 the way through, but here we go…
Suz: Hello, Queen of Everything. How are you?
Ariel: So for those of you who are wondering what the heck that was about, when your really good friend and you decide that you’re going to be on her podcast and she sends you a questionnaire, asking what your title is and you do something tongue and cheek, is that good PR?
Suz: Well, you’re the queen and the go-to of everything in my book, so it works for me. . But how are you? How’s everything?
Ariel: I’m good. It is spring time. It is warm. It feels really good to get out into the world a little bit more, feeling a lot safer now that I’m vaccinated and of course preparing for a book launch. Now I know how my artists feel, I haven’t put a book out in five years, but I really now know how they feel.
Suz: I mean, no stress, right? What’s the big deal? It’s just, you wrote a book, nothing big. It’s only The Ultimate Guide to PR that every artist needs, so no pressure. But, yeah, that’s so exciting and I can’t wait to dig into it.
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to read it before most people, and I don’t even launch anything, and I got so much from it. I read it in one sitting. It was amazing. The case studies you have in there, we’ll get to all that, but it’s really just an incredible labor of love. So congrats!
Ariel: Thank you.
Suz: So you’ve “been in the game,” as they say, for over 20 years, and in that time, the music industry has gone through many iterations, and nothing like a global pandemic to be yet another, but what keeps you curious and passionate and ever-changing with it? Because what you started with your business many of those things no longer apply, it’s always changing. What keeps you motivated and not being like, “Ugh, I’m done.”
Ariel: I think that has also iterated. If you asked the me who started my business 25 years ago, like “What keeps you motivated?” my answer would absolutely have been, “I want to be in the front row of every show of every client,” and I just think about myself back then… I would have the CD. I would take it out of my car’s disc changer, bring it into the house, load it into my house disc changer, play it until it was warped, bring it back to the car.
And of course, as you get older, I mean, I do know a few people that still go out to shows, not right now, but before, in a voracious sense, but you get older, your priorities change, the business changed. I went from being a publicist where I was out and in the mix, and then I had to meet journalists who were out in the clubs, that shifted to digital.
And so, yes, my motivation and my passion has also been iterative, and I think the true core of all of it is I love artists. I love music. That’s always at the core of it. And I have, I think, I hope, a deep understanding for the plight that artists face, and I love working with artists.
I have had iterations in my career where I was working with female entrepreneurs or where I was working with business startups and tech companies and apps, and a lot of what I know and what I do can be applied to many disciplines, but musicians and music is where I feel most comfortable and where my heart is, so I would say the passion changes.
You know, I haven’t written a book in five years, and while I was writing it, I was feeling really passionate about getting another book out into the world, but that is not how I feel all the time. I look at our colleague, Bobby Owsinski. I mean, the man has written like 27 or more books. It’s incredible. He’s like a book machine, and he loves consistently creating books – like that’s his thing. And I think if you asked him, he would probably say writing, I mean, he also writes for Forbes and he writes three blogs, I mean, he’s prolific.
So it’s cyclical. And I think when I see artists that are succeeding, that is a pattern that I see. You have to stay interested because like you just said, this industry just keeps changing, and if you’re not willing to kind of, “Okay, now we’ve got to get on NFTs…” you know, there’s like something we need to always be looking at and being aware of and keeping on top of, and if you’re not that kind of person, it’s going to be really hard to make it in the long run.
I think that also might be why I love working with artists because I recognize something in them that we’re all out here in the hustle and the hustle ebbs and flows.
You cannot, and I mean, you speak about this all the time, this is your work and this is why I’m so attracted to what you do, but the whole idea of pedal-to-the-metal, hustle all the time with no stopping, that’s a sheer recipe for not staying curious and not staying passionate.
Suz: So coming off of that in terms of staying curious and also not pushing too hard with it, but as you said, there’s just always something new coming out, and from the little bit I know of your world, I know that PR and social media, two of the things that stress people out the most, are two of the most important things for an artist’s career.
So what attracts you to those two areas and why help musicians in those areas? Because it is such an, ever-evolving, rapid-pace, demanding area, both of those. So with PR and social media, why help artists in that way?
Ariel: It’s interesting, I haven’t really thought of this until you just asked this excellent question. To be successful at PR you have to be successful at creating relationships, and, for the most part, creating relationships is about excellent communication.
Most artists have excellent communication in the creation of their art. The communication problem is not in the music. It is also, often, not in the aesthetic. They’re quite good at the branding, “I look really good on Instagram and what I look like matches what I sound like,” It’s very rare that an artist comes to me and says, “I don’t know the first thing about my brand at all, the color, or the way it should look” right?
But where there is a struggle, it’s with the sheer amount of communication discipline that you need to have in order to be good at publicity. Similarly, but it’s a different kind of commitment, you have to also be excellent at communicating on social media.
And publicity, yes, the platforms change, and you know, when I started, it was more traditional PR and now, of course, we’ve got playlists and podcasts and all kinds of other things that we’re considering in the mix, but the truth is if you don’t understand the basic, foundational PR things, you’re going to suck at it, and that is also the same as Social Media.
The good news about both of those disciplines is most of what is necessary is all learnable. It’s all learnable. I don’t think real music, like God given talent, that’s not learnable. It’s hone-able but no one can go, “You know what? I think I want to be Prince.”
Right? But a whole lot of people can go, “You know what? I would really like to be good at publicity.” It’s easier to do that.
Suz: Yeah. And, you know, bringing up the whole idea of it being learnable, I think it was the end of 2017 where I accosted you at a Women In Music holiday party and I said, “Oh my God, you’re Ariel Hyatt. I want to have coffee with you! I don’t drink coffee, but do you want to meet up some time?”
And I think since 2018, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being able to be involved and watch your process first row seats with clients, and I’ve learned so much. I mean, whenever I’m talking to people and I mentioned anything I’m always like, well, this is what I learned from Ariel Hyatt.
And I’ve learned so much just watching how you work with them. And it’s so true, I mean, I’m a cynical, introverted New Yorker, who doesn’t usually like people and you are such a people person, and you’re so great with relationships, and I think that is what makes you good at your job.
Ariel: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s true. I don’t know a lot of wildly introverted publicists. I mean, I know a lot of strange journalists. No, think about it. Like, you know, my whole, life’s going to be about reviewing music. Like that’s not going to be someone without halitosis, and a strange bedside manner. It’s just, no, I’m kidding.
Suz: It’s a people’s game.
Ariel: It is a people’s game and you also take into account, what percentage of artists suffer from true anxiety around this kind of thing, social anxiety, or just feeling confronted –
Suz: Imposer Syndrome.
Ariel: All of it. Also that adds like a whole other level when you’re putting yourself on the front lines of social media and PR.
Cause I mean, it’s very raw to stand on the stage and perform whatever you’ve chosen to create. And that is one way, but that does not require putting together an email or a perfect photograph with a frickin’ filter on it and posting it, expecting a result, a written result. Right?
So it’s totally different. And even if you’re playing a really rough gig where no one is giving you any energy and you’re standing, I mean, look, I’ve done a lot of speaking gigs. I am not a musician, but I’ve been in the rooms where I’m like “Bueller? Is anyone even alive out there?” Like, oof!
Suz: And now we get to the point where if we make the Bueller joke, is anyone in the audience old enough to get the Bueller joke?
It’s so funny. I mean totally, and what I love about your approach is you don’t blow, smoke up their asses and promise them everything in the world with one pitch or one campaign, and you do teach them that it’s the long game.
But, you also do a really great job of teaching them about relationships and teaching them not only relationships with the press, but relationships with their fans. And I know one of the main things you really hit home with with your clients, is about educating your fans on how to be good fans, and you don’t hear a lot of people talking about that.
And I think that that’s really important that you don’t just focus on, “Okay, here’s how you get the reviews” or “Here’s how you get a blogger to hit you back,” but “Here’s how you get your fans to hit you back and engage with you and care and want to spend even a dollar on what you’re pushing or pre-save your single” or any of that, and it’s to educate them.
That was such an eyeopening thing for me when I heard you talking to your clients about it, because it was like, “Oh yeah, fans just think music just happens. It’s just here.”
What has been your experience in that? Because I think like your uniqueness is that you teach your clients how to be of service to their audience rather than to just simply hock what they’re selling. Why do you think that’s so important and why so many people miss the boat on that?
Ariel: I think part of it just comes from a desire. Like you want people to hear your music, you know that at the other end of the megaphone, your megaphone, if you connect the megaphone to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat or TikTok or any of it, there’s just millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of people out there, and that is not a great recipe for fostering relationships.
That’s a great recipe for stressing yourself out of your mind and comparing yourself to other people that somehow figured out how to do it better because they have a better bikini or they are more shtick-y or funnier than you in some way. Right?
But I think also, part of it, you have to have a true desire to want to connect with your fans. And if you think about sort of the history, what does the history of Rock and Roll look like?
I don’t think anybody talks about any Rock and Roll God, nobody thinks about Robert Plant and goes, “You know what he was really good at? He was really good at connecting deeply,” well, I think he was very good at connecting deeply with certain women after shows, but no one went like, “Wow, Janis Joplin. She was so good at gathering email addresses!”
And I cannot tell you, if I had a penny for every time, an older artist, especially, said to me, “Jimmy Hendrix didn’t have to go on Twitter!” And I’m like, “And thank God he didn’t cause that would be awful.”
But you really do have to understand that, if you look at the people like the Taylor Swifts and the Justin Biebers, the people that understood, I had to get my YouTube on and start literally talking to and connecting with people. I mean, of course they also were really talented and there was a lot of lightning-in-the-bottle stuff there, but just look at how people succeed in that – it’s that they cared enough to connect. That’s truly it.
But, there is also a lot to be learned about how to connect. I don’t think any artist is like, “I’m going to be a total arse right now and post something douchey.” No. I don’t think anybody really sets out to do that, like “Let me piss everyone off right now in my tweet stream by shouting loudly my bad marketing!”
Like I don’t think that’s the intention.
I just think that people don’t know any better. And out of this fear, it is really scary that when you press send or go publish or tweet or whatever, that there could be so many millions of people on the other end of that communication. That’s uncomfortable.
Suz: Yeah. Now I know you’ve worked with artists on all levels, and so I know you’ve seen like every facet of the business, every level of success, and I’m just wondering, we’re just coming off our mental health series in May, would you say it’s harder for an artist to manage too much press where maybe it’s all coming at them at once, lightning-in-a-bottle and they’ve got everybody clamoring for them or is it more stressful or just plain different for an artist who’s not getting enough press. Do you think the stress is the same or is it different?
Ariel: It’s completely different. So it’s like, you know, be careful what you wish for.
Let’s think of Billie Eilish. For some reason, everybody knew she was going to be this ridiculously, hugely famous human, and when she was 13 when that first amazing video? And my husband and I love to go and look at videos of her. I think it’s Vanity Fair.
They knew she was going to be who she is. They just knew it, and they recorded her every year around her birthday and it’s unbelievable. You’re watching this little human. And, you know, they show her stats like how many people are following her, and then they show a year later and a year later, and then now, you know, we’re here. And it’s like, “Oh my god, look at this enormously, famously, huge musician”
Not everybody’s path looks like that, of course, and when I was working at a giant PR firm back in my first days in the music industry, their clients were already enormously established artists: Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner.
The whole name of that game is keep the press away from those people until we have something that we’re announcing, that’s important, that we’re orchestrating, and then you’re cherry picking.
I remember the head of publicity for InXcess was like, “Okay, we’re going to do Rolling Stone, then we’re going to do Spin, then we’ll do Late Night…” she just cherry picked the top, top, top stuff, and then you said, “No” to everything else.
I think obviously when you’re an emerging… or just starting out, you want to take any opportunity that you can get, because it’s really hard when you’re starting out.
I think that there’s that validation from the media, whatever media means for you, whether it’s magazines or newspapers, which would be the more traditional press, or music blogs, you just have to be really mindful that a lot of what you see when you see these lightning-in-a-bottle success stories have more to do with the fact that that artist is playing music that is usually of the very moment.
If you’re playing something that’s niche-y or not quite in the mainstream, and you’re wondering why you’re not getting a lot of press, that’s part of the reason.
So Brené Brown has all these beautiful sayings about just be careful about whose approval you’re looking to get. Press is important. It’s part of your portfolio, and I always say publicity should never be the first money that you spend in your career. Never.
The first money you spend in your career, of course, after creating the music and making it sound as good as it can humanly sound, is in figuring out how to connect with fans. Period.
And, you know, certain levels of press do. If you’re going to get on NPR that will result in getting probably a lot, or at least some, new followers, but for the most part, I think a lot of artists still equate getting acclaim with some sort of magical bullet and it’s not always what they think it’s going to be.
Suz: Yeah, definitely. I want to circle back to that in a minute. But first I just want to talk about the fact that in this past year, when we talk about managing everything that we’re managing, you’ve not only expanded your family, but you’ve also moved and you’ve also expanded your team, and you’ve also just decided, “Screw a global pandemic! Let me write another book.” You are a best selling author. You already have six books, plus a teacher’s guide to teach what you lay out in your books and amidst all of this, you are adding a new addition to your Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity. What made you feel, “This is time. I’m going to update it, and I’m going to put myself through birthing this book”?
Ariel: I think like an artist in many ways. I think you could say the same thing to a lot of music clients that we work with. How many women have I represented that were like, “I had a baby, and then I was in the recording studio,” or, “I had a baby and then I hit the road,” or, “I was pregnant and I was on tour.” And men as well, you know, “I had a kid and I had to get off the road and take some time to be with my family,” et cetera.
I think, for me, writing books is my way of staying sharp, A, because when you write a book, you have to know what you’re writing about. Right? You can’t just make some shit up.
So I love the discipline and practice of writing a book because it allows you to look at something in a really, really deep way. Just like if you were teaching yourself in a music studio, how do I record music? You would come out, after a steep learning curve, knowing something really invaluable. And you would, I wouldn’t say be like a deep expert in it, but you would be much better off than the person that has no idea how a studio functions, for example.
So that’s the first thing – is I love the process of digging in, of learning. I also researched – there is no music publicity book out there. There are a couple of textbooks. There are plenty of sections of books about how to succeed, like Ari Herstand has a section in his enormous book about publicity, for example, as do many other people who write great books about and for musicians.
But there was no definitive guide and there hasn’t been one since The Billboard Guide to Publicity, which I read one minute out of college – it was like my Bible back in the day when I was learning how to be a publicist. So, that also felt really like this is a contribution that I can give back. And this pandemic, it’s been a really hard time.
So part of me also wanted to say, like, here’s a gift. Here’s everything I know. It’s all here.
Publicity is not rocket science. It’s learnable, it’s doable. I also work with a lot of artists that have had really negative PR experiences and hopefully getting a book out that talks about how to hire a publicist and how to frame it, how to think of it. I mean, that is part of what this book is about. I want artists to feel empowered around that as well.
Suz: There’s so many questions I have about the actual structure of the book and what you include in there, and we’ll get into that moment, but when you say a gift, I mean, it really, truly guys, I can’t stress this enough, what a gift. It really is a labor of love. You take such great care in touching upon the emotional side of things, going back to what we were just talking about, managing expectations, communicating in a human-to-human way. Why include that? Why not just say, “Well, here are the steps. Here’s what you need. Go do it. Good luck.”
Why put that extra layer into the guide?
Ariel: If there’s no humanity in your communication, your communication will not succeed. And when I say humanity, I don’t mean you have to talk about your divorce in your pitch. I’m saying there has to be something in there that separates you.
This is just a silly time. There’s just so much music coming out and so many people competing for not that many spaces in press world. So I felt that it was really necessary to do that because again, when you think about okay, this is how you connect with your fan, it’s also how you connect with the music blogger or the playlister, or the podcaster.
And if you can do that well, that’s a skill, as you’ll see through the book, I have some really great artists featured, and the thing that all of them have in common is they have a mastery of some form or fashion of PR or publicity. All in a different way, and they’ve all come to it in a different way, but I really love those 11 stories of those 11 artists, because they do show humanity in some form or fashion and a deep understanding of who they are as artists is at the core of that.
Suz: Right. You mentioned between PR and publicity, and I think a lot of people just see that as one thing. How would you describe the difference between PR and publicity?
Ariel: Publicity still to me is very much about getting a placement, getting someone to write something or record a podcast with you, or include you in a radio show or something like that, where there is a tangible result which is media-oriented.
PR, thank you all of the social channels and your email list and all these other things, PR is different. And in the beginning of the book, I have something called The Musician’s Communication Map, which is a visual mind map of all the different types of communication that an artist needs to have at different stages of their careers.
You don’t need to come out of the gate with that whole mind map sorted, but I think if you just have one way that you communicate to everyone in the business, in the media, your fans, you’re not going to succeed well. It’s a different skill set for those different types of relationships.
Suz: That’s one of the things I love about the way you teach, too. I mean, you see this in the Cyber PR Music blog all the time too, is the visual components that you pair with your writings, because I think that’s so helpful. Creatives, a lot of us are visual learners, and it’s just really helpful to have that along in the book. I really love that you had included that.
I don’t want you to give all the secrets away, but obviously it’s The Ultimate Guide, so you touch upon how to do your own and how to hire somebody, but where do you start? I know you mentioned the first step should not be to invest in PR help, but how do you go about hiring somebody, if you think you’re ready to?
Ariel: First of all, do your homework. It is so important. There are so many publicists out there just because someone might have that blue chip name on their roster that you are totally attached to, if they do, they normally charge a lot of money. That’s just how it works. If they are representing a household name, that household name can afford a lot of money and you might not be able to. Okay? So there’s that.
The second thing is, it’s really funny. I do work with a lot of my clients when we are not the right PR fit. For example, right now we’re working with a fabulous artist, she’s a Brazilian Jazz artist. I do not know how to publicize Brazilian Jazz. That’s not our forté. So we had a really fun time doing an RFP, that means request for proposal where you send out to different PR firms and you ask.
And it was really interesting reading their proposals and getting on the phone and listening to the different approaches. Some of the publicists were mansplaining to my client in a really derogatory way. Some were completely full of crapola, and were saying things that I hoped she could read through, but we’d get off the phone I’d be like, “Girl, you’re not getting on primetime television. No, you don’t have 500 followers yet. That’s not honest.”
So anyway, publicists are excellent at selling. That is one thing to always kind of keep in mind, but you also should keep in mind what is your budget? How much money feels like the right amount of money for you? And then you want to work with someone that you like, that you feel like you resonate with, that you feel like really gets your music.
They should listen to your music. They should send you a proposal that makes sense. They should be there to answer questions. You’re about to part with thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of money, so if it doesn’t feel right, then they’re not the person for you, and there are many, many more fish in the sea.
It does take some doing – it’s just like dating you don’t just go with the first one that looks the best. I mean, maybe that’s appealing, you know, before you, do you swipe left? How do you say yes? You know what I mean? It’s appealing, but then you go on the date and you’re like, “Oh, you’re kind of a schmuck!”
Like if the person’s a schmuck, they’re not the publicist for you.
Suz: Absolutely. And one of the things I think you hit home with really well in the book is, again, it comes down to communicating. You’re going to be having to communicate with this person regularly to get the job done, so you might want to like them.
I think that’s really important. And one of the other things that I really love about your book is you mentioned the 11 case studies that you have in there. I had two guests, Pam and Dyalekt from Brunch and Budget, as you’re familiar with, and we talked about the importance of representation and seeing somebody else do it and say, “Oh, okay, like now I can do it.” And the fact that you have these case studies as you said, it’s not a textbook where it’s just like,
“Okay, just follow these steps and you’ll be good.”
You really interweave these stories from actual artists who are actually doing these things. You work with so many artists. You come across so many artists’ paths, how did you choose these 11 to include in your book?
Ariel: Well, first I put a call out on the PR list, which is a list of about 500 music publicists specifically, and I said, “Hey, I’m writing a book. I’m looking for some really great examples of artists that you think have exemplified really understanding press.”
And I did have a couple who were actually my clients and I asked them to write, so I would say I had about 30% of clients that I repped that I knew I wanted to include their stories. Then I asked the PR list and I got a lot of people saying,”Here’s the story. Here’s the journey.
Hilariously, it was like 99% men, and I was like, “Okay, I’m not only putting stories of men,” so then I posted on Women In Music and in true Women In Music fashion, the flood gates opened, and a lot of people sent me their stories, like really beautifully written, well thought out. Choosing 11 was hard, but I didn’t just want it to be an overwhelming amount.
So that’s kind of how I did it. It was like 30% clients that I’ve represented that I know them
personally, and I really watched them grow in some form or fashion. Then, the others came from just asking. A couple of people I had to cajole one person who I’m like, “You are so good. I really want your story in my book. Please write me back.”
So that’s how that happened.
Suz: And what do you want artists to take away from this? What’s the most important thing you hope they glean from reading this book cover to cover?
Ariel: I want publicity to be demystified. I don’t want it to feel like some giant thing in an ivory tower that is not for them and is not possible.
And there was a lot about publicity that even I did not understand, and I had been a publicist repping indie bands for many, many years, and it wasn’t until I partnered with a publicist who had been at a major label, for a very brief and very unpleasant time in my career, one of the many iterations, and she schooled me on how things worked.
I didn’t include a lot of those secrets in the book cause that was in the late nineties, and a lot of it is not relevant anymore, but I think a lot of artists misunderstand how things work. Artists have said really unreasonable things to me like, “I want to play on the Plaza of The Today Show. That’s my PR goal.” And I’m like, “Okay, let’s just look at a list of what that means. And let’s like, look at who plays there, and then let me talk to you about what that reality is. The reality is two years before any Plaza appearances happen, the publicist at the major labels go and they schedule that with The Today Show, and you don’t have a chance in hell. It’s not going to happen.”
And this is not to dash anyone’s dreams and be like, “You don’t deserve to have that dream,” if that’s your dream, yes. However, I’ve seen so many artists in my career waste so much money. I actually knew an artist who not only spent all of the money that she had, but she remortgaged our house during a radio campaign because a shady radio promoter told her, “If you could only pay for another 10 weeks of this, you’re going to break through,” and she lost everything. I have seen artists take unreasonable gambles, trying to get on commercial radio and there’s virtually no success story of any truly independent, non-affiliated with any major label artist that’s ever broken through on mainstream radio in the United States. It just is not a platform for indies. And when I say indie, I mean you don’t have a label and you don’t have management. You don’t have Clear Channel behind you.
So I think there are myths that artists think like, if I could just… I mean, I have had incredibly wealthy people come to me and say, “I have $350,000. How do I buy myself in?” And the answer is, in most cases, you have to have that money and the right team and a ridiculous amount of talent and on and on and on like that.
Suz: Right. Exactly. And, you know, it’s a testament to your honesty and your transparency in this business, that your book is already a number one bestseller on Amazon before it’s even come out. It comes out on the 17th, next week. I know that people can still pre-buy it and get it. I plan on getting a few copies for my clients.
Any coaches out there, be sure to grab this and gift your clients this book. Musicians out there, grab this and read this cover to cover before you hire any PR whatsoever, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Where can people go to do that?
Ariel: Well, you can find it on Amazon. It is also up on my website. There’s a page with multiple links. So if you’re a Barnes and Noble person or you want to shop at Target, we put a bunch of links there, so that’s cyberprmusic.com.
And for those of you that do feel like buying it, I am throwing a book launch party on the release day, which is June 17th, 8:00 PM EST. Come hang out with me, I’m going to have a really fun event with a couple of the artists that are featured in the book. I’m going to have a podcaster who generously shared a lot of tips throughout the book.
I’m going to give a recipe for a cocktail and a mocktail, so we can all have a toast together. I actually just found today on Women In Music, a Rock and Roll guitarist who’s also a mixologist based in the UK and she’s designing a cocktail/mocktail called The Publicist, which I’m psyched about.
And then also for anyone that pre-orders the book you have to let me know that you did it because Amazon is greedy and doesn’t share their details, but let me know, send me a screenshot of the receipt and you will be entered into a raffle. I am giving away a three month deluxe publicity campaign.
So that is my way of saying thank you! Come buy the book, come join us on the party, come have a signature cocktail, and perhaps win a full PR campaign.
Suz: That’s amazing. So you can find all those links and all the information you need to get involved, it’s in the show notes, that’s therockstaradvocate.com/ep107.
I am so, so thrilled for this. How can people connect with you and hire you when they’re ready to get help with publicity and all of the fan engagement and press engagement skills that they need?
Ariel: You can find me at cyberprmusic.com and on all social media, @cyberpr.
Suz: Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it!
Ariel: I’m so excited. Thank you for allowing me to be your guest.
I could talk to Ariel all day long, and sometimes we do! I’m so fortunate to have her as a colleague, mentor, and most importantly close friend. I love that you all had a chance to listen to one of our many talks and I’m sure this won’t be the last!
For all the parents out there, I want you to realize, none of this is ever easy and life’s messy!
Ariel’s juggled an unimaginably full plate, still rising to the top and banging out yet another best-seller not because she’s a magical unicorn (though, sometimes I think she is), but because she’s built an incredible team to help her and she leads with her mission in sight at all times – creating tools to help musicians flourish.
This is an industry steeped in relationships – with colleagues, with collaborators, with critics, with fans. Focus on the relationships, not the numbers. The rest will come.
I hope you learned as much as I always do from Ariel and I’d LOVE to know what you thought about this episode! Leave us a comment on the show notes page: www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep107 or email me email@example.com and tell me how this episode went for you! Be sure to let Ariel know as well by connecting with her on Instagram: @cyberpr
Don’t forget to check out my Recommended Rocksources page for more tools, the link is in the show notes, and pre-order Ariel’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity, before it hits shelves on June 17!
If you’re ready for more support, links to work with either myself or Ariel can be found in the show notes page and you can also email me at any time to get the ball rolling.
Until next time, Rock/Star. Keep planning, keep learning, and I hope to see you back here next week so we can get grounded to get rising! Take care.
- How Ariel has managed to stay in the music biz for 25+ years
- How “the hustle” kills curiosity and passion
- Why relationships are the backbone of PR
- Why PR is never the first thing you should spend money on in your music career
- How PR looks different at different stages of your artist career
- The difference between PR and Publicity
- The first step to take when you think you’re ready for PR
- What was your favorite PR tip Ariel shared from the epsiode?
- Let us know in the comments!
- Theme music brought to you by DC-based Indie/Pop band Sub-Radio
- More podcast episodes can be found here
- You can download a copy of the episode’s transcript here
- Wanna work together?? Schedule your call here
- Grab a copy of Ariel’s new book The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity
- Learn more about Cyber PR & all its resources
- Connect with Ariel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
- Interested in working with Cyber PR?
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