In-depth Interview with Bree Noble, Founder of Women in Music

As you know, here at Cyber PR we love to put the spotlight on dear friends and awesome women in the music industry. Entrepreneur, musician, and founder of Women of Substance, Bree Noble, has long been both of those things to us. Since starting Women of Substance in 2007, Bree has been championing female independent artists across the genres. Everyday she brings attention to talent that deserves to be heard in a supportive non-judgmental space. We thought we’d turn the tables a bit and put the spotlight on Bree and her popular online radio station and podcast, Women of Substance.

1. Do you think that it’s different for female artists than it is for men?

I think it shouldn’t be, and I think it’s getting better, but I still think it’s different. I think it can become an issue if you are trying to get signed. Labels and managers tend to have their own “ideas” of what kind of female artists will sell. At that point, money is the big motivator and they may try to “mold” a woman into the image that they think the marketplace wants, which usually involves skimpy clothes, certain hairstyles, makeup, etc. They also may want to “sex” up the lyrical content of the songs.

I don’t see this happen as much with male artists. The important takeaway in my opinion is to have a strong sense of self and values before you go “on the market” as an artist and stick to your guns.

2. What inspired you to start your business? Did you do it with profit in mind or with Passion?

It started with passion, and it’s still about passion, but profit has slowly made it’s way onto the scene. I started Women of Substance Radio as a passion project in 2007. I wanted something to keep my head and heart in the music game while I had small children and was not working a full-time job. At first, it was all about compiling a great playlist of the music that I loved and that I couldn’t find on the radio. This was music from Indie artists like myself, but better! This was music I wish I had written. I came up with the name for the station to describe the music I had compiled – the common thread being “substance” – significant quality with the implication of a hidden or special significance. I began promoting the station and attracted submissions from artists. I ran it as a hobby for about 3 years – just breaking even each month with the costs of hosting and royalties, website, email newsletter, etc. We became a “commercial” station on Live365 in 2012. At that point we started selling advertising. It took a while to catch on, but we began finding sponsors which helped us turn a small profit for the next few years (keep in mind at this point I was still donating my time and juggling with taking care of young kids). In 2014 we moved to a more robust platform which had more opportunities for advertising and created branded mobile apps. This move allowed us to grow our sponsors and affiliate relationships. Just before Thanksgiving 2014 I launched the Women of Substance Music Podcast. Within a week it was #1 on iTunes New & Noteworthy in all of its 3 categories. The new podcast brings in even more sponsorship revenue and promotes our brand on new platforms like iTunes, Soundcloud, TuneIn and I Heart Radio.

Because I have been working with tens of thousands of female artists over the past 7 years, I have the vantage point to see the common denominators that make Indie artists successful. The natural next step in my career was to take all that I know and am constantly learning and provide guidance to female artists. I LOVE working with women in music and it is my true passion to do what I can to help them grow their business, increase and connect with their fan base which will allow them to make a living at music. This is why I created my newest Podcast “Female Entrepreneur Musician” – to educate and inspire female musicians through the stories of artists like themselves who are making a sustainable income in music. I also bring on Industry Pros with valuable advice to share.

Finally in 2015, my knowledge and experience in Finance, Marketing and the Music Business has allowed me to make a living doing what I love as well.

3. How did you get your high ranking on iTunes?

The biggest factor I believe is having a weekday 5-day-per-week show. We put out a LOT of great content foe people to consume and enjoy. I had also build a large email list and a Facebook following of over 10,000. When I asked for help in getting listens, subscribers and reviews on iTunes, they responded. Those are the major factors that affect your iTunes ranking.

4. 2014 & 2015 seem to be the year of the WOMAN – more women than ever before are appearing in bold roles on TV – do you see this translating over to the Music Industry / artist community?

What I have seen is a lot more REALLY high quality female artists emerging. These are bold women who know who they are, have a unique presence and are ready to take the industry by storm. I am not sure this is translating into more “signings” for women, but if you are making quality music, great videos, developing a loyal following using your own assembled team of professionals working with you, I don’t think you need to get signed in 2015. In fact, it might be detrimental to your bottom line.

I see more young women, especially teens, putting themselves out there with amazing songwriting talent and a well-developed image and “brand”. I think young women have been emboldened by watching the “power” women that have been emerging in the media. Even on “The Voice”, the women are dominating!

5. How do you think social media has impacted the success of Women of Substance?

Social media has been an amazing tool. I grew the WOS Facebook following from 0 in 2009 to over 10,000 now in 2015. It has given me another way to communicate with our artists outside of email to provide them valuable tips and articles. Facebook has also attracted listeners to the station and podcast because I post videos from our artists, our Top 20, and show announcements. I am able to leverage the fans of all our artists by tagging them whenever we feature their song. The artists are very good about sharing with their fans because it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. I use Twitter on a daily basis with @artist tagged and hashtag-specific tweets. I also share a direct link to all of our shows on Facebook so people can listen right inside Facebook. We have been gaining a following on Soundcloud as well which is a form of Social platform. Since so many musicians hang out on Soundcloud, it’s a great secondary strategy for us besides iTunes.

6. Any marketing predications or great trends you see bubbling to the surface for 2015?

Mobile will be huge. Mobile devices already have a much bigger share than desktop for Podcast listens, and it’s going up every month. Mobile marketing is the next logical step – getting people to opt-in to your newsletter through text message (it’s already happening, especially in the podcasting world, but musicians will want to jump on the bandwagon). Musicians will need to learn to market on Instagram if they aren’t already, especially because of the gaining share of mobile. Learning how to use the power of photos and short videos with a hashtag strategy will be vital for future marketing efforts of Indie artists.

About Bree Noble:

Bree at River full body
Bree Noble is an entrepreneur, musician and speaker. She founded Women of Substance Radio and Podcast to promote quality female artists in all genres. The Podcast, a 5 day per week show which promotes Independent female artists, hit #1 in New & Noteworthy for the Music, Arts and Society & Culture categories and #4 Audio Podcast on all of iTunes. She draws on her extensive experience running her own music business, both as a solo musician and as an Industry professional, to train and mentor other female musicians through her “Female Musician Academy”.  On her newest Podcast, Female Entrepreneur Musician (also #1 in New & Noteworthy), she conducts interviews with successful Indie female artists and industry pros that are both inspirational and informational.

 Learn more about Women of Substance at http://www.wosradio.com and about Female Entrepreneur Musician at www.FEMusician.com or www.FemaleMusicianAcademy.com
Instagram: @breenoblemusic
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Cyber PR Social Media Food Pyramid – 2015 Version

PTR200This is one of my most popular articles – It is included in my book and with social media growing at such a rapid pace, I decided it was a good idea to revisit my social media food pyramid and update it for 2015.

Read the full article on CyberPR.com!

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Demystifying the Enigma Platform: Tumblr (PART 2)

You’re Going to Want to Create an Account

Go to www.tumblr.com and click the Sign Up button and enter the following information.

Email – This will be the email that you want your account associated with. I do suggest using an email that you will actively check and not tuck away and forget about.

Password - Always good to pick something you’ll remember :)

Username - This will be the name that people will see when content you post shows up in their feed.

Since you’re an artist/band it’s important for you to use your artist or band name for search purposes. You’ll want to do the same a little later when you create the URL for your Tumblr for SEO purposes.

* Tip for a newbie– very few non musician users (unless they are using their site a portfolio or place to show off their work) use their birth name as their username or name of their blog. You’ll see things like shipwrekfrontierpioneer, studdedheartsxo21, and ryangoslingsgirl. (So just don’t be alarmed.)

A neat thing to note is that web surfers don’t need a Tumblr account to view your Tumblr blog. Your Tumblr blog will have it’s own URL (as hinted prior) and will exist on the internet as a web page. Even though in settings you can change it so your Tumblr will not come up in a Google search-  I can think of few reasons why you’d want to go this route.

Okay now that you created an account and are logged in -

(In between creating your account and getting to your dashboard you’ll be prompted to follow 5 blogs to “get started”. You can skip this step and come back to it when you have a better lay of the land.)

You’ll see a house with a halo that says This is your dashboard – not-so-ironically, this is your dashboard.

Guys here is where it’s going to get creative.

You’ll see above your dashboard a toolbar that says Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video. This is where you create/upload original content for your blog.

If you want to add a video, click Video in that toolbar, and pop in a video and when you click post you’ll see the video pop up on your dashboard. Here’s the thing though- that video does only pop up on your dashboard. It will also pop up on the dashboard of everyone who is following you on Tumblr.

Here is where it’s going to get social. Woo!

So your dashboard is pretty much equivalent to your Twitter feed or your Facebook feed. However, unlike Facebook and even more so than with Twitter, it’s encouraged for people to share other people’s posts. Facebook calls it sharing, Twitter calls it Re-tweeting, and on Tumblr it’s known as reblogging.

Imagine a place where people are actively looking for art, cultural references, quips, GIFs and just stuff. It’s like the place to be!

Well — not so fast.

Let’s point out a few things,

First thing to point out. Tumblr is not THE easiest place to gain followers. Gaining followers is really dependent on content. There are three way to gain followers.

- Put stellar, interesting, original content on your Tumblr.
– Hashtag your posts and make sure the hashtags are relevant to what you’re posting. There’s a spot to add these when you create an original post as well as when you reblog a post.
– Follow other people who are putting out content similar to yours, reblog them, and like their stuff. (Tip: I tend to find that reblogging is more effective than liking when it comes to gaining people’s attention and harvesting that follow)

Second thing to point out: You aren’t going to have much traction on Tumblr if your fans/potential fans aren’t using Tumblr.

That being said, overall, Tumblr, unlike any other social media platform, has quite the distinct personality (Snapchat probably being an up and coming competitor). If you don’t believe me then consider the fact that the @SincerelyTumblr Twitter handle exits.

And right about now you’re probably either like ‘dude that’s right where I need to be’, or you’re like ‘okay but I’m not a whiny millennial experiencing the world is GIFs’ —

It’s okay there is something for everyone, but it’s good to point out that Tumblr does skew young.

Last Thing: Tumblr is not the place for shameless self-promotion.

Let me explain it this way. I’ve been a Tumblr user since I was 17, so I remember when Tumblr began to introduce sponsored posts on to their users’ dashboards. What was so interesting about it was I almost reblogged an add for some shampoo company without even realizing it!  The point is these companies promoting themselves on Tumblr are not making ads that just say “Breakfast special at [Restaurant]”. They’re making clever GIFs that blend in with the territory (posts that look like solicited posts on users’ dashboards).

Take a lesson from the heavy hitters and put out content that will appeal to the site’s user base.

In other words, post your song, post your creative tour poster, post the doodle that you made in the tour van, but don’t put in the caption anything resembling “Come to my show”/ “Buy my CD”. Please, PLEASE. As a Tumblr user I’m giving you the inside scoop.

* Of course you can always have a widget on your homepage that says something like “CD Available here” or something like that, but leave it out of you posted content.

Now that you know how it works —> You probably have some ideas as to the content you want to share —> And you can now customize/ pick a layout that will complement the content you’re putting on your blog.

Here’s how to customize your blog:

On the page where you see your dashboard go to the upper righthand corner and click on the little person icon (a faceless head with shoulders). Then click on Settings in the drop down menu.

Here you can make some basic edits to your settings.

If you click the button that says Edit Appearance you can change your profile image, your cover image, the title of your blog, and your description.

On this same page you can also change your

– username
– URL (of your blog)
– Appearance of your blog (I’ll get to that in a sec)
– And a plethora of other really cool options like allowing people to ask you questions on Tumblr (these come to you like messages and then you have the option of responding and sharing/making them public on your blog and in all of your followers’ newsfeeds)

Now let’s own this and pick a theme:

Theme is synonymous with Layout (btw).

There are a bunch of free themes you can choose from. If you click Edit Theme and then on the new page you’re directed to click Browse Themes you can check them out. With free themes you have flexibility to customize the HTML and really make it yours.

Reblogging- It’s Going To Get Intimate.

So reblogging. How do you do it and why should you do it?

Reblogging is super easy and very much so part of the territory with Tumblr.

There are three great benefits to blogging other people. 

1. Reblogging other people allows you to share awesome content that you otherwise wouldn’t have on your blog. Your blog may become a source of inspiration for yourself. For example you can archive cool designs that may inspire your album art down the line.

2. As mentioned prior it’s a way to gain followers, ingratiate yourself within different Tumblr communities, and gain followers.

3. If you have fans who are sharing content about you, reblogging their photos from a show or their fan art can be a great way of showing that you approve and appreciate the support. Remember positive reinforcement from school? Check out Taylor Swift’s Tumblr.

It just goes to show how Tumblr gives you the tools and you have free reign to do with them what feels right for your creative project.

If you want you can start by following us on Tumblr :)

PS A lot of bloggers use Tumblr so hmmmm ….

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Demystifying the Enigma Platform: Tumblr (PART 1)

Ostersund, Sweden - June 21, 2014: Close up of tumblr website un

Tumblr: the microblog platform known as the hub for fan girls/guys and young millennial feminists but, actually, is so much more.

In Tumblr’s own words:

Tumblr is so easy to use that it’s hard to explain.

We made it really, really simple for people to make a blog and put whatever they want on it. Stories, photos, GIFs, TV shows, links, quips, dumb jokes, smart jokes, Spotify tracks, mp3s, videos, fashion, art, deep stuff. Tumblr is 229 million different blogs, filled with literally whatever.

Cool! Rad! Totally awesome and — completely overwhelming.

A big part of what makes Tumblr so difficult to adopt for many first time users is the fact that it comes off so open-ended. We’re here to shed some light on how you, as a musician, can use Tumblr without boxing yourself in.

So First, What is Tumblr in Straight Up Technical Terms?

To clarify – Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking site.

What makes Tumblr unique is 1.) it makes it really, really, really easy for users/fans to share your blogged content (and vice versa) and 2.) it’s super chill (free format).

Free Format? – That Sounds A Little Intimidating.

Just stay with me.

As with any blog, your Tumblr is what you make it. As a musician, you’re probably like “Nah, you’re just saying that. I have to use it as a promotional tool”, and I’m here to tell you “No not really. It’s probably best to think of Tumblr as a well-branded creative space.”

What Other Artists Are Doing –

As Your Website

Sky Ferreira uses her Tumblr as her official website. She has pages that include all of the info you’d have on a regular website such as tour dates, photos, merchandise, etc. She keeps her content fresh by having her Instagram feed onto her homepage.

*Getting a little ahead of ourselves, but if you’d like to know how to add your Instagram photos onto your Tumblr, here’s a great How To.

Using Tumblr as your official website is definitely taking the road less traveled by, but it works for some. Just remember that Tumblr is still a social platform in many ways (this we’ll get into a little later) and it’s always in your best interest to be wary of the fact that they can change the rules on you.

Other artists who use Tumblr as official websites are Diiv and Modern Baseball.

As a Blog Hosted on Your Website/ A Blog on It’s Own

You can also use it as a blog that you host on your website like Grimes does, or just a creative space where you post and reblog (I’ll fill you in on reblogging) things that inspire or interest you like MS MR does.

So as you can see, as a musician, you have quite a few options. At this point I’m assuming that you’re still feeling overwhelmed but hopefully the idea of Tumblr is becoming a little more intriguing if not appealing.

To Be Continued with an upcoming PART 2 ….

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9 Crucial Steps To A Successful SXSW 2015

SXSW-2015-Music

By Ariel Hyatt – Author of Music Success in 9 Weeks

Like many of you I’m off o SXSW this week! I launched my company at SXSW in 1996 with a dream to be a publicist and a stack or orange business cards.   It’s safe to say,  seen a lot  over the years.The following are some tips on how to successfully navigate your through the most overwhelming music conference of them all. And I would love to celebrate 19 YEARS in business with you – find me and let’s drink a margarita or get our minds blown by a fantastic band!

1. Envision What You Want Before You Arrive

Austin, Texas is a wonderful city, and its distractions are many. Keep in mind that this is not a vacation (even though you will have a blast!). It’s a work-related learning experience. With a little planning and foresight, you can have a million-dollar conference.

My first bit of advice: Arrive prepared. Know who will be attending and create some goals before you get there.

2.  Connect Before You Arrive

Social Media is your BFF at SXSW Make sure to follow people you might want to meet including brands, individuals who are speaking and bands! Take the time to curate a list on Twitter so you are following the good stuff when you arrive and of course search those all-important hashtags.

SXSW Social Media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SXSWFestival

Twitter: www.twitter.com/SXSW

Instagram: www.instagram.com/SXSW

Tip:  If you don’t have an extra charger for your phone you might want to get one before you get to town as your phone might just be what leads you to a magical moment!

3. Bring Business Cards

Yes, you should have a business card, and your card should not just have your name and number.  It should have good information about what you or your band sounds like (your pitch) , your Twitter handle, Facebook, Instagram  and links to any other places important contacts can find you online. A photo of you and /or a band logo would also be highly recommended.

4. Don’t Haul CDs

I don’t think I really have to say this but… I do not recommend bringing CDs. People are overwhelmed and standing on their feet all day and they don’t want anything extra to drag home in their carry ons. Get people’s business cards  or connect on socials and then when you return home send your music digitally through Bandcamp, Spotify  or Soundcloud.

5. Do Talk To Strangers

Don’t be scared to take risks and meet people. Conferences are friendly places.  Just walk right up and ask “So, what brings you here?” You’ll have a new BFF in no time.

6. Attend Panels – You Will Learn Something

It’s tempting to blow the panels off and hit all of the day parties, but I encourage you to make an effort to sit in on at least one or two panels per day. Choose any topic that interests you, and sit in the front so that you can be among the meet the panelists after the session (as they will be swarmed at the end).

7. Get Mentored – You Will Meet VIPS

The best way to connect with important people in the music business is NOT actually hoping to bump into them randomly at the bar at a loud party (although magic can happen – Make your OWN MAGIC and sign up to meet them.  There are a mind blowing amount of mentors this year including some of the smartest people I know in the business! Make sure that you have done your research, and have specific questions to ask them. Go here and book yourself!

8. Take Time To Follow Up!

The moment you get home, make some photo albums on your Facebook & Instagram and tag #hashtag people you met and the great moments you had  If you got emails make sure to send thank you notes.

Make a game of following up with every single person that you met and If they say yes, add them to your e-mail list. If you are active on LinkedIn add them there.

TIP: Never send your pitch or talk about business in the initial e-mail or follow up  be friendly and be helpful. If you do not follow up, your trip and hard work will have been a waste of your time. So, don’t rip yourself off here! Take the extra time before you go back to your crazy life!

9. Come Say Hi

I’d love to see you.

Pop by my panel or hit me on Twitter!  @CyberPR

The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs in Music
Day: Wednesday, March 18
Room: Room 13AB Austin Convention Center
Start Time: 2:00 PM End Time: 3:00 PM

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Guest Post by Rorie Kelly: Why 2015 is the Year of Community Not Competition

My 2015 started off with a bang when I accidentally got an article published on GuitarWorld.com, which proceeded to get 12,000 shares. “Uh, how do you ‘accidentally’ get an article published on a website?” you may ask. Fair question.

I hit a milestone in 2014–I doubled my income from music. Like many indie artists, building up real income with my music has been a long and hazardous journey.  But after years of hard work and trial and error, I’m finally starting to get good at it, and I wanted to share what I’d learned with other indie artists.

I tossed out an email to Women in Music WIM, a networking group I had joined earlier in the year, asking if anyone was interested in running a guest blog.  Within hours, my inbox filled up with congratulations, suggestions, and offers of help–mostly from women I had never met. This is the power of community at work.

After sending just that one email out, I found myself with the luxury of choosing which online publication would run my story, out of several really exciting offers. Turns out Women in Music is one powerful community to be a part of! I wrote the article over the weekend, and it posted on GuitarWorld.com on Monday. Throughout the week, a massive comment thread slowly grew on Guitar World’s Facebook page. Over 50 percent of the responses were the same cynical joke: “LOL, I’d love to double my income, but two times nothing is still nothing!”  It was funny enough (the first ten times) but suddenly all I could see was how hopeless many musicians felt.

Then a thought hit me like a ton of bricks: that used to be me. I used to feel exactly that cynical about music and money. I had a hard time seeing fellow artists have any kind of success, especially if their act was similar to mine. I’d feel hopeless and envious, wondering what they were doing that I wasn’t. I became terrified that I would waste my whole life working hard and achieving nothing.

Reading those comments made me realize I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel optimistic about my future. When I see other artists have success, I get giddy and excited for them. What changed? I’ve been mulling this over all month. I think the answer is community.

At the beginning of 2014, I decided to use my tax refund to join two networking groups I’d been hearing about for years: Women in Music and GoGirls Elite. I had a really big DIY/lone wolf thing going on at that time, and even as I was paypalling the membership fees I was expecting it to come to nothing. But few people I respected had told me “JOIN!” and in a rare act of compliance, I decided to heed their advice.

I could put a series of humble brags here about the opportunities that came out joining those groups – showcases at music conferences, album reviews, interviews on podcasts. But the really invaluable thing that happened was I found community. Friendships. Peers. I don’t feel like I’m in this alone anymore.  It has changed my whole outlook.

Through GoGirls Music’s weekly Twitter chat (hashtag #ggchat on Thursdays at 3 and 9pm EST) I began meeting other musicians facing the exact same struggles I was facing. Balancing music career work with a day job. Gauging what opportunities to spend money on. Finding a way to take adequate care of ourselves while working all day and gigging all night. Comparing notes made us all stronger. Forming friendships with other artists made me feel thrilled when any of us experienced a new success. Jealousy was out the window. If one of us was finding success, it meant all of us could find it.

Meanwhile, in the Women in Music email group, I saw women at every level of the industry (from CEOs to complete newbies) helping each other out just for the sake of doing it. I saw people asking for and receiving advice, contacts, feedback. When something came up that I could help with, I was eager to share my knowledge, even with a complete stranger. It filled me with joy to help someone else out with something I had struggled to learn the hard way. Instead of the competition and cattyness I had come to expect from the NYC music scene, the prevailing attitude was “We’re all in this together.”

My big question is: why did it take me 10 years of hard work to find community? What is it about the music industry that fills us with such self-doubt, we feel upset when other artists succeed instead of optimistic? What is so broken about the indie music scene that we literally laugh off the idea of making money? Of all of us finding success instead of a chosen few?

Maybe these are topics for another essay (or an entire book). At the end of the day the only thing I’m sure of is this: Community is my antidote for cynicism. Social media and networking groups have changed my life in the last year, mainly because I let them. Putting myself out there like the new kid at school, with no expectations and no real plan, has given me the faith in myself that I struggled to find for years.

Community not competition is my motto for the year. I hope you’ll join me.

About Rorie Kelly:

Photo Credit: Ian Darson

Photo Credit: Ian Darson

People hearing rorie kelly for the first time often comment, “I can’t believe that voice  came out of that body.”  The singer/songwriter has been compared to Alanis Morissette  and Janis Joplin for her catchy, melodic songwriting style and raw vocal power. Music,  videos, and tour dates are available at http://www.roriekelly.com.

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