Why Being On Oprah Was The Worst Day of My Life

Being on Oprah changed my perception of what I was doing for a living forever and marked the beginning of my long love affair with social media.  The story goes like this…

By 2002 I had run my boutique PR firm for 6 years, helping musicians tell their stories, and I was very satisfied doing that work.  One fateful day my telephone rang. It was a call from a producer at the Oprah Winfrey Show.  She had read an article about my mom in a magazine, where mom had mentioned her entrepreneurial daughter.

Within a week, an Oprah film crew had descended. The show combined live studio and taped interviews with Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, Faye Wattelton, Rebecca Walker (Alice Walker’s daughter) and many other guests. On the air date, Oprah opened the show by promising “A revealing look at what younger women think about older women…”

We were told that the theme of the show would be “generational differences in the workplace,” But what it ended up being was the airing of my painful family struggle in front of 40 million viewers.  It turned out the show was  really about pitting daughters from my generation against their mothers, ambitious women who were at the front lines in the battle for women’s equality. There was tremendous pain for all of the daughters featured. I’m not writing this to air dirty laundry.  I’m writing it to make a point about Traditional media.

In considering whether I wanted to write about this I started researching,  and I discovered that this particular episode has been cited and quoted in many books and papers.  My story has touched a nerve.

Here’s the thing: Women of my mother’s generation (the silent generation) struggled and women still struggle 40 years later as the most popular article that has ever run the Atlantic monthly Why Women Still Can’t Have it All attests.

The lesson I learned from Oprah (and about mass media) is:

In mass media you have NO control.

The day of the Oprah taping, I sat for hours under hot lights with pancake makeup on while the producer manipulated the story she wanted out of me. I tried my hardest to paint a rosier picture but as a non media-trained novice I was no match for the biggest daytime TV rated show in America.

The producer wanted me to reveal my pain. She actually had an exact sentence in mind that she wanted me to say. In other words she had the script before she showed up in my office.

After hours of back and forth I finally asked her please just tell me what it was she wanted me to say.  The producer fed me the EXACT Sentence (not my words) I parroted back, and as soon as I did, the cameras went off and they went away back to Chicago to the editing room.

It took 2 years to repair the damage and the pain that Oprah caused in my relationship with my mother.

Why am I telling you all this?

It’s to explain why I’m so passionate about social media.

Social media comes from you. You get to tell the story that you want to tell. There will never be producers grilling you under hot lights with cell phones ringing in their ears to get a version of a story that they want.

Have you ever heard of someone being interviewed for hours for a newspaper or TV piece and then one teeny snippet (sometimes taken out of context) is what makes it onto the 6 o clock news?

As a publicist working with traditional media I saw it EVERY DAY.

In mass media it is their truth.

In social media you have the right to defend yourself if anyone has objections or paints a picture of you that you don’t recognize as your truth.

And in social media you have the freedom to go deeper to explain if you want, openly in front of anyone who wants to see.

The best part about telling your story is:

You can build your own tribe and they can choose to come with you on your journey

I lost my faith in mass media the day that TV show aired and started my journey towards online PR. This was way before it was called “social media,” it was during the time of list servs and web rings and webzines, and years later, social media has gone mainstream.

Many still believe that with traditional media comes cache.

OK, believe it, maybe sometimes it’s true.

For me, from that day forward, every time I had to pitch a story to a traditional journalist I just felt nauseous.

Thinking that mainstream media will save you, discover you or put you on the map and make your career is a misguided conception.

Just ask 99% of all clients I have spoken to who have ever hired a traditional publicist ;)

Your wonderful tribe of people will come with you after the pancake makeup comes off and the hot lights turn away.

Your fans = your tribe = your conversation and your control.

This is why I believe in social media.

I want to help you tell your story.  I want you to utilize my 20 years of PR, Marketing and Social Media Experience to make a huge difference for you in 2013 – Follow this link to work with me, I’ll change your mind about all of this stuff, I promise.


The Reason I Got into Helping Artists Goes Like This…. (or Part 2 of Telling My Story)

It’s the day after Christmas.  The rain is pouring down on the roof and the turkey roast is slowly digesting…  and since I have just asked practically everyone in the world I’ve ever met to help me raise a lot of money to do something I have only dreamed of I’m going to be sharing my story with you….

I was raised in New York City in a creative household.  My dad was a documentary television producer and my mom, a pioneering female entrepreneur and author.

As a typical high achieving “Type A” family, the conversation at the dinner table every night was around my mother’s business and her new endeavor as a self-help author. When I was 8 my mother’s book The Women’s Selling Game became a bestseller and her subsequent books Women and Work, and When Smart People Fail also were hits.  Mom was on dozens of TV shows; Oprah, The Today Show, Donohue, etc. and, she was featured in magazines, and newspapers. She started traveling even more than she had in her role as an entrepreneur, speaking around the world motivating women with talks and workshops who were moving away from traditional jobs and as they were newly adapting to their roles of executive females.

At the time of this was happening my dad who is an Emmy Award winning documentary TV producer, was experiencing a less soaring trajectory.

The TV business started to experience a transition and, all of a sudden the public wanted less of what my father made.  New types of programming began to replace the high budget high quality documentaries my father worked on. Videotape and cheaper methods that my father wasn’t used to began to replace film. Thousands of people began to flood the TV market as “TV” was a new major in universities and the market became saturated with younger more nimble people who would work for less. Dad, unwilling to compromise his artistic vision, started working less.

What happened to my dad has happened to many in his generation and in my lifetime to countless musicians who were unable to adapt.  They got left behind. Today my dad is still a producer of live events and he has found a satisfying outlet for his creativity, but he no longer makes TV documentaries and he hasn’t for a long time.

I can’t help but think that I think about my childhood and seeing my dad get left behind factored into why I was so drawn to artists – helping artists find their voices, tell their stories and adapt to new changing technologies.

It’s not fair that all of a sudden there are all of these new rules (I never have said that it is) but it is necessary.  If you want to stay competitive doing what you love you must stay nimble and adapt or you will get left behind.


My UStream Holiday Party – Website Critique REPLAY

I couldn’t believe it!

Nearly 400 of you signed up to come to my first ever Ustream Holiday Party and we had some embarrassing (but temporary thank goodness) technical glitches.

The chat room was flying so fast I barely got a chance to see all of the amazing comments, and I had an absolute ball!

I critiqued websites, Twitter and Facebook Pages, and we even looked at a few of your successful crowd funding campaign pages to learn for ourselves how to make money in 2013.

  • Some of you (like @MeccaGodzilla) made new friends (and fans)
  • @theresanoye is already loading Cinderella photos on to her Twitter Page
  • @DollaBillCosby showed us that you can use your personality to your advantage (even with ah, hem – colorful language)
  • Steven Wylie learned about the critical differences when using personal pages vs fan pages
  • The Raygun Girls gave us a lesson in STELLAR branding!
  • Jody Whitesides taught us about squeeze pages
  • Mickey Matta & Tricky Pixie showed us how to go BEYOND your expectations using an effective Kickstarter campaign AND
  • Paul Rolan Perkes @perkXsoundlabs has already re-designed his ENTIRE website

Here is the REPLAY OF THE ACTION so you can watch and learn and put some of the techniques into place for yourself:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

I would love to see the changes you’ve made since our call and highlight you right here on this blog, so be sure to post your changes as you implement them (My Blog gets a lot of traffic so post!)

Speaking of making money…..

I gave all attendees a special Party Favor for attending – It was a copy of my Recession Proof Musician ebook

To receive my awesome Party Favor, I invite you all to check out and contribute to my crowd funding campaign where the ebook is included as a reward.

And since there is always room for improvement: I WILL be doing this again. In fact, I’ve got all sorts of good things up my sleeve to help you make 2013 the most profitable and fun and successful fan building and year yet.


A Message from Derek Sivers + My Holiday Gift to You

I was floored last week when I went to check my email and Derek Sivers had emailed me one of the most generous video testimonials ever.

I must say, it’s definitely gratifying because I’ve worked my REAR off to get to where I want to be. But I was seriously humbled.

And I’m giving something away this month as my gift to you –

I’m holding a live event on Tuesday night and putting a few of you in the HOT SEAT where I’m going to show you how to FIX what you’re doing wrong online and create MASSIVE exposure to help you get yourself discovered in 2013.

Here’s what we’ll be doing:

  • There will be LIVE hot seats, music artists selected by random from our audience where you will have the opportunity to learn what you need to change NOW in order to get more exposure online
  • I’m going to be revealing what you should NEVER do online and how to fix it fast!
  • I’ll look at your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and website and tell you what’s working
  • I’ll answer all your questions about Facebook personal pages vs fan pages (I know that’s driving you crazy!)
  • I’ll show you how to build your fan base before you even get off the call!

  • Click here to join me and get all of the details to my Online Holiday Party


    P.S. – Be sure and sign up now to get the deets for a chance to be selected to be in the HOT SEAT and learn my new special fan formula!


    Why Telling YOUR Story Is The Cornerstone of Your Brand…(and Why It’s High Time I’m Telling Mine)

    One of the best parts of my job is helping people reveal and tell their stories.

    95% of clients who contact us for Cyber PR campaigns or social media strategy think that we are going to be promoting JUST their “product” in most cases with my clients this means their music. But, our job is trying to help our clients realize  it’s the stories and the deeper connections that telling them that will LEAD potential fans to their product. having captivating stories is the asset that makes all of the difference.

    In the old world stories didn’t matter. Advertising used to equal marketing and so, the client with the most money for ads WON just by saturating the market. Telling a story wasn’t necessary or even heard of.

    Fast forward to the present day.  We live in a world over-saturated by choice.  It’s no longer about advertising (i.e. Shouting Loudly from the rooftop).  With advancements like Social Media, customer reviews and 200,000,000 blogs you are insane if you think any product without a story or one that satisfies a real NEED or solves a huge problem will mean anything to anyone.

    Great products in the present day come with great stories. We buy Toms shoes because we love the story that a child with no shoes gets a pair every time we buy, we trust Airborne instead of the 2,568 other vitamins available because a kindergarten teacher developed it.  It’s the stories and the meanings behind them that really make the difference for us in the new world.

    I never trust a website advertising a service based product unless I can find out something about the people delivering the service.  They matter to me and their stories matter to me, and I bet they matter to you too…

    As I was thinking about all of this, I realized.  I have never really told my story.

    And since I  have just asked practically everyone in the world I’ve ever met to help me raise a lot of money to do something I have only dreamed of, I thought I would share mine…

    The reason why I got into music is deeply personal.  Music actually saved my life as a child…

    At age 6, I was thrown out of a prestigious private school on the Upper East Side in New York City. In the middle of 2nd grade my parents got bad news; I was not going to be invited back for third grade, due to the fact that I was not learning as fast as my classmates. In a panic, my parents began a long journey to help connect me with a tutor or a teacher who could help get me up to speed, and I spent countless hours with tutors learning things that the other kids were picking up naturally in school.

    My parents enrolled me into a less competitive school. For years, I spent my lunch and after school hours in tutoring. One tutor discovered something that changed my life; I couldn’t memorize multiplication tables or understand how to conjugate French verbs and reading was a true struggle, but I could remember lyrics to songs – lots of songs. Music class was the only thing that I did not struggle with because I had dead on pitch. I couldn’t read music, but if it was played once, I could sing it along with the rest of the class effortlessly. As soon as my tutor began to teach me in singing, I started to catch up with the rest of my classmates. I learned to rhyme my times tables to my favorite songs and that made them easy to memorize. Singing and rhyming everything, from the state capitals, to proper grammar got me through. I caught up to the rest of my class graduated high school  and college as an A student.

    Me with my staff, Boulder, CO, 1997


    After school, I moved to Boulder, CO because music there took me there.  The artists that were playing live     there, the venues that they played in took me there, and I had the privilege of working in those venues.  My whole life at that time centered around building a business that could support that love.

    Here’s the biggest lesson I have learned so far in my life: Everything is learnable and achievable if you set your mind to it.  The key to success is you must figure out a pleasureable way to get there. It’s critical that you don’t forget to add  joy and expression.

    There is no magic pill that can solve the quandary that this “new” world  has presented us,  but I’ve overcome some seemingly impossible personal battles and I’m up for the challenge.


    You Are Invited to my Ustream Holiday Party… December 18th (And My New Book is READY!!)

    Today marks the OFFICIAL start of the 12 Days of Christmas! And I’ve got 12 amazing gifts for you… Plus an invite

    First The Invite!! You are cordially invited to my Ustream Holiday Party

    This Coming Tuesday Dec 18th where I’m going to put a as many lucky artists as I can fit into the HOT SEAT and show you all how to crank up your site & socials to get maximum exposure. And it’s totally fr*ee, So raise your eggnog!!

    Yep, Ariel! I’m RSVP’ing to your Ustream party


    And Now My 12 Gifts For the 12 Days of Christmas…

    This is all a part of my celebration for the crowd funded launch of my new book!

    One case of books has arrived, I’m selling them, included with 12 fabulous perks from me and some of the best & brightest minds in the music business. :)

    Get The book +12 Perks for yourself or someone else this holiday!

    Here’s What You Will Get (over $500 worth of goodies):


    An autographed copy of Cyber PR® for Musicians: Tools Tricks & Tactics for Building Your Social Media House mailed to you AND my 2013 Social Media Pyramid Poster to coach you on best social media practices everyday


    Power Up Your Publicity 4 Week e-course – Holds your hand while you get your own publicity strategy launched and on target for success (Originally Sold for $147)

    Cyber PR® Guide to Crowdfunding: Create, Captivate & Complete Your Perfect Campaign From Start to Finish (PDF coming out in January 2013)




    The Music Business Bonus Pack  including exclusive PDFs, eReports, coupons,online classes and 2 teleseminars to help you get ahead in the new year from Bandzoogle, Bob Baker, CD Baby, Jay Frank, Jon Ostrow, Bobby Owsinski, Tom Jackson, Brian Meece, Carla Lynne Hall, Top Spin and Cari Cole!

    Click here to get 2 books, 1 social media poster and 12 crazy bonuses for only 50 bucks!

    When you arrive on the page SELECT: “THE LIVE AUDIENCE”

    Hope to “See” you on December 18th Or Mail you a goodie bag this week!

    Love, Ariel