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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Ariel Discusses How to Get Out of Our Own Way to Success on The Brassy Broad Podcast


Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the lovely Jen Edds on her podcast, The Brassy Broad.

In our discussion I talk about some of the things that hold us back from success, the importance of  curating and telling our signature stories, and how having an email list can empower you.

Here are some of the topics we chatted about on the show,

  • Growing up the daughter of an entrepreneur mother and filmmaker father
  • How dyslexia helped her learn ways to make complicated ideas simple
  • The 3 things that hold us back from success
  • The importance of your Signature Story – what it should and should not include
  • Why you don’t need to jump on the latest social media platform
  • Why your newsletter is critical to your success
  • The value of mentors that teach us what not to do
  • Why you always give your best
  • Crowd Funding Coaching

I’d love to share with you my personal insights!

Listen here http://www.brassybroad.com/arielhyatt/

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Ariel Emphasizes the Importance of Newsletters on The Jazz Spotlight

 

Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Yannick Ilunga on the fantastic Jazz Spotlight podcast, and I am excited to share this with all of you!

We discuss how having a newsletter is a must for every musician. Yes, even in 2015, a newsletter  is crucial.

Listen to the podcast for insight on how to launch and manage a successful email list! And thanks Yann and the Jazz Spotlight for the invitation. I am in great company, and ya’ll should check out the other episodes on iTunes.

Come listen to the podcast by clicking here:

http://www.thejazzspotlight.com/tjs-057-launch-manage-successful-email-list-ariel-hyatt/

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How to Make Your Interviews Count & Enhance Your Brand

Hey there! I’m Brooke Segarra. I’ve been the Campaigns Director here at Cyber PR since October. I’m always looking for new ways to help artists expand their audience and reach. Since I’ve started this position I’ve read a pretty copious amount of artist interviews, and I’ve noticed a few things. In this article, I’ve put my observations into tips on how you, as an artist, can make the most of interview opps.

So a blogger of the blogosphere has asked you to do an email interview (condensed way of saying he or she will email you interview questions and you will email them back the answers), cool. Whether you have a professional publicist, a friend behaving as your publicist, or you are taking the DIY approach does not matter- this article is for you.

Now, as I said, the blogger said they want to interview you, and that’s great, but I am willing to bet that a little part of you was hoping it’d be a review. So …

TIP 1: EMBRACE IT

Understand that this is a tremendous opportunity and not a blogger passing you questions because it’s significantly less effort to type 42 words than it is to type 350.

You’re participating in a PR campaign because you want to get the word out about you and your project, right? This is your chance to define who are, on your terms, to everyone aimlessly scrolling through Tumblr at 11 at night looking for the next thing to stream and the next scene. You want to put your best foot forward. You want YOU to say what you’re about.

TIP 2: ELABORATE, ELABORATE, ELABORATE

Not only is an email interview your opportunity to convey who are and what you are about, it’s also one of your best opportunities to build your brand and give people a reason to hit play on that embedded Soundcloud.

Here are some ways to elaborate in an interview:

1. Never list (unless it’s to be ironic or funny, of course)

For instance, if you are asked who your influences are I wouldn’t suggest typing The Beatles [comma] Eric Clapton [comma] Bob Dylan [comma] etc.

This tells blog readers nothing except that you have the same influences as 75% of people in your musical genre.

Bring to light what makes you unique. In other words, write a sentence or two about why or how these artists are influential to you. When you do this your readers will have a much better understanding of what to expect from your sound as well as some insight into your personality.

2. You can expand on the question.

You aren’t being graded on how directly you answer what you’re being asked. The directions are not answer in 150 characters or less and be specific. Thank goodness.

People want to know you. So show them you.

For instance, in an interview with Complex Magazine last year punk pop femme Charli XCX said, “Periods are really punk. I want to have tampons as merch that say ‘PERIODS ARE PUNK’”. Now Charli was not explicitly asked about menstrual cycles or merch, but she wanted to say it, and she did, and it falls perfectly in suit with her girl fundom image and made it to the list of Spin’s top quotes of the 2014.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Not every band does this.” And you’re right, they don’t. Some interviews are quite dull. But keep in mind a generation of teens are not making out for the first time to “your In Rainbows” yet. Yet. You have to get yourself out there.

TIP 3: CHECK YOUR EGO

There are two great ways to go about this!

1. Be conscious (better yet, be wary) of how many times you use the pronoun “I”.

You may very well have single-handedly done everything up until this point by yourself, and if so, that is extremely interesting! However, using the pronoun “I” to start every sentence is not.

The best way to avoid starting a sentence with “I” is to invert the sentence.

For example:

Not Inverted: I eat a bag of Cheez-Its every time I record.

Inverted: When recording song lyrics, I always eat a bag of Cheez-Its.

2. Do some name dropping

One of the best ways to shine a light on yourself is to shine a light on others.

So, when you’re asked to give some musical comparisons, mention some local bands that you dig or groups who are within your reach to tour with.

Go the extra mile and hyperlink to these band’s websites. You never know what might happen!

TIP 4: HAVE SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU READ IT

It can be very hard to talk about yourself. Especially, when you’re consciously wanting to leave an impression and second-guessing everything you type.

Easy solution: Have someone else read it over before you send it!

Not your Tinder date, but someone who is close to you and knows the good stuff. The person who would be no fun to play Truth or Dare with because they already know all there is to know.

Show this person the final draft of your interview and ask if there they think you forgot or should add.

You don’t have to add everything or anything that they say, but it might help you think of something that you didn’t.

TIP 5: SHARE IT ON YOUR SOCIALS

People can’t read it if they don’t see it.

Not every publication tweets every article that appears on their blog, so a lot of the interview’s visibility may depend on you.

Keep in mind that you can always repost an article to your socials months after it happens.

TIP 6: THANK THE PERSON PUTTING YOUR INTERVIEW INTO HTML FORMAT

Thanking the blogger may sounds simple enough, but many people don’t do this.

This is something you should do even if you have a publicist. Write a little note to the blogger at the end of the interview and include it in the text that you send to your publicist.

You may want to put your note in a unique color or font to be sure the blogger can differentiate from your note and the text of the interview.

Written by Brooke Segarra

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Video 1 From My Mini-Masterclass Series: Facebook Fan Page

I’d like to share with you part 1 of my popular 3-part Mini-Masterclass video series with you – It’s all about Facebook!

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from those who have already seen the video, and I hope you get a few Ah-has from it as well.

In this Facebook video you will learn:

  • The answer to the number one question I get asked about Facebook (every time)
  • How to get your fans from you personal page over to your Fan Page
  • How to get more ‘likes’ on your page
  • The best strategies for making the ever-changing Facebook a powerful fan-engagement machine and a showcase for your music, list building and videos.
  • In 2015 and beyond it is necessary to allocate a budget for Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts in order for your posts to be seen. So – don’t forget to experiment with Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts in 2015 and beyond. Also, I say 1 post a day but you can drop it down to 3-4X a week.

For the next two weeks I will be sharing with you 2 more Mini-Masterclass videos on Twitter and Pinterest so be sure to watch for those!

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