4 ‘Normal’ Challenges to Building a Strong Online Brand

The key to establishing yourself online and within your niche, is building a strong brand. Unfortunately this is far easier said than done. The process of designing, building and nurturing a new brand means you have established:

  • A unique voice
  • Consistent compelling content
  • A trustworthy reputation

The problem for most comes down to the simple fact that there is no single path to achieving any one of these things. And yet, you need to achieve them all in order for your brand to blossom.

What works for some, may not work for others.

What seems to be an obvious indicator of success for some, may be hidden for others.

A ‘brand’ is such an abstract, malleable concept and it may be difficult to know if you’re heading in the right direction. In fact, it can be down-right frustrating.

So the question becomes:

What is ‘Normal’ what it comes to building an online brand?

Here are 4 normalcies of brand building that, although may not give you the answer to the status of your brand’s growth, should give you the comfort knowing that you are not alone in your frustration and process.

Defining Your Voice Can Take A LONG Time

Whenever branding is discussed, one of the first components to be included is the idea of establishing a ‘voice’. This ‘voice’ must combine a powerful mission statement with a unique approach.

It won’t work with just one or the other.

This voice may not come to you right away. In fact, it is normal for this to take a VERY long time to fully realize.

As Malcolm Gladwell has said in his book ‘Outliers’, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a craft.

Once you do fully realize this voice, your focus and ability to create compelling content will be likely to become prolific.

When I created MicControl, it took me over a year’s worth of daily blogging before I found my voice.

I knew I wanted my mission to be helping musicians to advance their careers through digital marketing. But it wasn’t until I found the right approach of creating lean, skim-able, and most importantly actionable articles focused on social media marketing tactics, that my voice became truly defined.

Once this happened – the content started POURING out of me. What once took me several days of sketching, researching, drafting, re-drafting, editing and formatting, now took me only a few quick hours at MOST.

You Will Doubt Yourself… And Then You’ll Doubt Yourself Again

Doubt HAS to be the number one killer of brands. I can say from personal experience that this was the hardest obstacle to overcome. And yet, I had to work to over come my own doubt about my brand on a weekly basis (if not more often).

Because building a brand is so abstract, and can take such a long time to establish, you’ll often feel like you’re just treading water.

This is normal!

Because of this, it is important to find any successes, even if they are small, that you can not only rejoice in on a regular basis, but can use to keep you motivated:

  • A handful of Facebook ‘likes’ on a status update
  • A comment left on a blog post
  • A Re-Tweet or an inclusion in a #FF (Follow Friday) tweet

These are all successes. Use them as indicators of your growth and realize that with each small success, you’re working towards your brand-goal of creating compelling content, a unique voice and a trustworthy reputation.

There Is Often No Discernible Tipping Point

All of the small successes that are discussed above will, as Malcolm Gladwell once again famously outlined, help you to reach your ‘Tipping Point’. That is, the point in which all of these small successes finally barrel over into your one major moment… in this case it would be the moment that your brand becomes established.

And as true as this idea is, the more realistic truth is that often there is no discernible tipping point when creating a brand.

To once again use my own experience as the example, after a year or so of working day-in-and-day-out of blogging on MicControl, giving guest blog posts to others, tweeting consistently and building conversations, my personal brand as a blogger had developed.

But it wasn’t obvious to me AT ALL.

I still dealt the same lingering doubt that I felt from the beginning.

It wasn’t until one day when I woke up and realized that I had 3 separate article being published in the same day (one on my own blog and two on other highly reputable music marketing blogs) that I realized my brand was there.

This was likely months after my tipping point had come.

Although the concept of ‘the tipping point’ is certainly real, it may be more normal than you think for it to be hidden from you.

Your Commitment to Engagement Will Be Greater Than That Of Your Fans

Let’s face it, it is human nature to avoid disrupting the status quo. Very few people are willing to put themselves out on a limb, for the fear of being judged is too great. It is this simple reason that studies show people fear public speaking more than death.

Now let’s take the idea of putting yourself out on a limb, and add in the fact that through social media you’re now doing this in a VERY public forum where anyone and everyone can judge you.

If you consider this, it makes all the sense in the world why your blog posts aren’t being commented on, or your questions on Facebook aren’t being answered.

People are afraid to be the first to speak up.

Because of this, it will be absolutely normal that your commitment to engaging your fans be far greater than their commitment to engaging with you.

It is only once you establish yourself with the trustworthy reputation that any ideas, comments and responses will be heard, validated and appreciated, that your fans will start to match your commitment to engagement.

As my final self-driven example, I didn’t receive my first comment on MicControl until about 6 months into my blogging.

In each blog post, I would include a clear Call to Action at the end, asking people to engage, but was always left with nothing.

However once I started engaging with people through OTHER forums (i.e. other blogs where I had guest posted that already had an existing, engaged reader base), by responding to all comments, joining conversations that were good or bad about my ideas, and simply letting others be heard, the reputation started to build. It was this that lead to the same level of engagement I was achieving elsewhere to happen on my own blog, ultimately helping me to establish my brand a blogger.

What About Building Your Brand Has Left You Puzzled, Frustrated or Confused?

I am thankful enough to say that I was able to build a personal brand, and no doubt Ariel can say the same. Share your brand building challenges, questions or concerns in the form of a comment below and we will both weigh in based on our own personal experiences.


How Will Twitter #music Benefit Indie Artists?

Twitter Music

This guest post was written by Mark Muggeridge, a London-Based New Release Launch Strategist (@indie_manager), and was originally published to his website, IndependentArtistManagement.com

As widely reported Twitter has launched it’s new music service. Twitter #music is now available via https://music.twitter.com or via the iPhone app. There is no Android app for the moment but in a statement Twitter said “over time, we will bring the service to Android as well as to more countries.”

The First 30 Seconds of Your Track Just Got More Important

I guess you know the basics for the moment: That Twitter #music is a discovery platform not a streaming platform in that it lets users discover music through artist and others’ Tweets, listen to their music using Spotify or Rdio, watch their videos on YouTube or Vevo and buy songs via iTunes. You won’t actually listen to music within the Twitter app unless it’s the 30 second iTunes preview of the track, to listen to the full track you’ll have to click through to one of the platforms that Twitter #music integrates with.

It will be interesting to see the usage data after the service has been running for a while but my guess is that many music consumers will use the 30 second clip to decide if they are going to go further in discovering a new artist. If this does prove to be the case then which 30 second snippet of your track you choose for the iTunes preview just got a lot more important. If you know the work of Jay Frank and his FutureHit DNA Blog you will already know that the first 10 seconds that a music consumer hears pretty much decides their reaction to the track.

Emerging Artists Get A Tab of Their Own

There is great news for lesser known artists in that there is a tab dedicated to Emerging Artists – Hidden Talents in the Tweets. Quite how Twitter decides who is emerging and who is not is not clear at this point although the technology driving the platform comes from We Are Hunted. Other tabs that users can access include Popular – New Music Trending on Twitter; Suggested – Artists You May Like; #Now Playing – Tweeted by People You Follow; and finally Me – Artists You [already] Follow.

Considering all the noise about charts being irrelevant of the last few years, Twitter have elected a chart format to push artists to the top of the discovery tiles within the app. I would have preferred to see these tiles randomise each time the app loads, particularly within Emerging. In the brief time that I’ve been watching and using the service there has been very little movement in this chart. What’s offered on the tabs is driven by Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists but according to Twitters blog post ” It also brings artists’ music-related Twitter activity front and center: go to their profiles to see which music artists they follow and listen to songs by those artists. ” I’m guessing that it will in the main push to the top the artists that all the other music discovery services are offering us.

But it Could Drive New Followers for Music Artists

A key value proposition for artists in this is that the new service should start to focus Twitter users attention towards music artists. So it’s over to you to make sure you are on the platform – that you’re page is optimised in terms of things like your background, header image and bio to make the most of the attention when it arrives.

The ammount of activity, your engagement with your fans and their activity in talking about you and to you will all favour you on Twitter #music. As with many things in life. What you put in will determine what you get out.

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3 Wise Monkeys Tour – Ariel Is Coming Back To Australia!

I am thrilled to be hitting the road (or really the plane) with 2 of the most inspiring men in the music industry Tom Jackson (On Stage Success) and Ralph Murphy (ASCAP, Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting) to present the 3 Wise Monkeys Tour – a 3 day workshop that will travel to Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adalaide CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

It will also be the international debut of my newly edited book Cyber PR For Musicians.


$120 for 3 days or
$50 for 1 day.
SEE NO EVIL: The art of Performance with Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson, world renowned Live Music Producer, author of the book Tom Jackson’s Live Music Method and the All Roads Lead to the Stage DVD series, is a master at transforming an artist’s live show into a magical experience for the audience!

He has worked with hundreds of artists in nearly every genre, including major artists like Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Jars of Clay, and others, along with countless indie artists and bands, giving them a foundation and direction to define their unique voice and style to showcase their talent.

As a highly demanded speaker, Tom shares his expertise at music conferences and events around the world – from North America to Europe to Down Under – impacting tens of thousands of artists every year. Tom has been guest speaker and on panels at New Music Seminar, Canadian Music Week, Hillsong Australia, CMJ, and more, as well as major music schools such as Berklee, University of Miami, and Anderson University.

“You are only hurting your music career if you are not listening to what Tom Jackson has to say about your onstage performance. If you are a singer, performing artist or in a band performing live and can only do one thing to further your career, take my advice, listen to Tom!” Derrick Ross, Slaight Music (formerly with Feldman & Associates – Avril Lavigne, Diana Krall, Barenaked Ladies)


HEAR NO EVIL: The art of Songwriting with Ralph Murphy

Ralph Murphy, songwriter, has been successful for five decades. Consistently charting songs in an ever-changing musical environment makes him a member of that very small group of professionals who make a living doing what they love to do. Add to that the platinum records as a producer, the widely acclaimed Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting articles used as part of curriculum at colleges, universities, and by songwriter organizations, his success as the publisher and co-owner of the extremely successful Picalic Group of Companies and you see a pattern of achievement based on more than luck.

Passion driven, with a desire to know how, what, when, where and who have him a formidable insider force. He is in worldwide demand as a lecturer on songwriting and has “guested” at universities, colleges, and professional songwriter organizations around the globe. Murphy has served as President of The Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy and has been a NARAS National Trustee and President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. As well as serving as Vice President for the International and Domestic membership Group of the American Society of Composers Authors an Publishers, he also has served on the Southern Regional Writers Advisory Board of ASCAP, the Songwriters Guild of America regional advisory board and is a member of NSAI, NARAS, CMA, CCMA, SAC, SGA, and ASCAP.

Ralph was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He also received the Jo Walker-Meador International Award, presented in Nashville by the Country Music Association for supporting “Country Music’s marketing development” internationally.


SPEAK NO EVIL: The art of Promotion with Ariel Hyatt

Ariel Hyatt is a recognized thought leader in the digital PR world. She’s the founder of a successful PR firm, an international speaker, educator, and author of three books on social media and marketing for artists. Her innovative and Trademarked Cyber PR® process marks the intersection of social media with engaged behavior, PR, and online marketing. Her groundbreaking PR methods—coupled with her vast experience as an esteemed new media educator—enable her to effectively and accessibly initiate her clients into the ever-growing world of digital PR.

“There is a real science to effectively using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But there isn’t a definitive roadmap; it can be confounding,” Ariel says. “I’m very good at making people feel unconfounded.”


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Delegating The Heavy Lifting: A Musicians Guide for Getting Help & Support

I travel a lot to speak at music conferences and I see this all of the time: Musicians squirming in their seats as I present ideas on how to improve their marketing. The idea of having to do one more thing is just unbearable to them, and they literally begin to melt down in front of me.

One of my best friends is an artist – a dancer – and she literally takes to bed after she has to write a press release; it literally makes her sick.

You will NEVER achieve the success you want it if you try to do it all alone and take on things that stop you dead in your tracks!

I can not stress this enough: You MUST learn to delegate, and get the stuff that stresses you out off of your plate.

Two issues are up for you right now from reading this:

1. You can’t afford to pay someone to help you
2. You don’t want to give up control  (so you continue to do it all yourself)

Right? (more…)


6 Key Tactics For Organic Success on Youtube From Hip-Hop Artist Rob Scott

Rob Scott

This article was written by our intern Benjy Jean Baptiste about his own experience as an artist manager.

For independent artists, Youtube can be one of the most powerful platforms available for promotion and exposure. Of course, it is also one of the most difficult platforms to garner any significant growth and attention.

This challenge was no different for 23 year old hip-hip artist, and Brooklyn native Rob Scott.

As his manager, it was my job to figure out how to bring his dream to fruition. Without any assistance from record labels, we began to effectively use YouTube as a platform to get Rob Scott noticed.

Within the first couple of months, it was painful to notice that his long nights in the studio would only result in his songs receiving 11 views. To make matters worst, the 11 views I am speaking about came from the friends and family that was in the studio with him.

Initially, we would post his YouTube link all over people’s Facebook pages until we realized that spamming individuals was probably not the best way to gain true fans. We then decided that garnering views organically is the best possible solution. Today, he has accumulated over 235,000 channel views and has acquired more than 1, 400 YouTube subscribers.

Some may wonder how so?

Below are 6 strategies that we used to organically build Rob Scott’s Youtube channel from desolate to highly-trafficked:


At one point, Scott would upload a video at least once a week. During one week we would upload a song with a cover art and a couple weeks later we would upload a music video for that same song.

It is important to break down your material to get the most out of it. What I mean by that is, if you have a music video that you are planning to release, put out behind the scenes footage for that video, put out the song before you put out the video, or put out a snippet before you even release the song.

Now you have three pieces of content all based around that one record.

The more things you have to release, the easier it is to follow the rule of frequency. Evidently, it is almost impossible to acquire a great amount of views if you post a video once a year.

There have been several rare cases such as the Harlem Shake video going viral without the use of “frequency”, but I would not recommend depending on pure luck.

With Rob Scott, we created a schedule and began creating on a regular basis.

Covers & Alternative Versions of Popular Songs

Another step that Rob Scott implemented to reach his amount of views was re-doing songs that were already popular.

Trey Songs released a song entitled “Can’t Be Friends” three years ago that gained a lot of commercial attention. While the song was still at its peak, Scott decided to re-do the song over with his own words and then shoot a music video for it.

Because viewers would search for the original Trey Songs version and see Scott’s rendition, it gave him a better chance of being viewed by some of the fans of that particular record. To date, Rob Scott’s rendition has over 90,000 views on YouTube and is still growing daily.

Raising Brand Awareness

Raising your brand awareness is another way to increase your views and subscribers. Initially, Rob Scott started to do local showcases where we would promote his YouTube link after every single performance.

He then had the opportunity to perform alongside major artists J. Cole and Miguel, which gave us the chance to promote our YouTube link to a much larger audience.

Because we’ve secured a licensing deal with Extreme music, Scott’s songs have been featured on MTV and VH1 premiering on shows such as Washington Heights, Love and Hip Hop, Single Ladies, and Friend Zone. Once people discover an act that they’ve enjoyed, YouTube is usually the first place they go to find more music from the artist.

Fortunately for us, that is exactly what happened.

Creating Strategic Partnerships

Another way to raise awareness is by collaborating with someone that has accumulated more views than you. When we were getting ready to shoot the visual for the Trey Songs “Can’t Be Friends” cover, we knew that we needed to collaborate with someone else, someway, somehow. We decided to use a friend of ours who had already accumulated over 50,000 views on her channel as the leading lady in Scott’s video. Once it was time to release the video, she directed all of her subscribers to our page to check out the video, which ultimately led our channel views to skyrocket.

Fan Engagement

Rob Scott never presented himself as the “unreachable artist”. When a supporter would leave a comment, he would do his best to show his gratitude by interacting with them. Clearly, he did not reply to every single fan every single time but as often as he could, Scott would make a video thanking all of his fans for the support that they have shown him.

Youtube Fan Engagement

He is currently working on new ways to engage his fans through YouTube, one of the ways being by creating a “who can do it best” contest challenging his fans to cover his material and awarding the winner with a spot on his channel. With this approach, fans will become more engaged in Scott’s music.

Great Content

The last step is to simply have great content. The better the content, the better your chances of organic success.

Great content leads the viewers to not only view the material but to also engage by leaving comments. Scott has been praised endless amount of times for his musical abilities. In fact, someone on YouTube actually re did Scott’s version of the “Can’t be friends” cover that I mentioned earlier.

Because the song resonated with someone so much, they felt the need to do it over using the same words and melody that Scott created. Great content causes supporters to spread the word about what they’ve just watched which attracts more viewers to the channel.

Remember, word of mouth is the most powerful form of promotion.

Determined to set the standard, Scott is working hard to continuously progress at his craft. Undoubtedly, Rob Scott’s journey has just begun and there is no question that in the blink of an eye, he will be at the top. He is currently recording his second project entitled “Divine Tragedy” which is set to release later this year.

To hear Rob Scott’s music, please visit Youtube or IAmRobScott.com


Top 10 Cyber PR® Artists of Spring 2013 

Goodbye cold, hello warmth! It is gorgeous here in Brooklyn today…

It FINALLY feels like Spring.

To celebrate the new season, today we shine the spotlight on the top 10 Cyber PR® artists on our current roster. With the level of talent we represent, this is never an easy decision… However we’ve compiled a list of 10 artists that have received the most attention from bloggers, podcasters and internet radio stations.

Congratulations go to each of the artists below on their successes, and a HUGE thank you to all of the media makers who have supported (and continue to support!) us and our artists as well.

– Ariel, Jon and Team Cyber PR®

Adia & The 7 Eyes

5 Adia has got soul and style as a Singer/ Songwriter and rock violinist. In 2012 she joined forces with some of Chicago’s finest musicians to form Adia & The Seven Eyes. Adia’s improv chops and mighty voice have gained her and The Seven Eyes recognition as the Artist of the Month on The Deli Chicago.

Matthew Heller

Matthew HellerMatthew Heller walks a fine line of traditional folk and “Stick-it-to-the-Man” grunge, and he walks it well. Hailing from Portland, Oregon Matthew Heller comes to the music scene with brutal force pushing his own social activism. His music has been likened to that of the Smashing Pumpkins, the Pixies, Coldplay, and Modest Mouse and his new self-titled album has been readily received.

Crystal Waters

Crystal WatersInternational sensation, Crystal Waters, has had quite a career since the 90s winning American Music Award nominations as well as nominations from MTV Video Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards. Last week, her new single “Oh Mama Hey” (Tommy Boy) with DJ Chris Cox and DJ Frankie was number 1 on the Billboard Dance Chart!

Lisa Bell

Lisa BellSinger/Songwriter Lisa Bell pushes positivity with her empowering lyrics and strives to incite an emotional connection with her listeners. Lisa Bell is currently performing across the country with her deep Americana, jazz roots and rock, blues influences.

Mindil Beach Markets

Mindil Beach MarketsMindil Beach Markets is known for their hip sound that they’ve laced with elements of funk, hip-hop and reggae. Their latest record, It Might Take Long, is the band inclining a bit more towards rock, a little less towards reggae, and a lot more towards fine-tuning their unique sound thats fashionable [fits] everywhere.

Sasha Papernik

sasha-117 (1)Singer/Songwriter and classical pianist, Sasha Papernik has got spunk, and she flaunts it on her new, well-received third album release Victory. The album is an ambitious endeavor where Sasha allows her whimsical mind and creativity shimmer with her musical artistry woven in.

Spark & Echo

Spark & EchoJonathon Roberts and Emily Clare Zempel said “I do” to one another and then married their musical vision. The husband and wife duo are songwriting-storytellers who offer a breath of life to the forgotten poetry and wild stories of the Bible. Their aim is to “create the world’s largest multi-disciplinary ‘illumination’ of the Bible” as a non-profit. With their second full-length album Inheritance, Spark & Echo are arriving closer to that ambition.

The Heavy Guilt

The Heavy GuiltThe Heavy Guilt is stark rock n’roll. Three albums into their career, their newest self-titled album sounds square from a dive bar. The grit is the beauty of it for The Heavy Gilt. They’re locked and loaded, honing in on their sound on The Heavy Guilt keep the rock fit sharp.

Take Me To The Pilot

Take Me To The PilotTake Me To The Pilot crave the colossal. These boys sing about girls and their tunes are garnished with big hooks but, you can’t write them off as teeny-boppers. Take Me To The Pilot are their own brand of pop and they will deliver it to you with a rock n’roll flare. All the hype that they’ve had, from being featured on Degrassi: The Next Generation to the upcoming release of their music video for their 4th single “Melody” is not just hype, but a prediction of big things to come.


KarlexKarlex has responded to the invitation of an increasing global world and lifestyle. He has been referred to as “the Bob Marley of Haiti” by harboring his provincial musical styles of his Haitian ethnicity and translating it to the global domain with his blend of Afro-beat, funk, and soul styles. The title of his new album Paris – New York – Port Au Prince  is an expression of his personal feelings of world affiliation.