Ariel Hyatt dishes out all her music publicity tips by detailing important characterization, guidance received, how to survive hard times, and advice for younger generations and aspiring publicists.

Sally Jackson Freeman, interviews Ariel Hyatt, a fierce entrepreneur, music publisher, and founder of Cyber PR, about the Secret to Success Podcast.

This is one of the most honest interviews I have ever given about my journey through the music business and a very dear friend of mine conducted it – Listen In!

Music Publicity Tips For Tackling the Age-Old Publicity Myth

For over twenty years, Ariel Hyatt has worked on artist development, content development, and creating and releasing an impactful and innovative online presence for her clients. Her newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity, breaks down all things music publicity to develop new ways to communicate with fans about new music. Getting noticed is more than just reaching out to whoever, no matter what. It is also about building the pyramid from the ground up. In the interview with The Secrets of Success, Ariel tackles the age-old myth that “unless you have millions of something, you’re not relevant.” Ariel discusses how this myth is not a recipe for success. She advises that it comes to the understanding that you need the right people to listen to your music, not all the people, to turn music into a career with a stable income. To become relevant, find 100 super fans who are willing to spend $100 on you instead of trying to find 100 regular fans who will pay $1 for you. Ariel mentions how your super fans can become your greatest advocates and colleagues. Don’t rule out the little man; build them up, and they will return the favor.

Have Integrity

When you think of music publicity tips, you don’t often think of character traits, but these become very clear as we chat. Ariel mentions integrity as the first and most important when asked about a necessary character trait. To work from a place of passion, you need to be true to yourself, which means following your moral compass before the job. There are a lot of horrible people in this industry who will use your intelligence and your willingness to work for nothing to get things done that are unnecessary and not beneficial for your career. You must learn quickly that you will not always be a fit for everyone, and quitting is okay. As Ariel states in the podcast, there is an exception to this idea of quitting. Only when you know you have given it your best and worked to your limit can you agree to quit. Being in the PR world, your client will never be satisfied and always ask for more. You are responsible for setting boundaries and expectations with your client from the beginning to prevent burnout and disappointment.

Be Adaptable

Ariel also believes that to succeed, you must be able to adapt to changes within the industry. In the 90s, the internet did not exist, and social media platforms were not a primary marketing method. Within just a few years, all of that changed. You will be taught a particular way to do things, but you must be able to change with the times. Ariel notes how one person will generate seven different careers throughout their lifetime, which is very different from how things used to be. She gives us this anecdote about her grandfather and how he worked at a hardware store until he gathered enough money to buy his own. After that, he owned his hardware store for fifty years before he passed. Times have certainly changed since then, and most people will have to adapt to multiple jobs throughout their lives until they finally land on their long-term careers. Adapting quickly and efficiently will benefit anyone trying to stay in this industry for as long as possible.

Follow the Money

Ariel has received some excellent advice from her mother throughout her life. Her mother told her to “do what you love, and the money will follow.” Ariel breaks down this advice from what is true to what is more complicated. While the core of the advice is true: to do what you love and you will have a fulfilled life, the money aspect is a little more complicated. There is a unique dynamic between business and money. You have to push yourself to learn how to balance QuickBooks, create spreadsheets, and do anything that sounds boring. It is not all about the music, and there is more that you have to learn if you want the music to pay the bills. You must work on the business to make money, not just in the industry.

Ariel gives an excellent visual description: “You have to follow the money.” What is the value of an hour? As a publicist, you are putting in a lot of time into your clients to ensure they get the most engagement. However, if you put in too many hours, the money might result in only $3 an hour. To receive $20 an hour, you must find a way to cut back on your hours. Find someone dedicated to doing a small part of your job that would free up your time to focus on your business. Although having a passion for your work is essential, following just your passion will never be a successful formula. You have to think about the business talents that pay you, such as strategizing and publicizing before you think about your musical passion. If the music industry ceased to exist tomorrow, would you still make a living doing what you are doing?

Don’t Be a Sucker

The second piece of advice is “Don’t be a sucker.” Once again, know your limits. Not everyone will be nice; people out there will abuse your talents. Do not jeopardize your integrity for someone not taking your business or career as seriously as you are. Don’t be fooled by those who believe they are giving you a big break when exploiting your kindness. Part of being human is going through a crisis every 3 to 4 months. When asked this question, Ariel responded, “You have to separate the hard times from your work if you want to keep earning money, and it’s hard.” Music publicity requires a lot of work. If you’ve chosen this path, you want to please others and bring joy. Personal and professional lives are like walking on a tightrope. You must find the right balance between the two, but it is hard. Leaning to the left, you can’t give it your all professionally because you are too focused on your personal life. If you lean to the right, you’re too focused on work. If something personal happens, you can’t leave work to tend to it. Sometimes you’re balanced, and sometimes you’re not, but the important thing is that you go across that tightrope anyway. Put yourself first if you need to. That dream can be on hold for a minute to take care of yourself because without putting that oxygen mask on yourself first, you will be useless to others.

Advice That Goes Beyond Music Publicity Tips For Future Generations

Ariel closes her interview by giving us some advice for those going into music publicity today. You have to be passionate about what you do, and you have to love your clients and the work you do. For managerial positions, please stop trying to make people do things they aren’t good at. Putting people where they aren’t going to thrive is not a good plan. Make them feel confident and proud of their work.

Ariel also gives us something to think about when delaying gratification. Did I give it enough this week? Did I shift myself to the right side of the tightrope? There will always be something more fun than work at the moment. We have to ask ourselves, is it worth it? Sometimes, you might need to miss out on a new series because you could use that time to do something wildly transformative for your career.


Want More Music Publicity Tips?  Here’s a Whole Check Sheet Sheet full of them…


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