You are on page 1of 32

Published by Huntercat Press

389 12th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11215

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.

Table Of Contents

PART 1 – Getting Ready For Music PR

Chapter 1: Social Media and Publicity are Now Intertwined
Chapter 2: With Music Publicity Comes Great Expectations
Chapter 3: Publicity is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

PART 2 – How To Do Your Own PR

Chapter 1: Planning Your Campaign & Building Your Press Kit
Chapter 2: Preparing Your Press Release
Chapter 3: Researching Music Blogs & Media Outlets
Chapter 4: Preparing Your Targeted Media List
Chapter 5: Sending Media Pitches
Chapter 6: To Premiere or Not to Premiere?
Chapter 7: Getting Tour Press
Chapter 8: Showcasing Your PR Results
Chapter 9: Your Music Publicity Check Sheet

PART 3 – How To Hire A Publicist to Help You

Chapter 1: What A Publicist Does & The Benefits of Hiring One
Chapter 2: What to Expect From a Publicist
Chapter 3: Why Publicity Does NOT Sell Music (and Why This is Okay)
Chapter 4: What to Look For When Hiring a Publicist
Chapter 5: Making Contact with a PR Firm
Chapter 6: Is She Good? How to Do Your Research

About The Author

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording,
or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the intent of the publisher and author is to offer information on music publicity and they have
used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of
the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties or merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty
may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be
suitable for your situation and the publisher and author do not guarantee results of attaining a paying job. You should consult with a
professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss or profit or any other commercial damages,
including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 2 of 32
Thank you for downloading this guide. Whether you are a new artist looking
to take your first steps towards getting publicity or a veteran seeking new
tips, you will find this guide useful. It comes from my experience working on
countless music PR campaigns and from coaching artists through the newly
charted territory of PR in the world of Social Media.

Music publicity has changed radically over the years, and will continue to
metamorphosize. 95% of the music journalists I used to pitch when I started
my agency don’t write anymore. New music blogs come and go every year
and you must consistently cultivate new relationships as you go. This guide
will act as a template for how to do this. Whether you choose the DIY route
or hire a publicist to help you.


Getting Ready For Music PR

Music publicity, like building a fan base, takes time, dedication and effort.
When you are in the throes of a PR campaign the effort sometimes feels
Herculean compared to the result (if you gauge the result solely on how
many results you will get). So this means you MUST factor in Social Media.

Chapter 1: Social Media and Publicity are Now

It’s not only about the journalists, music writers, editors, bloggers, and
podcasters. The rise of social networks and streaming services has radically
changed publicity. The ability to connect with fans and editors through
socials - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email newsletters, etc., must now be
also be factored in.

Why? Because, music publicity and social media are now completely
intertwined. It will be almost impossible to garner a lot of press if
the writers don’t see that you already have fans, numbers and engagement.

Music bloggers and journalists are trying to get more traffic to their own
sites. Therefore, they are not going to write about you (or even listen to your

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 3 of 32
music) if there is no proof that at least some people are already coming to
your party.

Music publicity is now very much a two-way exchange. To

simply expect that a media outlet will cover you because
your music is great is sadly not true. You have to have great
music AND a healthy social media presence plus some plays
on streaming platforms.

So, Get Your Social Media House in order

Before you start any PR outreach, you need to have what I refer to as
your social media house in order. I have created a 9-part free video
masterclass to help you do just this. This is your foundation. You need to
have your presence sufficiently established online from your website to your
Facebook Page to your Twitter profile.

With the number of musicians and music publicists flooding the inboxes of
the media, you can count on the fact that these editors and writers will be
checking each artist’s socials to weed out which artists not to cover. You
want to have the edge. Having a presence doesn’t mean having more
Facebook likes than everyone else. It means having consistent activity online
and engaging with your fans.

Once your social media house is built and stable you can begin thinking
about the next thing – streaming services.

Spotify & SoundCloud

SoundCloud is the industry standard for pitching to and posting on music blogs.
Your SoundCloud presence can also be a key deciding factor to having your
music covered. Make sure that you have your SoundCloud profile fully filled out
with a header, descriptive bio, links to socials and album and single artwork up
and looking great before you pitch. Ask your fans to come stream to get some
plays onto your profile. If you are going to pitch for a premiere set your account
to private.
After your SoundCloud is built move onto Spotify. Spotify has become the
predominant streaming service for fans, and of course getting included in
Spotify Playlists is one of the biggest topics that every artist asks us about these
days, as it is a very powerful way to attract new fans and large amounts of

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 4 of 32
Before you leap straight to Playlists you need to have a following of 250 fans on
Spotify. If you reach 250 followers, then your account becomes qualified for
verification and you can apply to receive the blue check mark that allows the
Spotify team of editors to know you have a building fanbase which is a key
growth indicator.

Of course, before you get followers you must be distributed on the platform.
Spotify does not do direct deals with artists, so you will need to make sure your
distributor has enrolled you in distribution to Spotify. Both CD Baby & Tunecore
can distribute your music to Spotify.

To reiterate the importance of social media and playlist counts we turned to a

prominent music blog and asked for a quote… I think it’s an impactful way to
end this chapter.

"I know what I like, but I also know mine isn't the ultimate
word on taste. If I hear a pitch that I like but don't fully get or
isn't exactly in my wheelhouse, seeing that an artist has
followers or tracks with a ton of plays let's me know that I'm
on to something. That can absolutely push me off the fence
if I'm teetering and onto the side that gives an artist or song
a chance." - Ben Kaye, News Editor, Consequence of Sound

Chapter 2: With Music Publicity Comes Great

This one is tough. You may want a HUGE magazine or newspaper to cover
you – but know this: online publicity is more attainable for an indie artist to
place than offline publicity (print – magazines, newspapers and TV).

Check Your Expectations At The Door!

The evolution of devices, expanding social channels, the 24-hour news
cycle, and instant access to every imaginable type of media for all who are
connected constantly has shifted the landscape. The opportunities for
exposure online are far greater for an independent artist. We at Cyber PR
exclusively offer digital PR, since we serve independent artists we want to
do what is most effective for our clients.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 5 of 32
Chapter 3: Publicity is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Understand That This Will Take Time

With the number of singles, EPs, and albums coming out into the
marketplace (approx. 2,000 per week), not to mention videos it could take
longer than you may expect to break through the clutter. This is why
planning your PR campaign with ample time is key.

A PR campaign is very different in nature from a radio campaign, which has

a specific “add date” and associated charts that you have hired a radio
promoter to try to get included on. A PR campaign should extend for a long
period of time (this is why most PR firms won’t work for less than 3 months),
because you need to plan and factor in single releases, videos, premieres,
and live shows leading up to the release.






~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 6 of 32

How To Do Your Own Music PR

Chapter 1: Planning Your Campaign & Building Your
Press Kit
Without a plan, this won’t go well and the more assets you can prepare and
the more planning you do in advance the better because once you start PR
you will be fully immersed in details and follow ups.

Plan Well in Advance

All too often, artists contact me with a deep sense of urgency to release as
soon as possible (after all the project is done – and they are excited to get it
out!) I urge you to slow down. Little or zero lead-time, makes planning very
tricky, and many blogs will pass you up if you music is already out so you
definitely need to prepare lead-time for every scenario.

Recommended Publicity Campaign Lead Times:

• Premiere – These can take time!

o More on how to get premieres coming this in this next section!
• Tour Press Campaign – 4-6 weeks before the shows
o You will need to alert calendar editors and local press with plenty
of advance notice.
• Online Campaign – 4-6 weeks before placements will start to happen
o Inboxes are flooded with publicists and following up three times is
the norm not the exception (even for a pro PR team like mine)
before you get a *placement.
• National Campaign – 3-4 months before release
o For long-lead press (meaning, for example, magazines with
national distribution like Rolling Stone), the editors put their
publications to bed months before they are available on
newsstands. So, if your album or EP is coming out in October,
you must have it ready to go, (artwork and all), in July.

*placement = blog post, feature article, review, calendar listing, podcast/ online
radio interview, etc.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 7 of 32
Build Your Press Kit
In today’s digital world, a thorough one-page press kit should consist of four

1. The Bio – Create a one-page bio - we call it a signature story - that is

succinct and intriguing. You have an original story; tell it! I strongly advise
hiring a professional bio writer. If you are not ready to pony up the cash,
consider enlisting a fan or a friend to help you. I find that people who are
great storytellers make great bio writers. Make sure you have your bio
available in several formats – Longform (one page), 150-200 words, 50 words,
5 - 7 highlight bullets, and a tweet.
2. The Photos – Arrange a photo shoot; if you take this seriously, you will
benefit tremendously. Create photos that are clear, well shot, and attention
grabbing. Showing movement is a plus (sitting on a couch or up against a
brick wall has been done too many times before). If you have a friend who
knows how to use Photoshop, enlist him or her to help you do some creative
editing. Create many photos (outfits and locations) at each shoot as Social
Media gobbles up new images at a fast pace.

3. Quotes & Reviews – Getting that first article written about you can feel
daunting. Two great places to start are your local hometown papers
(assuming you don’t live in NYC or LA). Also don’t forget to ask fans for
reviews on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby that you can use!

4. The Music – The way you present the music, must be well thought out.
SoundCloud is what most bloggers want and make sure you have
professional artwork and separate single artwork (don’t use the same images
for singles and album!) Proper tagging is also vital so the writers can access
your tracks easily. Bandcamp and NoiseTrade are also wonderful for fans
but music writers mostly use SoundCloud.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 8 of 32


Chapter 2: Preparing Your Press Release

Here at Cyber PR I frequently have musicians call and ask me to write and blast
a press release for an upcoming EP or album.

Here is what I say: I will not write a press release for an upcoming EP or album.

WHY? Because they don’t work for EP or album releases.

The ONLY reason to write a press release is for a very specific event (like a
show, a benefit or a special occasion) OR for a very niche market (a “genre” of
music is not a niche but a charity benefit or a tech related news piece like you
are featured in a new app is!)

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, here is how to create a press release in
8 steps.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 9 of 32
Press Release Format:
A press release should be one page only and on your letterhead (if you do not
have letterhead put your logo or your record company’s logo at the top or the

All Press Releases start with ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ written in the top left
hand corner, and always in CAPS.

Step 2 - Contact Information

Contact Info should include your first and last name (or the first and last name of
a specific person) a phone number and an email address.

It should look like this:

Contact: Ariel Hyatt (212) 239-8384

Step 3 - Headline
Next comes the headline, which should be simple and centered and bold
An example:

Sleeping Lion to Celebrate Release of EP with East Coast Tour

Step 4 - Subhead
This is an expanded part of the headline, which brings the reader in, and
accentuates the headline by adding detail

An example:
10-city tour supports Patient Creature their new EP
Cities will Include Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, and Hartford.

Step 5 - Opening Paragraph: Location, Date & 5 W’s

Location: should start with (City, State) Date — This is so the reader knows
where the information is coming from and how timely the information is.

Example: (New York, NY) August 20, 2017

And it should answer the 5 W’s:

Who, What, When, Where & Why
This initial paragraph should always grab the reader and answer all of the basic
questions the reader might have. If the release is to promote a show or a
specific event include the full date with day included, venue name, venue

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 10 of 32
address, show time, ticket price and ages as well as a link to the venue for
further directions & information, and lastly the ticket purchase link.

Step 6 - Second Paragraph: USP / Unique Selling Point & Quotes

This is the “meat” of your press release so make it good.

This will include further information, more details, an engaging story, a quote
about your music, or about the topic of the release from reviewers, fans, a
producer, a venue owner or an industry tastemaker (because what other people
say is always taken more seriously and is more believable than your own hype)
and the USP – Unique Selling Point – a short description that captures the
sound of the music (pretend that the reader may never actually hear it) and
include what makes you stand out.

Step 7 - Final Details & Additional Contact Information

Here is where you would include all tour dates, a mailing address a link to your
websites, and a place where a photo can be downloaded a link where the music
can be purchased or streamed and if you have a label contact add them here.

Step 8 - The 3 Hashtags – The End!

Now type this:


This indicates that the press release is finished and there is not another page to
your release.

Sending Your Press Release

When sending your press release never blast! Choose carefully and address
each writer or calendar editor byname with an intro and give a reason why you
contacted them.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 11 of 32
Chapter 3: Researching Music Blogs & Media Outlets
There are currently over 200 million active bloggers. Blogs, as you know, can
be about any topic. A few dozen people read some blogs, while others are
read by millions. The vast majority of all bloggers create blogs for no
financial gain whatsoever; in fact it usually costs music bloggers money to
maintain their blogs.

Finding Music Bloggers

Finding blogs that are right for you is the most important part of the PR
process – dive in, start searching for, and reading through them. The ones
that resonate will appeal to you and these are the ones to target.

I suggest curating a list of 25 blogs to start. Try and find a few that are
related to your other interests, niches and pursuits, not just music.

Here are 3 great places to find blogs:

1. Hype Machine
According to them: Hype Machine keeps track of what music bloggers
write about. We’ve carefully handpicked a set of approx. 650 music
blogs and then present what they discuss for easy analysis,
consumption and discovery. This way, your odds of stumbling into
awesome music or awesome blogs are high. I suggest spending some
time on the site to figure out how it’s organized. Search for artists who
are in your vein of music and see where they are getting covered

2. Google
A word of warning about Google: if you are just starting out, searching for
“Top Music Blogs” and blindly reaching out to the first ones that pop
up is frankly not smart. These blogs get thousands of emails a day, and
the chance of them even opening yours is slim to none. If you are just
starting out, shoot for smaller blogs who rank lower, and are therefore not
being inundated.

3. Twitter
Actively follow music blogs on Twitter and curate a list for your targets;
the chances are very high that you will start to be followed by them.
Follow these blogs back and build relationships.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 12 of 32
Niche Bloggers
Work any angles you may have. Is the lead singer in the band a vegan, a parent,
really into yoga? Is someone in the band a video game junkie, or an aspiring
travel writer? Pitch to a few blogs that cover these topics. A musician on a blog
that is not only covering music is like a shark in a sea of tuna. You’ll stand out,
and that’s what you want.

A few years ago, we created a campaign for Darius Lux based on the fact that
he is gluten free. You can read all about what we did and how successful our
approach was here.

If you are thinking that you don’t want to be pigeonholed as the “gluten free
rockstar”, or something similar, just Google Darius Lux! You’ll see that this is
only a tiny part of who he is as an artist, but it opened up a world of new fans
and contacts for him, allowed him to travel to tour stops he had never been in
and stay in homes of fans who shared his lifestyle and he got a gluten free beer

Chapter 4: Preparing Your Targeted Media List

The music publicity process for any band or artist – no matter how big or
small – is very much the same. Of course, the size of the outlets in which you
receive placements will vary dramatically. This is based on what style of
music is hot on the blogs at the moment, combined with many other factors
including label, tour schedule, size of your online fan base, and number of
streams. The first step in the process is preparing your target list.

Create Your List of 25 Blogs

Your list should have quite a bit of variety. Choose a few bigger blogs –
these are your stretches. You might as well aim big on a few, because if they
come through, it’ll be party time. But don’t spend a ton of time pitching to
big names, because when you are starting out, it’s the small and medium
blogs that are going to show you the most love. Also make sure to include a
podcast or two on your list, as well as a few of those niche blogs (non

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 13 of 32
Chapter 5: Sending Media Pitches
Getting that first article can feel like a daunting task. Two great places to
start are your local music bloggers (assuming that you don’t live in NYC or
Los Angeles) and any smaller music blogs. Most music blogs are run by
normal people, with day jobs, who just happen to have a deep love for
music, and making genuine connections with them is the key.

For each blog you are sending to, try to find a specific writer or editor to
pitch who is covering/writing about artists similar to you. Include different
links & focus areas depending on who you are sending to.

If you are trying to secure a premiere, you’re going to have to pitch to one
blog at a time, to ensure that you don’t double book a premiere (that’s a big
no no). More on that soon.

Sending Your Pitch in an Email

Always start your pitch addressing the writer by first name.

Be sure to get straight to the point of who you are and what you are reaching
out to them about (and be very specific about what you are asking for). Your
first paragraph should be customized the site they are writing for in mind.
For instance, you might want to mention why your music would be a good fit
for the site or why you personally love it.

Your second paragraph should include your basic info (who, what, when,
where, why) and a description of your sound that is focused and absent of

Be sure to include links to your website, your active socials and a

SoundCloud link to the music you are pitching (unless told otherwise in the
submission guidelines).

Include any upcoming tour dates, releases, and exciting news.

Close your pitch thanking them for their time and consideration.

Pitching on Facebook or Twitter

A pitch you are sending via Facebook message or Twitter DM should be

considerably shorter than a pitch you sent through email. If you are pitching
a writer’s personal account it is imperative that you be polite and respectful.
Keep in mind you can only DM people who are following you on Twitter.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 14 of 32
Briefly state your reason for reaching out, describe your sound/important
facts, and include a link to your SoundCloud and your website.

TIP: Direct messaging a writer or music blog on Twitter can be a really

effective way of following up on an email you never got a response to even
after following up via email several times. Not every writer will like this
approach, so testing this is key.

Follow Up

It is critical that you follow up. Most musicians never follow up at all. This will
separate you from the pack. At Cyber PR we follow up with bloggers 3 times
before we stop and move on and I suggest you do the same. Be careful
though, there are some music blogs that state in their submission guidelines
to never follow up. If they don’t want you to follow up, they will make it clear.

1-2-3 Strike & Stop Strategy

If you use Gmail, there’s a fabulous reminder tool called Boomerang, which
will keep your follow-ups organized. Once you send a pitch, you can
schedule reminder emails to yourself. If the email was unopened it will come
back to you to send again. Stick to the 3 strike and stop strategy (meaning
send the pitch 3 times). If the writer doesn’t respond try one last time via
social media (only ONE social at a time) and move on.

Be Patient
PR is a slow-moving vehicle that can take time to get results. If a writer
didn’t love the first EP she may love the second one. This means that you
may need to try the same outlets a few times to get certain writers to pay

Chapter 6: To Premiere or Not to Premiere?

Premiere has become quite a buzzword in the music PR space. In the arena
of emerging artists, premieres are often revered as some sort of magical key
to unlocking popularity, however few artists who ask for them understand
exactly what they are, how to get them, and the reality of their value.

A premiere is sadly not a solution to gain massive notoriety and plays. It is

offering a blog exclusive content (i.e. a track, music video, album stream) in
advance of release for them to host solely on their site for an agreed upon

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 15 of 32
period of time (usually 24 hours). It can be an excellent tool within a larger
PR strategy.

What You Need For a Premiere

You cannot get a premiere if you have no exclusive content to give. If you
have an unreleased track, music video, or album that you are willing to
stream, you may want to consider a premiere as part of your release
strategy. Note that other content (photos, lyric videos, behind the scenes
extras) are not usually content that a blog has interest in premiering.

The Logistics of Securing a Premiere

Due to the fact that you are offering exclusive content to a site, you should first
have a list of 5-7 blog targets selected. Note: Not all sites participate in
premieres, so do your research first.

Next pitch each outlet one by one. It is bad form to offer two sites the same
content simultaneously. You must wait to either hear back or feel like you’ve
given the site enough time to respond, before reaching out to the next one. Start
with your big goal sites and work your way down your list. I recommended
waiting 4-7 days between pitches to give the blog ample time to respond. Pitch
2-3 times per blog then move onto the next.

Scoring a premiere on a major site is often times not the be-all and end-all. The
site that premiered your track may have lots of prestige and a large following,
however, your premiere will not be the main attraction on the site and your
premiere may not even be on the homepage for a full 24 hours. With those stats
in mind, it’s easy to see the necessity for an effective social strategy coupled
with additional lined up features after the premiere date.

Final note: everything is easier when you are connected to the right people. This
is why hiring a well-connected publicist can be a valuable decision if you are
looking to secure a premiere on an influential site. A mid-tier blog is featuring
about 2% of the material they receive on a daily basis, and not all of these
submissions are for a premiere. If you want to stand out in an editor’s 2,000
email deep inbox, it helps to have someone reaching out on your behalf who
already has established relationships.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 16 of 32
Chapter 7: Getting Tour Press
If you are hitting the road, start planning PR for any tour 6-8 weeks before
you leave. As soon as a gig is booked, ask the promoter for the club’s press
list (most clubs have one). Promoters are dependent on this local press to
help sell tickets.

Club Lists and Venue Publicists

Ask the promoter who they think will like you the most as they know the local
writers in their scenes better than you ever will as those writers are probably
hanging out in their bars or clubs regularly!

If the local promoter or club has an in house publicist - ask to be connected

to her. This publicist knows the writers in her hometown and she will be
instrumental in helping you.

Locating Local Publications & Blogs

If the club does not have a press list, of course, you can easily search

The first few times you play a market, you may not get any press. If you are
new and you are worried because you didn’t get covered the first time
around, keep sending information every time you play in the area. I have
never met a writer who ignores several pitches from the same band sent
over and over again. It may take a few tours through in each market, but the
more a writer sees you over time, the more likely he or she is to write about

Chapter 8: Showcasing Your PR Results

It’s vital to publicize every feature you receive no matter how small. This gets
your fans excited about every piece of publicity you receive. This also makes
it clear to music bloggers and journalists that you are going to do something
for them. This makes a good impression on the people who featured you,
and it increases your chances of getting more publicity when other bloggers
and media check your socials. They are trying to drive traffic to their blogs,
and you want to demonstrate that you will promote their features to your

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 17 of 32
Learn Canva
The bandwagon effect works very well on music bloggers, as a lot of
bloggers know one another. If you show that you’ve made a good
impression with one blogger, it might be that much easier to secure a feature
with another. The music industry is a giant web, and you never know when
you’re making an impression on someone. Put your best foot forward, and
show appreciation to everyone who supports you.

So, if you get a feature, make a quality graphic in Canva, which will magically
resize all of your creations to fit each social perfectly so that you can post an
eye-catching visual on all your socials. Make a press section on your website
and add all the features you receive. Add the best quotes from reviews to
your bio/signature story, your socials, your future pitches, and to your
newsletter list.

Update Your Fans Through Your Newsletter and Socials

And finally, never forget that your fans are the most important! They are the
ones who are going to come to your shows, buy music and merch, support
your crowdfunding campaigns, and tell their friends about you. So keep
them updated! Post regularly on your socials. Announce presales, tour
dates, giveaways, contests, merch, etc. through your newsletter. Make your
fans happy that they signed up for the newsletter by offering them exclusive

Chapter 9: Your Music Publicity Check Sheet

Music Publicity Check Sheet

This will help you recap what you just read and keep you organized.

1. Make Sure Your Music is Available on:

□ SoundCloud
□ Bandcamp
□ Spotify
□ iTunes
□ NoiseTrade – (with more than just one track)

2. Write Your Bio / Signature Story:

□ Longform
□ A pitch for music writers - no more than 3 short paragraphs

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 18 of 32
□ 150-200 words
□ 50 words
□ 5 - 7 highlight bullets
□ A tweet with your @ included

3. Make Sure Your Photos are:

□ Captivating
□ Color
□ High-resolution
□ Square & scaled - for socials
□ Album artwork / Single artwork

4. Your Comparisons - You have at least 2 sound-alikes

5. Your Genre - You have no more than 2 or 3 genres

6. Prep your Target Lists

Lists of Fans:
□ On your newsletter list already
□ To add to your newsletter list

Lists of Music Industry Contacts:

□ Venues
□ Promoters
□ Agents
□ Labels
□ Managers

List of Media Targets:

□ Bloggers
□ Podcasts
□ DJs
□ General music writers
□ Calendar editors (if you tour)

Prepare your Social Media Content Calendar

□ Pre-release & Release Schedule

7. Prepare Your Visual Assets:

□ Social Media Images - use Canva
□ Music Videos
□ Non-Music Videos (announcements, messages to fans, behind the scenes,

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 19 of 32
8. Prepare & Schedule Your Social Content:
□ Social Posts - Prep images & text posts
□ Facebook - Schedule directly in Facebook
□ Twitter - Hootsuite or Buffer
□ Instagram - Have images in your camera library ready to post
□ Other socials? If you use them, prep them!

9. Prepare your Media Pitches:

□ As an Email
□ As a Facebook Message
□ As a tweet or DM on Twitter

10. Add Fans to Your Newsletter & Prep:

□ Email invitation to sign up to newsletter with NoiseTrade link
□ Personal emails to sign up to newsletter
□ Widget sign up to newsletter on site & socials
□ Newsletter prep - For Fans already on list
□ Newsletter prep - For Music Industry (if you want to separate)

11. Get Your Email in Order:

□ Create memorable email address that is personal (from a name, not
□ Sign up with Boomerang
□ Sign up with Hubspot’s Sidekick to track who is opening your emails :) Use
this link and you’ll get a free month and you can refer to your friends too!

12. Get Your Newsletter in Order:

□ Choose email newsletter management system or upgrade the
one you already have
□ Make multiple lists within your newsletter provider to parse out
location, media, industry, etc.
□ Make sure your email newsletter template matches your
current brand

13. Let Fans & Media Know - 4 to 6 weeks out

□ Announce to your fans via newsletter - presale, single
giveaway, etc.
□ Send a premiere pitch - if going for premiere choose one blog to pitch to first!
And 5 more to move through
□ OR if not securing a premiere, start sending to media targets
□ Start social media posting

14. Follow up again and again!

□ Check Boomerang - resend pitches

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 20 of 32
□ Check bouncebacks and auto-responders in case email addresses have
changed and update
□ Resend to those that have not opened
□ Resend to those who have not responded
□ Follow the three strikes and you’re out rule
□ Keep posting on socials - follow a content calendar

15. Show off your Results:

□ Visualize articles & placements with Canva, and post on socials – make sure
to tag media outlets

Add the Best Media & Fan Quotes to:

□ Bio / Signature Story
□ Socials
□ Your Pitch
□ Newsletter

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 21 of 32

How To Hire A Music Publicist

Chapter 1: What A Publicist Does & The Benefits of
Hiring One

What A Publicist Does

A music publicist’s job is to liaise with the press. In other words, a publicist
establishes working relationships between you and those in the media.
These days the media means blogs and mostly online publications that are
appropriate for you. As much as you may want to get into Billboard or The
New York Times or Spin or Pitchfork you may not be ready for this until you
get an appropriate foundation.

Quick Note: You should not expect your publicist to get you a booking agent
or live gigs, a label, or a publishing deal. That is what a manager is for. A
savvy and well-connected music publicist may be able to hook you up with
all of the things, but it is not in her job description.

If you want to get on the radio “charts” which is really beneficial for most
indies (CMJ no longer exists so don’t strive for that), you will need a radio
plugger also called a radio promoter.

Hiring a publicist is like hiring another member of your band. You have to
choose someone you like, who is in alignment with your vision, your short-
term and long-term goals. Everyone on your team has to be on the same
page for you to advance. You should like your publicist, and she should be
the right fit for you.

The Benefits of Hiring a Publicist

I totally understand that we are not born with innate knowledge of what
music publicity is, or how it differs from social media management, online
advertising and other types of promotion – such as radio. That’s why I want
to clarify what a great music publicist will do for you, and why bringing the
right one onto your team can be more than worth it.

A great publicist can make your life easier and accelerate your music career.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 22 of 32
Save you Time and Work!
She will save you a ton of work by leveraging her contacts and relationships. A
strong publicist will be able to use her hard-won contacts to get you exposure
that would otherwise take you months (or years) to get by yourself.

Create or Hone Your Brand, Bio & Pitch

A good music publicist will help you establish your brand, and intro you to a pro
bio writer who can create a ‘signature story’ (that’s our term for a bio), which will
resonate with writers. She will craft a compelling pitch, so you can effectively
sell on social media, over email, in an elevator… anywhere!

Increase Name Awareness

She will increase your name awareness to key media personas – music
bloggers, podcasters, editors, music journalists, tastemakers… These people
are more likely to pay attention to your music if someone they know and trust is
vouching for you.

Get You Quotes & Accolades

She can get you legitimate press quotes to add to your arsenal to attract more
industry attention from booking agents, managers, etc. You can also add these
quotes to your website, socials and press kit.

Chapter 2: What to Expect From a Publicist

With Publicity, You Pay for Effort – Never for Results

Ever heard something like this: “I hired a publicist and I only got three
placements. That cost me $1,000 per placement” Unfortunately, this is not
how you quantify a PR campaign.

You pay for the amount of time, effort, and strategy the publicist makes on
your behalf. It is up to you to help make sure time, effort, and strategy is part
of the equation…. Of course, you should get many results. Getting nothing
is totally unacceptable. But you never know when your publicist’s efforts will
show up well after, after your campaign is complete.

A Publicist Can NOT Make Miracles

She can’t work miracles, but she can introduce you to the media and help
you once you have a defined strategy and a roadmap. Hiring a publicist is
just the beginning of your work. You need to keep her busy with stories and
angles and events to work throughout her time managing your campaign. A

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 23 of 32
music publicist is only as good as whatever she is publicizing, and it is
critical to give her as much to use as possible.

Just Because She Reps Huge Artists Does Not Mean You
Will Be Huge

Just because she works for a huge band does not mean she will get you on
Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, NPR Tiny Desk & Rolling Stone.
Publicists should absolutely be hired for who they know and other clients
they represent and their relationships are critical. Please understand: larger
bands, on labels with big followings and history (not to mention sales and
tours) get placed over smaller, up-and-coming artists. If you are an emerging
artist, you need to build up to the larger publications.

It’s also about being newsworthy. Simply having a new EP, album, or shows
is not grounds for national coverage. Many larger publications may pass you
up the first campaign around. That’s okay; this should be considered a
building block and not a rejection. So the more appropriate journalists,
blogs, and outlets your publicist reaches out to, the better.

Word Of Warning: If A Music PR Firm Contacts You – Be Weary

There are a few shady Music PR firm who will contact you from New York or
the UK and tell you they discovered you on SoundCloud or ReverbNation or
Twitter or Spotify or Instagram…

RUN screaming for the hills unless that publicist has a darn good reason for
taking the time out of his or her insanely busy schedule to reach out and find
you. If they saw you live or they have a REAL reason (like they represent a
band you are friends with) then, okay – otherwise…. It’s a PR firm who has
been contributing to the commoditization of a highly nuanced process and
system that is valuable and precious. These kind of music publicity firms are
hurting firms like mine who do our work with passion and integrity and work
as thinking partners to our clients.

Remember, as the artist, you are the buyer, and you are shopping for music
PR. You’re in the driver’s seat. It’s your art and your money that enables
publicists to stay in business. So, please do your homework and research

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 24 of 32
Chapter 3: Why Publicity Does NOT Sell Music (and
Why This is Okay)

Why Publicity Does NOT Sell Music

PR is designed to raise awareness of you in the press, to help build and

share a story, as well as build up critical acclaim. Of course, a great
article may lead to sales, but overall, if selling music is your goal, PR is not
the only thing you will need.

WHY? because: Spotify.

People no longer buy music when they love it because they have already
paid for their Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora subscriptions, (or they listen
to the free versions)

To sell music you will also need to build a loyal fan base of superfans and
take care of fans with constant communication and great offers.

If you are hiring a music publicist to see a spike in your sales, I have news
for you. There is absolutely no correlation between getting great PR and
selling music.

Why This is Okay…All Publicity is Good Publicity!

I know we have all heard the phrase “all publicity is good publicity,” it’s
beneficial to truly understand this. If one of your goals for PR is to get your
name out there (and this should be a goal), the truth is that the average
person remembers very little of what they read. People only retain a tiny
percentage of what they come into contact with. Readers are not going to
remember a lukewarm or mediocre review. I mean when was the last time
you remembered the band that was the subject of a tepid review? :)

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 25 of 32
Chapter 4: What to Look For When Hiring a Publicist
My team and I speak to a lot of musicians who want PR. What continues to
baffle us is the fact that many of the artists who contact us have no idea what
they are looking for – someone told them they should “Get a Publicist” so they
come a - calling.

Before You Call: Set Your Expectations & Goals

Most major PR firms (the ones that have national acts on their rosters) have
strict criteria for accepting clients and many of them plan campaigns months in

It will be helpful to have reasonable goals in mind that you can talk to her about.
Reasonable does not mean Pitchfork if you are just starting out. It means
figuring out what is attainable from where you are today. Create a list of at least
five goals – these should be specific media targets. This way you will know
what you are aiming for when you hire.

Chapter 5: Making Contact with a PR Firm

Initial Contact

I get a lot of complaints from artists who call me and say that they have tried to
contact certain PR firms and that they never get a response. Speaking in
defense of a busy PR firm, many are just too crazed with work to handle the
incoming inquiries and many don’t handle independent artists preferring to work
with signed or represented clients only. With a little finessing you can get to
them. This is not a guarantee that they will want to take you on as a client, but it
will at least get you in the door.

Know Who You Are Calling

Why are you targeting that firm? You should know the answer to this first and
foremost. Next, visit the “about us” section of the firms website and read about
the team working at the firm so you know who you may be either speaking to or
asking for! And always ask for someone specific by name.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 26 of 32
Pick Up The Phone
When you make initial contact with a public relations firm, don't just dive in and
start firing questions at whoever answers the telephone. Note that a very busy
intern or an administrative assistant may be in charge of answering the phones
and most likely will not be able to tell you prices or availability.

Ask If You Can Email

Ask if it may be possible to send an overview to someone with links to music
before you leave a message – Then prepare a short and thoughtful email with
who you are, name of project, when you want to release and links to music. A
Private SoundCloud is preferred.

If You Are Asked To Leave A Message

You may be sent to voicemail or someone will take a message.
Do not just leave your name and phone number!

Leave a full and concise message saying the following:

Your name - first and last, and your band / artist name.
Your telephone number – just one number not work, home and cell.
Your reason for calling – “I am interested in hiring a PR firm and I am
inquiring about your interest and availability.”

If you are asked for more detail then give it, but don’t volunteer your website,
release date, etc. That is what the conversation with the appropriate person or a
well-curated email is for.

3 Strikes – They’re Out!

If no one calls you back within 72 hours, call again and repeat.

Three strikes and move on… If a PR firm can’t call you back after 3 tries they are
not the firm for you.

If You Get The Publicist On The Phone

If you do get someone on the phone on first contact, ask only three questions.

But, first introduce yourself very briefly:

Hi, this is ______________ and I’m in an indie pop band from LA about to release
a new EP.

1: Are you considering new clients for the time frame of ______ (your release

2: Give a very brief synopsis of your project, three sentences max. Include:
• The genre of music you play (if you didn’t already mention it)
• Distribution plan

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 27 of 32
• Your release show / tour schedule with markets and highlights
• Then any other parts of your release plan, like your radio promotion,
your social media promotions, etc.

3: Ask - can I send you the music to consider? Then send a private SoundCloud
link. Do not clog up her inbox with a YouSendIt or a dropbox – one click is all
she should have to do to get the gist!

Round 2: If The PR Firm Is Interested

You will next probably set up a call to chat. This is the time when you can really
see if you like the publicist, her ideas, her ability to listen and this is the time to
have a candid conversation about your expectations for the campaign. If she
“yeses” you to death and doesn’t manage expectations this is not a great sign.

Have These 3 Talking Points Ready

1. National distribution – CD Baby or Tunecore may not be enough of a

distribution plan for some larger PR firms who deal with national publications
(please tell me the last time you read: “Available at Tunecore” in a major

2. A release date in mind that is at least 2-3 months away from your initial

3. Interesting angles – Really think this through – We just signed an artist who
is scoring the first VR Shakespeare performance and we think that is awesome –
as VR sites and film score blogs will go nuts for this angle! A tour in place, a
charity affiliation or local angles can be great too.

Ask About Accountability & Reporting

This is CRUCIAL – you deserve to be updated as your PR campaign progresses.
You want to know who is pitching on your behalf, is it an intern or an
experienced publicist? And you should expect regular press reports and
updates from your PR team so be sure to ask about the reporting policy. Also –
will they be telling you and showing you who they are pitching you to so you can
be following along with social media follows? This is key.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 28 of 32
Ask Hard Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions and really have a candid
conversation. As hard questions to see how she reacts.
BE AWARE: A PR firm is NOT a used car lot! I have heard stories that PR firms
do “hard sells” saying that rates are only available for a certain amount of time –
this is CRAZY and means you should be running away.

Chapter 6: Is She Good? How to Do Your Research

99% of publicists all sound fabulous on the telephone, and they should, after all
communication is their job.

But, sadly, there are a few publicists that are known for not delivering great
results, or for being accountable. Therefore, it is critical that you do some due
diligence and research. I suggest that you use these 4 methods to research
publicity firms.

1. Google the individual names of each publicist, and the name of the company,
and look for information about these individuals. Dig past the first few pages!

2. Google the bands and artists that they rep and search for placements
(articles, blog posts) If you don’t see articles this may not be a great sign.

3. Search Glass Door. An artist who was ripped off by a firm told me about this
one. Search for the name of the company at and
see if anyone who has worked there has reported about the company or what
the morale is like.

4. Ask Artists. Reach out and ask bands on socials – the best part about social
media is you can reach out directly to bands and artists on Facebook, Instagram
or Twitter and ask what their experience is like. This is the BEST way, as artists
will always watch out for other artists.

Proposal & Agreement

After the call you should get some sort of a proposal that outlines what you
spoke about, the campaign, and the pricing. Take you time to consider this and
send back any questions or further points in need of clarification. Also, ask
about the agreement. A professional PR firm will have an agreement as well as
terms and conditions and it is your right to see these if you so desire so you
understand if there is a refund policy, and what the expectation is on both sides.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 29 of 32
Know Your Pole Position – The Buyer!
Finally: you (the artist) are the buyer – you are in the position of power. You are
supplying the music, and you are paying the bill, so you hold the cards. Take
your time, do your research, and make sure you're hiring someone who will
really do your music and your brand justice.
Also know that you get what you pay for. Effective PR campaigns don't come
cheap if the price is too good to be true, it may not yield the results you want.

I sincerely hope that this guide is useful to you and that you
have some new tips for how to do your own PR or hire a
music publicist!

Let’s Talk About Your Music PR!

If you are looking to hire a music publicist my team and I would be honored
to be considered give us a call (212) 239-8384.

If you would like to start a conversation, please click here - and tell me more about your project.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 30 of 32
Come Visit Us
There are over 200 blog posts that cover many other aspects of music
marketing, social media and promotion for musicians at

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 31 of 32
About The Author

Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for 20 years and runs Cyber PR, a
dynamic social media & content strategy company based in New York City.
Her agency places clients on blogs & podcasts, establishes their online
brands, and coaches them to create authentic relationships. She has spoken
in 12 countries and is the author of four books on social media for artists,
two of which hit number one on Amazon. Her newest book Crowdstart: The
Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign Ariel
provides a clear, actionable roadmap that helps artists, entrepreneurs and
creatives figure out who’s in their crowd and how to marshal that support into
an effective crowdfunding campaign. The 4th edition of her classic Music
Success in 9 Weeks is coming out in 2017.

~ The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity ~

© 2017 Ariel Hyatt. All rights reserved.
Page 32 of 32