Practicing What She Preaches: A Crowdfunding Discussion with Ariel Hyatt

For years Ariel Hyatt has been a thought leader helping musicians navigate the digital marketing world through countless videos, blog posts, and books.

Ariel has recently embarked on her very own crowdfunding campaign to help fund a new series of books, as well as an online course. She found herself in the same position as the artists that she advises, and is learning many important lessons about crowdfunding in the process. She took the time to share some of those experiences with us. Enjoy!


1. Now that you’ve embarked on your very own crowdfunding campaign, do you have a new appreciation for what artists go through when asking for money from their fans? Has anything surprised you about the process?

I can definitely say that I have a whole new appreciation for what my artists go through! This process definitely brings up any stories or insecurities you might have around money or making money from your heart but, I have always been a proponent of “practice what you preach.”

And I am very glad that I am trying this so that I can help artists in the future utilizing first-hand experience. The thing that has surprised me the most about this process is my own fear. I've been an entrepreneur for 17 years and I've done a lot of things however something about this campaign brought up a lot.


2. What should artists have prepared before starting a crowdfunding campaign?


Preparing for a campaign is intense. The 1st step is figuring out which platform to use. Next, you have to decide how much money you can feasibly get based on the audience that you have on both your mailing list and in social media and how long you'd like your campaign to be. From there, it takes a lot of work; it's not just make a video and go, although getting the video right is definitely part of it. You have to decide what 7 or 8 tiers you are going to offer and who you might be partnering with to fulfill the offerings.

These are two obvious pieces of content that you need for a crowdfunding campaign:
  • Campaign Video
  • 8 to 9 Levels of Rewards

But something that I completely overlooked was the truly overwhelming amount of OTHER content that I also needed in order to launch the campaign, including:

  • Reward Graphics
  • Webpages
  • Blog Posts
  • Newsletters
  • Expanded Campaign Videos
  • Video Testimonials
  • Ad Banners
  • Skins (Backgrounds) for Social Media Accounts
  • A schedule for updates - how often you're going to send them
  • New ways of talking about your campaign that don't stress out your community
  • And content that makes you not feel like a carnival barker is key


3. Do you think an artist needs to have a fanbase already before trying crowdfunding, or can crowdfunding act as a way to attract new fans?

Crowdfunding is definitely not the way to gain new fans. It is not a discovery tool it is something that you should only do when you are convinced that you know how to communicate well with fans. In talking to Brian Meece, the founder of RocketHub who helped me extensively in prepping for my own campaign, he told me that in order for a campaign to be successful he usually sees very close friends or family members of the campaign creators pitching in larger offerings so you also must ask yourself who of your dear friends and family might be willing to help you out aside from your fans.


4. What factors can help artists figure out the amount they should try and raise through a crowdfunding campaign?

Definitely think about your family and your closest friends and how generous they are, also an indication of your past sales will tell you some things. If you are working with PledgeMusic and RocketHub I know from first-hand experience they are very good at personally walking you through what their estimations are. One of the main reasons why I am using this campaign to write a crowdfunding guide is I would also like to help you determine just how to do the estimates so you don't fail at crowdfunding.


5. You’ve been focusing a lot lately on telling your personal story, how important would you say that is for artists to convey during a crowdfunding campaign?


The work of my agency Cyber PR is to help artists tell their personal stories as a way of bonding with fans. We like who we know and trust we want to communicate with people we feel an affinity for. This is key for any artist trying to not only sell their art but also convey their art, and the storytelling process should happen way before a crowdfunding campaign. So I decided I would tell more of my story that I have in the past because it is my intention to introduce myself to a new community of people with this campaign not just musicians. I also wanted to make this very personal and I felt telling my story was a great way of doing that.


6. Part of your campaign is to help fund the publishing of a new book called “Cyber PR® For Musicians: Tools Tricks & Tactics For Building Your Social Media House”. How does social media fit into an artist’s crowdfunding campaign strategy?


Obviously social media is a quick way of communicating what you're up to two-year fans and friends as we all know it's very hard to prove “ROI” which means return on investment on social platforms however I find it very helpful for keeping your story alive as you progress to your campaign the matter which platform you decide to work with.



For more information about Ariel’s “Cyber PR: Fuel Your Fans & Feed Your Career” crowdfunding campaign and how you can get involved, visit:
http://www.rockethub.com/projects/11964-cyber-pr-fuel-your-fans-feed-your-career



Posted by Dave Cool on 01/10/2013 | 5 comments

Comments

HETH AND JED
Posted by HETH AND JED on Jan 10 2013 6:53 PM
Fundraising for an artistic project such as making a record is way different than raising funds to write a slick marketing manual to sell to beginner musicians. Would much rather hear true stories form artists who have done successful marketing campaigns than someone in the corporate world. There is a HUGE difference. And frankly this seems like an advertisement for her " countless videos, blog posts, and books" than something that could help a band.
Kathy Yolanda Rice
Posted by Kathy Yolanda Rice on Jan 10 2013 8:18 PM
I'm interested in hearing whatever Ariel Hyatt has to say. I've managed to garner fans on Jango, FB, and a few hundred from my personal site, but selling the music online has been challenging. I have received great results when making personal appearances and performing, locally. Sometimes, I've felt like giving up because I haven't had the money to really promote myself or fund new recording projects. Now, I am working with experienced and professional people in the business and I need to come up with the funds to complete my projects. I hadn't heard of the websites that were mentioned in the interview, so this article was very helpful for me and I plan to follow-up and launch a "crowdfunding" campaign. Thanks to Bandzoogle for presenting this information!
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Jan 11 2013 4:55 PM
@hethandjed: I’m sorry that you didn’t find this post helpful, though I can understand where you’re coming from. But the reason I linked out to her blog posts, videos, and books was because I do find they are informative and helpful for musicians (and besides the books, all of the information is free). We have known Ariel for years and she’s spoken on many conference panels with staff from Bandzoogle, and we have always found that she offered valuable information for artists. As for this particular interview, I understand that it is not an artist success story. I personally found the list Ariel provided of things that artists need to have prepared before launching a crowdfunding campaign to be incredibly helpful, I had never seen it written out like that before. And I find that the interview overall provides valuable information for running any kind of successful crowdfunding campaign. That being said, as the editor of the Bandzoogle blog, I strive to only post articles and interviews that provide value and that will serve to help our members. With 2-3 new posts each week, inevitably, I won’t always succeed. Sorry that it seems to be the case from your point of view this time around. For a successful crowdfunding success story from a musician (and Bandzoogle member), you can check out this post about Enter the Haggis, who raised over $40,000 from their fans: Bandzoogle Member Enter the Haggis Raise Over $40,000 through their Website Cheers, Dave Cool Director of Artist Relations, Bandzoogle
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Jan 11 2013 5:01 PM
@KathyYolandaRice : I’m glad you enjoyed the post Kathy! Another post you might want to check out for crowdfunding: Bandzoogle Member Enter the Haggis Raise Over $40,000 through their Website And this website has a lot of resources as well: http://www.crowdfundingformusicians.com/ Cheers, DC
Full Tilt
Posted by Full Tilt on Jan 15 2013 12:49 PM
I don't know what it is, but asking people for money to fund a recording project in this day and age just feels wrong to me. I am not judging, but personally I couldn't do it. When we record and book studio time, the band pays for it from the gigs we play. We self fund everything, and if it takes a few extra months of shows to finance the project, so be it. It just feels like electronic panhandling to me. I want to offer up a product for sell that we strived and worked for, and I could not feel good about it if I went out asking for dollars to do it. I guess I'm not wired that way. Power to you if you walk that path, but I can't get on board.