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Students get hands-on training

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A class of MTSU recording industry students was entrusted with all online public relations efforts associated with the 43rd annual Dove Awards this semester, in a collaborative effort with the Gospel Music Association.

The class, dubbed Advanced Cyber PR, was created as a follow-up course for students who took part in the inaugural Cyber PR class under the direction of Professor Charlie Dahan. Now in its second semester, the class is based on the business strategies of Ariel Hyatt, entrepreneur and owner of New York based Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR.

Students are providing the same services to the Dove Awards that Cyber PR professionals provide to their clients.

“I am honored and thrilled to be participating in helping MTSU students arm themselves with the knowledge and tools they will need to make it in the world of social media marketing in the new music businesss,” Hyatt said.

The advanced class also works hands-on with industry innovators like marketing platform Topspin Media and analytic tool Next Big Sound.

By using these resources, students can create and maintain e-mail newsletters, track website data and measure campaign effectiveness. The class is also in communication with Twitter and music streaming service Spotify.

The awards will take place on April 19 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, but students have been working diligently since the beginning of the spring semester.

The class was divided into three teams: content creation, social media, and public relations.

The content creation group creates material such as newsletters, videos, and other content and promotion designed to engage fans of Christian music.

The social media group maintains content and presence on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and is designed specifically to serve as two-way communication that involves fans.

The public relations group pitches to and obtains placement in online media. They have already reached out to many bloggers and online publications and are working with several major Christian outlets, such as Hear It First and NewReleaseTuesday.com, to promote the awards.

The class will travel to the Dove Awards for the show to be personally involved with the awards.

Students will not only learn about an area of the music industry that is constantly evolving, but will have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to a huge event in the Christian music industry.

With the help of Hyatt and Dahan, MTSU’s recording industry department has been able to provide their students with the knowledge they need to succeed and stay prepared for all the changes the music business experiences.
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