Nowadays, blogging is certainly a common thing (MY MOTHER reads blogs now, and I’ve even convinced my girlfriend to start her own!). Boatloads of artists have embraced blogging to help their independent music careers. If you are late to the game, chapter five in Ariel’s book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks,” is an excellent place for you to start learning and planning how to approach the crazy world of blogging.
Like most things worthwhile – blogging is not easy.
It is a very time-intensive activity that requires a TON of work in order to see any sort of success from. It is not one of those “build it and they will come” activities, where you can just post something up and somehow the world will be instantly aware and interested in what you have to say. Ultimately, nobody really cares unless you give them a reason to! Diving into the blogging world without some kind of plan and knowledge base is a one-way ticket to confusion and failure.
With that being said, however, if you work hard at it, blogging can be one of the best things that has ever happened to your music career. To help support that claim, a pretty stunning statistic that came out 3 YEARS AGO from NYU’s Stern Business School reads as follows:
If 40 or more blog posts were made before an album’s release, sales ended up being three to four times the average, for BOTH independent and major record label releases.
That is a HUGE increase in sales! Interested now? What are you waiting for?!
Read and comment your ass off
The best way (from my experience) to dip your feet into the blog world is to simply start reading. If you think that reading isn’t fun, or cool, or rock star behavior, dispel those notions right now, or you will never get ANYWHERE in the blog world. Seriously.
Find some blogs that write about your personal interests, some that blog about artists similar to you, and some that give advice on how to enhance your career (this blog, perhaps?), and just read, read, read. Four years back, I started out reading community forums and Music Think Tank, just sifting through and reading anything and everything I found to be interesting. I started conversation at these places, and ended up being linked to all of these other great blogs, and just expanded out from there. At any given time, I have ~70 blogs in my Google RSS Reader account that I actively scan through. Whenever I come across an awesome article, I’ll e-mail it to the rest of my bandmates and get them to read it over, too.
After reading, start leaving comments on the posts that you find most interesting, and try to spark some conversation about the topic. Instead of typing something vague and generic like “nice post!”, try to ask a question and start some two-way conversation. Network. Build relationships with a few bloggers and readers, because you never know how you will be able to help each other in the future. I try to actively comment and share posts at roughly ~10-15 blogs at any given time.
It is insanely important to note that while doing this, you have to be genuine, and your motives have to be innocent. Ultimately, you are doing this to advance your music career, but in the moment, the stuff you read and comment on should ALWAYS be topics that GENUINELY interest you, and topics that you really enjoy talking about with others. Don’t ever be fake, that never helps anybody in the long run.
Start your own blog
After getting involved in the conversation other people’s blogs, hopefully you have become a pretty active community member (for more on that, I suggest you read my free e-book). Now would be a perfect time to start your own blog to let your fans get a bit more from you than just your music, live shows, and merchandise.
Hardcore fans always want more from artists, and a blog is an awesome way to satiate their craving. With a blog, you can let your fans see certain aspects of your life, and the “behind the scenes” action that goes on surrounding your music. Also, chances are that your fans share a lot of common interests with you, so blogging about these topics can be excellent ice breakers, and might tempt a few fans to speak up and start commenting on your blog. This two-way interaction between you and your fans will build unique relationships, and fans will be more inclined to purchase whatever it is you’re selling.
Need more reasons?
- Blogging is a great way to keep your content stream flowing, so your fans don’t forget about you.
- Blog posts can be easily syndicated among social networks, which can exponentially increase the potential reach of your posts if shared by a few influential people.
- Photos and videos can be easily posted in a blog, and are a great ways to differentiate your content from just strictly music.
Where you can set up a blog
I am personally a WordPress nut, but other services out there like Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, Squarespace, Posterous, and more make it easy to start and host your own blog. There are tons of free themes, and many can be highly customized to fit your image.
If you would like something a bit more robust, like WordPress integrated into your official website, then I can help you out with that for really cheap, just shoot me an e-mail.
Get featured on other blogs
This brings us back to that awesome statistic that NYU conjured up a few years back. Getting featured on blogs can drive significant web traffic to your blog, and ultimately drive sales of your music and other merchandise. Ariel suggests to do some research, and come up with a list of ~50 blogs that you would like to see blog about your music. Some of these blogs will probably be ones that you already read and participate on, which is great, and makes approaching these bloggers much easier. If you are unsure of how to go about blog research, I have outlined my methods in detail in my free e-book, “How to REALLY Get Your Music on Blogs.”
Basically, what I did for my band is went on Google Blog Search, Technorati, Captain Crawl, The Hype Machine, and others to find blogs that regularly write about our interests, similar artists, and similar music genres. I recorded all of the contact information, and drafted up a few e-mails that are poised and ready to be sent to these bloggers once we are finished recording. In the meantime, we will be actively participating on as many of these blogs as we can so we can become familiar faces, and hopefully cause bloggers to be more receptive to us when we reach out to them about our music.
Consistency and Persistency
In the beginning of your blogging efforts, there will be very few (maybe even zero) people reading your blog posts. But don’t let this discourage you. A few months ago, when I moved my blog to its own URL, I had less than 6 visits per day (5 of which were probably from me previewing my posts before they went up). However, I just kept cranking out content and interacting among online communities of people with similar interests, and managed to increase my number of monthly visitors to a couple thousand, and that number is consistently growing.
I normally suggest to artists that they should update their blog a few times a month, or once a week (at the very least). Keep husting and pumping out great content, while simultaneously networking and raising awareness about your brand new blog. Mention your blog to friends and family, plug it at your live shows, write the link on your business cards and promotional material, write it on post-it notes and stick ‘em on things around town, leave backlinks on other blogs that you actively participate on, and do whatever else you can think of to get the word out there! Eventually, the return on your investment of time and energy will come back to you in form of new relationships, new opportunities, and more music and merchandise sales.
[Image credit: Click here]