Blogging isn’t for everyone. But some people love it.
If you’re a musician with a blog, there’s a good chance you want to make the most of the content you publish.
After all, writing isn’t easy, and having to do it regularly isn’t easy. It requires creative energies to do.
In the words of Californication protagonist Hank Moody, becoming a writer is:
Like having homework every day for the rest of your life.
But blogging can be a great way to build traffic to your website, keep your fans updated and even grow your audience over time, assuming you stick with it over the long haul.
Here are seven tips to help you maximize your results from blogging.
Blog About What Your Fans Are Interested In
You’re a musician. So, you should be blogging about music, right?
Well, perhaps you should be blogging about artists you sound like and have been influenced by. The occasional update about your own music is fine too.
But your focus should always be on what your fans are most interested in.
Here are a few areas worth digging into:
- Movies and TV shows.
- Video games.
- Books, magazines or papers.
- Live events.
- And so on.
I’m not suggesting that your fans are interested in all these things. What I’m saying is that you should spend some time figuring that out by talking to them.
Who is your number one superfan right now? What do you talk about whenever you run into them? What are they most interested in?
If necessary, meet with them in person and ask.
After all, you want more superfans, don’t you? And, they’re likely interested in the same things your current superfan is.
So, write about those things.
I’ll talk more about this later, but ranking in search doesn’t matter as much as serving your target audience, so keep that in mind.
Publish Regularly (Preferably To A Schedule)
Much has been said about the importance of consistency when it comes to blogging.
Keeping to a schedule is a good idea, but there will be times when you’re too busy, have trouble coming up with new ideas or don’t feel like sharing anything.
Give yourself the grace to take time off as needed. Publish when you can.
If taking too much time off has you dropping the habit, then be stricter with yourself. If you find it easy enough to pick up where you left off, you can give yourself a little slack.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I say this because your readers will generally care more about quality than quantity. They would prefer to read something of value versus a quickly thrown together generic news update.
You may have heard that it’s good to publish regularly for SEO purposes. But you should consider why that’s the case.
Is it because it’s good for search or is it because it’s good for the people coming to your website?
See, the thing about people is they are used to living by a schedule.
Their favorite YouTuber comes out with a new video on Friday. Saturday is date night. On Sunday, they go to church. Or whatever. And, a lot of it tends to happen at a specific time.
So, people are used to tuning in at the designated time for their favorite content, even if the need to do so has mostly gone out the window.
The point is that publishing regularly is good because it’s good for your audience. Forget SEO. You’re probably not going to be ranking for a ton of keywords to begin with (unless you’re a pro blogger).
Distribute Your Content
I’ve talked to my fair share of skeptics.
“You’re a blogger? How does that make you any money?”
“How’s that writing thing going? Making any money yet?”
“I don’t understand how that blogging thing works.”
I’m sure they would be surprised to read my financial statements at the end of the year.
But skeptics will be skeptics and haters are going to hate.
Assuming you don’t let it stop you, it doesn’t make a difference.
The trick is to become present to the tools that are available at your fingertips and utilize them well.
Something bloggers aren’t always tapped into is the fact that they can be and should be distributing their content. Not just that, but the process can be put on virtual autopilot.
What do I mean by content distribution?
Primarily I mean sharing your content on social media, although there are many other places you can take your content to, whether it’s forums, directories, groups, PDF submission sites or otherwise.
But getting back to social media, you can share your blog posts practically anywhere you have an account – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and so on.
I get that some sites don’t allow you to hyperlink your content but that shouldn’t stop you from talking about it.
If you want to put your distribution on autopilot, then take advantage of tools like Jetpack, OnlyWire, IFTTT or Zapier.
I can’t get into the exact specifics on how to use these tools here, but essentially you can connect your social media accounts and have them distribute your content the moment it goes live.
That way you won’t have to manually share your content across your socials every time you publish something new.
Distributing your content can help it gain visibility. And, if you have followers on social media that care about what you’re up to, there’s a good chance they will want to read your latest post.
Don’t Be Selfish
As a musician, it’s easy to think you’re the best thing since sliced bread.
Trust me, I get it. You put a lot of effort into your art. So, it’s only natural you’d want to talk about it. Shout it from the rooftops even.
And, I would recommend talking about it on your blog, especially if you can touch on your process, the meaning behind your songs, gear you use and so on.
Behind-the-scenes style content tends to do well.
But don’t publish empty posts full of call to actions like “buy our music”, “listen now” and “vote for us”.
I’ll be talking more about call to actions and how to use them effectively in a moment, so don’t get your underpants in a bunch just yet. I’m not saying call to actions are bad.
Instead, what I’m suggesting is that you make your blog posts about others – local businesses, artists you know, community gatherings you attend, charitable organizations you like to give to and so on.
First and foremost, this will prove more engaging for your readers. They don’t want to hear you talk endlessly about yourself (if they do, you’ve probably reached a point of notoriety where this advice doesn’t apply anymore).
Second, talking about others has the added benefit of getting your content read and shared by the people you mention in your blog posts.
This isn’t to suggest you should write with the expectation that the people you mention will share your posts, because they may not. But there’s a good chance they will.
Your blog is yours to keep, and you can do with it what you will. But if you want to grow your readership, I would suggest highlighting and featuring others.
Build Your Email List
What good is all your hard work and effort if you don’t do anything with it?
When your audience reads one of your blog posts, they might be inclined to take the relationship to the next level. That doesn’t mean they’ll be ready to buy something from you the moment they land on your blog. Most won’t.
But many will happily give you their email address, especially if they want to hear from you again.
Now, as I’ve discovered, there’s no easy button for growing your email list. And, maybe that’s why some musicians give up.
But one of the most powerful assets you can have and build ongoingly is your email list.
So, consider offering an opt-in bribe. This is not new or unique advice. If anything, it’s pretty played out.
But if you get creative with it, you should still be able to surprise and delight your audience and get them to give you their contact information.
And, let’s face it, there’s always a younger audience coming up behind us that isn’t as cynical or jaded as we are about giving our email address away.
So, offer a free track, a 30-day trial membership for your fan club, free tickets to your next show or something along those lines in exchange for an email address.
But to get back to this point about your email list being one of your most valuable assets, let’s talk about why.
For one thing, it’s much easier to reach people on your email list than it is to reach your social media following, especially if you take advantage of retargeting ads and other tools.
But with the average open rate of emails being roughly 20%, and reach on social media being throttled more by the day, you can do the math yourself.
For another, people on your email list are far more likely to buy from you than random visitors on your website.
Like I said, those on your email list have self-identified as being interested in what you have to offer.
This does not mean you should sell to them right away. You might want to send a few more emails linking to your blog posts to build that relationship before you go in for the kill.
But any time you have something to sell, you can share it with your email list. And, if they are engaged, a percentage of them will always buy.
That’s a good deal in a realm where there are rarely any guarantees, don’t you think?
Even if it’s just 5% of your email list that converts, as your list continues to grow, you’re only going to see sales and revenue increase for the same amount of effort (i.e. sending an email campaign).
Use A Clear Call To Action
This goes hand in hand with my last point.
Every blog post should include a call to action. It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many bloggers miss this completely, even experienced ones.
The most logical call action is something along the lines of, “sign up for our email list” at the end of every blog post.
But this isn’t to suggest you can’t have multiple call to actions scattered throughout your posts. And, they don’t all need to reference your email list either.
You could have call to actions like:
- Follow us on social media.
- Follow us on Spotify.
- Check out our latest release.
- Buy tickets for our forthcoming show.
- Find our upcoming tour dates here.
- Leave a tip in our tip jar (PayPal).
- And so on.
You get extra points if these call to actions are contextual.
For instance, if the topic of your upcoming tour occurs naturally within the flow of your blog post, that would be the right place to include a call to action link.
Your goal should always be to add value to your audience. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid self-promotion altogether.
You just need to be smart about when and where you send your audience away from the blog post they’re reading.
Again, some will click, some won’t, and that’s not a problem.
The main takeaway here is that you should have calls to action within your posts. And, the more strategic you can be about this process, the better.
Your blog is your blog. So, you should be free to direct people to different offers as you see fit. And, they should be the exact offers you want them to see.
Incidentally, the same principle applies to your menu/navigation. You should only include links to pages you want your visitors to visit. Get rid of any pages that serve no purpose and don’t benefit you.
Never Stop Experimenting
Having owned and written content for a lot of blogs, I can tell you that you just never know what posts might resonate with your audience.
Sometimes you’ll publish a post you worked extensively on only to find no one cares.
And, at other times you’ll publish a post you barely put any effort into, and it’ll end up reaching dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people for weeks, months or even years.
To borrow terms Larry Kim, founder and CEO of MobileMonkey uses, most of your blog posts will be donkeys and only a few will be unicorns. That’s just how it is.
As much as possible, you should be creating content based on your overall strategy (see my point on blogging about what your fans are interested in).
But even if you are tightly focused on what you’re creating, there should be some wiggle room. Use that wiggle room to experiment. Try something different.
You could take a different stance on a topic you’ve covered before. You could be controversial or write a rant. And, you could even share your thoughts on the latest news.
It’s easy to fall into a rut with blogging. Once you’ve settled into a process, your tendency might be to use the same format over and over.
That’s fine, especially if it speeds up the process. But try something different occasionally. You’ll be glad you did.
Blogging Tips For Musicians, Final Thoughts
Writing may not be for everyone. But it can help you organize your thoughts and become a better communicator.
If you can communicate well, generally, you can get what you want with less effort.
Although you shouldn’t expect huge overnight results from blogging, over time, it can add up.
So, use it as part of your marketing mix and don’t rely or fixate on it. Stick with it and you will be rewarded for your effort.