There was a time when every musician had a blog. Even five or six years ago blogging was the vogue form of music marketing. Lately however, I’ve been noticing that fewer musicians are doing it.
There are a few reasons for this – I think many musicians who felt forced to do it but never enjoyed it are choosing to forgo it, because there are so many other social media platforms to worry about. And I think it just works better for some people to post on social media more frequently instead of publishing blog posts.
That said, I don’t think blogging should be ignored or considered antiquated. Some artists run their blogs exceedingly well and they also seem to enjoy doing it. Long form communication can be a great way to connect with fans, especially if you’ve got a way with words.
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The Benefits Of Blogging
There are more than a few good reasons to blog!
Keep in touch with your fan base. Every time you publish a blog post and push it out through your social media channels, you’re just giving yourself more opportunities for people to reconnect with your music. Otherwise, you're not giving people a reason to come back to your website.
Increase your online relevance. Businesses use blogging all the time as a way to enhance their search engine optimization. Search engines love having more content to categorize, and it lets them know that you are active on your site.
Connect with other artists and become a scene booster. One of the greatest benefits of blogging is the ability to shine a light on other bands. You can make posts featuring them, reviewing them, or just favorably mentioning them. People love to be recognized and they always appreciate the kind words.
Encourage interaction with comments. Whether on your website itself or in the comments on social media, blogs give people an easy way to interact with you as an artist. It can be great for community building.
10 Things To Blog About
If you’ve decided to start a blog, but are at a loss for what to write about, here are a few ideas that should keep you busy for awhile.
1. Preview An Upcoming Show Or Tour
If you have a particularly special show coming up, give a preview of what people can expect at that show. For example, if you’re putting on an album release, talk about the set list, the aesthetic and design of the stage, and what kind of merch you’ll be featuring.
If there are other artists involved in the event, be sure to feature them and maybe even get some quotes about them. This way, they’ll be more likely to share the blog to their audience, and it also makes for better content.
The less you talk about yourself and how great you are, the better. Feature things that people wouldn’t expect, and don’t be afraid to get in-depth or be a little controversial.
2. Talk About Music That Inspires You Or Other Local Musicians
Writing eloquently about other musicians and other music can be hard. When you are so close to the art and the scene, it can be difficult to take a step back and speak from a place that people can easily relate to.
That said, if you can capture some of the passion you feel for music in your writing, that will resonate with people, especially if it’s about other musicians or artists in your local community. People love to talk about their favorite musicians and bands, so join the conversation!
Again, featuring and writing about the local scene is a great way to support your peers and also to cross-pollinate your content with different audiences. While there may be some overlap within your scene, that can sometimes make the content stronger.
3. Create A Narrative Around An Issue Or Subject You Care About
If you’re really passionate about a particular social issue – be it the environment, electoral reform, or whatever – you can create a narrative around that and become known as an active, social conscious artist.
But there are always risks to espousing your personal political views on your “artist” social media account. If you hold a controversial opinion, there is a good chance you will have people disagree with you.
Many people will tell you not to talk politics with your artist face on. I say, that’s up to you. You should not be afraid to speak your mind if it makes sense for your artist brand. You just have to be prepared to live with the fact that you may lose fans.
You may also gain fans and even further cement the fan base that you already have, if they happen to agree with you. One artist in my local Canadian scene, Royal Canoe, is very vocal about their political views, and their show is very political too. However, their audience leans the same way they do, and their audience loves them for their outspoken stance on many issues.
4. Talk About Your Songwriting And/Or Recording Process
Not everyone will care, but talking about how you write your songs and how they become recorded is a great, if a little overdone, subject to talk about.
Everyone has a slightly different process, and if you can find a way to talk about your songwriting/recording process without it seeming cliché, you can create good content.
You can also format these blogs in the form of advice and how-to’s. For instance: How To Write a Song, A Guide to Creating a Great Arrangement, or How To Make Demos at Home.
Songwriting and recording give lots of opportunity for other types of content (photos, videos, audio files, etc.). You can share videos of a new song you’ve written, or videos of you demoing a song.
5. Give Advice Or Tips About The Industry
I’m biased, but I believe that talking openly and honestly about your experiences with the industry can be very helpful. Obviously, I write about my experiences all the time, and I find it very helpful.
I have had many friends tell me they appreciate my writing, and beyond that I find it helpful on my end. I end up researching and learning about concepts that I’ve not thought deeply about. Writing about negative experiences in the industry can help me work through them and learn from them.
Whether it’s on your personal website or as a guest post on another blog, writing advice and writing about your experiences can make for great content.
6. Give A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Rehearsals & Shows
There is a lot of work that goes into being an artist. The behind-the-scenes of organizing, promoting, and performing at a show are vast and most people just have no idea what that looks like.
Similarly, many non-musicians have no idea what happens at a rehearsal. Even among different musicians, rehearsal styles and rehearsal habits vary wildly. Giving a close up look at what it takes to be in a band can be very interesting for other musicians, but it can be even more enlightening to those who are not musicians.
Take people backstage, make videos of your rehearsals. Make a video explaining what your rehearsals usually look like. Make a video explaining how you go about setting up a show. This content is perfect for pictures and video.
7. Talk About Your Gear
Okay, so this is more or less for other musicians. The average person will mostly not know or care what your gear is all about, but there is definitely a contingent that will respond to this.
If there are a lot of musicians in your audience, then this may be a good move. Otherwise, it can just be a fun little bit of content that you don’t spend much time on. Either way, when it comes to gear, there is a lot to talk about.
How do you get your guitar tones? Where do you get your keyboard tones? Where did you buy them? Do any of the instruments have cool stories? How many instruments do you each have? Are there are any weird or unexpected instruments on your album?
See what I mean? Most musicians can pretty much talk about gear for ever and ever.
8. Tell Stories From The Road
We’ve all got stories – some of them might not be P.G. rated – but we all have stories. Tell stories of touring debauchery, mishaps, mistakes, beautiful moments, and not-so-beautiful moments.
There are so many stories to tell. From broken down vehicles to beautiful new friends. The road is full of interesting times and interesting people. Touring is something totally unique and something that most people don’t get to experience. Write about it!
9. Talk About Books, Movies Or Restaurants You Like (Make Lists!)
Listicles are a little over done, but they are overdone for a reason. People just love lists. Makes lists of your favorite things. Favorite books, favorite albums of 2017, favorite movies, favorite Thai restaurants around the country, etc.
Lists are pretty much the easiest things to write, and you can use other people in your group to gather ideas and content. For some reason, these tend to get a lot of engagement.
10. Feature Other Forms Of Content
Make sure to switch up the type of content your putting up on your blog. Other than just text, you can share songs, videos, short videos, photos, audio, interviews, and whatever else comes to mind. Just try to switch it up and keep it interesting!
How To Maximize Each Of Your Blog Posts
Beyond just coming up with and creating great content, there are a few technical tips that will help you maximize the reach, shareability, and attractiveness of your posts.
1. Link Out To Other Sources
In the online community, a lot of cross-linking goes on. Whenever there is an opportunity to make a relevant link to another website (be it a music blog, another artists blog, etc.) do it. Just make sure it’s relevant and appropriate.
Then, send the person you’ve linked to a message, just letting them know that you linked their site. They’ll appreciate it, you’ll make a connection, and it also increases your chances of having them promote you in the future.
2. Craft awesome Titles
Titles should be under 75 characters, they should feature the main keywords of the article, and they should be snappy and to the point. Avoid sounding like click-bait because that will cheapen the experience. You’re an artist, you don’t need click-bait.
3. Leverage Your Email List
Keep your email subscribers current with your latest blog posts. Occasionally, drop links to your mailing list, and always provide a way for people to sign up right from your website so you can keep growing your li9st.
Mailing lists are power!
4. Always Include A Call To Action
It’s completely expected and appropriate to include a call to action at the end of a blog post. Encourage people to like or follow you, buy your merch, buy a ticket to a show, encourage them to share the post, comment on it, and so on.
Generally, you should only include one call to action in a post, as more than that will become tacky and obvious. It can also confuse your readers. However, not including one is kind of a waste.
5. Link To Your Other Platforms
Beyond calls to action, it’s important that you at least provide an easy way for people to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify. Provide clickable links at the bottom of every page on your website and the below all of your posts. Also include these in your emails.
6. Link To Your Music
Blogging allows you to promote your music, so don't forget to link to your music. The great thing about blogging is that it gives you the ability to have fans rediscover your music. Make sure that you include links to your music and information about your music in the blog.
This can be worked right into the article or it can be added as an afterthought in the author’s bio. Whichever way you want to do it is fine. Just make sure that if people want to listen to your music, they’ll be able to.