The world of music blogging has always been deeply embedded in the indie musician community. Getting featured on a popular music blog is a dream for most artists, but I want to take this chance to talk about something a little closer to home – starting your own blog.
Now I know that at face value, blogging yourself may not seem like the most productive thing to do with your limited time, but it can actually be incredibly beneficial to your career if you stick with it. So let’s go through five reasons to start your own blog on your artist website.
1. You get people visiting your site more often
For most musicians, a website is something that they create and only change every few months to update their tour schedule or release a new song or album. Most of the time, the content on their website is exactly the same as it was the day before, so there’s no real reason for fans to visit the site on a regular basis.
But as an artist, you want your fans to go to your site as often as possible. It’s a simple rule of doing business online: people visiting your site more frequently will be exposed to your offers more often. And more exposure to offers like merch, tickets, and music usually results in more sales!
Blogging is a great way to update your site with fresh, new, and interesting content regularly to keep your fans coming back. You can write about literally anything – what’s going on in your career, stories from the tour bus or rehearsals, troubles you’re having with a song you’re working on, information on the gear you use, or anything else you find interesting that you think your fans will, too. Use your social media channels and email list to share your new blog posts, and your site traffic will instantly increase.
2. You deepen the relationship you have with your fans
Apart from just the traffic numbers and sales, a blog also gives you a really unique opportunity to connect with your fans and develop a relationship. For sure, social media is a great place to do this as well, but you’re really limited to just a few hundred characters. With a blog you can share all the awesome details!
Amanda Palmer uses her blog to its full potential when it comes to developing a relationship with her fans. Every few days, she’ll post something filling her fans in on new developments in her music and life. Now, you can certainly use a blog as just a news update for your fans, but you’ll be much more successful if you also share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings.
I’ve talked about this before, but your online presence should really resemble a funnel. At the top you have your social media channels – you’ll be able to reach more people with shorter, less personal messages. Your website is the next step down the funnel. Only your more serious fans will visit your website on a regular basis, and they’re craving that personal connection with you and your music. So don’t be afraid to get personal and let your personality shine through.
3. You get a better understanding of your music career
When was the last time you felt totally overwhelmed with your music career? As an indie artist there’s just so much to do – between social media, booking gigs, playing gigs, recording, releasing music, and pursuing other opportunities like licensing, you don’t usually have time to just step back and subjectively ask yourself whether you're on the right path, and whether the steps you’re taking everyday are moving you closer to your goals.
Something about writing things down and exploring how opportunities make you feel just helps you better understand the situation. As you blog, you’ll be creating a journal of sorts that you can look back on and get a bird’s eye view of where your career is and what’s really working. It’s a great practice to help you learn from your experiences so you can constantly improve yourself, your music, and your business strategies.
4. You can grow your email list
It’s important to remember that monetary sales aren’t everything. You also want to grow and develop an email list that you can use to contact your fans, and blogging gives you a really powerful opportunity to drive people to sign up to your list.
Think about it: people visiting your blog are definitely more dedicated fans – they go out of their way to click through your links on social media to read about you and your music. These dedicated fans will be much more interested in sharing their email with you than more casual fans on Facebook or Twitter.
At some point in each blog post, try to include a call to action encouraging people to sign up for your emails to get more information. If you’re talking about a new song in your blog post, tell your fans that you’ll be sharing a short snippet of the song in your next newsletter. If you’re sharing a funny story from the last gig you played, tell them you’ll share the hilarious photo in your next email. It’s all a big, connected funnel – social media drives to your blog, which drives to your email list.
5. You can attract a new audience
Depending on how you choose to approach blogging, you can actually go beyond fan engagement and start attracting new audiences. Some artists choose to go the more informative approach and write about something they have a lot of expertise in – whether that's gear, music business, guitars, or Pro Tools.
Ari Herstand has been very successful with his blog Ari’s Take, where he breaks down the music busine ss into really practical, on-the-ground tips and strategies for indie artists – musician to musician. And Alex Cowles is a New Artist Model member who has turned his experience self-releasing music into a blog and online course called How to Self Release.
If you want to learn more, you can download my most popular ebook, Hack the Music Business, for free. You’ll learn more about the funnel strategy we talked about in this article and get more great strategies to grow your fanbase and sell more music.
Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music, and a member of the team who brought midi to the market.