In today’s music industry, it’s difficult to be an indie musician who just does one or two things. Because musicianship is more accessible than ever, it takes someone really special to stand out from the crowd. That’s why so many DIYers do more than just write, record, and perform their songs. Many of them start a blog — and many are very successful at it.
Why start a blog as a musician?
Here’s the thing: people connect with people. It’s hard for fans to connect with someone they don’t really know on a personal level.
Starting a blog is a great way to connect with others. Like, really connect with them. You can share stories about being a musician, what your life is like, and your thoughts on how the world works.
It’s a way to actually build relationships with people who resonate with your music. Think about it this way: You can’t expect to be closer to a friend if you haven’t spoken to them for years.
What not to do when blogging
There are two things to not do when blogging to your fans.
First, don’t beg for people’s attention. Don’t come across as desperate. Just approach blogging as an outlet for things you want to say, a conversation you want to have.
Do you like hanging out with friends who are needy for attention?
Second, don’t sell. Don’t use your blog as a way to make people buy your merchandise. Don’t just promote you and your music. Your blog should be a place people go to because it’s interesting, because they want to join a productive conversation.
Would you hang out with your friends if they were constantly trying to sell you stuff?
Musicians who are successful bloggers
As proof that blogging can help your music career, I’d like to show you some musicians who have succeeded at it.
Ari Herstand has been a full-time musician for several years, and he runs Ari’s Take, a blog that focuses on the business side of music. His in-depth blog posts explore topics based on his real-world experiences. He shares stories about how he does things and how the reader can follow suit. His blog has sort of a cult following, thanks to Herstand’s honesty and desire to help other indie musicians.
Artist Amanda Palmer has over 15,000 Patreon supporters — that shows me how much of a master she is at connecting with others. She does this through her music and by sharing her life. She blogs on her website, sharing photos of herself and her kids, and words about her life and her music career. Any time a musician like this garners that much attention, it may be smart to emulate their methods.
Singer-songwriter Nick Cave has a blog/newsletter called The Red Hand Files. He answers fans’ questions, sends his responses to his email subscribers, and also posts them on his blog. But his responses are more than just responses — each one is a piece of well-written prose. He has a way with words (as songwriters do), and that’s clear when you read his blog. By doing this, he’s connecting with his fans on a deep, deep level.
How to get started blogging
So, if all this sounds like something you’d like to try, here are some tips for getting into blogging:
- Figure out your blog angle: Are you going to blog about your life? Do you want to help other musicians? How do you want to connect with your fans?
- Brainstorm blog post ideas: Spend 10 minutes just jotting down as many blog post titles as you can — you’d be surprised at how many you can come up with.
- Launch a free blog: Use a free blogging platform like Wordpress or Tumblr and set up a simple, easy-to-navigate blog. If you already have an official website for your music, you can just set up a blog directly on your website.
- Start writing: Try writing a bunch of blog posts before you publish any of them — schedule them so they go live every one-to-two weeks.
- Bonus idea: If you want to help other musicians through blogging, feel free to pitch ideas to Sonicbids — they’re always looking for helpful content from musicians for musicians.
Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter and producer based in Austin, TX., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.