The Musician’s Blogging Summit

OK guys, I woke up in a cold sweat a couple of weeks back and realized something rather profound…

I DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING!

Well after getting over the shock and disappointment I decided to use that fact to our advantage by creating a “SUPER-POST” with the help of a few friends.

The idea is really kind of simple…we take something important (and little confusing) like blogging and approach the smartest people around for their insights.

So I opened up my Filofax and flicked through to the sectioned marked “Badasses”, then sent them all one simple question…

“What are the secrets of entertaining blogging that gets attention?”

All I could do was anxiously wait and see what the wheel of fortuna would throw back…

Well the next morning I awoke to find a mountain of mind blowing ideas waiting for me, and the contributions kept on coming ever since.

Some short and snappy, others longer and more detailed…but all packed with actionable stuff you can start using right now.

This information is EPIC like Ben Hurr…I feel the hand of history on my shoulder.

So without further ado, let’s roll!

- Chris

Chris Robley writer at the wonderful CD Baby Blog

Keep it short, keep it simple, and keep it visual. Fans are inundated with info about their favorite bands these days. If someone only has a minute to kill on Facebook and they’re trying to choose between looking at Metric’s newest Instragram tour photo or your 8 paragraph blog post about recording—they’ll go for brevity. So keep things short.

If you have a lot of news to share, great! Just break it up into multiple blog posts so you don’t muddy up the messaging. Shorter, simpler, but more frequent blog posts also help you feed the insatiable social media beast.

Lastly, the more visual something is, the less you have to say in words—and that is going to appeal to your fans who’ve fried their online attention spans for the day. But crappy videos, photos, or banners only work against you; shoddy posts condition people to tune you out, so don’t produce half-baked stuff just for the sake of populating your blog with content on a regular schedule.

If you invest MOST of your energy into producing compelling and professional music, videos, artwork, website design, tour posters, and photographs—and if you work to create memorable REAL LIFE experiences—the blogging will take care of itself.

Follow @CD Baby

Clyde Smith of Hypebot

Tell the Stories Behind Your Photos…

Some musicians are microblogging their photos on a regular basis by posting on Twitter or Instagram with a quick caption. Others don’t want their time offstage to be taken up by a constant flow of cellphone pics and social media. But wherever you are on that continuum, you can still periodically post a few pics and tell the story behind those pics in a full blog post.

Real fans tend to want to know more about the offstage life of musicians from backstage to personal experiences. So once a week you could blog about something that happened and was documented by you, your bandmates, your publicist or your fans.

For example, let’s say you take a day off and go to an amusement park with your friends. Pick three fun photos, talk about what was happening in each one beyond a simple caption and you’ve got a blog post that will entertain your fans. Think of it as telling a friend the entertaining parts of your day at the park. Don’t overthink it but do keep it real. Not only will you please your hardcore fans but you’ll show new fans that you’re human and accessible even if you’re thousands of miles away.

Follow @Hypebot and you can also find Clyde’s work at CrowdFundingForMusicians.com

Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

To be a successful blogger requires two things; be entertaining or informative, and be consistent in posting. Let’s look at them both.

1) Be entertaining and informative: If you’re not a great and engaging writer you can still be informative. Look for topics in the news that your readers might be interested in and repost (with permission and accreditation, of course) followed by a short comment. Embed YouTube videos that your readers might like, once again with some brief comments. Keep it short and keep it professional.

2) Be consistent in posting: Once you determine a posting schedule, it’s imperative that you stay on it at all costs. If you decide to post at 3PM every Thursday, then you have to post at exactly 3PM every Thursday in order to keep your readers engaged. This may well be the most important part of blogging other than the actual writing itself. Any variation in posting time will result in reader attrition. Posting on time shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, since most major blogging platforms have a scheduling feature so you can write the posts before hand and have them post at the appropriate time. I’ll often do 3 or 4 in advance if I know I’ll be traveling, for instance.

There are numerous other nuances in blogging, but by far these are the two points that I consider most important.

Follow @bobbyowsinski

Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

If you’re not blogging on your band’s website, then I’d hazard to guess you’re not getting very much traffic on it. After all, why would someone visit your site if nothing is happening there? It’s like walking into a store with no staff or customers in sight. It just feels like no one cares.

No Blog = A Boring, Deserted Wasteland.

1. You want website traffic.

2. You want a self-sustaining community of fans to support what you do.

To achieve these two very basic objectives, you need to start posting content on your website’s blog on a regular and routine basis.

Quit thinking about it. Quit reading and studying up on it.
Just start. Now. Today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that…)

Write your first post. Attach a relevant photo. and hit the damn publish button.

That’s it. You’ve blogged. Now do it again tomorrow.

Six months from now you’ll thank me. And a year from now you’ll be pleased with yourself as other bands around you wonder how you’ve managed to create such a cool and loyal following.

Now, I already know what your next question is.

What am I supposed to write about?

You need to give your readers something to engage with. The process of engaging with content makes a reader retain and remember it better… include your name (and that’s bloody important).

You need to give your web visitors:

An inside peak.
Something to win.
Something to read.
Something to share.
Something to watch.
Something to answer.
Something to laugh at.
Something to comment on.
Something to download for free.
Something to tell their friend about.
Something to make them say, “wow… thanks!”

Blog about what you know. Blog about what interests you. Blog about what you care about. Blog about whatever matters the most to you.

Just… blog.

When you start blogging, you will suck at it.

But don’t worry about that, because when you start, you’ll also have zero audience… so that means no one will see that you sucked.

But… the more you blog, the better you’ll get.

And the better you get, the more readers you’ll attract.

And as you learn to share cool and intriguing stuff, the more repeat visits you’ll get.

And that’s when people will start to talk about you and share your posts, which in turn grows your audience further and finds new fans.

It’s like ripples in a pond, baby.

Now throw that first rock.

Blog.

Follow @thornybleeder

Marcus Taylor co-founder of MusicLawContracts.com

Blogging is all about quality – if you’re asking how often you should be blogging you’re asking the wrong question. Some of my favourite blogs only post 3 or 4 times a year, others post 5 times a week and I still read every single post.

Every post you write must inform, entertain, or serve some purpose in another person’s life – with that in mind, it’s really important to view your blog from the perspective of your readers – what do they want to know? What do they want to see? Hear? And so on. Focusing on that, rather than ‘what can I write about today?’ will yield much greater results from blogging.

Follow @MarcusATaylor and you can also find Marcus on The Musicians Guide

Shaun Letang of Music Industry How To

Ok, so this may be greedy, but I’ve actually got two tips for all you musician turned bloggers:

1. Show The Real You!

I can’t state how important this is. Putting your personality into your blog posts is all important if you want people to follow along and check back regularly. I’m sure you show your personality when you appear in music videos or do audio interviews, so be sure to get in down in writing as well. This will make for a much more interesting read, and build more fans as a result.

2. Give Your Point Of View.

While not everyone will agree with everything you say, if you say how you really feel, you’ll get people relating to you as a person. By doing this you’ll not only weed out all those not suited to what you have to offer, but you’ll grow a stronger bond with those that agree with what you’re all about. Once again, this is a great way to build up loyal fans for your music career.

As you can see, both point relate to showing the real you to people that visit your blog. This is no coincidence; maximum results will only be gained when you get people to buy into you as a person as well as your music. So make it happen!

Follow @imusicadvice, and Shaun also has a killer site on How to create a music website.

Scott James of The iNtuitive Musician

There’s no right way to blog – only the right way for you. Your blog should be created around your own desires, abilities and tendencies, rather than following someone else’s plan.

My primary study is personality, and if there’s one takeaway that I’d share it’s that we really are wired in different ways.

Too many people spend their lives trying to follow the rules and blueprints of people who are fundamentally different from them.

Most people think that other people are more like them than they really are.

If it makes sense to them then they believe that it simply ‘makes sense’. They don’t realize that most other people use entirely different processes to perceive and evaluate information and that what makes sense to them doesn’t make sense to someone else who uses a different process.

If it doesn’t feel right to you then it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It just means that you’re not following the a plan that’s built around your strengths and values.

In Carl Jung’s personality theory there are 16 ways that people’s brains are wired. With each of those 16 ‘types’ there’s a unique set of things that will charge you and drain you. The goal is to do more of what charges you and lights you up and less of what drains you.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

The idea is not to be able to do everything well, it’s to show the world what you do best.

So start by asking yourself, what are you naturally good at? What gives you energy? And then make a list of ways you can magnify or multiply those things through your blog.

“Find out who your are and do it on purpose.”

- Dolly Parton

Follow The INtuitive Musician on Facebook

Loren Weisman of The Artist’s Guide to Success in Music

Interesting topic and right now I am seeing a lot of people saying a lot of things that were true some years back but do not play in to the current industry for effectiveness.

People seem to be losing site that it is about the content to draw the most new people in while keeping old fans interested and then finally making every written blog, video blog, photo and even audio blog be found from a search optimization standpoint.

Half ass articles about how to make an interesting video are out all over the net and yet no one discusses the elements of finding the best keyword phrases to get the most people to see it.

The other problem is the lack of content that artists are putting up. I am telling bands right now to put up at least 2 if not three video shorts a week, 2 blogs, a photo and a sample every week!

Then add in the effort to find the right keywords followed with the bands signature (name, one-liner or short bio, websites) then finished with a call to action (for more information, to buy the new single, the new album, to see where we are playing..etc.)

Artists are getting lost in a sea of information and misinformation. They are meeting with consultants that help them get 100 more people on a mailing list, 1000 more people on Facebook or a couple plays on an internet radio station and they are thrilled. Even when there is no conversion to sales or fans that are coming to shows.

Blogs need to be used for marketing, promotion, awareness and optimization with the main goal to create a larger fan base while maintaining the interest of the existing fan base to continue to buy the music, the products and come to the shows.

I know it is a little bit of a hard ass approach, but it is true. And not to overly plug but the new book is coming on February 11th, 2013 and I am not playing as nice as I did in the old one. haha.

http://tag2nd.com

And for an example of what I mean with effective conversion and growing numbers, as well as a signature and a call to action, check out my video blog on youtube. It maintains all the elements I suggest artists use in every post, blog or piece of info they are putting out there.

Follow @lorenweisman

Cliff Goldmacher of Educated Songwriter

One blogging tip that I received a few years back that has been extremely helpful is to blog using the “list” format.

For example, “three things you can do to improve your choruses” or “four reasons to be patient as a musician.” This is helpful for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, people like to know the parameters of your piece and the point you’re making. The list format spells this out for them right away. They know what they’re getting. Also, it’s easier for you, the blogger, to refine what you have to say by fitting it into a tighter structure instead of an open-ended ramble through the point you’re trying to make. Good luck!

Follow @cliffgoldmacher

Ian Clifford of Make It In Music

I think it’s crucial for musicians to have their own website as the hub of their online marketing activity. However, almost every DIY musician then fails to use that vital real estate effectively. I like to see a professional site that offers detailed news and information about the artist’s music, live dates, recording process, and anything that relates to their professional career. That’s all good. But, almost all musicians just post that – nothing else. That’s fine for established artists whose site can just function as that information portal. But it’s no good for the DIY or indie musician.

Stick all that informational content in a ‘News’ category and have it scroll on the home page.

But, then get yourself a ‘Blog’ category and in there is where you put the stuff that is about who, what and why you are who you are and how you fit into your scene and genre. Write blog posts that position you as an artist in the personal interests and everyday life of you as a person or group of people. I’m not saying that you should blog about your passion for cooking or your obsession with Nike Dunks (but, hold on to that thought, we’ll go back to it in a minute), but you should be writing about your local scene, the best venues, the global scene for your genre, music you love, musicians you love, how you learnt your instrument, what inspires you to write songs etc.

This all helps create a deeper persona for you and your bandmates (you can all do this on your band site together and individually). It also gives your site rich content that the search engines will pick up and which will send people to your site. If you’re a Goth band and you write about the ‘Ten best Goth nights in your city/state/country/the world’, the chances are that people will find that post and then look around your site – they’ll see your 3 track Free EP download of great Goth tracks by your band (which you are offering in return for an email, aren’t you….?) and boom, you’ve acquired a new fan.

In addition, when you write great posts, you can feed them out to other sites, by directly contacting people and telling them about them (that’s Online PR) and offering to have them use your post as long as they link back to your band site where the post was originally posted; you can leave links to that post in comments on other sites, in forums and all over Social Media plus you can promote it in places like Reddit and Digg.. As you’ll be doing that in places where people would want to know where the ’10 best Goth nights in the UK’ are, it’s not spam and people will be happy to click through – and then…..you get the idea. If you just went on a Goth forum and asked people to check out your music, that is spam and it’s deeply ineffective.

This kind of ‘content’, as us marketers like to call it, has another key benefit. If you do a lot of it, your artist website will become an authority on the things you write about – your genre and scene, locally and internationally – and your music will be there alongside it. Sweet.

So, what about writing about stuff that isn’t really connected to you as an artist at all – I used to think this had some relevance, and it was OK to write about anything that interested you, but over time, I haven’t seen it really work and bring in fans – and that’s the name of the game. Where it does work though is where your demographic of people likely to be fans DOES closely align with another demographic. This then gives you another whole strand of things to write about and places to reach people online. An example for Goths would be that fans of Goth music would (and I’m guessing) probably like Vampire movies and shows. So, intelligent blog posts about that and reaching out to sites that are in the vampire demographic might well bring dividends. Tying the two together – how about a blog post on the ‘Ten best Goth tracks in the Twilight Movies’ – that’s getting really clever – and effective.

You’ll know if the genre you’re in has an affinity with another demographic or interest group. For a surf rock band it’s obvious that you can reach out to skate blogs and the like – see that’s where you write a piece about the best Nike Dunks ever (I said we’d come back to that!). If you’re straight up metal, make the connection with the biker audience. You should know what your ‘average’ fan is like and what they’ll be in to – that’s the demographic you look to align with.

Hopefully that’s helping you see how blogging is about more than just you and your music news and how broadening what you offer on your site (1 section of ‘News’ all about you and your music directly, and 1 section of ‘Blog’ that is intelligent referencing) will build your core audience.

Follow @makeitinmusic

Kevin King of Music Hype

As both a reader and writer of blogs, specifically music blogs, I’d have to say there are four crucial areas to focus and ironically they all start with C. The Four C Method; Care, Content, Context, and Curation.

Care - If you don’t care, we’re not going to either. You can easily tell when someone truly cares about their blog post and the subject matter. Please don’t try to sale something or pitch to me, the caring and passion put forth will be ALL the selling required.

Content - ALWAYS post with images, music, video. The more content the better and it’s likely you “care” to do the heavy lifting of placing content into your post, however it’s easier than ever to place existing content into your post!

Context - Context has been a part of society since the dawn of man, however, the internet affords us the ability to create highly contextualized online experiences. If you are doing a show in Toronto, talk about the MapleLeafs.

Curation - If you are really ready to go big, curation is the ultimate in compelling engagement. Personalized experiences are becoming the norm these days with Pandora, FourSquare, Spotify, smartphones and Netflix. Your fans expect this level of curation and engagement. Share playlists of music you are listening to OR offer to create playlists for your top fans. Curate YouTube playlists to welcome new fans or have top fans share to their friends. Curate your favorite Thai restaurants in NYC or best cafe’s in Paris.

Follow @mHype

John Oszajca of Music Marketing Manifesto

“Blogging” is a concept that has a lot of confusion surrounding it, especially for musicians. There are two main reasons why a musician would (and should) want to write and publish blog posts on a regular bases.

1. To build a rapport with their subscribers and to keep them engaged.

Or…

2. To get more traffic to your web site, and in turn get more subscribers and ultimately sales.

The two are completely different…

The first type of blogging is what most of us normally think of when one refers to “blogging”. There is absolutely an art form to it but it’s a little hard to quantify in a mere paragraph or two. The key thing to remember is that what you’re really trying to do is to create an engaging “channel”. Typically, what most people are looking for from music is an “experience”, not just another collection of downloads to store on their computer.

Ask yourself what primary experience is my “ideal customer” looking for from music and then take the moments in your life that line up with those interests and simply write about them. Think about how many of us tune into various television programs, radio shows, and blogs, just to be kept informed on a subject we’re interested in. That’s your job as a blogger. You don’t need to be some eloquent writer, heck you don’t technically even need to write (Video blogging is a fine alternative), all you need to do is ask yourself what conversation is taking place in your ideal customer’s mind and then speak to those interests.

Report in from the front lines of your unique universe and be the provider of genuinely interesting content. This will keep your fans engaged, build rapport, and establish you as the leader of your “tribe”. all of which is essential to generating album sales.

The second type of blogging really has little to do with “blogging” in the traditional sense. Rather we are talking about creating keyword rich content to pull in targeted visitors from the search engines.

This is not content we necessarily share with our established fans, but rather content we create to attract targeted traffic and expose those visitors to an offer for a free track. In a nutshell, what you’d want to do here is use Google’s free keyword tool to find keywords that reflect the search activity of your potential fans. Then create 300 – 500 word keyword targeted articles about each specific subject and post them on a well optimized, and monetized, blog.

The idea here is that a Bob Dylan fan (or whomever) is searching for information about Bob Dylan’s career as an painter (or whatever) and then finds your article.

While reading your article he is exposed to a link and ideally an advertisement for some free music that might appeal to fans of, you guessed it, Bob Dylan. Get enough content out there on the web and you can literally see thousands of visitors a day. Expose thousands of people to your ads each day and you’ll soon have an enormous subscriber base to whom you can promote and sell your music.

Follow @JohnOszajca

Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR

When Chris asked me to weigh with my thoughts about blogging, my head started spinning. I’ve written multiple posts about blogging: How to blog, why you should blog, and what the best platforms to use are. It’s a full chapter in both of my books that are available now and it’s a full chapter in my forthcoming book Cyber PR for Musicians.

So, I’m going to be the reality check in this series: Here’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room

There is no doubt that a blogging strategy when properly executed (which is something you can search and find tens of thousands of entries on how to do properly using Google) will help you enormously.

I won’t go into why because I’m quite certain all of my colleagues in this blog series points that out but here is what I see:

Blogging takes dedication and commitment.

It takes having something you want to talk about but that’s the easy part.

The hard parts are:

  • Staying consistent
  • Staying patient
  • Being dedicated to a blogging practice

But the even harder part is: Understanding the BIG PICTURE

(Sorry for all the capital letters – I’m really passionate about this and I want you to get this.)

You want to succeed and you want recognition. But you still think someone else will come in and discover you, review you, write about you, tell the world how fantastic your music is, book you and make it happen for you.

They WILL — but you don’t want to do what it takes to earn it blogging is earning it.

Here’s a study that backs all of this up that I have been dying to share. A few weeks ago, I attended The Pivot conference and it mostly talked about how corporate social media works. The most fascinating few minutes came from a study presented by @alison222 from MTV.

It was about Millennials (that’s fans between the ages 18 and 29) and how they approach music, how they think and what they want.

This study defines the recent transformation of the music industry

The topic of her presentation was: How to recognize & reward consumer as PR machine

Here are the bulleted highlights, see for yourself:

• Discovery is a very important part of Millennials experience

• Millennials like Jenny who a part of the study now a 22 yr. old was 10 when Napster hit…. She has ALWAYS KNOWN FREE MUSIC

• It’s all about coming up w your own personal brand identity and that is influenced by the artists you love

• 85% of all music lovers say they have eclectic taste – with technology you can find out about Etta James and Dave Matthews and Drake and Aerosmith

• Millenials discover all music through friends on social media

• 76% feel a stronger connection to musician who shares

• They are demanding total interaction from artists

• More is EXCEPCTED from the artists now

• Buying the music is SYMBOLIC PATRONAGE – you must have earned it has nothing to do with ethics (i.e I am only paying money out of respect)

1. DISCOVERY – The starting place for most music discoverers it STARTS on Social Media then they will check it out on Spotify and the last step is an iTunes purchase (if they LOVE IT and if you have EARNED IT)

2. AFFINITY – They expect to feel connected. This means the artist needs to be on Social Media

3. ADVOCACY – This is their final step – They become your mini PR team

I believe this is not just Millennials- – I’ve seen it hundreds of times with all age groups.

The reality is they want a piece of you and if you do not give it to them they WON’T BUY,

Here Are The 3 Takeaways:

1 .Fans will work hard for you but they ask: When are you gonna pay me back?

2. You are my branding machine online

3. It goes BOTH WAYS

So, Go Blog.

Love Ariel.

Follow @CyberPR

Jon Ostrow of Cyber PR

When I first started Mic Control a good friend beat into me how to write an effective blog post, and it certainly did not come right off the bat.

It really comes down to the fact that I found my voice… and that’s what any blogger or musician should be looking for too.

Once you’ve found that it’s pretty easy to just let the content flow.

But what can you actually post?

You could certainly write about being a musician if you want to, but there are so many other things you can do as well…

A great example is what Chris Seth Jackson of How To Run A Band does…he’s a musician trying out these marketing strategies and blogging about the results.

That’s a great way for him to build the visibility for himself and indirectly his band, just through writing about what he’s doing already.

Really it does not need to be the sort of shameless self promotion that a lot of artist think it does.

If you’re creating good content about your passion (whatever that passion is) it will help you to connect with potential followers and potential fans who would not have found you otherwise.

Follow @jon_ostrow

Andre Calilhanna, Editorial Manager at Disc Makers

Your headline matters big time.

The information in your posts should always be filled with rich content, but the headline makes all the difference.

Craft a good headline – something pithy, punchy, alarming, clever, racy – and you’ll get your click through.

But you had better deliver on the content as well, or those clicks will start drying up.

Follow @discmakers

Madalyn Sklar of GoGirlsMusic.com

The best way to be a badass blogger is this… be consistent.

Consistency is most definitely the key to blogging success! You may think fans aren’t listening because they aren’t commenting. It does not mean you are not being heard. People read blogs. If you put out great, consistent content and focus on being attention grabbing, your blog will rock it (pun intended!).

Be sure you know your audience. Write what appeals to them. Don’t always make it about you. And make sure your blog is attractive. Good looks are important. And above all, be like Nike and “just do it!”

Thank you so much for including me on this, Chris. Can’t wait to see what everyone else says on this topic.

Follow @madalynsklar

Bob Baker of TheBuzzFactor.com

If you already publish a blog or are about to start one, congratulations! You’re miles ahead of many musicians. Now, here are several ways you can turn your blog into an online music marketing machine:

• Share your journey. A blog can be part personal diary, part “making of” documentary. Invite fans to follow along as you log reports about your adventures through the writing, recording and performing world. Post daily dispatches from the road. Keep fans updated on your creative process, or tell them about the great show you gave the night before. Share yourself with your fans and they’ll feel more of a connection with you.

• Report on your genre. Here’s an idea that could bring you a lot of targeted traffic. Instead of publishing a blog that promotes you and your music only, create one that acts as a one-stop resource for your entire genre.

For example, if you write and record love ballads, start the Love Ballad Blog. Publish reviews and links to your favorite love song-related artists, albums and websites. You just might attract a lot of incoming traffic from people searching for the genre. Of course, you can include plenty of plugs for your own music, but the main focus of the blog will not be on you alone.

• Extend link love. There’s a lot of cross-referencing that takes place in the blog world. As I mentioned in the previous point, you should regularly scour the Web for news and online resources that would be of interest to your fans. Then write about (and link to) those other blogs, sites, artists, etc. After you publish a new post, send a quick email to the person whose site you plugged. This will often lead to a return link when that webmaster or blogger writes about the exposure they just got on your blog. The best way to get link love is to give it unconditionally in the first place.

• Make your blog post titles sizzle. Compare the titles you give your blog posts to the headlines that appear on magazine covers. How do they rate? What’s more likely to get one of your fans to click a link to read your latest entry: “Some Good Advice” or “7 Things Every Headbanger Should Know About Brain Damage”? A great title will attract the ideal type of person it’s meant for. So take some time to craft the best, attention-grabbing titles you can.

• Promote new music projects as you create them. Instead of waiting for your new CD to be released, you can start marketing a new album the day you decide to write it. Throughout the creation of her album Ellipse, Imogen Heap posted regular video blog updates for her fans, which led to North American chart success and two Grammy nominations when the album was released.

Follow @MrBuzzFactor

Chris Seth Jackson of How To Run A Band

Spend the most time on your headlines. If you can’t attract attention, you won’t get anyone to read.

Try headlines with:

* questions

* teasers

* lists (10 ways to ….)

* controversy (Obama is destroying…)

Short paragraphs. Two to three sentences max. No walls of text.

Bold key sentences. People like to scan. Make important sentences stand out.

Use pictures to break up text.

Embed videos into your posts.

Things to write about:

* meanings of songs

* reviews of your shows

* behind the scenes [videos, recordings, rehearsals]

Keep ideas and notes using Evernote: Online journal on every device, browser, or computer.

Don’t be boring.

Follow @HowToRunABand

Carla Lynne Hall of Rock Star Life Lessons

Without a plan, blogging can feel like another chore, so here are some tips to make your blog interesting without breaking a sweat.

Choose Good Topics

As a blogger, you want to write about things that are meaningful to you. But to get the attention of others, make sure that you’re writing about topics that are also meaningful to others. Keep an Idea Journal for those random thoughts. You can also use your blog to collect information about what’s popular. By using Google Analytics, you can discover the most popular article on your blog, and write similar ones. You can also research keyword topics with Google Keyword Tool.

Write Like You Speak

One of the great things about blogs is that they’re written casually. Imagine that you’re writing a letter to a friend, not to a school headmaster. The more down-to-earth your writing is, the better. To make sure your writing is tight, read your blog post out loud.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

A blog post shouldn’t be all text. Be sure to include some kind of compelling visual graphic for each of your blog posts, to pull readers in. Alternatively, your blog post can also just be an interesting photo or video, plus a simple caption.

Be Interesting

As musicians, we often take for granted the cool and interesting things we do: rehearse for gigs, tour and travel, write songs, etc. People who aren’t musicians are often fascinated by the details, so go ahead and share who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

Organize Your Content

Think about how your writing will be received. Create a logical sequence when offering steps. By breaking up an article with numbers, bullet points, and sub-topics, you create more open space, which makes an article easier to read. Whenever you’re unsure, ask a friend to read it.

Sit With It

After completing a draft of a blog post, it’s often a good idea to give it time percolate before publishing it. If you can put your writing away for at least half a day, you may find typos later, or learn additional information that adds to your post.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Who has time to read long blog posts anyway? Long articles (longer than 300 words) can often feel overwhelming to a blog visitor, so make sure you mix it up

with shorter posts so readers can get what they need, and keep checking out your blog.

Update Often Blogs are powerful because the keywords you use attract search engines. Each time you update your blog, you create a new reason for people to find you. Updating a blog twice a week is great, but if you can only update once a month, be consistent about it. When too much time goes by without an update, people will visit less.

Follow @carlalynnehall

Derek Sivers founder of CD Baby now writes sivers.org

Biggest lesson I learned in my past year of blogging. Keep it in the 1-2 minutes read-time length.

I present one little idea, something anyone can read in under two minutes, and shine a spotlight on it.

If it’s well-received, I’ll see it Tweeted, re-Tweeted, linked-to, forwarded, and maybe voted up the charts at Hacker News by a jury of my peers.

The comments always improve upon it, making me see new perspectives or how I could have communicated it better.

I’m usually surprised by which ones get a reaction. Something obvious to me may be powerful to others. Something powerful to me may be obvious to others.

But each idea gets its chance in the spotlight.

The work it takes to present it clearly and succinctly is rewarded, because it’s:

  • easier to communicate
  • easier to explain to others
  • more likely to be read, instead of someone saying, “Too long, I’ll come back later,” never to return.

When I’ve written articles that were too long or had too many ideas, they didn’t get much of a reaction.

When I read books, I often feel bad for the brilliant idea buried on page 217. Who will hear it?

Stop the orchestra. Solo that motif. Repeat it. Let the other instruments build upon it.

The web is such a great way to do this.

Present a single idea, one at a time, and let others build upon it.

Follow @sivers

David Hooper of Music Marketing [dot] com

The biggest tip I have for musicians who are blogging is to be on the lookout for interesting things that happen during the day, even if they’re not music related, and share them.

A picture really does paint “1000 words” and a single photo will get a lot of traction if it’s good. Bands on tour have a great opportunity to take photos of interesting things during the day.

Keep in mind that sometimes what appears to be the most plain can be the most interesting. There are a lot of regional things fans outside of the region will
find fascinating. For example, mayonaise or ketchup potato chips, which are common in many parts of the world, but most people have never heard of. These things aren’t about music, but do a good job to show you’re out experiencing new things and “living the dream,” which will make you more interesting to your audience.

If you want to take it to a different level, show what you find in action. For example, a video of yourself reviewing the product. Or a review of the product. For example, hopping on (and reviewing) a roller coaster when you’re playing a “state fair” gig.

People come to you because they want to feel good. Also, fans are always trying to get close to you and find out what you’re really like. This is a fun way to do both things.

Follow @davidhooper

Greg “On A Roll” Rollett of GenY Rockstars

The attention span of you fan has become grossly shorter.

There are thousands of songs, artists and videos on their iPods, iPhones and mobile devices or even worse, they are using Spotify to change from artist to artist in the blink of an eye.

The only way to stay on their radar it to produce consistent content that GETS and KEEPS their attention.

Create a content schedule, stick to it and keep pushing. Maybe you can become the next overnight celebrity (after a few years of hard, grind it out work!).

Follow @gregrollett

James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness

You  need a routine….

It’s just like the train analogy, the train goes to a schedule, it happens all the time, people know this happens so they turn up and get on the train and the train moves, that’s what will happen with your customers. You send out a weekly newsletter, you will get the weekly customer interaction. Set schedules and routines for yourself and for you customers. I use iCal to actually alert me when something’s happening.

You need checklists…

When you get on an airplane, when you go to a hospital, the people operating these things are using checklists and the same should be for your business. Put a checklist for the things that you do all the time. You can use the reminders tool if you’re using a Mac. You could use Evernote, you could use Basecamp, it doesn’t really matter or you could even put it on a piece of paper and print it out. But have reminders and checklists in place.

On my spare computer screen, I use a Mind Map from FastWebFormula 3 called the Mafia Plan and I use that to remind myself of the way that I can prepare content, the traffic channels that I can use, how my products and services fit in to my overall business model, and about structure and control and research, etc. This is what it looks like, and you should have your own.

Put some sort of checklist where you do your things so that you can actually reduce the time it takes for you to think about stuff and you can systematically go tick, tick, tick, tick, tick and get through the stuff faster with less error. Make sure your team are using checklists. We call them standard operating procedures. Checklists should be modified all the time and they should have the essential things on them that you can give to somebody else and they can just take over the job and they can do the job without any extra input from you.

Follow @JamesSchramko

Chris Rockett of Music Marketing Classroom (Hey…That’s me!)

Ok guys, it’s totally blown me away how many lovely people have taken the time to give such wonderful advice in this post…so I think it only right and proper that I throw a couple of ideas in the ring as well.

The first one is becoming a “Guest Blog Star”…

If you just put your own blog online and it’s emptier than a pirate’s bottle ol’ rum then I would seriously consider writing for other sites until you build an audience.

Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and make a list of everything that you’re passionate about, it does not even have to be just music …it could be cooking, dog grooming or even making model skyscrapers out of matchsticks.

But you might say, “why on earth would I want to guest post about dog grooming when I’m trying to build a fanbase for my music?”.

Good question…and the answer is this:

Even a dog groomer gets home from the busy parlor at the end of the day and want to bang on some wicked tunes now and again, so it might as well be your music they rock out to…especially if you just wrote a killer article for their favorite website with a link to your free music offer at the end.

Basically what I’m suggesting is that you think outside the box and go fishing for fans off the beaten track, because you will have less competition for attention.

First of all you need to find sites that are popular, to do that ask yourself these two questions:

  • Does their blog get a lot of comments?
  • Do they have 1000s of social media followers?

Don’t forget that Google is the greatest research tool man has EVER devised and there is no shortage of opportunities out there. Do searches for things that your potential fans might look for like “how to trim puppy ears” and contact the sites which look promising :)

Next you want to make sure that you have something they will really want to post.

… to do that you need to see what they usually blog about. But go the extra mile and sign up for their mailing list, look at their Twitter / Facebook posts and get a general feel for what they put out.

Now write something better…because then the editors will go for it right.

Take your time here and be honest with yourself, a lot of the best bloggers I know work for 8 hours or more on a post which we call your “flagship articles”.

But I don’t want to give you a hard and fast time scale because it’s not about writing four hundred pages, it’s about the quality and the kick ass nature of what you’ve written.

Don’t expect to be Charles dickens the first day either…on the first day you will probably be more like Charlie Sheen on a bender and keep in mind that the only way I have ever found to improve your writing is to make sure that you write something 6 days a week FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.

So that’s the guest blog star idea, let me finish off with another quickie for you to test out…

Remember that we started off with a blank sheet of paper earlier and made a list of all your interests?

Well get another sheet, or if you care for the environment turn the first sheet of paper over an use that. Now I want you to make a list of everyone cool connected to your music scene…

This could be producers, musicians, journalists, bloggers, Twitter gods, venue managers, agents, radio pluggers orDJs…anyone you can think of.

Once you have that I want you to make a spreadsheet to track your progress and send 2 emails everyday pitching a Skype interview with someone cool.

I know you might not think of yourself as an interviewer right now, but you’ll get into it and even if your stuff is a little bit amateurish people may find it endearing…look at me! It’s like the old smelly dog that nobody wants to kill!

Once you have the interview in the can, turn it into a super simple video which you will post to YouTube then your blog.

Shazamo! you have a consistent stream of killer blog posts all the time. See an example…

There are so many reasons you should start interviewing but here are just a few:

  • You get to meet amazing people you would have never spoken to before, and you make a much deeper connection with them than via email.
  • When you speak to someone famous a little bit of their fame rubs off on YOU, it’s a scientifical fact!
  • Last but not least this is a direct source of new eyeballs on your stuff because once you post the interview the person you spoke to will probably want to let their followers know about it as well.

So there you have it guys, probably the longest blog post you ever read, and more than enough sensible advice to get going…you’ll learn everything else as you get your hands dirty and that’s the way it should be.

I want to sincerely thank every single person who contributed to this and urge you to follow whatever they have going on because they are all putting out very valuable information.

Warning!

Reading this is not enough, you gotta actually do something….

So take the first step right now and leave a comment below to let us know what you learned and what your next post is going to be about… or even anything we missed that you think might be helpful to people who find this post in the future.

Getting attention in a cool way is the be all and end all in online marketing, and an interesting blog can be a great way to do that.

But it’s not really about blogging at all…what we’re really trying to do here is get into the habit of posting interesting things out to the world, whether that be through a blog or an army of highly trained pigeons.

So turn your personality up to 11 and let’s see what you’ve got…I dare you to try out something you learned here!

Good luck,

- Chris

  • http://twitter.com/jon_ostrow Jon Ostrow

    Holy contributions batman! I’m HONORED to be included in this group of amazing people. Thank YOU Chris for all you do. This ROCKS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cliffordian Ian Clifford

    Blimey – this is a mammoth post. Thanks for asking me to be a part of it.

    It’s well worth noting for the musicians reading this that what you’ve done here is itself an incredibly effective and clever blogging technique. Getting thought leaders / experts to contribute to a group article gives the post enormous value. BUT, crucially, it then makes all those experts use their large social media networks to post about YOUR blog, giving it authority and bringing in traffic.

    Nice work there Chris! And, of course, any musician can do the same by getting a group of leaders in their genre to contribute to an article.

  • Shaun Letang

    Epic post Chris, once I get through this I’m going to give it a nice couple of shares. ;)

  • Guest

    What an epic blog post – thanks for organizing this info, and including me alongside my favorite cyber colleagues. Well done, Chris!

  • http://twitter.com/carlalynnehall Carla Lynne Hall

    What an epic blog post, Chris! Thanks for including me alongside my favorite cyber colleagues too. Well done, Chris!

  • http://twitter.com/thornybleeder Brian Thompson

    such killer advice in this monstrous post!

    thanks so much for including me in with such amazing thought leaders in this always changing music marketing world…

  • Grammar_Snob

    I find it difficult to take advice from a “writing expert” when that person cannot manage his own spelling. I guess the upcoming generations view correct spelling and grammar as optional, but there are still some of us out here who think poor spelling makes a person look sloppy at best, unintelligent at worst. For many, stock in a person’s credibility goes down after seeing the first error.

    I’m not a writing expert, but I do know how to use the language of my own native country. My advice on blogging would be: don’t make yourself look like an idiot by neglecting to check your spelling. Poor usage of the English language when you’re supposed to be giving advice on writing only makes you look like a poser.

    For those of you who say I missed the point of your article by focusing on your spelling, you are correct. Your errors distracted me from sticking with your message.

    Chris Rockett, it’s “Ben Hur,” not “Ben Hurr.” Also, I think you meant to say “pirate’s bottle ‘o rum,” not “pirate’s bottle ol’ rum.” “A dog groomer wants to bang,” not “a dog groomer want to bang.” I’ll assume the word “scientifical” was meant to be humorous. Your punctuation is pretty interesting.

    Chris Robley, it’s “Instagram,” not “Instragram.”

    Brian Thompson, it’s “an inside peek,” not “an inside peak.” A peak is a mountain.

    Loren Weisman, it’s “losing sight,” not “losing site.” “Band’s signature,” not “bands signature.”

    Ian Clifford, it’s “as we marketers like to call it,” not, “as us marketers like to call it.” You would not say, “as us like to call it.”

    Kevin King, I think you meant to say “don’t try to sell something” rather than “don’t try to sale something.” “Best cafes in Paris,” not “best cafe’s in Paris.” What is that apostrophe doing there?

    John Oszajca, it’s “a regular basis,” not “a regular bases.” I don’t think you meant it in the plural sense. Your punctuation and capitalization are messed up as well.

    John Ostrow, it’s “a lot of artists,” not “a lot of artist.”

    David Hooper, it’s “mayonnaise,” not “mayonaise.”

    James Schramko, it’s “for your customers,” not “for you customers.”

    Call me stiff if you want to, but I’m the friend who just told you you have spinach in your teeth.

  • http://signedrecordlabeldeal.com/ Derrick Johnson

    lol at grammar slob