5 Quick Blogging Tricks for Musicians and Artists That You Can Do NOW
Musicians and artists want to connect with their fan base online. One great way to show your audience the person or people behind the art is through a blog.
The problem is that blogging is surprisingly more complex and time-consuming than you might think. For folks busy creating their art or performing, investing time to properly learn good blogging strategies may take a back seat to artistic passions.
With a bit of strategy and time investment, a blog is absolutely worth your effort. Take Amanda Palmer, for instance. Lead vocalist, pianist, and lyricist of The Dresden Dolls, Amanda is an American singer-songwriter with over 11,000 active followers. She produces frequent, high-quality content that showcases her signature wit and style. She is smart and she is controversial.
From after-parties to photos to personal commentaries, Amanda is a poster-child for how to connect with an audience through blogging. Like her or not, the basic tactics talked about in this blog are core to Amanda Palmer’s success.
1. Stick with what you know – Find your hedgehog
It is crucial that the content you create is focused and fits your niche. How do you decide what that is exactly? In an article on AWAL Weekly, Ian Temple recommends that you find your hedgehog.
This idea is from Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, and references a Greek parable:
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows ONE big thing.
So what’s your hedgehog? It’s at the intersection of these three things:
Finding the hedgehog sweet spot will help focus your blog content. Amanda Palmer is unabashedly raw, controversial, and nonconformist. A punk-cabaret artist, Amanda’s music lies outside mainstream pop or rock and her persona matches beautifully. Above all else, she recognizes the connection between her passion, her talent, and her money maker.
I am good at business. But that's not why people are giving me money. They're giving me money because I'm good at making music.
2. Consider your audience
Who are they? Consider different segments of your audience. Differentiate content between those who attend your shows, buy your music or artwork, want to help promote you, or are potential investors/venues. Other artists or musicians are a source of support too! And your network can make or break your online reach simply because your friends - and friends of those friends - know more people than you alone. Consider using LinkedIn groups for musicians to expand your professional pool. And remember, when sending a request to connect, be sure to include a personalized note.
What do they value? Answer a question, offer insight or perspective, or solve a problem. Find a way to provide something in your content that truly resonates or helps your target audience. How do you find out what your audience truly values? Research! Leveraging the most popular social media outlet, Facebook, is a great place to start. Consider creating a Facebook group solely for research purposes, or join an existing group that allows you to probe the members.
3. Be interesting
Whatever your niche, write something interesting to your audience. Yeah, yeah, this one seems super obvious. But here are a couple of ways to make sure that you are not actually boring your readers to tears:
Be Authentic: Amanda Palmer is the queen of authenticity. She writes in no-caps or ALL CAPS. She is dark and funny and extremely personal. She refers to her LPs, EPs, videos, and performances (made possible by her supporters) as THINGS. And she has 58 of them.
Be Inspired: If you need some ideas on creative content (and who doesn’t), follow artists that inspire you. Take something that resonates with you and create your own version. Blogging advice is everywhere, but blogging for art and music requires a specialized approach. For as long as art has existed, artists have learned from each other. Keep track of content ideas in a spreadsheet for future use!
Be Personal: Tell your story! A blog is the perfect place to share who you are with your fans. How personal you get is up to you, but share something that provides a glimpse of the artist up close. Share a piece of yourself.
**Here’s a great example in a recent post by Amanda Palmer. Warning: it contains strong language and controversial storylines. And it is profoundly personal:
4. Keywords, keywords, keywords
This is no small trick. Keyword research is VITAL to make sure your blog shows up in searches. Between you and me, entire blogs and websites are dedicated to this important tactic. It made my Quick Tricks List because it is just that important.
My goal here is to get you started thinking about keywords and to encourage you set aside some time to learn more. Here are a few killer resources on keyword strategies. Happy researching!
Blogging Millionaire by Brandon Gaille. His podcast is fantastic and drive-to-work friendly at 15 minutes per episode. I recommend starting with his 4 Pillars of Blogging Success released in April.
A very helpful strategy we use is to do your keyword research for your niche up front, find your most valuable keywords (in the right form: plural, singular, etc.) and keep track of all of them in a spreadsheet (complete with number of views per day).
5. Find a community
This is perhaps the most important trick of all. There are blogging communities out there offering support, answering questions, discussing new tech and plugins, and making each other better. Find one that suits you.
As for me, Brandon Gaille (The Blog Millionaire) heads a Facebook group—The Blogging Challenge Mastermind Community. It’s an incredible resource AND support group. I learn several new things from this community every single day.
I visit my blogging Facebook community regularly for tips and for encouragement. People like Jeff Campbell, author of the Middle Class Dad blog, are a nonstop source of information and support. Sometimes, just knowing that successful bloggers were once learning the ropes like you is super helpful.
Blogging can definitely get overwhelming, especially in the early days. You listen to podcasts and you hear all these cool strategies and think that you need to try them all. Then it's hard to know what to do first and you dip doing a little bit of everything but not doing any of them well. Or at least that was my experience.
--Jeff Campbell via The Blogging Challenge Mastermind
This list is hardly comprehensive, but it’s a start for artists and musicians intimidated, overwhelmed, or frustrated by blogging challenges. Continue to research and follow successful blogs that you love.
Amanda Palmer offers a great example of how to truly connect with your audience. She famously set Kickstarter records for crowd-funding her music. Learn more in her Ted Talk: The Power of Asking.
My music career has been spent trying to encounter people…on the internet the way I could on the box. So blogging and tweeting not just about my tour dates and my new video, but about our work and our art and our fears, our hangovers, our mistakes. And we see each other.
--Amanda Palmer, Ted Talk, The Art of Asking
Like many of you, our blog is still growing and we’d love to hear about tricks you have in your blogging toolbelt. Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!
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Sherry Wynn is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where she received her Master's of Arts degree in Communications. She will soon retire from the United States Air Force and is a regular contributor to the Digital Millennial. Visit her on LinkedIn to connect!