This question was asked by one of our Songpreneurs members, Lita Rouser of Indiana.
For a blog, do we focus on writing about our music or can it be more general? Is a once a week frequency good? - Lita Rouser #AskAmanda #Songpreneurs
Here’s the answer from Songpreneurs founder, Amanda Colleen Williams
Blogging - this is a good topic, Lita. Thanks for the great questions.
When we first started back in 2010, the internet blogging world was just starting to heat up.
Over the years, we have studied and experimented with various methods, and have found some general guidelines that work for songwriters and creative entrepreneurs in general.
To best answer the question, let’s step back and look a the big picture to learn why we blog in the first place.
Then we can fill in the other blanks according to your unique circumstances and overall goals.
First the basics –
What is a blog?
Blog stands for “weblog” which is a generic term for writing and other content people publish online.
From your personal blog that you use as a journal to the big corporate blogs that have tons of people writing for them according to strategically mapped plans, and everything in between, blogs cover a lot of space on the world wide web – over 600 million blogs in 2021, and more than 47% of people read several blog sources before making any kind of purchase.
It's generally accepted that a blog can be either a stand alone, or part of a greater website.
The difference between a blog and other website pages is that blogs are designed to be updated regularly with content.
Blog website providers give tools for writers to publish new posts without having to build and layout a bunch of website elements that might require you to know coding.
The best blogs are simple to read or share, simple to navigate, and simple for the author to add content.
How to start a blog?
The simplest way to start a blog is to just start writing about things that interest you.
Doing that will help you decide where your main interests are, and to map out what subjects come out of that. See more about in the topic header below.
When you’re ready to put your writing up online for others to read, you have a ton of website building choices.
Over the years we have used tons of different platforms, and find that which ever one works for you is generally good. WordPress is one of the oldest and most respected places for bloggers to land, and offers a lot of growth for people who want to get fancy with their website building later.
Wix is a popular, effective website and blogging platform that gets good reviews, and in general our Songpreneurs clients use SquareSpace, GoDaddy, and BandZoogle with satisfaction and ease. Blogger is another site we have used in the past, and have done some work through Medium, Tumblr and others for a stand alone blog provider.
The key is to find out if your tribe prefers one platform over others, and then make it easy for people to find you.
Wherever you land, one of the primary reasons for blogging is to help people find you online.
The reason we first started blogging was to tell our story. That’s usually the case with creative bloggers like songwriters and other artists.
You have a love of writing. You have interesting stories and activities you want to share with others. A blog is the ideal place to put that content out into the world.
We didn’t learn about the true marketing value of blogging until a friend Jack Hayford shared info with us about his work as an early SEO expert, inspired by his success with the Durango Song Expo.
Blogging not only tells the story for readers, but it also acts as a magnet for people who are using search engines to help them research or answer questions.
If you have done a good job writing your blog, answering questions and providing insight for people, search engines will serve up your website when people are searching.
Over time, that brings people to you that might never have found you otherwise.
How does a blog bring traffic to you online?
We talk a lot about this in the Brand You workbook. Search engines aren’t all knowing. They just read really, really fast.
They have these little gizmos called “spiders, crawlers and bots” that fan out over the internet looking for new content and movement of any kind.
You can help search engines find your blog by following recommended actions on your SEO plan (part of Wix), which helps you to optimize your content and keywords to bring the most relevant traffic to you.
You can also research more using Google Analytics and even sign up for a free course tutorial that gives you a certificate of completion when you’re finished if you think you’re ready for that. I did the beginner one and will probably complete the Advanced by end of the year. It’s helpful, but not necessary for everyone who wants to blog.
Your time might be better spent writing at first, because that’s really the most important thing that people sometimes forget when hyper-focused on bringing traffic. You only have so much time as a one person army.
How does blogging bring people to my music?
This starts to get at answering Lita’s question more directly.
There are two ways blogging brings more people to your music – directly and indirectly.
If someone is searching for your music online, you can blog in a way that makes sure you come up in the top of the list.
Writing about your releases makes sure you are there when people come looking for you.
For example, if you have a new release, you can write about it in a press release type of post to make sure to get all that important info about your song up on the web.
You can use multi-media in your blog, including a photo of the release, a video of the tune, and links to listen, stream and share it.
This is the direct approach aimed at people who know you and are specifically looking for you using search engines.
The indirect approach is equally important, and your content written for the people who already know who you are will contribute to this as well.
Maybe someone is online looking for a song to help them get through the death of a beloved pet. You don’t exactly get a lot of those kinds of tunes on Top 40 radio, so they’ve turned to the internet to research.
In writing about your release, you will have included the story of why you put it out – to help people grieving the loss of a pet.
You can share your personal story of loss and detail some of your journey to healing, providing your song as part of your offering to others.
When that grieving person finds your blog post, they will have discovered you as a music artist along with your song.
And because they found you, they’re even more appreciative of your work, because they put in a little work to find you. It’s like you’re the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. Cool.
What should you write about?
The first thing to do is find the themes that run through your writing. What are you on about?
As an exercise, we try to get people to narrow it down into three main categories. For example at Songpreneurs ours are: songwriting, music business and entrepreneurship.
My artist blog on the Songlife website covers: music, education and philosophy.
Those are pretty huge topics, but they serve as a catch all to pretty much anything we’re discussing.
There are lots of cross overs in the content of blog posts that include all three categories, and that’s good, because it demonstrates an intersection of interests that help define your unique brand.
For you, the categories might be Music, Food and Travel. Those broad categories make room for a lot of activity and interesting content that encompasses your songwriting, your band The Rousers and your food truck business. Even your travel with work can find a place in the blog if you’re writing about that often.
A good way to map out your content to help you stay on track is to sit down with a piece of paper and brainstorm all the things you want to write about, and then generate 5 to 10 specific blog titles or questions you can answer in each category.
You can download and print the Content Creation Tools over on the Songpreneurs Library to help you generate ideas and titles.
The more you write like you’re talking to someone, the better people will respond to your work.
Be unique and show your personality, but don’t forget to include facts and data that will serve others and encourage them to read your content – and also to find you using search.
How often should you blog?
How much time you got? Seriously, this is a great question and depends on your goals.
One of the best ways to build your blog, even if you don’t have a ton of time to spend on it, is to set up some kind of rhythm.
Nature loves rhythm and so do search engines.
The quickest way to build a following is to blog daily. But it’s also the quickest way to lose your mind if you’re not working with enough production capacity to provide a quality experience.
Most likely, if you’ve never blogged before, you should aim at a more modest goal of publishing a weekly or even a monthly post.
Even if you’re doing the monthly thing, you can generate traffic over time, and your consistency will build confidence in you and your work – both from other people and for your self.
Is once a week blogging enough?
Surely it is, especially if you are consistent. “Enough” to build a following over the slow and steady progression of writing and providing for your audience.
“Enough” to go viral and achieve maximum growth?
Maybe eventually, but slow and steady is predicable and most certainly works as the success pathway for sustainability.
The more you blog well, the bigger your audience will grow. With blogging just like with songwriting and pitching, it’s a numbers game. The more you do, the more results you can expect.
How do people find your blog?
Aside from search traffic which builds slowly, you can drive traffic to your blog using other methods.
Organic search is the name of the process we described above that relies on people finding you on their own using search engine suggestions.
Most people use at least a few other ways of driving traffic to your blog.
How to drive traffic to your blog?
Good ole word of mouth is one of the best kick starters for new blogs. Telling friends and family at gatherings will get the ball rolling.
The first thing you want to add to your blog is an RSS feed or some way for people to subscribe to your posts, and an email newsletter opt-in.
People who subscribe to you are your best friends as a blogger, because they have told you through their actions that they want to hear from you.
This is encouraging as a writer and as a marketer. They want to hear what you have to say, and may even be willing to buy something from you one day. Pretty cool.
The most common way besides notifying your subscribers about your blog is to post a clip and link on your social feeds – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
A great deal of blog traffic is generated using socials for awareness building. Don’t expect many people to buy right away using socials, though.
It’s more for building awareness and interest over time than for making sales to strangers.
Also, it’s super important if you decide to boost a post and use any kind of advertising in general that you highly target your audience to get the best results for your expense.
Untargeted ads and boosts are awful for writers, because you’re more likely to reach haters and their mean comments can be especially hard on the sensitive artist entrepreneur trying her best to connect.
Another way besides social posting and boosting to drive traffic to your blog is through paid advertising on the search engines themselves, namely Google Ads.
Depending on your budget, you can grow an audience using paid search, but be sure you’re targeting the right customers to get a good return on investment. And also, be sure you have enough content to keep customers satisfied if you do gain their attention.
Slow and steady is the name of the game in blogging as in most things in life.
In general, blogging is a great way for songwriters and other creative people to gain an audience by using your writing talents.
By writing about what interest you, and what you know along with your music, you can connect with and provide for an audience that will love you.
Whether you write daily, weekly or monthly, posting regularly and consistently is the best and most sustainable way to blog.
Leave a comment below and let us know about your blog.
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