Blogging for musicians 2008: search access, revenue, and engaging your audience

by Matt @ Kurb on May 1, 2008

Kurb is a media promotions company providing a regular blog on digital music promotion, marketing digital content and creating revenue from new media online.

Kurb also provides online promotion and revenue management services for musicians and artists internationally CD / DVD printing and duplication and poster services.Our physical media services come with free graphic set up and support, free delivery, and free promotions advice and support for musicians. 

A lot of my readers and clients are tuning into what I’ve been saying about blogging – except I know I can get a bit rabid at times at run away with myself so I thought it was important to do a solid post outlining some more basic concepts here for musicians to think about approaching their blogs:

– what blogging represents for musicians in 2008

– benefits of your blog as it develops: from google juice, to revenue, to engaging your audience

– what to post about and good blog karma

– what about blogging on myspace / facebook?

After this weekend I have no doubt musicians can make money blogging! But that is just ONE part of the opportunities blogging represents for artists.

So as I’ve described, in the last 3 years Myspace normalized a lot of behaviour, especially amongst younger people, that was previously perhaps considered geeky or isolated to techies such as actively socializing, bookmarking, blogging and discovering music online.

But users are leaving myspace and they’ve matured in their social behaviour online. Artists are also maturing with their promotion, looking to engage audiences, build relationships and create value in new ways, and this is why the return in popularity of blogging over the last 6 months or so has resonated with artists. Lets go over the reasons:

Blogging for musicians in 2008 represents:

First it represents independence from myspace, facebook etc. in creating your own platform in which to present content, be found and interact with fans, and control the way revenue is created from those interactions.

These other points I think will have value if I make them chronologically in order of development.:

STAGE 1: SEARCH ACCESS AND GOOGLE GOODNESS (SEO)

When I first set up a blog for an artist I am aware only a handful of people will read it in the first few months but you just gotta get in there and get those 50 first posts out. 300 words. You’re creating text content that represents accumulative search authority.

Most fortunately, I have managed to maintain my wordpress blog’s page rank at a respectable 4 out of a possible 10. And the value of having a page that is highly ranked for authority – I PASS ON that authority to every site I link to through my blog. That’s why I regularly link back to my site and to my clients sites, to pass on the google goodies I’ve earned.

If you use the term “downbeat/chill out artist from Auckland New Zealand” A LOT in your blog . . . then your blog is going start ranking for those searches.

That’s why you find a lot of blogs like mine full of dumb SEO sentences like:

”If you’re interested in cd or dvd duplication and printing in Auckland New Zealand you should see budget cd and dvd duplication specialists kurb promotions in Auckland New Zealand for all your cd and dvd duplication and printing needs in Auckland, New Zealand.”

Google really likes blogs, (they own one of the biggest blogging platforms, blogger, where I’ve been making my $US1 a day or so with adsense.) because:

1: they’re tidy and organised as a platform which is part of bigger network of platforms. No dead links and the navigation of links is already set up to accommodate users as well as Googles “search spiders” which run around on your blog trying to work out if you’re any good.

2: They’re updated regularly. Google definitely ranks older more established sites higher BUT also likes fresh content – not crusty old sites that haven’t been updated with new information, so making a weekly posting on your blog is a bare minimum.

3: All those words. Googles spiders read they don’t see. The only thing theyre interested in is the text on your site. Though video and audio present other exciting new opportunities online, when it comes to google and search optimization its about words!!!!

STAGE 2: GROWTH AND REVENUE:

After around your first 6 months or 50 posts, Google and the rest of the internet is going to start taking you a bit more seriously and it will be time for you to start taking your blog a little more seriously.

I’ve done 88 posts in almost 8 months.

You’ll be moving to the point where I’m at, where having 100 or more visitors to my WordPress blog in a day isn’t surprising and I’m actually earning a few dollars a week from my Blogger blog through the easy instalment of Google’s adsense program.

By this stage you’ll recognise the need to be active constantly on your blog posting every few days to keep the momentum building. But just like anything that grows you’ll face new problems.

Recently I’ve had to accept my blog is getting too big for simply copying and pasting articles to my blog. Google loves content but can be very dubious about “duplicate content” so although other bloggers love it when you link back to them, when you copy and paste a whole article without any commentary or point of difference at all, it can make some bloggers a little disgruntled.

That means posting lame spider friendly SEO articles is probably out to, because your readers are not going to get value and thats the most important thing.

STAGE 3: RELATIONSHIPS AND ENGAGING YOUR AUDIENCEA lot of people say the best reason to start a blog is simply for visibitlity and networking but the final point of value to be found in blogging usually comes a couple of years in – building that relationship with your fans that they have access to you and you remain continuously visible to them, maintaining your engagement.

 

I firmly believe a well kept blog should prevent you from ever having to spend hours a day corresponding by email to your fans, which I don’t think serious artists have time for, unfortunately. The commitment to bloggin creates the compelling depth you need to develop your true fanbase, especially as you develop what they call your “voice”. The character of your writing in your blogs.

Your blog allows you to keep your fans engaged without having to actively maintain relationships, and as you go further down the path of ad supported and fan supported revenue ideas . . . when you have the attention of a trusting and loyal audience (an audience that you probably engaged when you offered them a free mp3 they enjoyed or they “stole”) making money in the 21st century is not going to be a great leap, trust me.

Again, look at the way I use my blog for a few cues. My blog is active and out there, and a major part of my marketing as well as communication and branding strategy. The message there is inviting – come to my blog, get this free, valuable information, learn about the work I do, BUT the emphasis is always lurking there on the desired outcome: come to my site where you can think more seriously about giving me your money.

MUAHAHAHAHA

Am I running round the street screaming “I’ll make you famous on mysapce and youtube for $50 a week!!!!”

Should you be running around screaming “Buy! Buy! Buy my album!!! It’s NEW!!!! Buy it! You have to! I don’t care who you are, I’m a musician and this is my new album and it’s new!!! Buy it!!!”

that’s not going to work is it? Slowly building a relationship and maintaining a relationship with fans is how you’re going to eventually quit your day job.

SO WHAT DO I BLOG ABOUT? BLOGGING KARMA . . .

Here’s the point of difference between me and you. I blog about a very specific and topical developments in a popular industry niche.

You blog about your music, your self and the things that are important to you that represent your music, and I can see theres a challenge there in keeping the content coming.

But if you’re not obsessed about creating art through your music or other mediums you may as well not be here. If you are obsessed, share it!!!

I’ve never been able to release my own solo project album of recordings because I was so deeply obsessive about it! How many songs? Which songs? A mixture of songs or just the upbeat ones or just the downbeat ones? What about the album art? WHat about the name???

Share your obsessions!!! Share that passion for what youre doing – let peole know! whatever problems you’re facing, other musicians and artists are facing them too, and as an artist, talking about problems and solutions and reflecting on them for the benefit of others is ultimately what youre about!

Got other interests, political or religious views that are part of who you are as an artist? Interested in other artistic or technical endeavours? Don’t take the safe, palid, non offensive route! Fans are engaged by artists who are not afraid to speak their minds and become three dimensional characters, with personal brands that represent clearly defined ideals.

Now building Blog karma is a great way to start out if youre stuck for posts. Don’t feel interesting? then blog about something related that is!
Remember you want to blog about things relevant to your artistic image to build the keyword and search optimisation of your content. If you’re a rock band from Melbourne . . . blog about other rock bands from Melbourne!!! Eventually theyre going to find out you blogged about them and they’ll feel special, strengthening your network.

Look it happened to me just yesterday

http://www.nerdyframes.org/2008/04/dj-romantech.html

Your fans and readers will get increased value out of finding out about new underground artists and you could become an authoritive source! Sure, you want to get in the media, but whats better than being in the media? BEING the media!!!!

Next year, I want to be working with artist who have built loyal readership fanbases on their blog and are able to partner with high quality product and service providers that equate to killer affiliate earning opportunities!!!

WHAT ABOUT BLOGGING ON MYSPACE AND FACEBOOK????

Well lets just get facebook and reverbnation and squidoo a couple of other important sites out of the way because web 2.0 means its relatively easy just to hook your RSS feed from your wordpress or blogger blog up to display on your facebook or reverbnation whenever you post.

For my clients I will be developing more concise content management techniques based on RSS feeds – as it is I will be cutting and pasting this to 8 different blogs/myspaces and that’ll take me half an hour alone, not to mention the forums.

But this is a good question asked by a couple of my clients to highlight some elements of what blogging is all about.

From a search perspective, it does add value to search engine optimization but not that much. You should already have quality links back to your site from your myspace profile page giving you “google juice” or search authority from myspace, and having such links from other authoritive sites such as top blog sites (wordpress, blogger) increases that authority.

My experience with wordpress though sometimes frustrating to use because they don’t make it easy for you to just throw in videos, ad platforms etc. like the Google owned Blogger, is that wordpress has created a lot of authority and random traffic for me, and that is why I recommend it. I get more traffic to my blog than to my site these days.

While you can publish your pieces on a myspace blog, the features are a lot more limited. Most popular blogging platforms offer built in navigation that also improves search authority by immediately linking all the content in the blog. The myspace blog is really just a satellite attached to your profile

And it will be a very cold day in hell before myspace writes any checks for an artists share of the advertising revenue they create from the artists content on myspace.

HOWEVER – it is not yet determined how much traffic myspace blogs bring in from within myspace through searches etc.

BUT in terms of building relationship and engaing your audience ALONE, you should be getting into the habit of addressing your fanbase regularly.

You’re not one of those artist who just users a friend adder and a plays increaser to look good are you? Or are you actually interested in building relationships with your fanbase?

To me the most important reason to just do a simple cut and paste to your myspace blog AND your myspace bulletin, is that you’re still using myspace to create the opportunity to have someone on your friends list come closer to being a true fan by moving the interaction forward.

You don’t just become another band on somebodies friends list, another 2-dimensional somebody just using the internet to get their 15 minutes.

OKAY LETS FINISH UP!!!

MUSICIANS BLOGGING CHECKLIST

Tags – don’t forget your tags! Both internal search and google loves them so using keyword “tags” on blogging platforms such as wordpress and blogger is fundamental to getting that initial traffic going.

Links – Link back to your site, your myspace, any other blog that talks about you, anything thats interesting or relevant to your readers! – the link button in the writing panel makes it easy, but I also suggest creating a signature which you cut and paste into every blog like I have below – which could be your “link family” linking back to your site, your cd baby, your youtube, myspace etc.

Search and Comment on other blogs – comment on other relevant blogs – make sure you contribute something to the discussion, just DON’T forget to fill in your website

Post Titles – use title that engage users and searchers. if I called this post “about blogging and stuff” do you think that will target my desired audience or pull in curious traffic?

 

 

Kurb is a media promotions company providing a regular blog on digital music promotion, marketing digital content and creating revenue from new media online.

Kurb also provides online promotion and revenue management services for musicians and artists internationally CD / DVD printing and duplication and poster services.Our physical media services come with free graphic set up and support, free delivery, and free promotions advice and support for musicians. 

NZ MUSIC MONTH SPECIAL FOR NZers – 3 MONTHS BARE BASICS DIGITAL SERVICES NZ$400 

kurbpromo@gmail.com

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

kanarek 05.01.08 at 10:59 am

Thanks for that info. Good advice & Very informative.

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