As a musician, you're no doubt already aware that getting reviews and mentions by music bloggers can do a lot to raise your profile, and likewise, you're surely aware of how online social networking communities like MySpace and Twitter can help you promote new projects and connect with fans without a big budget. But what about combining the two? Instead of waiting for the music journalists to write about you, why not put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) yourself? Find out how you can use blogs as an extra avenue of music promotion.
Start Your Blog:
Well, before you can get down to the nitty gritty, you're going to need to set up your blog. There are plenty of free net based blogging programs that allow easy publishing - WordPress is a popular example. Check out the options and pick the publishing platform that seems the most straightforward to you.
You'll need to give your blog a name - using your name/band name as the title for your blog makes it easier for people to find you. You can get creative with the title, but you'll have to work that much harder to promote it.
Start Writing, and Write Often:
Maybe another fairly obvious step, but half the battle with blogging is simply writing and sticking to it. The more often you update your blog, the more people will come back to it time again. Keep your tone conversational - it will make your fans feel like you're sharing things directly with them.
If you're in a band, discuss whose job it will be to keep the blog updated. Everyone may want to take part at first, but when the honeymoon is over and writing a new blog is just one more thing to do, either assign the task to one person or come up with a schedule taking turns making posts.
Put Your Blog to Work:
Your blog gives you a chance to connect directly with your fans even more than your MySpace page, so use it. Of course, your blog is a place to make announcements about releases, tours and more, it will be much more successful if you go beyond that. Blog about your experiences on the road, in the studio - the daily "business" of the band.
Running promotions on your blog can also help. Give away a copy of a new release, run a contest for a fan to appear in a video - there are tons of ideas, and every promo like this you run will earn some more attention to your blog - and therefore, your music.
Promote Your Blog:
Sure, your music blog is for promotion, but for you to get promotional value out of it you're going to have to, well, promote it. This is where your MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking pages can come into play. Announce your new blog wherever you can, and make sure to reference it whenever you can in these forums. You may consider running your blog intros on your social networking pages and then including a link back to blog to get people to click through.
Again, half the battle (at least) for your blog is just to keep updating it and giving people a reason to keep reading. Don't be afraid to stray from talking about your music to blog about other things. In fact, mixing things up a little bit will make your blog more effective, because your fans will feel more like they are having a personal connection with you. If you've been talking to them about what you're reading, your thoughts on a news story, and so on - plus responding to their comments on your posts - then they'll be much more receptive when you say, "by the way, buy our new album."
Use Your Music Blog to Gain More Press Attention:
If you build a popular blog, use it to drum up some press interest in your music in other media outlets. One easy way to leverage this is to come up with some kind of contest to run on your blog and then to send out a press release to let the media know what you're doing. Of course you'll want to send your release to the music media, but also include some outlets that cover digital news - they often like to pick up stories about people who successfully use the internet to promote a project.
Be Careful Who You Bad Mouth:
From the perspective of a music journalist, blogs offer plenty of room for being opinionated - blogs are often all about sparking discussion. But remember that first and foremost, YOUR blog is for promo purposes. Bad mouthing people can backfire on you big time, especially if you're just trying to establish yourself. Calling out a label because they didn't like your demo? Not so cool, and a major red flag to other labels/manager/promoters/agents checking you out. Likewise for business deals gone wrong - stay professional and keep business personal.
Reach Out to Other Bloggers:
Swapping links with other bloggers (especially music bloggers) is what keeps the blogging community going - everyone wins. Read other blogs, link to them when you can, and then let the bloggers know you've linked to them. You'd be surprised how much building this kind of goodwill can help you promote your own blog.