Is it time to start a blog?

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Social media has become the center of the universe for most musicians when it comes to music promotion.

To establish a presence online, it helps to consistently deliver high-quality content in an effort to build a base of legitimate, long-term fans and keep them entertained and excited about what you're doing. While social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook typically play prominent roles in any music marketing strategy, publishing a musician blog is often is overlooked. Publishing and maintaining a blog offers unique opportunities for your promotional efforts.

A blog lets you create conversations with existing and potential fans

A blog gives you the forum to discuss things you are passionate about. It can revolve around your influences and your music, or you can explore other things that are important to you, like the exotic cooking you do, political commentary, tour and recording updates, album reviews, etc. A blog offers an opportunity to connect with fans and people who could be fans on a more personal level. Connect the content of your blog back to your creative endeavors, and this can develop a narrative that expands your musical persona.

The conversation continues through the comments section, where readers can offer their own experiences and insights and advance the discussion with you and other fans. This is community building at its best.

A blog establishes your voice

A blog affords a platform for you to flesh out ideas and hone your voice as a writer and artist. Finding your voice is a critical step in creating a presence within your community, be it on a local (e.g. Seattle, WA), regional (e.g. Northwest, US), national, global, or niche community.

A blog develops more opportunities for organic search traffic

Blogging helps drive traffic to your website. Every blog post is another high-quality link that is entered into the Google database. When people are searching topics relevant to your blog, your name and your website can start showing up search results the more you post about a topic.

What content should I publish?

A strong blog strategy requires you clearly define a direction. For instance, this blog publishes music career and music industry content for independent musicians; Hypebot reports music industry news and analysis; Pitchfork reviews albums for music lovers. There really is no limit to the kind of content you can publish, but there are three major categories you could consider for your musician blog.

1. News. Whether it's news about yourself, your act, or a community you belong to, these blog posts are typically short, straight to the point, and frequent.

2. Advice. If you are deeply driven by a particular passion, this is an opportunity to share lessons and your experiences through advice-driven content. These posts don’t have to be lengthy, but you want to make sure your advice is well thought-out and clearly articulated.

3. Analysis. This type of content requires a deep understanding of a topic and the confidence to accurately analyze issues in a way that is engaging and insightful. If you can adeptly offer up analysis, this content is one of the best opportunities to define your voice and can even help to develop you as a thought-leader within a community.

How often should you be post?

Before addressing frequency, recognize that consistency is vitally important when it comes to a blog. If you begin your blog posting every day for two weeks, and then don’t post again for a month, readers will assume your blog is dead and will move on. It is always best to define how often you will publish and stick with that right from the start – even if it's once a week or twice a month. It’s also easier to increase the frequency of your posts, no matter the type of content, than it is to scale back without losing readers.

The frequency of your posts depends on two things; the type of content you publish and your availability. Your availability is the first thing to consider: if you only have two hours a week to dedicate to blogging, you probably can't be a news source for your niche. Establish how much time you have available, pick your style of content, and then determine the number of posts to publish per week.

News needs to be up-to-date to remain relevant, which means you have to post as often as necessary to cover breaking developments. This means you could be posting several times per week. If you have the time and inclination, this is a great way to deliver consistently relevant content to your readers.

Advice and analysis are not as dependent on a specific time frame, so you can probably define this frequency yourself. That said, I'd advise any blog be updated at least twice a month. More than that is recommended – especially if the content is good – but you certainly wouldn’t want to publish less than this.

Make the most of your posts

When it comes time to blog, there are simple things you can do to optimize your efforts to ensure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to interact, build your community, and convert fans to customers with every post.

Analytics. As with any marketing tool, you can only know how effective you are if you analyze the data. By setting yourself up with an analytics engine, such as Google Analytics, you can dig into every blog post to determine which posts best connect with your audience and what content seems to resonate with your readers.

Photo or video. Studies show that visual media of some kind – a high-quality photo or embedded video – can help attract more attention to your blog posts.

Commenting. Sometimes your content will spark a conversation, other times you may need to ask readers to share comments and insights to get the commentary flowing. Of course, if you want people to comment, you need to make it possible for them to do so. Most blogs come with commenting built in, but you still may want to use something a bit more powerful, such as Disqus or IntenseDebate, which are far more integrated with social sharing.

Social sharing. Speaking of social sharing, use a plug-in to ensure every blog post you create has the standard social buttons, including the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and StumbleUpon buttons. There are dozens of options here, so choose the buttons that best reflect where you and your fans spend time online.

Jon Ostrow is Director of Sales at Bandsintown. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ostrow.