11 Sep 2019

How To: Start a Music Blog

Hear ye, hear ye! You want to write a music blog?

Everyone’s seen town criers in the movies. It was their job to go from town to town shouting headlines to anyone around to hear them. Then came the printing press; for those who could read there was now an easier way to learn about current events, the newspaper. But print media is dying. The advent of the internet, and then smartphones, means that everyone has access to all the news they want on the little computer they keep in their pocket.

But what has been a death knell for printed newspapers has been a godsend for amateur writers. It’s now possible to bypass the middleman and post your writing online yourself – blogging! Almost half the world, 3.2 billion people, has access to the internet, that’s a potential readership that dwarves anything newspapers were ever capable of.

How to write a blog

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Just because you want to blog, it doesn’t mean that you’re ready. The easiest way to turn off readers is to deliver them something that’s poorly put together. That’s not to say everything you write needs to be a pulitzer contender, instead, you should work to make sure that your writing is clear and has personality. The best thing you can do is to read through top music blog sites and see what it is they all have in common, check out blogs like Pitchfork or Hypebot for inspiration.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also key when writing blogs. SEO is all about using certain keywords and skills, like meta-data and backlinking, to make sure that your blog comes up near the top of search engine results. Use keyword research tools and read up on SEO best practices before you post anything.

You should also make sure that you’re blogging consistently. If you’ve already built a following around something else and want to blog on the side, then putting one out there whenever you feel like it isn’t such an issue. But if you want to build your music blog up, you have to be blogging regularly. This might be daily or weekly, but ensure you keep to the schedule.

What do you want to write?

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If you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve decided to write a music blog, which is a great start. But music is a many faceted beast, are you giving the world your opinion on Hip Hop? Do you have an ‘in’ somewhere in the industry that only you know how to exploit. Maybe you’ll be using your blog to promote your own music. As with posting, you need to make sure that the subjects you’re blogging about are consistent. If your readers have been visiting your blog to learn about folk music, a review of the latest obscure dubstep mix might make sure they never come back again.

You also need to decide who you’re writing for, as your audience will dictate some of the language and the style of your blog. Make sure you use appropriate language and if you’re using acronyms, you’ve explained what each letter means. There’s no point writing about how updates to PRS policy might affect bands if your readers haven’t heard of the Performing Rights Society before.

Where to blog

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Once you’ve polished your writing skills up sufficiently and decided what it is you want to write about, next comes putting it on the internet. Fortunately, the web is full of places to host your blog.

With over 60 million users, including over a third of the world’s top 10 million sites, WordPress is by far the world’s most popular online content management system. It offers users various levels of paying membership, but also has a highly popular free option, and is well known for its customisation and how easy it is to set up.

Alternatively, try out Medium, a site dedicated to hosting blogs. You can join for free, but won’t be able to post, however the paying option can return excellent dividends. Medium links to your Twitter and Facebook contacts that use it, but the site also promotes popular blogs, which could extend your readership into the thousands. Medium also offers the opportunity to monetise your blog. Don’t expect to quit the day job right away, but it’s a great way to get started.

These are the two of the most popular sites, but there are hundreds available. Their prices and options vary greatly, but there’s one out there for everyone.

Promoting your Blog

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The final step is making sure that people actually read your blog! Again, SEO is important. Appearing high up in search engine rankings is the key to increasing your readership, but you should also get going on promoting your blog yourself. Firstly, shameless self-promotion should be just that, shameless. If you’ve just written a post and you want people to read it, post it on your social media, ask your friends to share it and make sure your account’s bio always has a link to your blog. Remember, networking is the best way to get yourself known – put yourself out there!

Guest posting is also an excellent way to get yourself known. This is when you pitch an idea to a blog site and write it yourself. Sometimes you get paid, but you generally get the opportunity to put your details on it somewhere. This means that readers will reach your own music blog more easily. Finding opportunities for music blog submissions isn’t hard! Just check through some of the more established blogs, they’re always looking for new contributors.

No one’s blog is popular from the get-go, everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be disheartened if you’re not getting thousands of readers from your first post. Perseverance is essential to writing a popular blog and most of all, practice makes perfect!

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