Blogging Sucks

Blogging Sucks
BY: COREY DENIS

Some artists are just good at Social Media, and some artists even love interacting with other people. In my lectures & panels around the world I have always told musicians Twitter is a medium which works best for an artist who enjoys going to the merch table at the end of a show, shaking hands (a bottle of anti-bac in pocket) and signing vinyl, possibly even breasts. But for creative introverts, Social Media is a dish best served cold.

For those who don’t reside in the digital media bubble, blogging is still an abstract verb looming over the undercurrent of social media nuisances interrupting the daily routine of an otherwise productive artist.

At least that’s what she said.

She also says adding a blog to your website is more than just a great way to get attention for yourself, it’s a useful method of increasing the discovery of your music by way of search engine optimization.

She’s right, but there’s an even better reason for a musician to blog:

Art.

Your music is art, and so is your blog. Blogging only sucks if you want to limit your art to one medium. But for musicians who want to add depth to their output, creating and maintaining a blog is more than just a tool for discovery, it’s the opportunity to create layers. The default benefit is Search Optimization, which makes it easier for others to discover your music. Search Engine Optimization is the result of frequent blog posts which receive attention and generally utilize 5 basic fundamental concepts:

1. Strategy

Create a 3 month blogging strategy in advance and treat it like an art installation in the museum of You. You are more than welcome to blog at spur of the moment times, but your blog is also a form of media, your creative space open for curation. A blog is your multimedia opportunity to connect various forms of art in one spot. One single blog post can have one or more of these components: Music, Photos, Video, Written Text, News and Hyperlinks. Plan on posting at least one blog post per week. Decide which form of media will be part of your post. Will there be video? A photo? What other forms of media are you posting to social networks such as instagram, Twitter, flickr and YouTube? How are your videos or photos tied in with the music you are creating, or your album release date? You can embed a YouTube video, a Tweet or even a live update of tweets with one particular hashtag. Blogging isn’t just for text, it’s the best syndicated medium for expanding your art and creating a digital experience, none of which is possible without strategy. Like the music you write, your blog is a place where you can express yourself with layers of sound, visuals and words. Make a plan based on all of these possibilities.

2. Syndication & Search Optimization

In the same way the Associated Press wire is syndicated to news outlets around the world, your blog is syndicated to outlets across the internet built to absorb and share media. The blog you create must reside on your website and utilize RSS (Really Simple Syndication). To optimize attention for your blog you can do something old timers sometimes call Link Baiting. If you are writing about another person, place or thing in your blog, create a hyperlink for at least one of those items. Most companies are regularly searching for blogs who are linking to their own product. For example, I am “baiting” Battlestar Galactica in the next sentence. By doing this, I am loosely connecting my blog to Battlestar Galactica and possibly getting their attention at the same time. Search engines (such as Google, Bing) create proprietary algorithms which take advantage of connections between websites & blogs to optimize search and discovery. Take advantage of new technology by linking to at least one other site or form of media (music, video, photo) in every blog post – but don’t overdo it. Not every allusion requires a hyperlink. Pick and choose the hyperlinks you want to use, and insert them. I usually tell clients to include at least one per post, no more than five. If your blogging platform allows for tags, use them. Only add appropriate tags to your posts. Lastly, the “slug” on your blog is the url created when you publish your blog post. Title your blog posts appropriately so that the slug includes a few words relevant to the topic of your post.

3. Easter Eggs

When deciding on your strategy, think about ways to hide information in your blog which can only be found in your blog. Your fans are interested in your art. Easter Eggs have nothing to do with Jesus. Online, Easter Eggs are equivalent to “hidden tracks” on CDs, a nugget of awesome that a fan can only find through word of mouth.Learn more about Easter Eggs, and incorporate them into your blog strategy. When you use Easter Eggs, you are adding layers to your art.

4. Don’t Stop Believing

…or blogging! If one person reads your blog on a regular basis, that one person is a valuable fan. If you are a better creator when you don’t think about who is reading or partaking in your art, apply that same mindset to your blog. Blogging at least once a week can create some of the same feelings that writing a song a week will produce, but as with all forms of art, this will becme easier with practice. Once a week. do it. Plan it in advance if you have a strategy, and do not stop! If current events inspire you to post unplanned posts, do it! Every time you post a new blog post, your discoverability in search engines (Google, Bing) increases. The longer your blog remains dormant, the lower your search ranking. The bigger picture for an artist is different than a journalist. A journalist uses a blog to publish and syndicate articles, opinions and news. A musician can use a blog to post creative media that ties in with their music or album. Keep posting, and the ideas will flow. Apply the same principles to your blog that you apply to all other creative output.

5. Art and Authenticity

Take each blog post seriously. Check for spelling errors. Make sure the links work. Only tell your own stories, don’t steal, post what you believe and find ways to utilize your amazing talent for writing music and song so that your art transcends the digital media space. By doing this, you will propel your music and expand your canvas into the digital space, the same space where music sales are no longer limited to barely-existent physical shelves in record stores that closed 3 years ago. Digital mediums work together, turning your website into a museum rather than a space in permanent stasis between albums.

——

Corey Denis has been working in digital music marketing for 15 years, building campaigns for MNDR, Michael Tilson Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Melissa Ferrick, Cat Power, Kate Bush, Frank Black & The Catholics, Stephen Lynch, Halou, Maceo Parker, Figurine, The Black Angels, The Samples, LLoyd Cole, Luce and many others. In addition to co-founding the SF Podcast Meetup back in 2005, she is the founder of San Francisco’s first Musician & Promoter’s workshop. Corey has spoken on social media panels & done numerous presentations designed for musicians & promoters at Stanford University, SxSW, CMJ, SF Music Tech, Canadian Music Week, Fringe Australia, Grammy Music Business Night School, New Music Seminar and a whole lot more. She has also consulted SoundExchange, Ning, Rdio, Cyber PR, OneRiot, was one of the first ten people at digital distribution pioneering company IODA, is the owner of Not Shocking, recently created the Ticket Stub Project, and hates talking about herself in the third person. I’ve got one patent, two cats and ten iPods. Thanks for reading.

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