A few months back I wrote about 3 tips for a successful blog campaign (click for a refresher). But why is it important to connect with bloggers about your music? It’s important for many reasons. The music industry has changed dramatically in the last 5 years and music blogs play an important role in helping artists gain exposure in the vast digital landscape. Bloggers are music lovers (just like you) whose passion it is to write about the music they love. They are connected to a vast audience of other music lovers who just might be your potential fans! Many bloggers also work in the music industry, at labels, publishing companies, management or booking agencies, or they might even have bands themselves. I decided it was time to add some more tips for you about putting together a successful blog campaign.
4. Get your story straight
What IS your story, exactly? We all have a story and naturally, no two are alike. It’s important for you as an artist to get your story straight when approaching a blog to pitch your music. Have you ever asked someone ‘so, what’s your story?’ only to get a blank stare and awkward silence? What if you heard that your favorite artist was an astronaut who traveled to the moon and back before writing their first record? Now that’s fascinating and it may even inspire more of your interest in their work.
You don’t need to become an astronaut to have an interesting story. All it takes is some creative thinking, so get out your pen, paper, or typewriter and start writing it. Your story will put your work into a context that will give the blogger, your fans, and music industry professionals more of a connection to you. More often than not if someone likes your music they’ll want to learn more about you. Perhaps you’d rather make one up or reinvent your story to match your music or something you’re trying to achieve artistically!? Maybe you want to be more mysterious and only offer little bits of information to leave people wanting more!? Either way, it’s time to get your story straight and be ready to share it when asked.
5. It’s all about the brand
Speaking of your story, what about your brand? ‘Gosh, I’ve never thought of that... do I have a brand?’ you might ask. The answer is a resounding YES! If your brand is something you haven’t considered before, however, it’s wise to think about it before you approach bloggers with your music.
Your brand is the overall feeling and vibe (visually, sonically, and artistically, etc.) that you put out into the world that makes you instantly recognizable and distinguishes you from another artist. Your brand might be derived from your story and we recommend you ensure your brand appropriately fits with the music. Do you need help with branding yourself and your music? Ask an artist friend to help you come up with a logo or a font that looks visually appealing. Find a great photographer and stylist that can take your press photos. Get inspired by other bands you like who’s branding perfectly fits their music. Here are some big names with instantly recognizable brands; Radiohead, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC… they ALL have a brand and I bet you can visualize it now. Once you’ve decided on a branding direction stick with it and make it uniform across all of your mediums (website, social media, CDs, t-shirts, posters, for example). Seamlessly branding yourself and your music makes you look and feel more professional to bloggers and fans alike and will make it easier for you to get your music heard. Most importantly, your MUSIC is the biggest part of your brand. Do your best to make your music the best it can possibly be and you’ll be well on your way. It’s all about the brand!
6. Give it away
People love FREE, especially nowadays when money can be tight, so why not start by giving something away? Share your story, your brand, and entice bloggers and fans with a free song! ‘But how am I gonna make money or recoup my recording costs or pay my band?’ you’re thinking as you scratch your head. You can and you will, as long as you do it right. And doing it right means building a fan base, that which bloggers can definitely help you do!
There are other types of currency you can get in exchange for a free song. How about a Facebook like, an email address, or a follow on Twitter? It may not mean immediate sales or hundreds of fans at your show but when you’re just starting out this can be a great way for you to build a following of people who will eventually pay to see you while you’re on tour, purchase your full-length CD (or other merchandise), and help you generate an income from your music.