In general, driving traffic to a music blog is no different than generating traffic for any other site. You need to identify your audience, build credibility with them, and figure out your marketing.
However, this question also implies that there are some unique challenges associated with building a music related blog, and I would be inclined to agree.
After all, there are plenty of sites about music out there already. So what is your angle? How are you going to get people to come to you when there are tons of alternatives out there?
Here are several steps you can take to increase the traffic to your music blog.
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Step 1 – Look for Ways to Stand Out
Have you done your research? Have you actually taken the time to look at the kind of sites that are out there? Are you sure there isn’t someone already doing what you are doing?
Competition isn’t always a bad thing, and it may validate your market or idea, but you still have to take the time to see what’s out there to determine if your pursuit is worthwhile. The only way to find an opening in the market is to learn about what others are doing, and more importantly, what they aren’t doing. You can become the person that’s doing what they aren’t, and that will set you apart.
You have to differentiate yourself. This can be done with the copy you use, the design of your site, the topics you cover, your long-term persistence, and so on. You can try to jump on a trend, but you have to keep in mind that it may not have long-term viability. If someone is already covering that trend, it may not bring you the same results that it has for them.
If you keep producing what no one wants, how do you expect your blog to increase in popularity?
Think about how you can make a unique contribution to the music industry, and see if there’s a demand for it. If there is, your chances of increasing traffic to your music blog will go up significantly. If you keep producing what no one wants, how do you expect your blog to increase in popularity?
And when I say see if there’s a demand for it, I mean make cold calls, run surveys, ask questions on forums, and interview people. Don’t jump to conclusions without some grasp of reality. Keep asking people what they want.
Step 2 – Create a Content Schedule
If you’re serious about attracting more readers to your site, you need to put significant effort towards publishing new content as often as possible. There is a healthy balance you need to strike between quality and quantity, but also remember that quantity could potentially open up more opportunities early on.
Once reader expectations are in place, you’ll want to spend more time thinking about how you can best serve them. Until then, it’s your job to experiment, optimize, and try a variety of different things to see what connects. Shorter posts, longer posts, personal tone, professional tone, satires, critiques, reviews… there are always different ideas to test out.
Your content schedule should include the topics you intend to write about, headline ideas, any notes you may have, as well as how often you will be posting. Once you’re sufficiently organized, make sure to stick to your schedule. A blog is built on content, so if content is you asset, you need to keep building that asset over time.
A simple way to build your content schedule is by creating a spreadsheet in Google Drive.
Step 3 – Build Connections
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. If you take the time to think about the jobs you’ve worked at in the past, you probably got those jobs because of the people you knew. There are times when a good cover letter, a resume and old-fashioned persistence can get you a job too, but a lot of the time good references and personal recommendations go a lot further.
That being the case, we still have a tendency to forget how important personal connections are. The people we know and trust are better candidates to refer us or give us opportunities than strangers on the internet. It’s pretty easy to forget that as a blogger.In the short term, it’s hard to see how a relationship will lead to more opportunities for your blog. In the long run, it becomes pretty clear. The people you know will become your clients, followers, readers or advocates. If they know you and like what you’re doing, they’re going to share it with their friends. Perhaps they’ll be guests on your blog. Maybe they will add credibility to it by recommending it to their friends.
Never underestimate the power of relationship, both online and off. Keep making friends everywhere you go, and watch your blog grow.
Step 4 – Invest in Print Materials
Never underestimate the power of relationship, both online and off.
Just because your blog is online does not mean that all of your marketing efforts have to be online too. There are a lot of great ways to promote your work in the offline world, and your willingness to venture out and put money into your blog will be a pretty good barometer for how much belief you have in your project.
In other words, if you’re resistant to the idea of spending money on your blog, you may not be sold on the idea yourself. Maybe you don’t know how it’s going to work. Maybe you just don’t have enough confidence in yourself or your project.
You have to take an honest look at what you’re doing and identify the value in it. Taking risks isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but over time you begin to recognize how necessary they are. Let me assure you; things don’t always work out just because you take chances. However, if it does work out, the reward will also be greater.
Make envelopes, letterheads, business cards, pamphlets, and so on. You don’t have to do everything at once, but you can continue to expand your repository over time. Print materials make you look like a pro, and people will begin treating you that way too.
Build relationships with printers in your area. Find one that is dependable, and over time, as they get to know you, they may offer you discounts or promote your blog for you too!
Step 5 – Build Your Email List
At the risk of sounding like I’m giving canned advice, I cannot overstate the importance of building your email list over time. Social media is great, and I do think you should use it to distribute and promote your content, but at the end of the day, your “likes” or followers don’t count as much as email subscribers do.
With email, you have a more direct way of getting in touch with the people that follow you. When you have a new product or service, you have a community to promote it to. When you’re running a new campaign, giveaway or contest, you can tell them about it. And yes, you can even send them to your social media profiles to get them to “like” or follow you.
Your social media posts will never reach a higher percentage of people than your emails will. Email open rates aren’t necessarily great (20 – 30% is considered good), but the added benefit is that people don’t have to open your email to have noticed it. Maybe they see it in their inbox and then go to your website. Maybe the email puts you and/or your project back into their consciousness and they start following you again.
Whatever the case, you should start looking for creative ways to expand your email list. Offer a free giveaway, or create some kind of incentive for joining. Offer genuine value upfront, and continue to deliver value through your newsletter.
Step 6 – Leverage the Strengths of Others
There are plenty of experts in the music industry that you can reach out to at any time. You can ask for their help, interview them, or link out to them and comment on their blogs to get their attention. The main thing is to give them some kind of value first, which will then be returned to you.
You could write posts that features the advice of many experts. You could put together roundup posts or expert spotlights. You could take some time to understand what challenges they’re facing right now and come up with creative solutions for them. Naturally, this requires a lot of thought, but anything worth doing takes effort, right?
Additionally, you may have friends that are good at marketing, or writing or social media. The point is to avoid taking it all on yourself. There are people you know, and there are people you could get to know that could help you with your efforts.
Being a one man or one woman show limits your capacity and ability to reach out, create great content, distribute and market your posts, and so on. Don’t just assume that no one will help you pro bono. Involve others, and let them handle what you aren’t good at. Some people would love to be doing the tasks you don’t like doing! A lot of people feel under-utilized in their day-to-day lives.
Step 7 – Contribute Content to Other Sites
Arguably, you should be spending more time guest posting on other sites than creating content for your own site early on. This may seem backwards, but your goal initially is to get in front of more people, and the best way to do that is to go where there are already larger communities.
In a sense, I believe that guest posting actually makes you a better writer, because you instinctively try harder to make something great. If you write a post that people aren’t going to be interested in, your time and energy will have been wasted. On the other hand, if the readers love your content, they’re going to share it, comment on it, and they may even go to your website to find more.
The main thing is to look for sites that are within your niche, or ones that have a community that’s going to be interested in your content. You can always tailor your content efforts to the site you are posting at, and that could have some benefit too, but it won’t have the same impact as hitting it out of the park with an audience that is already engaged in the topic you are discussing.
Take some time to research the sites that are out there. Don’t shoot for the big ones right away; work your way up. Look for sites that are accepting guest submissions, and look at the type of content that’s already on their site. Look for posts that were particularly popular, and see if you can write on a similar topic or put your own unique spin on it.
Marketing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of building any project, but it is necessary.
There are many other ways to increase the traffic to your music blog, but I hope this article has sparked additional ideas for you. Make idea generation a regular part of your day, and you will soon find that you are making more connections within your mind.
Marketing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of building any project, but it is necessary. There is simply no way around it. The key thing is to remain consistent even when it doesn’t make sense to do so.
A lot of people quit blogging after six months to a year. If you want to beat the odds, then go the extra mile. It will not guarantee success, and in time you may find that you will need to adapt or even switch, but the tenacity and persistence that you gain through your experiences will prove vital to your future success.