Thursday, 29 March 2012

How To Market And Maximize Your Music Blog In Five Simple Steps!
Blogging. What is blogging exactly?
A personal online diary documenting your every move?
A collection of all your favourite things all in one space?
Or is it simply a tool to share your knowledge and expertise in a certain field with others?

Truth is, it is all of the above and more. A blog can be written about anything , and I mean ANYTHING. Take this blog, Change Is Good.
This is a blog written by a guy in America, who documents every time he finds some change.
Now, I don't know about you, but reading statistics about how much money this man has accrued over the years from picking up loose change, ($815.78 since 1998 if you were wondering), does not interest me in the slightest, but the point is that a lot of people are clearly interested, and as a result 'Brian' has a very successful blog with a lot of followers and comments.

The moral of Brian's story is that it's not necessarily always about the content, but about how you market your blog, that will make a difference on how well it's received by the public.

I'm definitely not an expert in the field of blogging, or Welsh music for that matter, but I hope that my step-by-step guide will help you to market and maximise your work, and eventually reap the rewards!
1. Make sure your website is as search-engine friendly as possible.

With more than one hundred million blogs on the Internet at the moment, and thousands of music blogs, it's important that yours stands out from the crowd, and there's a few things you can do to ensure this. Well-written and regularly updated content is key to a successful blog, and will engage readers, rather than sending them away to the sparkly adverts on the side of your page.

Around fifty per cent of all blog search results come from Google, so it's important to make it as easy as possible for them to find you. Google uses keywords when finding its results, so by ensuring that you have succinct headlines, make use of tags or labels, captions and alt text, you can enable Google to find you a lot easier!

Make sure you include labels such as: Music, Welsh music, for example.

Other ways in which search engines choose their top results include :

The amount of content you have on your blog / website
The number of incoming and outgoing links, including comments
Incoming links according to the authority of the website. For example if a successful website such as the BBC link to your website, your page is more likely to show up higher on a search.

So by ensuring you've got these covered, you'll be on to a winner.

2. Submit your blog to search engines

Now that you've ensured your website is as search-engine friendly as possible, you need to submit it to those search engines to make it even more accessible.
To do this, you can either submit your site to each search engine directly, or use a service which does it all for you, such as 'AddMe'. In return for displaying a small link on your page, like the one below, services like this will automatically add your blog or website to various search engines, therefore hopefully increasing your traffic!

Search Engine Submission - AddMe

Alternatively, you can submit your blog to Website Directories such as dmoz, which place your blog within a particular category, suited to your content. For example, I've just had a go at submitting my blog to the Welsh music section of dmoz - worth a try!

3. Make use of social networking sites

It's pretty much a given that most if not all of us these days use some form of social networking site, be it Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the list could go on and on.

We also all know how curious we can get when trawling through the profile of a friend of a friend's brother in law, so why not post your blog on Facebook, people will look even if it's only out of curiosity!

It's also a good idea, if you're writing about a particular musician, or CD release for example, to post your review to the person(s) in question, so that they can see what's being written about them, and can then pass on your article; it's good publicity for both of you!

Facebook and Twitter account for around 8% of website traffic, so it's definitely worth using it, and by asking friends and colleagues to share your work, your traffic is sure to increase significantly.  

Talking about sharing, it's important that readers can easily share your blog to friends; if they see something they like, they'll want to share it with others, so by adding gadgets that look a bit like this,
readers can easily share and post your content to their favourite social networking sites, therefore generating even more traffic.

Self-promotion is probably the best way to generate traffic to your blog, so make sure you don't just sit around and wait. If you don't already, it might be worth setting up an account with sites such as Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or Diigo, as well as up and coming sites like Pinterest. 

Pinterest is a 'virtual pinboard to organize and share the things you love', and although you do have to request an invitation to join, it will be worth the wait, and you might even find a new interest yourself.

4. Stick to what you do best

Most blogging sites, including Blogger, have a statistics page where you can view and analyse who is reading your content, which posts are most popular, and where in the world people are accessing your page. 

It's important to keep an eye on this because if people see something they enjoy reading, they're likely to come back for more, and again, you guessed it, your traffic will increase!

Varied content is, however, key to a successful blog. Just because you usually write features, doesn't mean you can't be adventurous and branch out to list posts (like this one), interviews with musicians or editors for example, or even guest posts, and these are all great ways to get your blog out there.

You can also use a Web Analytics tool, which will analyse your ratings in-depth, meaning you can seriously hone in on what your readers enjoy.

Having a consistent design is also important when blogging. Try and create your own personal style, which you can adapt to each post you do, maybe your own formula:

Punchy Headline (including keyword)
Relevant picture
Text (including links, and digital content)
Comment space

Do whichever formula suits you best, and once you've found your preferred one, stick to it!

5. Be patient

Tip number 5 is probably the most important.

You cannot expect to have five hundred million hits after a few weeks, but a combination of hard work, professional and well-written content, and a LOT of self-promotion will, over time, attract attention and visitors to your blog.

If, like me, your blog is about music why not drop a few flyers with your URL into your local music shop?

Alternatively you could attend gigs and events locally and offer to write reviews on them, chances are the venues and local bands would gladly appreciate the publicity and you will be rewarded with readers and traffic.

Remember to make friends too, don't just expect people to like your posts; visit websites with similar content to yours, comment, and hopefully they will return the favour.

Hopefully this has given you some fresh ideas on how to market your blog, so good luck, and let me know how you get on!


1 comment:

  1. I really like the way you've laid this post out Jess! It's easy to read and extremely helpful as a result. I think I'm gonna start picking up loose change more often though, us students need the money!


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