How To Start a Music Blog

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love. Everyone has different reasons for beginning a blog and different goals in mind when they do so. Your personal path will dictate some of the choices you make along the way. One thing that is true for everyone, however, is that the only way to succeed is to get started.

Taking that first step can be a huge challenge, but by the end of this article, you should have the tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your music blog today.

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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a music blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own music blog, check out our free blogging course. 

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What Is Your Blog About?

The fact that you are reading this right now means you already know the basic subject of your blog - you are writing a music blog! But you need to go a little deeper to really stand out as a blogger. You need to decide what you really want to accomplish. Do you want a blog about hip-hop music? A music blog for teens? A choral music blog? 

The more you define what your blog is going to be about, the easier time you will have focusing your efforts and determining what content to write.

There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:

"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."

Establish Your Niche

When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on Rolling Stone all at once, you are only going to frustrate yourself and will probably make very little progress.

You need a subject that hits the right balance between broad and narrow. “Music” is too broad, since you could never differentiate yourself from the competition. “Music from 1935” is too narrow, and you would likely run out of things to write about or struggle to find an audience. 

Some examples of niche music blogs are:

  • New Classical Music Blog - I Care if You Listen
  • Electronic Music Blog - Resident Advisor
  • Hip Hop Blog - Hip Hop Wired

Name Your Blog

Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.

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Finding Your Audience

Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.

Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.

Are you writing to lovers of classical music, hip-hop music, indie music, or flamenco music? Are you writing for people who think about music all the time - such as musicians - or are you writing for those that have never thought much about music beyond listening to the radio? Whatever your focus is going to be, you need to know who you want to read your blog.

Create a Persona

One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.

Here is an example of a target audience persona:

Tony Trusk Persona

Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.

Be Your Own Persona

Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect music blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.

This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.

Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?

No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.

Some examples for your music blog may include:

  • NPR.org/music
  • PasteMagazine.com
  • Pitchfork.com
  • ConsequenceofSound.com

Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.

How Will You Present Your Work?

Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.

There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your music blog. They include:

Evergreen Articles

As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.

Your evergreen content needs to cover topics that you are relatively sure will be the same next year and years down the line. The actual subjects you choose will be based on your niche, but you should be able to think of many topics that are evergreen. For instance, if you review music you could write numerous music reviews, including reviews of albums that are considered classics. There will always be those searching for reviews of classic albums, and they may love reading your take on those albums.

Videos

While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.

You only need to look at other niche music blogs to see all the ways that people are using video to serve their audience. If you write music reviews, you can create video reviews. If you teach people how to play an instrument, you can create how-to videos to make your lessons even more useful. You do not have to be an expert in video production, either. With practice, you will get better at making videos. The most important thing is getting some decent video content up on your blog to meet the demands of your audience.

News-Type Articles

News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.

Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.

The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.

Music blogs are ideal for news-type content since there is a constant stream of music news each and every day. It will depend on what kinds of topics you cover in your niche, but you should be able to find news-worthy topics regularly through your normal research process. You can write news-type blogs about the stories that interest you and you can even integrate them into your regular blogging - like having a news blog about an upcoming album, then reviewing that album in a longer piece of content later on.

Image-heavy Content

While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.

While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.

A lot of music bloggers have an easy time finding images to put in their content - since the music industry is constantly releasing images to keep interest up about artists. 

The way you incorporate images into your content may differ from the way other bloggers do it, based on your niche and your sense of style. For review blogs, you can include album covers, photos of musicians, and so on. For musical instruction blogs, you can take photos of each stage of the lesson you are teaching. Aim to make gathering images a part of your research process so you are never short on pictures to add to your blogs.

Mix and Match

Your blog does not need to use a single type of content delivery strategy. Using a variety of content types will make blogging more interesting for you and will make your blog more appealing to more people. It is ok to prefer your favorite type of content - whether you like writing long reviews, short news/gossip blogs, or making videos, you can learn how to make other types of content as well. Stretch outside your comfort zone periodically to try out other content types.

How To Make Money From A Music Blog

One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.

There are a few great ways to make money from a music blog:

Display Ad Networks

Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.

There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.

The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.

While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.

Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.

The Amazon Affiliate program is an excellent fit for a music blog because you can link to albums and other music-related products with ease - and you get a commission for every sale that your link facilitates. 

Amazon Affiliates is simple to set up. After you sign up for an account, you can start adding links to your blog for any products that you think are appropriate. If you review an album, you can place a link to that album in your blog - your readers are going to expect a link and many will be glad to have it. When any of those readers clicks the link and buys the album, you get paid a small commission.

Many music bloggers begin with Amazon Affiliates because it has such a low barrier to entry, and many stay with the program because the larger the audience grows, the more money you make.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.

Examples of digital products are:

  • Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.

  • Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.

  • Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.

You can create a digital product based on your niche and what you think that your audience will gravitate towards. If you teach music, you could create an online course of video modules that help people learn to play an instrument. It may take some time to produce a quality course, but the time will be well spent. A well-produced course in this niche can sell for $200 or more, depending on the audience.

Sell Physical Products

Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.

The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.

Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.

Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.

The products you sell through your music blog may be relatively inexpensive, or they may be high-end products - just remember, it is usually best to start with something affordable before you try to attract buyers with bigger wallets. You could start with branded items like apparel, journals, and stickers. If you get a big enough audience, you could sell things like a coffee table book of photography, or handmade instruments. It all depends on your niche and what your audience wants.

While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.

Create A Service

Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.

Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.

If your music blog focuses on how to play guitar, you could offer guitar lessons or seminars for guitar playing. If your music blog focuses on music photography, you could offer your services as a photographer for musicians. Ideally, your service should balance your skills, experience, passion, niche, and the demands of your audience. 

Remember to give enough time to your blog - even if there is a lot of demand for your service. When you have a popular blog, you can charge a premium for your time, which makes it hard to say no. Avoid overcommitment and keep your focus on your blog because it is what creates demand for your service. You can balance them both and likely make a good income by doing so!

Next Steps To Get Your Music Blog Started

Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.

This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!

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