In Hugh McLeod’s “Ignore Everybody – And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”, one of the tips proposed by the author is to Start a Blog.
I applied this tip to my music and business a long time ago, and it’s a great idea. There is the obvious advantage of direct one to one communication with your audience, but other advantages as well.
Think about it. For a musician, having a way to communicate with fans easily and directly, without THE MAN interfering and changing the message, is awesome power. We have never had this power before, except maybe briefly in the early 1960s. THE MAN has had far too much control over the marketing messages musicians put out. The little guy never had a voice that could be heard over the din of commercial mega-music makers, and the big guys had their image re-made to fit the corporate suits selling music to “the kids.”
No longer. Now, you can be who you are, create what you want to create, and share it with anyone who has access to the WWW. And who doesn’t these days? Your perfect fan is out there, looking for you, wanting to find you, longing for your art, and a blog helps make it so.
All the search engines look around the WWW and see what sites have “keywords” that people are looking for. So if your blog is talking about things your fans are looking for, they can find you more easily when they are searching Google or what have you.
I even took blogging one step farther and just made my various web pages into blogs. I am amazed more bands do not do this. You kill 3 birds with one stone and it costs you next to nothing…
Blogging sites like BLOGGER and WORDPRESS are really super user-friendly for anyone with half a brain. You don’t even need to know anything about computers, just how to get on the WWW and type a little. They let you design cool looking blog sites that are public and accessible on the WWW.
These sites are also FREE, a great advantage for poor musicians. And best of all they are HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE. You can format them a lot of different ways to meet your needs, you can embed videos, pictures, merchandise links, etc.
And the cap stone of it all, is that by being blogs, they serve the basic function of communicating with your fans/audience directly. The fan mail list is automatically built in. All you have to do is offer a FREE subscription service on the blog where people can enter their e-mail address if they want to be a part of it and receive your communications.
WordPress.com has a widget you can place on the sidebar of the page so that anyone with an e-mail can subscribe to your blog (and thus, your web page, if, like mine, they are one and the same…).
Here is an example of a great web page/blog site with subscription tool embedded right in.
Try it for yourself. Enter your e-mail where it says to on www.peoplebrothers.com and see what happens. It is SPAM PROOF because you have to reply to an e-mail they send you before you are officially subscribed. Plus, you can unsubscribe any time and customize the delivery options so you only get an update, say, once per week. Jesus, that rocks so hard! I am actually amazing myself right now just talking about it…
Once you have your blog site up and running and looking how you want it, go public!
For just about $10/year, you can buy a DOMAIN NAME (aka, web site address) at GoDaddy.com or another web host site. Then you can have www.mybandrules.com or whatever you want. It is your web site and yours alone, for just $10/year. In about 15 minutes, you can customize it to forward directly to your blog page, and everyone thinks they are on your web site, when they are really just on your blog. The browser window will show your DOMAIN NAME and not http://mybandrules.wordpress.com or something ungainly like that.
Using www.peoplebrothers.com again, compare…
WITH THIS: peoplebrothers.wordpress.com
See? It’s the same site. The blog site is simply MASKED by the DOMAIN NAME to look like your web site.
WORDPRESS.COM has about 75 customizable “themes” to choose from to make your site look exactly how you want it. You can move stuff around and everything. If you don’t like the FREE themes that are available, you can upgrade for a few bucks a year and get really fancy themes from the WWW.
So now you have a web site, a blog, and a fan e-mail list, all totally FREE, when all you started with was a blog. Is that not awesome?
And the best part is you hardly had to do any work. Spend your extra free time CREATING.
So now tell me…why wouldn’t you start a blog?