I went to a blogging conference in Chicago the other week. I learned a lot about the business of blogging - how to attract an audience, how to monetise your website (see all the ads all over Music Think Tank? No. Obviously.) and how to rank more highly on the Google searches. All really useful and interesting stuff for someone who does what I do. Oddly, there was almost nothing about how to write - but it wasn’t really that sort of conference.
However, I guess the one ‘takeaway’ point is that when you blog - and if you’re involved in marketing at all (hint: you are), then you should be blogging - it’s important to remember that your blog’s not about you.
I mean - of course it’s about you - but it’s not about you.
The goal of the exercise is community
It’s about establishing and developing a group of people that are not configured as ‘audience’ in the old, broadcasting way of thinking about it. This is a club. Better yet - it’s a gathering. If you’re going to blog (you are, aren’t you?) then don’t think of it as ‘announcing’. Think of it as ‘hosting’.
As the host of your blog, you set the topic and some talking points. But the point is what happens next. The discussion that goes on in the comments is by far the more significant part of the exercise - particularly from a marketing standpoint.
It’s a point of real pride for me (though I can scarcely claim any responsibility for the phenomenon) that the comments on Music Think Tank not only outweigh the blog posts themselves - but are of a calibre and insightfulness way above the norm. I mean - indepth analysis, thoughtful consideration and genuine contribution to the debate. Clear, definitive proof of the Wisdom of Crowds idea.
You guys absolutely rock. In every sense.
So… if your own blog - about your music, the artist you represent, your record label, your distribution company or your online music venture - can get the level of discussion we enjoy here, then you’re clearly doing something right. And it’s probably that you’re asking questions, making provocations and starting debates, rather than just declaring, presenting and announcing.
Forget about the audience
There’s a wider application to this idea. It’s that in the current music environment, this is true of ALL music promotional activities - not just blogs. It’s not about you and the audience any more. It’s about the community.
So, in the spirit of this idea, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to accommodate this shift in emphasis. What works? How do you build community, and how then do you capitalise on that to make a living in the music industries? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s start having this conversation.
Because it’s not about what I think…