3 Tips for improving your music blog in 2017


The new year is almost here, which means right now the music business is largely silent. Industry professionals at all levels tend to lay low in the days between Christmas and New Year’s day, which in turn leaves music writers with little to discuss aside from their picks for the best album, song, new artist, video, etc. of the preceding year. That content is good and expected, but if you really want to make the most of this time you should be putting the majority of your effort and focus into deciding how you will further your work in the new year.

The world of digital music writing has changed immensely over the course of 2016. Dozens of sites went under, leaving writers at every level looking for steady employment, and several sites combined forces because doing so was the only way to stay afloat. The value of digital advertising also fluctuated more than ever, which in turn made it increasingly difficult for sites to cover their costs. 2017 will likely be no different, if not worse, so those hoping to do make it through with their job and sanity in tact need to embrace the constant state of change we now exist within and use it to their advantage. Here are three tips to get you started:

Video is more important than ever before

The fact video has become the predominant way people consume information online is no great surprise. This trend has been emerging steadily since the launch of YouTube over a decade ago and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Every major news outlet has upped their video output and smaller sites hoping to play in the big leagues need to do the same.

Create video listicles, film interviews, record exclusive performances, and brand all that content with your logo so people know where to turn when they need the latest/greatest music coverage.

Start a podcast (and if you already have one, keep at it)

The podcast medium garnered a lot of attention in 2016, and it is likely to see even more growth in the new year.

The possibilities with podcasting are seemingly endless; You can record a conversation about a single topic, offer regular news updates, interview people, or simply talk to the world at large — all from the comfort of your home (or anywhere else, for that matter).

Podcasts can be as long or as short as you want, and there is no limit to the amount of podcasts you can record. Find a niche that has not yet been filled an fill it with your voice.

Simplicity is an art. Quality > Quantity.

When everything is available with a few clicks and keystrokes the temptation to try and cover all corners of the entertainment world at all times can be great, but for the sake of your health and sanity you need to resist giving in to such ideas. 

There is no way anyone or any one team can cover everything and do a good job. You can cover everything and be pretty mediocre, sure, but being the best at everything just isn’t in the cards. 

Find what your audience wants and serve that to them as often and as well as you possibly can. 

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.