Building and retaining your audience begins with understanding who is clicking on your site.
Search the name of virtually any artist or group on social media, and you are bound to find people discussing that act. Opinions on music are a dime a dozen, and when it comes to bands, everyone already knows their value is worth even less that. Young music writers around the globe cut corners on a daily basis to be among the first to cover the latest news about the biggest acts in their area of interest. It doesn’t matter if their site has few to no visitors or if much larger publications beat them to the punch, they want to ensure that their readers learn the latest breaking news directly from them.
But who is the audience for the average blog, and who visits websites for news before scrolling social media?
Music publications, especially those lacking funding, rarely build their audience through coverage of talent that is covered by every other zine, blog, or Twitter feed in the world. Music publications gain readers by delivering the stories no one else can. They earn trust through curating a profoundly entertaining and highly engaging conversation around music that they believe deserves recognition.
Covering everything that is popular in music will satisfy people, but it won’t captivate them. If you want people to continue coming back, you need to seek out the stories no one is telling about the musicians that everyone will want to know six months from now. Your job is to hook people with music made by others. There is a finite amount of people who read music sites, and the vast majority are using the same hook to lure readers. Why do that when you can stand out? Why offer what everyone else offers when you can be the alternative?
When you align yourself with artists on the rise, you align yourself with dreamers, and that is – in many ways – your audience. You want people who listen to music and dream of lives not yet lead. You want to provide the soundtrack to their next great escape, and you want to tell them why it’s going to change their lives before they even realize what is happening to them. You want to be a source of discovery, not regurgitation, which continually introduces new sounds and ideas into someone’s life. If you can accomplish one or both of those things, you can make a reader for life. Better yet, you’ll create an ambassador for your work that helps carry word of your writing to places you’ve yet to reach.
So, who reads music blogs? People just like you. People who think the radio is dead and the music they hear everyone else enjoying is stupid, dull, or just plain awful. Be yourself and readers will find you. Do what everyone else is doing, and they will pass you by in search of a more authentic voice.