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What Bloggers Can Learn From Musicians

This guest post is by Jamie Northrup of jamienorthrup.com.

A lot of the keys to being a successful musician are the same as being a successful blogger.

Some of the similarities between these two professionals are that both write a lot, both present their work to an audience, and both can choose to do it for the art or for the money—or even both, like I do!

The path to the top

There are currently three ways to become a successful money-making musician:

1. Join a music label or record company

Blogging to music

Image copyright IKO - Fotolia.com

This is the oldest and most common way to becoming a successful artist. You can either push your demo or get discovered. Either way, you may not have as much control over your destiny, but you usually have some help getting to the top—or as close as possible.

2. Do it yourself

This isn’t the easiest way, but it is probably the most rewarding. You have to work hard, but you get the control over what you do as an artist.

One artist that comes to mind is Master P, who basically sold CDs out of the trunk of his car. He made millions like that, and later founded his own record company. He was worth over $400 million, and was on Forbes richest people under 40 list in the late 1990s.

3. Win a contest

This isn’t new—it’s been around since television has been around with shows like Star Search—but it seems to have exploded in recent years with shows like American Idol, X-Factor, and others.

It’s a great way to become a star and showcase your talent, but it can be hard to even get into the early stages of the competition.

When you look at these options, you can see that attaining blogging success isn’t much different. You can join a “tribe,” do it yourself, or enter blogging contests—but chances are, like me, you fall in the second group of people trying to do it on their own.

Some of the techniques I use to be a successful blogger are similar to the ways DIY musicians gain success.

Think of a song as a blog post, and an album as a blog.

What successful bloggers and musicians share

There are several techniques that work for both musicians and bloggers.

The first is guest posting. The same thing happens in music: guest posting is pretty much the same as one artist featuring another one in one of their songs. It’s a great way for either the musician or the blogger to establish themselves with a new audience, and get their name out there.

The second technique, which is quite similar to the first, is remixing a song. Lil Wayne is famous for doing this on his mixtapes (unreleased or non-mainstream albums). This artist would take popular songs and remake them with his own words. Bloggers do this quite often as well—I actually try and do it once a month. My latest attempt was “remixing” a popular post from Think Traffic.

The final link I like to draw between successful bloggers and successful musicians is that both write about what is hot—the trends. There’s no surprise that when you blog or sing about what’s in the news, you’ll get recognition. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, but apparently there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Choosing to blog on your own isn’t the easiest way to earn blogging success, but if you don’t quit, you will succeed—just like self-made musicians.

Do you see any other ways that bloggers are like musicians?

This post was written by Jamie Northrup, a web consultant based in Montreal, Canada. Jamie runs several different blogs, and tweets using his web handle DeuceGroup.

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Comments

  1. Hey Jamie,
    There are some great comparisons in your post between being a musician and being a blogger. I am probably more like Master P selling CDs out of the trunk of my car to make it to the top on my own.

    I prefer to have control so I wouldn’t join a record/blog label.

  2. Bloggers, like musicians, also put themselves out there for criticism.

    I love karaoke, and in many ways, blogging is the same. You try to sing a song you love, and hope others appreciate the song/effort.

    • Criticism can be hard for anyone, I’ve had my share (and still do), but I learn from the constructive criticism and ignore the rest.

  3. Good points, and it begs to compare the larger matter that most independent musicians nowadays need to be their own marketers, at least in the earliest stages.

    Marketing is apart of music as much as it is blogging, and the biggest musicians definitely embrace that.

    BTW, that “web consultant” link in your author byline is not working.

    • I agree marketing is key for musicians, bloggers, or any other business.

      Thanks for pointing the broken link out, it has since been corrected.

  4. Molly says:

    I never thought how blogging was like being a musician, but I guess with the fact they are both writers… both artists, it only makes sense. I’d like to think I could do it on my own, but I guess I’m eventually going to have to break down and join a label… same for my web development. I’d love to continue freelancing, but until I’m making bank doing that, I will have to continue on with the job search. :P

    • I know what you mean Molly, I used to work my 9-5 and think about the day I no longer need to do it, but now I just treat my 9-5 as a customer of mine, and since I enjoy doing it, I’ve managed to make things work, for now anyways ;)

  5. soubhik says:

    great comparision jamie, will look to implement this in my blog as well… thanks

  6. Anita Nelson says:

    What a unique comparative, Jamie~! I thought of one more way to make money blogging or as a musician – live! Both are live performances, done under pressure of an audience…. Well, you get the idea. lol Always looking for more ways to make it~!

    Very well done~!
    x0x
    Anita @ModelSupplies

    • That’s a great idea Anita, I live blogged (via Twitter) only once to date, but am planning to do it more often. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I can relate well to this post. I’ve been a musician since the age of 5! he he just kidding..
    I play about 5 instruments and it’s a hobby I enjoy.

    Anyways, another important thing is Practice…. you’ve got to practice a lot and not expect to have success in a day or two..

  8. suraj says:

    Article helpful for a music blogger…join a old music company is helpful to become a Good artist and also help to improve our self. No doubt to to get success in any we have to work hard..we can get fame by participate in contents ..if we won the contest more people comes to know about you. best way is music shows to show your talent to the people. You can start a own music blog where you can share about you albums. Music blog is is also helpful to get a Fans. let give fans to put comments. you can improve yourself by reading a comments.

    • Thanks for the comment Suraj, comments are great to help you improve, but always make sure what you’re being told is actually true and helpful.

  9. I dig the analogy between guest posts and collaborating Jamie. Successful musicians know that working together helps each artist to delve into a different market, or crowd. Each artist leverages their presence.

    Guest posting is similar. The guest reaches into a new audience and as the post is cross promoted, the home blogger becomes introduced to a new audience too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  10. James Greg says:

    The post surely shows a lot of similarities between a musician and a blogger. The music industry is huge and the competition can drive you crazy. Same is the condition of the blogging industry and to make an outstanding achievement in the blogging industry following a musicians steps can be useful.

    • There is a lot of Competition in both industries James, but if you can keep up the hard work, and maybe set yourself apart from the others, you can outlast the competition.

  11. I’m not a musician (AT ALL!), but it’s a great comparison. I do think that the opportunities for winning contests in the blogosphere are greater than for musicians, though I’m not holding my breath that my traffic is going to skyrocket as a result of any contest!

    • I think you are right that there are more opportunities for bloggers to win contests, but that the reward isn’t as great as winning a music contest, but the more you participate, the more people you put your product/blog in front of the greater chances of success.

  12. Pj Zafra says:

    Hey Jamie,

    Great post here! It’s a cool way to look at what we do. I’ve never thought or saw it this way before. We definitely are like musicians. Musicians also compost their own songs, we compose our own blog posts. This is a very creative point of view. So it’s cool to think we’re not so different from Master P and Lil Wayne! Lol Thanks for sharing this post! Keep it up! :D

  13. Glad you liked it PJ, do you think Darren is Master P or Lil Wayne? lol

  14. I am a Indie/Folk musician and these are indeed some great tips however I would also like to avoid any record company and just produce and produce the music myself.

  15. Rob Keiter says:

    Jamie,
    I think you are right on – not only in your comparison of musicians and bloggers but also in your practical conclusions. This is definitely a new day for musicians/artists when it comes to making a living in the music business.

    I think your points are not only true for musicians and bloggers but in some way for all independent business owners today. We all need each other and networking is something that is never going away, yet constantly being reframed!

    • Absolutely Rob, any business can take advantage of networking and cross promotion, it’s the best way to do business, specially for startups and small businesses.

  16. Paul Jun says:

    Ah the comparison of Master P and blogging . . . I love it. Finally, someone who understands that even though Master P doesn’t rap, he is still a G — a rich one at that.

    I see many comparisons of blogging to other careers, and it’s funny. I’m starting to believe that blogging is just another way of life. The way many of us are learning to approach blogging to become successful is the same way we should approach situations in life. Amazing what we can learn through writing/blogging and the Internet.

    Great article and great use of comparisons with musicians. Love it.

    • Thanks Paul, I’ve been a Master P fan (and Birdman fan) for a long time, and like you said they both can’t really rap (well not well at least), but I admire them for the way they made it using their business skills.

  17. Bougie Girl says:

    I am a singer in my spare time and I can see the similarities between bloggers and musicians.Both activities require that you put a lot time and effort into them.

  18. Well, I’m writing songs at the moment with the aim of bankrolling my blogging activities – marketing, a new website design, etc.

  19. I think the level of competition in blog-world is not less than that in the music industry. A successful musician or singer has to be innovative in his approach all the time, if he really wants to have a lasting impact on the audience. Likewise, a blogger has to innovate his ideas & information, so that he can persuade his target audience naturally.

    To make a successful career in the blogging-arena, we can learn a lot of good things from successful musicians. They consistently hone their skill by putting utmost dedication in their work and then achieve excellence.

    Bloggers too should hone their writing as well as other associated skills to earn reward & reputation in the chosen niche.

  20. Great comparison here!

  21. TV Rockstars says:

    both write about what is hot, that is so true. If you don’t people likely won’t be interested in your content.