How do I Increase Traffic to a Music Blog?

How do I Increase Traffic to a Music Blog?In general, driving traffic to a music blog is no different than generating traffic for any other site. You need to identify your audience, build credibility with them, and figure out your marketing.

However, this question also implies that there are some unique challenges associated with building a music related blog, and I would be inclined to agree.

After all, there are plenty of sites about music out there already. So what is your angle? How are you going to get people to come to you when there are tons of alternatives out there?

Here are several steps you can take to increase the traffic to your music blog.

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Step 1 – Look for Ways to Stand Out

Have you done your research? Have you actually taken the time to look at the kind of sites that are out there? Are you sure there isn’t someone already doing what you are doing?

Competition isn’t always a bad thing, and it may validate your market or idea, but you still have to take the time to see what’s out there to determine if your pursuit is worthwhile. The only way to find an opening in the market is to learn about what others are doing, and more importantly, what they aren’t doing. You can become the person that’s doing what they aren’t, and that will set you apart.

Music Blog

The number one search result in Google for the key term “music blog” in Google is an article about the most influential music blogs by Digital Music News.

You have to differentiate yourself. This can be done with the copy you use, the design of your site, the topics you cover, your long-term persistence, and so on. You can try to jump on a trend, but you have to keep in mind that it may not have long-term viability. If someone is already covering that trend, it may not bring you the same results that it has for them.

If you keep producing what no one wants, how do you expect your blog to increase in popularity?

Think about how you can make a unique contribution to the music industry, and see if there’s a demand for it. If there is, your chances of increasing traffic to your music blog will go up significantly. If you keep producing what no one wants, how do you expect your blog to increase in popularity?

And when I say see if there’s a demand for it, I mean make cold calls, run surveys, ask questions on forums, and interview people. Don’t jump to conclusions without some grasp of reality. Keep asking people what they want.

Step 2 – Create a Content Schedule

If you’re serious about attracting more readers to your site, you need to put significant effort towards publishing new content as often as possible. There is a healthy balance you need to strike between quality and quantity, but also remember that quantity could potentially open up more opportunities early on.

Once reader expectations are in place, you’ll want to spend more time thinking about how you can best serve them. Until then, it’s your job to experiment, optimize, and try a variety of different things to see what connects. Shorter posts, longer posts, personal tone, professional tone, satires, critiques, reviews… there are always different ideas to test out.

Your content schedule should include the topics you intend to write about, headline ideas, any notes you may have, as well as how often you will be posting. Once you’re sufficiently organized, make sure to stick to your schedule. A blog is built on content, so if content is you asset, you need to keep building that asset over time.

A simple way to build your content schedule is by creating a spreadsheet in Google Drive.

Content Schedule

Here’s an example of a fairly simplistic content schedule. In marketing circles, it’s known as an editorial calendar.

Step 3 – Build Connections

It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. If you take the time to think about the jobs you’ve worked at in the past, you probably got those jobs because of the people you knew. There are times when a good cover letter, a resume and old-fashioned persistence can get you a job too, but a lot of the time good references and personal recommendations go a lot further.

That being the case, we still have a tendency to forget how important personal connections are. The people we know and trust are better candidates to refer us or give us opportunities than strangers on the internet. It’s pretty easy to forget that as a blogger.

Sean Harley [Tucker]

It’s no mistake that I was on Mr. Sean Harley’s podcast, and he was featured on mine.

In the short term, it’s hard to see how a relationship will lead to more opportunities for your blog. In the long run, it becomes pretty clear. The people you know will become your clients, followers, readers or advocates. If they know you and like what you’re doing, they’re going to share it with their friends. Perhaps they’ll be guests on your blog. Maybe they will add credibility to it by recommending it to their friends.

Never underestimate the power of relationship, both online and off. Keep making friends everywhere you go, and watch your blog grow.

Step 4 – Invest in Print Materials

Never underestimate the power of relationship, both online and off.

Just because your blog is online does not mean that all of your marketing efforts have to be online too. There are a lot of great ways to promote your work in the offline world, and your willingness to venture out and put money into your blog will be a pretty good barometer for how much belief you have in your project.

In other words, if you’re resistant to the idea of spending money on your blog, you may not be sold on the idea yourself. Maybe you don’t know how it’s going to work. Maybe you just don’t have enough confidence in yourself or your project.

You have to take an honest look at what you’re doing and identify the value in it. Taking risks isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but over time you begin to recognize how necessary they are. Let me assure you; things don’t always work out just because you take chances. However, if it does work out, the reward will also be greater.

Make envelopes, letterheads, business cards, pamphlets, and so on. You don’t have to do everything at once, but you can continue to expand your repository over time. Print materials make you look like a pro, and people will begin treating you that way too.

Build relationships with printers in your area. Find one that is dependable, and over time, as they get to know you, they may offer you discounts or promote your blog for you too!

Step 5 – Build Your Email List

At the risk of sounding like I’m giving canned advice, I cannot overstate the importance of building your email list over time. Social media is great, and I do think you should use it to distribute and promote your content, but at the end of the day, your “likes” or followers don’t count as much as email subscribers do.

Email Marketing

Though their confusing interface still leaves something to be desired, MailChimp is a great place to get started with your email campaigns.

With email, you have a more direct way of getting in touch with the people that follow you. When you have a new product or service, you have a community to promote it to. When you’re running a new campaign, giveaway or contest, you can tell them about it. And yes, you can even send them to your social media profiles to get them to “like” or follow you.

Your social media posts will never reach a higher percentage of people than your emails will. Email open rates aren’t necessarily great (20 – 30% is considered good), but the added benefit is that people don’t have to open your email to have noticed it. Maybe they see it in their inbox and then go to your website. Maybe the email puts you and/or your project back into their consciousness and they start following you again.

Whatever the case, you should start looking for creative ways to expand your email list. Offer a free giveaway, or create some kind of incentive for joining. Offer genuine value upfront, and continue to deliver value through your newsletter.

Step 6 – Leverage the Strengths of Others

There are plenty of experts in the music industry that you can reach out to at any time. You can ask for their help, interview them, or link out to them and comment on their blogs to get their attention. The main thing is to give them some kind of value first, which will then be returned to you.

You could write posts that features the advice of many experts. You could put together roundup posts or expert spotlights. You could take some time to understand what challenges they’re facing right now and come up with creative solutions for them. Naturally, this requires a lot of thought, but anything worth doing takes effort, right?

Bob Baker

Mr. Buzz Factor himself, Bob Baker is a known expert in the music marketing and guerrilla marketing fields.

Additionally, you may have friends that are good at marketing, or writing or social media. The point is to avoid taking it all on yourself. There are people you know, and there are people you could get to know that could help you with your efforts.

Being a one man or one woman show limits your capacity and ability to reach out, create great content, distribute and market your posts, and so on. Don’t just assume that no one will help you pro bono. Involve others, and let them handle what you aren’t good at. Some people would love to be doing the tasks you don’t like doing! A lot of people feel under-utilized in their day-to-day lives.

Step 7 – Contribute Content to Other Sites

Arguably, you should be spending more time guest posting on other sites than creating content for your own site early on. This may seem backwards, but your goal initially is to get in front of more people, and the best way to do that is to go where there are already larger communities.

Guest Post

I’m honored that the good people at Sessionville allowed me to guest post on their site.

In a sense, I believe that guest posting actually makes you a better writer, because you instinctively try harder to make something great. If you write a post that people aren’t going to be interested in, your time and energy will have been wasted. On the other hand, if the readers love your content, they’re going to share it, comment on it, and they may even go to your website to find more.

The main thing is to look for sites that are within your niche, or ones that have a community that’s going to be interested in your content. You can always tailor your content efforts to the site you are posting at, and that could have some benefit too, but it won’t have the same impact as hitting it out of the park with an audience that is already engaged in the topic you are discussing.

Take some time to research the sites that are out there. Don’t shoot for the big ones right away; work your way up. Look for sites that are accepting guest submissions, and look at the type of content that’s already on their site. Look for posts that were particularly popular, and see if you can write on a similar topic or put your own unique spin on it.

Final Thoughts

Marketing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of building any project, but it is necessary.

There are many other ways to increase the traffic to your music blog, but I hope this article has sparked additional ideas for you. Make idea generation a regular part of your day, and you will soon find that you are making more connections within your mind.

Marketing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of building any project, but it is necessary. There is simply no way around it. The key thing is to remain consistent even when it doesn’t make sense to do so.

A lot of people quit blogging after six months to a year. If you want to beat the odds, then go the extra mile. It will not guarantee success, and in time you may find that you will need to adapt or even switch, but the tenacity and persistence that you gain through your experiences will prove vital to your future success.

If you’d like to go deeper into each of the strategies discussed here, click on the image below to learn more about our supplemental guide:

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The 4 Pillars of Success in Music

The 4 Pillars of Success in Music

Most musicians aren’t getting the education they need – and what’s worse – they aren’t even aware of this fact.

From my perspective, there are essentially four pillars to success in music. What most musicians receive is an education in just one of those four pillars. In other words, they only tap into 25% of their potential – ever!

Some musicians will go onto pursue the second pillar (marketing capacity; see below), but very few will ever go beyond that point. Why is that? Because they aren’t aware that they need more than just music theory, songwriting ability, and skills as a vocalist or instrumentalist to make it as a musician.

“What? You mean to say that there are things besides music that musicians should be focusing on?”

That’s exactly what I mean to say. If you’ve been brought up to believe that talent is all you need, you have been misled. This relates to the first pillar of success in music, so let’s jump right in…

Pillar 1 – Talent & Creative Ability

I will never say that you don’t need any talent to succeed as a musician. However, if you take a close look at the pop world, it doesn’t take a discerning eye to see that many of the acts in the spotlight don’t have a lot of talent where most musicians think it counts.

What musicians in the pop world possess is good looks (marketability), dance moves, production value, songwriting ability, controversy, some other asset, or a combination thereof. In my opinion, most pop songs are pretty vapid these days; they’re cash-ins on quickly passing trends. You can’t really say, however, that it doesn’t take any smarts to know what the masses are going to resonate with.

Arguably, pop musicians (and the people that write for them) know exactly what trending topics to tap into. You can call them shallow if you want to, but you can’t call them stupid. They know exactly what they’re doing.

Further evidence to this; just watch the music videos that have been coming out as of late. They are edgier than ever. Losing their place on most TV channels (even so-called “music” channels) has seemingly empowered labels and artists to make videos as controversial and provocative as they want them to be.

Labels know what sells, be it sex, death, or something else. They continue to invest into music videos, which means they must be making money on them (Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” video currently has over 278 million views).

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off Music Video

A scene from Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” music video. Nowhere near as edgy as some videos out there, but it still doesn’t lend itself to a pristine “innocent pop girl” image.

The good news is that musicians get to define success on their own terms. They don’t have to set pop stardom as the standard, and there’s definitely nothing saying that skilled musicians don’t make it into the charts either (just look at John Mayer). You get to determine your own focus. Moreover, it’s still possible to have a profitable and sustainable career outside of mainstream success.

The main issue here is that many musicians come out of school or lessons knowing how to play, but little else. They don’t know what steps they should be taking next.

So, let’s explore the remaining three pillars together to learn what is needed.

Pillar 2 – Marketing Capacity

A musician finally begins to unlock their marketing capacity when they start searching online for articles about Twitter marketing or YouTube tactics. It’s not that they are entirely conscious about their need to learn about marketing, but as their awareness of the online space grows, they almost organically start reaching for it (though some musicians never arrive at this point).

Twitter for Marketing

Social media marketing is a huge topic for musicians.

It’s unfortunate that musicians aren’t taught the importance of marketing from day one. They would probably have less of a struggle with it later on.

Let’s be realistic about this. In a world with mobile devices, constant access to the internet and millions of content pieces published online every single day, will there ever come a time when marketing is unimportant?

No. If you want to stand out from the crowd, creativity and innovation will have to be applied to marketing as much as it is to the production of music itself. There will always be a need for good marketing.

This isn’t to say that musicians have to do it all themselves, but when they’re just getting started, often that’s exactly what it means. A lot of musicians wait around for someone to come alongside them to help them out. That happens so rarely nowadays.

Even if musicians hope to hand off their marketing duties at a later date, there’s no harm in getting started. Musicians with time challenges need to do some problem-solving. If they’re practicing for three hours every single day, they should take at least 30 minutes of that time and put it towards marketing instead.

Musicians that know how to market themselves will do better than those who are merely skilled. Skill is an asset, but only when you have a way of getting it out there. How many talented, under-recognized musicians are there? Too many.

The good news is that there is a growing awareness of the need for marketing. The information age has helped many people come to the important realization that trust must be earned, and credibility must be built. How is that accomplished? Through good marketing.

The remaining two pillars are where most musicians have very little or no knowledge at all.

Pillar 3 – People Skills

This “hidden” skill should be talked about more often, be it at home, in schools or at workplaces. If you have people skills, a huge number of opportunities will open up to you. So why do we avoid this subject? It’s simple, really.

Most people think that charisma and people skills are something you’re born with. I used to think the same way. Then I came to understand that charisma is merely your ability to focus on others (thanks, John Maxwell). The more you put others before yourself, the more charismatic you become.

John Maxwell

Leadership expert John Maxwell explains the true nature of charisma.

Do people skills always need to be taught? No, not in every case. Some people are naturally good at it. Or rather, they had a good role model to follow.

Notwithstanding, there are no courses called People Skills in school, are there? You could argue that it’s common sense, but the rules have all but changed thanks to instant messaging, texting and mobile devices. Bottom line – we all need refreshers in this area of life. We could all benefit from more training and education in dealing with people.

Imagine being able to negotiate better deals. Imagine connecting with more people and making more friends. Imagine asking for what you want more often, and getting it. Imagine being respected and admired for your ability to solve problems for people.

No matter how much awareness builds around the music industry and musicians in general, there’s still something magical and mysterious about it to those who are on the outside looking in. You may not think it’s glamorous or particularly interesting, but you have to remember that the average person isn’t living the life you are.

Musicians have to get good at interacting with their audiences. In many cases, they will have to initiate. They have to let their fans in on the magic.

It’s almost as if Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said:

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (Matthew 20:26, New International Version)

We have to be careful with our perceptions, not just because we are always at risk of misinterpreting our situation, but for the sake of protecting our own hearts too. Next time you are at a social event, ask yourself: is the most popular person in the room the one who has “natural charisma”, or is it the person who is making an effort to engage with as many people as possible?

Being good with people takes some forethought and planning. The good news is there are a multitude of ways of adding value to people. If nothing else, you can probably find a way to put a smile on someone else’ face. Wouldn’t we all love to smile more?

Pillar 4 – Business Sense

The fourth pillar of success in music is in your understanding of entrepreneurship and business. I’ve talked about the fact that you have huge reservoirs of untapped potential if you don’t have any business sense before.

Entrepreneurship often requires a combination of people skills (see pillar three), personal growth habits, the managing of finances, and more. It’s the meeting place of many important life lessons.

The tricky part is that entrepreneurship isn’t taught as much as it is caught. You have to be around people who are entrepreneurial to get it. Teaching often comes down to theory and conjecture, even if it is based in someone’s personal experience. To take someone else’s business coaching as absolute fact is a little dangerous.

What I like about entrepreneurship is that it deals with real, tangible things. You build real relationships with real people, spend and earn real money, and gain real experience. You make mistakes, you fail, you run into challenges, you find yourself outside of your comfort zone… sometimes all on the same day!

However, it’s a lot more fun than waiting for life to happen, don’t you think? Entrepreneurs look for ways to make things happen. I believe musicians should carry that same attitude into their careers, rather than wait for someone to recognize their greatness. You should be your own greatest cheerleader.

Business is not comfortable. It’s not easy. It’s not a walk in the park. Because that is the case, it tends to have greater rewards too.

The challenges of entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is both challenging and rewarding.

In a sense, this fourth pillar encompasses all important components of a successful music career outside of talent and creative ability. A businessperson usually understands marketing and knows the importance of people skills. They know how important it is to manage their money well and grow themselves so that they can become greater leaders.

Business also teaches you how to become a better problem-solver, and I continue to enjoy said benefits on an ongoing basis. When life throws things at you (which it inevitably does), you become better at moving past them. You don’t linger or wallow in your own self-pity for long. You get back up, and look for a way to keep going. Every person needs to know that they can keep going after taking a hit.

Final Thoughts

The 4 Pillars ExplainedA table sits atop four legs. If any one of those legs is missing, it loses its balance and cannot stand properly. Bear that in mind as you reflect on the four pillars outlined here.

The point isn’t necessarily to become good at everything. The point is to identify the areas where you aren’t living up to your potential. Awareness is the first step to improvement. If you don’t know that you aren’t good at something, you have no way of getting better at it.

While this isn’t true of every musician, I find that their weaknesses usually lie outside of talent and creative ability. Becoming a virtuoso is a worthy pursuit, and I admire those who choose to become craftspeople in their chosen discipline. Those who want to go beyond with their career, however, would do well to make careful note of each of the four pillars, and continue to grow themselves in each area.

70% Outreach, 30% Building

70% Outreach, 30% Building

Definitely worth listening to if you’d like to learn more about AdSense, niche sites, and owning multiple web properties.

I’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast quite extensively as of late.

“How did you get there?” you may ask.

Well, it all started many years back when I was looking for a podcast about internet marketing. I was convinced that podcasts were a good way to gain knowledge in specific disciplines, so I started looking for shows that talked about things I was interested in.

No, it wasn’t the Empire Flippers podcast that I stumbled upon that day; it was Internet Business Mastery, which I still listen to today.

Then, one day in the summer of 2012, the Summer Marketing Mashup came out. That’s when I learned about Pat Flynn as well as Tropical MBA and started listening to them too. Obviously, I liked what they had to say.

And then, it was through Tropical MBA that I learned about Empire Flippers. Empire Flippers is basically the “sister podcast” of Tropical MBA. The two podcasts definitely share some similarities.

Are you a podcast freak…?

Internet Business Mastery

Thanks to this show, I know more about internet business than I ever imagined possible.

You may be wondering why I listen to so many business podcasts (this is a site about music, right?). The main reason is that they inspire me. As an owner of several web properties, I am always looking for ways to monetize, market myself better, and serve more people.

Notice how I’m not really beating around the bush with the “monetize” comment. Yes, from my perspective, what I’m putting together over the long haul is a business, and businesses have to make money!

However, the greater priority will continue to be to serve people. That’s why I have over 100 podcast episodes you can listen to entirely for free, and over 250 blog posts that you can access at any time.

It sounds crazy, and I don’t know if it’s totally realistic, but I actually have plans to increase the number of posts (and thus free content) on this site to over 2,000 in the next two years (including podcast episodes).

Anyway, I know that was a bit of a long setup, but this is where we finally arrive at today’s discussion.

Outreach and Building

Outreach

How do you build a loyal online following?

The reality of the matter is that, while this site is starting to look great, and is attracting more attention, it’s still nowhere near where I would like it to be. I can say from previous experience that you eventually reach a “tipping point” with websites. Suddenly, visitors start to interact with you; you get emails, comments, and social shares. If you have products or services, people start purchasing them. That has yet to happen on a bigger scale here.

On the Empire Flippers podcast, they were talking about the fact that keeping a ratio of 70% outreach and 30% building is ideal, especially while you are still new.

While I would not say that this site is brand new (I started podcasting in 2009), it was only recently that I re-branded. The Music Entrepreneur brand is not yet known. This is why I’m thinking about putting more effort into outreach. I can keep posting here until I’m blue in the face, but I still need a way to make people aware of what I’m doing.

So what is outreach and building exactly? These weren’t necessarily the exact terms they were using on Empire Flippers, but the idea is this:

You spend 70% of your time writing guest posts, commenting on forums and other people’s blogs, serving them, and demonstrating your expertise. You spend 30% of your time building your own site and maintaining it.

My current ratio is probably flipped to the other extreme, because content production takes considerable time, and writing a blog post might be all the energy or time I have in a day to continue to build up this site.

If I started doing more outreach however, the same energy could go towards developing relationships, answering questions on forums and pitching guest posts. That’s why I’m rethinking the building out of this site right now. I may actually have to spend less time posting here while reaching out to more people.

Final Thoughts

What can you take away from the 70/30 concept? If you already have a strong following, your ratio would probably look considerably different, but if you’re still new to the scene, then it makes sense to be proactive about building lasting partnerships.

Where is your ratio right now? Is it out of balance? Do you need to make some changes? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments section below!

What You Absolutely Need to Know About Taking Risks as a Music Entrepreneur

As you can probably imagine, my ghostwriting work takes me to a variety of different parts of the web; places I might not choose to go of my own volition (don’t worry, I’m not referring to anything NSFW here).

But I must say that what I’ve learned (and what I’ve been learning lately) has been hugely valuable.

I get to research a lot of topics. Not all of it interests me, but when I’m tasked with writing marketing or entrepreneurship related articles, it’s generally a good day.

Recently, a certain English business magnate inspired me with his writing.

A Page from Richard Branson’s Book

Yesterday, as I was writing an article about taking risks, I happened upon an article by Richard Branson (sadly I can’t find this article anymore), in which he recounts a formative story from his early life. Learning to swim earned him more money than he had ever made before as a four-or-five-year-old! Of course, he had to risk his life to earn it, but this is a hugely valuable lesson.

What we can learn from Branson is that if we want to build businesses, we must take risks, even when things don’t look like they are going to work out. It’s altogether too easy to remain in your comfort zone, never doing anything new. The main problem with this is that you end up getting the same results you’ve always gotten.

You may not need to risk your life to earn huge sums of money, but there’s a good chance you’ll need to do some things you’ve never done before to reach your goals. You will need to risk something.

You may not need to risk your life to earn huge sums of money, but there's a good chance you'll need to do some things you've never done before to reach your goals. Share on X

Is Life Getting Stale? Then Consider a Different Approach

If life has lost its luster and you don’t seem to be progressing, you must ask yourself if you are taking enough risks. I’ve often said there are no bored people, only boring people. If you’re bored, you have no one to blame but yourself.

There are no bored people, only boring people. If you're bored, you have no one to blame but yourself. Share on X

I’ve talked about the fact that failure is the companion of success many times before; both on the blog as well as the podcast. Taking risks is another way to say the same thing.

If there’s risk involved, it means there are no guarantees. You could win, and you could lose. If you must risk it to win it, however, then you can expect the rewards to be greater too.

If you must risk it to win it, you can expect the rewards to be greater. Share on X

Risk can lead to innovation, breakthroughs, and new ways of thinking. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but what you learn in the process can always be leveraged in future situations.

My Finger is Pointed Back at Myself

You may be wondering what risks I am taking right now. I plan to submit an article to Entrepreneur before the year is out. I’ve never written anything for them before, nor do I have an amazing track record as an entrepreneur (I’m on the journey of failing more so I can one day succeed), but the thought of rejection scares me a little, and that tells me it’s something I need to do.

Update: I’ve tried applying as an Entrepreneur writer, but I never heard back from them. Apparently, to become a contributor, what you must become chummy with an existing contributor and get a recommendation from them. Good to know! I can’t leverage my existing connections because that could end up in a situation where I compromise the identify of those I’ve ghostwritten for. That means I must connect with someone new.

Ready to Take a Risk?

Have you been inspired to take a risk you’ve never taken before? Choose a single action you intend to take, and plan do it as soon as possible. Then let me know what you’ve decided to do in the comments below!

Interested in Learning More About this Topic?

The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship: 2018 EditionIf you’re looking for all the latest information on music entrepreneurship, and you’d like to explore this subject in more detail, we recommend checking out David Andrew Wiebe’s latest book, The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship: 2018 Edition.

In addition to everything covered in the original guide, there are fresh insights, new sections and experts quotes, stats, and bonus content in the short volume.

Don’t miss out on cutting-edge information that could help you go beyond in your musicpreneurship career.

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How to Simplify Your Music Career

How to Simplify Your Music CareerEmails. Social media. Websites. Blogging. Search engine optimization. Marketing. Practice. Songwriting. Performance. Load in and load out. Rehearsals. Recording. Interviews. Merchandise…

Overwhelmed yet?

It’s no secret that musicians have a lot to do, from marketing to performing to recording. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for overwhelm, we could all do a better job of simplifying our daily activities. If we could get our daily tasks down to a science, we would be more efficient and more effective in the long run too.

Here are several actionable steps you can take towards simplifying your music career.

Step 1 – Plan & Prioritize

Plan & PrioritizeWhen your career efforts are simplified, there will never be any doubt as to what you need to do next. Your priorities will be laid out in your calendar, and you’ll know exactly when to switch from one activity to another (also see Step 4).

“That’s not creative”, you may protest. “I can’t control when inspiration hits.”

While that may be true, don’t you think you could increase your chances of capturing more of your ideas and inspiration if you were in the habit of setting aside a regular time for it?

I realize that we don’t all have normal or regular schedules (especially as musicians), but you should be able to achieve some semblance of consistency with each of your ongoing duties, whatever they may be. We’re not looking for perfection here.

Don’t forget to create an order of priorities. List them off and organize them from most important to least important. I know this is an unromantic thing to do, but if you’re serious about simplifying your music career, you have to be willing to go through this process.

Step 2 – Stick to Your Goals

If you haven’t actually taken the time to set goals, make sure to do that first.

What happens all too often is that even after we set goals, we put them away somewhere where we’ll never see them again. That’s a sure way to get off track.

While I would never discourage anyone from tweaking or revising their goals along the way, you need to keep them in front of you so you don’t lose sight of them. They will help you make adjustments as necessary.

For example, an opportunity comes up that you’re interested in. However, it has nothing to do with your goals, and will not bring you any closer to achieving them. There are still some desirable results for taking the opportunity, of course. So, what do you do?

Your goals will help you to filter through the opportunities that come your way. They will keep you on track. They will help you to make course corrections, which usually have to be done on an ongoing basis anyway.

Step 3 – Consolidate

How could you be marketing while performing? How could you have social media messages sent out every time you post something new on your website? How could you have automation tools work on your behalf? How could you hit two birds with one stone?

Listen, I’m not trying to be funny. There really are ways of leveraging your time better. You may have to brainstorm some ideas, but the right opportunities could help you to get more done with less effort.

Check out the How to Sell 15,000 CDs in 18 Months video in which Bob Baker interviews Terry Prince. At the time, Prince was performing 10 days a month at the pier. He didn’t go looking for an audience; they found him.

His performances marketed his music, which in turn led to (a high number of) CD sales. I can’t really think of a better way to maximize your time, but there probably are ways. Of course, most live performances are supposed to work this way. A show is supposed to lead to more opportunities.

However, if you watch the video carefully, you can see that Prince made a production of the whole thing. He didn’t stroll up to the pier with a $100 guitar and sing bad covers. He had a real keyboard with a PA system and a nice-looking display for his CDs. You have to pay some attention to esthetics for best results.

Step 4 – Systematize

SystematizeIt’s time to borrow a term from the business world. Yes, systems can be applied to music careers just as much as they can be to business. It’s just that most musicians tend to scoff at them or write them off as being “uncreative”.

Systems may be boring, but they aren’t entirely devoid of creativity. They do require you to think linearly and sequentially, but systems can often be improved upon and made more efficient, and that’s where your creativity will serve you well.

Make checklists for yourself. Document step-by-step processes for activities that you have to do on a recurring basis. Not only will you be able to use this reference material for yourself, you will also be able to pass it on to others to carry out the same tasks if necessary.

Have a set time for practicing. Have a set time for checking in with your social media. Have a set time for songwriting. Create a checklist for how you market a show. Create a checklist for how you promote an album.

Make your life easier by having reference documents that you can go back to at any time when you need them.

Conclusion

Creating a system for your music career is both time-consuming and – let’s be honest – boring. However, the long-term results are worth it. You will be more efficient and more productive for having them.

Don’t forget; focus is hugely important too. If you have the choice between spending an hour on a dozen social media sites or three social media sites, fewer will likely prove to be more beneficial. Don’t overextend yourself unnecessarily.