We’ve Officially Closed the Doors on Guest Posts & Advertising Opportunities with Music Entrepreneur HQ… Here’s Why

We’ve Officially Closed the Doors on Guest Posts & Advertising Opportunities with Music Entrepreneur HQ… Here’s Why

Thanks for your interest in working with us – words cannot express how grateful we are for your patronage over the last three years or so.

At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we first began accepting guest posts in 2016.

There have been many benefits to this initiative and it’s fair to say a good chunk of the traffic we’ve gotten in the last three years or so (and even backlinks) has come from the great content that was created by contributors like you – thank you!

But I wouldn’t be transparent if I didn’t also admit that guest posts and advertising opportunities have been a double-edged sword for us.

And, that water has been gradually heating up over the years, to where it’s now boiling.

So, What Went Wrong, Exactly?

From our perspective, are several things that went wrong.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

It Started Taking Up Too Much Time

This was the first issue I encountered.

I noticed that correspondence with prospective contributors was taking longer than it should have.

When I finally got posts from willing guest posters, they were often poorly written and desperately in need of some editing love before they could be published.

I would usually be the one to edit the piece.

But that was just the beginning.

Once the post had been edited, I still had to design a header image, format the piece, schedule it in our editorial calendar, and so forth.

It all added up.

At first, I justified it by saying to myself, “well, it’s content I didn’t have to write, and every piece helps us drive more traffic, so at the end of the day, it’s good for us.”

I can see now that this thinking wasn’t serving me.

I don’t want to sound too important here, but I had much better things to do with my time, some of which I sacrificed to get guest posts ready for publishing (that’s on me, though).

No One Reads The Guidelines

If it wasn’t bad enough that we were getting poor quality submissions, we also had to deal with the fact that people didn’t bother reading our guidelines before pitching.

Some of them even started pitching without a clear understanding of what our website is about.

Do you honestly think we want to publish content about pools, drug use, environment, or otherwise, when the audience we’re serving are music entrepreneurs?

What part of Music Entrepreneur HQ confused you?

It takes all of two to three minutes to read 600 to 700 words (the length of our guidelines post), yet prospects repeatedly violated these terms:

  • Guest posts must be 800 words.
  • Guest posts must be on-topic.
  • Guest posts may not contain too many self-serving links.
  • Guest posts must use a similar style to our posts.
  • You must provide an author bio and photo.
  • You must do your own research.
  • You can’t tell us when to publish your piece.
  • You can’t ask for a specific type of link.

Which is honestly most of the points on the page (straightforward, don’t you think?).

Even as recently as last week, I had people asking whether they could have a dofollow link.

Please. Read. The. Freaking. Guidelines.

For better or for worse, it seems, when people are told what not to do, they go ahead and do it anyway.

It Wasn’t Generating Enough Revenue To Be Worthwhile

Last year, I started charging for guest posts, which eventually justified bringing on a guest post coordinator to handle everything on my behalf.

But before I ever got to that point, I spent a lot of my own time working on this, even though the revenue it generated was a far cry from what I was earning elsewhere (red flag!).

This is not a post about money, but honestly, $30 to have your post edited, formatted and scheduled by a four-time published author?

That’s unheard of!

I probably should have been charging closer to $0.30 per word (which would have been roughly $240 per post).

Even that seems a little cheap for what you ultimately got, which included:

  • Exposure in our weekly digests.
  • Promotion via our email list.
  • Ongoing promotion via our extensive portfolio of owned social media assets.

Anyway, it’s my responsibility for not charging what I’m worth.

So, from now on, guest posts cost $300 (but we aren’t accepting them anymore, so don’t ask).

Guest Posts Were Creating A Disconnect For Our Audience

I would love to say that all prospective guest posters were sensitive to our content requirements and needs at Music Entrepreneur HQ, but that was rarely the case.

For every pure, value-adding, music entrepreneur who contributed to our blog (thank you), there were probably 30 SEO agencies, tire kickers and low-quality overseas contributors who wasted our time and energy (and therefore our money).

Some even tried to tell us how to do our job.

That should be evident when you consider that they weren’t reading our guidelines let alone checking our archives to see the type of content we publish.

And, honestly, that would have taken no more than a couple minutes to do.

So, as our guest posters continued writing about Seattle’s punk rock scene, enhancing one’s creativity, Android apps and whatnot (to be fair, some of that was relevant), I was working my ass off trying to crowd it out with our on-brand, value-adding content that spoke to the music entrepreneur we were trying to serve.

Yeah, that wasn’t working.

Now, to an extent, I’m just speculating on the disconnect this created, but in 2019 we didn’t benefit a whole lot from the content we published (at least compared to years past).

Our top visited posts in 2019 were mostly those that were originally published in 2015, 2016, 2017 and to some extent, 2018.

Our Hired Help Didn’t Want To Work On This Initiative Anymore

Hiring a guest post coordinator was frankly the best move I could have made for my own sanity.

It freed up a lot of time and gave me peace of mind.

I could pay the coordinator some of the money I was making to put the process on autopilot.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough work to keep anyone busy full time, and even if there was, I honestly think it would have eventually risen to the top of “crap jobs”, for reasons already noted.

I didn’t want to work on this anymore, but you know it’s bad when your first coordinator leaves after a few months, and your second coordinator gives up after corresponding with a few prospects.

You know you’ve got yourself a real winner (and, by that I mean a real loser).

I often tell my students to keep the winners and ditch the losers.

Well, it’s time for me to take my own advice.

Chargebacks Started Occurring

Nobody likes giving up revenue they’ve worked their ass off to earn.

At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we publish at least one epic piece of content per week that takes the better part of three hours to make (usually more).

And, if you hadn’t noticed, sometimes we publish a lot more than that.

It might seem like a drop in the bucket, but when you’ve got other projects outside of the business (to keep the business funded), especially to the tune of 25 to 50 hours per week, you can see how it all adds up.

For the most part, our customers were happy.

But some people were constantly on edge about their mere $30 investment (surprise, as I’ve been saying all along, people who don’t pay much are the most troublesome).

And, if the site was so much as down for a day (it happens, guys), they’d be on our case about it (even if we couldn’t do anything about it).

There was even a recent instance where an advertiser had sent us four months’ worth of money for an ad in our sidebar, not even realizing they were buying a sidebar ad.

They thought they were buying a banner ad on the homepage.

We don’t even offer that!

If we did, we wouldn’t charge $50 per month for it – we’d charge $1,000 per month (again, don’t ask)!

Trust me, all the terms were clearly laid out in our advertising opportunities post – there was nothing to be confused about.

People don’t read and that’s a problem.

We Are No Longer Accepting Anything – We’re Taking Control Of Our Brand Voice

We have big goals in mind for 2020, and that being the case, we will be throttling collaborative opportunities.

We don’t want guest post pitches.

We don’t want your advertising money.

We don’t want to put your link on our website.

We don’t want your infographic.

We don’t want press, news releases or story submissions.

We don’t want a bit of money for a lot of work.

Really.

I especially don’t want any of this in my inbox.

When I say “yes” to something, I’m saying “no” to something else, and right now that “no” would be creating new products, chasing down relevant and lucrative opportunities, optimizing the website for increased traffic and revenue, and more.

The only exceptions are existing collaborative partners, especially those who’ve been featured on the blog or podcast.

If you must ask yourself whether that’s you, it probably isn’t.

And, of course, if I reach out to you directly about collaboration, you’re welcome to contribute.

Otherwise, let’s keep the barrage of emails to a minimum, please.

I don’t want them, and I’m just going to end up forwarding you to this blog post anyway.

I’m busy working on the next content piece, opt-in offer, email campaign, product, or some other activity that adds value to the world, such as coaching or speaking.

Seriously.

Closing Thoughts

I’m not much of a fan of the saying, “rotten apple spoils the barrel” but in this case it seems to apply.

Nevertheless, I take responsibility for what didn’t work.

It’s not your fault.

It’s clear to me that accepting guest posts just isn’t consistent with who I am and what I’m up to anymore.

Things need to change.

So, despite the challenges, I thank you for helping build Music Entrepreneur HQ to where it is today.

We are always looking to work on high-quality collaborations with high-quality people.

But if that describes you, you’re probably the exception and not the rule.

With things changing as they are (especially with SEO, content marketing and social media), we need to take a different approach to reach our audience, and that means being focused on the few key things that matter in 2020.

Thanks for understanding.

I look forward to a prosperous year.

What if You Had $10,000 to Spend on Your Music Career… How Would You Spend it?

What if You Had $10,000 to Spend on Your Music Career… How Would You Spend it?

It’s fun to think about where we might be if we just had the resources to get to where we want to go.

The trouble with this type of thinking is that it’s a trap. It stops us from actively engaging in our careers and life to get the resources we need to achieve our goals.

In this video, you will discover how you can make the most of your “what if…” thinking.

Video Highlights:

  • 00:01 – If I had a large amount of money to market my music, what should I do with it?
  • 00:33 – You can’t deal with anything that hasn’t happened
  • 01:15 – The best way to deal with your past
  • 01:36 – Getting a firm grasp on where we are and where we want to be
  • 02:33 – Why backup plans are a waste of time and energy

Transcription:

It’s interesting how there’s a lot of speculation out there about how a musician or independent label owner might spend a large amount of money to grow their business or career.

And, the reason I know people are talking about this is because I’ve done my research.

At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we want to remain in sync with you, our audience, such that we are actively creating content that you find valuable.

So, let me share some thoughts on all this “what if…” thinking and how you can use it to benefit your career or business.

The Dangers of Dealing in Hypotheticals

As I’ve shared with my mastermind group, I don’t deal in hypotheticals.

A hypothetical, to me, refers to anything that hasn’t happened.

It does not refer to reality.

A hypothetical refers to anything that hasn’t happened. It does not refer to reality. Share on X

Hypotheticals aren't useful in planning

Reality deals with something that is happening out in the world, where we’re all living and occupying space.

Something most people don’t understand is that our minds are distinct from reality too, because the things we’re thinking about often aren’t occurring right here and now.

Thinking isn’t real, because the only person who can detect thinking is you.

You cannot detect the thinking of others.

This is something I learned from a counselor many years ago.

When I walked in his room, he told me upfront:

“I believe the best way to deal with your past is to not deal with the past and instead deal with the present.”

The best way to deal with your past is to not deal with the past and instead deal with the present. Share on X

How to deal with the past

Although I believe it’s important to free yourself from the stories and interpretation of the past, my counselor was right – dealing with the present was far more beneficial to me than trying to deal with what had already happened and could do nothing about.

Dealing with Reality – What is So

I’m not saying it can’t be fun to think about how you’d spend $10,000, $100,000 or even $1,000,000 if you had it.

You could potentially do a lot with that money.

I say “potentially” because, most people aren’t great at managing their money, so even if they had a big surplus, it would be easy to waste it.

Instead of dealing in hypotheticals, I believe it’s important to deal in what is so.

When we deal with what is so, we can gain a firm grasp on precisely where we are and where we want to be.

When we deal with what is so, we can gain a firm grasp on precisely where we are and where we want to be. Share on X

Identifying where we want to go with precision

We can go to work on closing that gap and be intentional about the steps we need to take to get there.

We can ask for feedback from our friends, family members, coaches and others and receive useful tips and advice.

So, I’m sure you can see why I tell my students that I don’t deal in hypotheticals.

I can help them based on where they are, but I can’t help them based on where things might go.

Making Backup Plans? You’re Wasting Your Energy

There are so many articles, books, podcasts and other resources out there telling you that you should always have a backup plan.

This is because they like to deal in hypotheticals.

They’re thinking about “what if…” scenarios.

If X doesn’t work out, I’ll try Y.

It’s a waste of energy.

Dealing with the present powerfully is the most important thing you can do.

Dealing with the present powerfully is the most important thing you can do. Share on X

How to be powerful in life

You cannot deal with the present powerfully if you’re always thinking about what could be, should be, would be and so on.

If that’s what you’re thinking about, you’re in the world of pretend, and if you stay there, you can’t see what’s in front of you.

Next time you catch yourself slipping into “what if…” thinking, remember that it’s just your mind trying to escape reality.

There is no need to escape reality, and the less you try to escape, the more present you will be.

The more present you are, the more powerfully you can deal with the present.

Ultimately, the more present you are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy life, too.

169 – Building a Thriving Live Music Community – with Fabrice Sergent of Bandsintown

169 – Building a Thriving Live Music Community – with Fabrice Sergent of Bandsintown

Are you looking for a way to promote your live shows? Do you wish you could reach more people and encourage more ticket sales?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I pass the mic with Managing Partner of Bandsintown, Fabrice Sergent, who shares valuable insights into live performance as well as entrepreneurship.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – What is Bandsintown?
  • 01:44 – How and why was Bandsintown created?
  • 03:10 – It’s a great platform for independent artists too
  • 03:48 – Will live performance continue to be the most profitable sector of the music industry?
  • 05:39 – Live performance and the struggle of being independent
  • 05:54 – The greatest myth of all
  • 08:18 – Creating an experience for your fans
  • 10:51 – It doesn’t happen by accident!
  • 12:48 – Talent, perseverance and hard work favors luck
  • 13:06 – The importance of keeping your fans engaged
  • 13:41 – Bandsintown’s new functionality
  • 17:08 – Utilizing data well to have a successful career
  • 19:14 – Charts on Bandsintown
  • 21:32 – Hypebot acquisition
  • 22:57 – What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome?
  • 25:43 – Loneliness in entrepreneurship
  • 26:31 – What are the greatest victories you’ve had as an entrepreneur?
  • 28:04 – Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
  • 29:22 – Building a thriving live music community
  • 30:06 – On loneliness

Transcription:

Coming soon.

168 – Taking Care of Your Mental & Physical Health as a Musician – with Katie Zaccardi of The Out to Be Podcast

168 – Taking Care of Your Mental & Physical Health as a Musician – with Katie Zaccardi of The Out to Be Podcast

Are you getting enough rest? Do you constantly feel tired and exhausted?

The music industry is a hardworking industry, and it can place many demands on someone with big ambitions.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share the mic with wellness coach, artist and songwriter Katie Zaccardi, who shares valuable tips on changing your attitude towards hustling and grinding, implementing a self-care routine, managing your time and more.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Who is Katie Zaccardi?
  • 03:37 – Changing our attitudes towards hustling and grinding
  • 07:42 – Focusing on the right things
  • 11:09 – How to implement a self-care routine and eliminate burnout
  • 19:47 – How can we make the most of our free time?
  • 22:43 – How can we manage our time?
  • 28:50 – How to deal with procrastination
  • 31:38 – Automate, eliminate, delegate
  • 32:49 – Katie’s anxiety journey
  • 41:09 – What are the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?
  • 43:51 – What are the most significant victories you’ve experienced?
  • 44:41 – Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
  • 46:35 – Listen to your gut and ask for help
  • 47:35 – Being in action

Transcription:

Coming soon.

167 – How to Get Your Independent Record Label off the Ground – with Nick Sadler of NSDMT

167 – How to Get Your Independent Record Label off the Ground – with Nick Sadler of NSDMT

Are you trying to get your independent label set up? Are you looking for tips on how to run and grow your own label?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I talk to Nick Sadler of NSDMT and The Label Machine. He shares from his many years of experience and offers valuable tips on how to make a business plan, how to budget and more.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Who is Nick Sadler?
  • 04:55 – Studying and ongoing self-education
  • 05:44 – What is The Label Machine?
  • 11:13 – What are the benefits to starting your own label?
  • 16:27 – What does one need to focus on when they’re getting their label established?
  • 22:33 – “Success stories” and thinking critically
  • 25:46 – How to set up your business plan
  • 33:09 – How should one spend $1,000,000 to get national exposure for their label?
  • 39:11 – What are the most challenging aspects to navigate as a label owner?
  • 45:02 – What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?
  • 53:26 – What are some of the biggest victories you’ve experienced?
  • 56:46 – Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
  • 1:03:12 – Wrapping up

Transcription:

Coming soon.