Plain and simple: traffic = subscribers = sales.
Once you have your squeeze page and sales funnel in place – as outlined in Music Marketing Manifesto – it’s all about the traffic. And traffic is certainly one place that a lot of musicians get stuck.
There are countless ways of driving traffic such as paid advertising, article marketing, social media, Youtube, the list goes on…
Today we’re going to focus on one traffic generation strategy that is completely FREE, and which is something that very few (if any) musicians are doing. We’re talking about what is commonly referred to as “guest blogging”.
Guest blogging is simply that, writing a blog post for someone else’s blog. The blogger gets some free content and the author gets a link back to his or her own site in exchange.
Get the right post on the right blog and you might get thousands of clicks as a result.
In fact I’ve recently been doing a little guest blogging on music marketing and one post alone brought in 627 clicks. When I pay for Facebook advertising I typically pay about $0.60 per click within this niche. The PPC value on the clicks I received from that one post is $372. Not bad for about 45 minutes worth of work.
But it gets better…
Typically speaking, a guest blog post gets you in front of an extremely targeted audience. Moreover, the blogs credibility with it’s readers acts as an endorsement of sorts, thus helping to “pre-sell” your prospect before they have even been exposed to your offer.
While the PPC value was $372 on the aforementioned clicks, I actually made 3 times that as a result of how targeted the audience was. So hopefully you can see how powerful guest blogging on the right blogs can be.
So here’s how you do it…
1. Come up with a list of root keywords that pertain to your niche. In other words; make a list of simple phrases that represent the kind of music you make, as well as related the interests of your target demographic. For example: As a singer songwriter I might jot down terms like “singer songwriter”, “folk music”, “alt-country”, “roots music”, “Bob Dylan”, “Warren Zevon”, “Americana”, etc.
2. Next you want to take that list of keywords and spend some time with Google’s free keyword tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Run each phrase on your list, one at a time. After you run a search, look for the heading “match types” in the left hand side bar. Unselect “broad” which will be ticked by default. Now select “phrase”.
Start looking over the results that were generated by Google’s keyword tool and look for keywords that have significant search volume and which you consider to match the interests of your potential audience.
How much search volume is enough? It’s somewhat arbitrary but I would personally like to see at least 3000 global searches per month. If you are not finding many options feel free to slide that number down. If you are finding a lot, feel free to slide it up.
Add any keywords that meet these criteria to a spread sheet. Don’t stop until you have at least 20 keywords, but the sky is the limit. If you find hundreds of keyword phrases then that’s even better.
3. Then head over to Google’s blog search tool: www.google.com/blogsearch and run a search for each keyword on your spread sheet, one at a time. Click on each result you see in the first page.
What you are looking for are active blogs. Don’t waste your time with anything that does not look professional. A good sign that the blog is active is the number of comments beneath each post.
When you find a blog that appears to meet our criteria, add it to a new spread sheet.
Note* You can also run a search in Google’s regular search tool, however, typically the top results in Google are dominated by sites that are not blogs.
Another great way to find blogs is to create a Google alert for each of your keywords and set the alert to appear in a folder within your Google Reader. Quickly scan these results each day and the active blogs will become apparent.
4. Next you need to approach the blog editors. Prepare a short introductory email that explains who you are, why you’d like to be a guest blogger, list your credentials, writing experience, and your own website traffic, list size, social media followers, etc. Of course you also want to mention your blog post idea.
You should also mention that the post is 100% original and the content will be exclusive for his/her publication only. If you have any grasp of SEO (search engine optimization) whatsoever, also mention that the post will be keyword targeted and optimized for the search engines. This will be good for the blogger as well as your long term traffic, but it’s not a requirement.
You can simply attach your post to the email, or you can keep it brief and offer to send the post for review if he/she is interested.
You also want to be sure to mention that you will offer the post for free, but that you only ask for credit and a link back to your site in exchange for the post.
Note* It will pay to remember these 5 little words, “what’s in it for them”. Make them an offer that’s hard to refuse.
You might also point out that you are a fan of the publication and reference some of their previous articles. This shows that you are not just sending out some mass email. And of course, who doesn’t like a little flattery.
If there is a particular blog that you REALLY want to target, you might leave a few blog comments a week or two before you approach them. You could even send in an email that is purely complimentary about an article on their site. Many blog owners are very interactive with their readers. You might be lucky enough to strike up a relationship via email as a result. This could greatly improve your chances of getting published.
5. If you don’t hear back, follow up with a polite email 1 – 2 weeks later. If you did not attach the blog post on the first email you might try attaching it now.
6. Once your blog post is published, promote it on your social media feeds. If you are receiving a significant amount of traffic and feel that there is some long term potential for future guest posts, you might even promote the post to your mailing list with a heavy emphasis on leaving comments. Trust me, if the editor receives an abnormally high volume of comments on your post, (as well as a surge in traffic), he’s certainly going to notice. However, I would only mail out to your list if you were seeing significant traffic and you thought the blog post was something your fans would enjoy.
7. Follow up for future posts. Once the post has been published – and assuming you are seeing a nice stream of traffic and new subscribers – be sure to follow-up with the editor and see if he/she is interested in receiving additional posts. Land yourself a few weekly guest blogger slots on the right blogs and you will not only see an enormous amount of consistent traffic, but you will also establish credibility within your genre.
Why would anyone want you to write for their blog?
Coming up with content is a royal pain in the butt and it’s hard too keep up with. Take that pressure off of an editor here and there and you just made their week a whole lot easier.
Another reason is because the more content a blog has, the more traffic it gets. Especially if you created 100% unique content that is optimized for the search engines. A free post is essentially free money for the blog owner. They know this and if you are offering good content and stay focused on the “what’s in it for them” factor, you stand a good chance and stirring up some interest.
Furthermore, if you position yourself as a notable musician who also happens to be an expert author on the subject at hand (which after all is music), that might be perceived as a very cool and valuable addition to the blog by it’s readers.
What if you can’t write?
Simple. Hire a ghost writer. You should be able to find someone on Craigslist for less than $10. Better yet, pay a friend to do it.
How does this help you?
Let’s say you were writing a blog post on the New American Roots Music Movement, or whatever…
Needless to say, you would use your experience and insight as a musician to give the reader an interesting perspective on the topic, thus establishing “authority status” for yourself.
THEN: You would include a simple resource line or two at the end of the post which linked back to your site. It might say something like:
“Joe Blow is a musician and author. He has released 3 albums, received radio play around the world, and has been featured in the pages of Rolling Stone, Spin, the Los Angeles Times, and many more.
Blog-Name-Here readers can download a FREE copy of his latest single for a limited time only here: www.yourwebiste.com”.
And there you have it…
Guest blogging is a FREE and powerful traffic strategy that is largely untapped by musicians. I’ve done it and it works. There is no reason you can’t do this as well.
If you liked this tip and want more like it, you can learn more in the Music Marketing Manifesto or the Music Marketing Insider Circle.
Music Marketing Manifesto is where you learn the music marketing system I teach from the ground up.
The Insider Circle is where we take things to the next level with monthly training modules, insider interviews, group coaching calls, and a private master mind forum.
And if nothing else… be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!