Congrats, you landed an interview! You’re excited, we’re excited, we’ve set up a date and time, and you’re counting down to it. Here are a couple of things myself and other music bloggers would love to let you know.
We want to make you look good.
“I think having an attitude of respect for the blog is good. They should read another interview from the site. I mean, when David Ramirez told me he read my interview with Noah Gundersen… WOW. I was blown away.” – Greg Jones, Ear To The Ground
We run/work at music blogs because we love music, and can even sometimes be a little starstruck by our guests. There are very few “asshole music bloggers,” because there’s no gain in us bullying the local band with 200 Facebook likes. We didn’t choose you out of all our applications because we want to take you down.
If we do a good job making you come across as fascinating, we’ll be in higher demand with other artists, raising our name and reputation. Oh, and we get a kick out of a job well done.
The more you talk, the better.
“Artists at the “emerging” level rarely have big news or secrets, but I think controlling their message is key for artists. Interviews are often great exclusive content for us, but they only work so far as the artist is willing to have a meaningful discussion.” – Greg Jones, Ear To The Ground
It’s always good to give us more information than less. Letting the journalist pick and choose which raw material will help them craft a better story, which in turn will make you more fascinating and the article more shareable.
Fun fact: Google’s search engine optimization gives preferential treatment to blog posts with over a thousand words, and don’t you want a great interview on one of the first pages?
Artist features don’t perform well on blogs unless you give value.
“A lot of interviewers/features can ask you a lot of the same typical musician questions that any other interviewer will ask you and information that fans probably more than likely already know about you. People look for different things they might find out about you in the article. So give a unique answer or something they might not hear anywhere else. It will help you as an artist in the long run.” – Emily Ann Wells, The CMBeat
When I first started doing interviews on Pop of Colour, they were my worst performing articles. I guess the only people reading were the fans and the singer’s parents, and those people aren’t necessarily interested in music industry trends, so wouldn’t come back. By focusing on my target audience of indie musicians instead, I was able to tailor my features into something they would read and learn from. The vast majority of artist interviews are fleeting little things that never get revisited. But if the blogger and interview subject are on the same page about providing content that won’t go out of style too soon, you’ll both reap the rewards of evergreen content.
In an interview, the technical music isn’t as important as the story.
“Reading interviews of unknown artists -and I’m sorry for what I’m gonna say- may end up boring the reader. Unless you can provide something unique and valuable. Or at the least you, as an artist, should try and talk about something the “crowd” would care about, if not get hyped for. That’s why if you get lost in tedious, close-technical speeches about your top-notch instrumentation, or how you practice your instrument 4 hours a day will end up sinking both you and your interview. So don’t waste your as well as readers’ time, but provide something they could really use! People like (honest) stories, so go for it”. – Teo Chiral, The Somber Lane and musician in his own right at Chiral.
The vast majority of readers of music blogs are music fans, not industry people (Pop of Colour is one of the exceptions). This means that the average person you’re trying to convince through a blog that they should buy your debut album doesn’t know or care about the year your acoustic guitar was designed, the brand of console you recorded those songs on, or your endorsement with a quarter-inch cable company, unless you’ve got good story behind it. You need to get your future fans to remember parts of the interview. They may read many interviews in a day; what’s going to make yours stand out and stick in their brain? The story.
We expect you to share the article on your social media too.
“If you’re an artist/musician contacting a blog to have a feature, then it obviously means you are looking for publicity to promote yourself. That’s why bloggers expect and assume that you will share the article on your social media to spread the word about you more, along with the blog, because you want to build a following.” – Emily Ann Wells, The CMBeat
You were so excited to land this interview, now comes the follow up! Don’t just hit the “like” button, create your own fresh post about what an honour it is to be interviewed. If it’s a more evergreen feature, be sure to add it to your #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday rotation. Keeping a good relationship with a music blogger by continuously sharing their work is a great way to grow together.
Music bloggers: if you have something to add to this discussion, be sure to leave a comment!
Artists: go rock the interviews!