BlogDone right, blogging can be an excellent platform for up-and-coming musicians to reach out to their existing fan base while attracting new listeners. Done wrong, blogging can be an exercise in frustration, disappointment, and failure. You want to do it right, don’t you?

The hardest part of creating a successful blog comes at the beginning. Once you’ve found a core of readers, it’s easy to keep writing at regular intervals, but you’ll need to put some effort in to start. Formatting, writing, and promoting your blog the right way from day one is the key to success online.

1. Focus on Content!
Consider the sorts of things you could write about, playing to your strengths. You want to find a narrow niche, a subject you can discuss in depth, over time, without getting sick of it. Think details and specifics: overly general writing gets overlooked. Don’t be afraid to make it personal. Your fans want to know about you – what do you care about and why? If you choose topics about which you are passionate and well-informed, it’s a lot easier to write great content.

Make your blog easy to read. Write exciting posts, adding bullet lists and using bolding for emphasis. Keep your paragraphs on the short side so they’re easily scanned. Use descriptive language, and add dialog where appropriate. Get your spelling and grammar right! Don’t count on your computer’s spelling and grammar checker. If you know this is a problem for you, find a dependable human reader to proofread.

2. Take time with your Title!
When you’re just starting out, your name alone isn’t much of a draw, and boring titles will get passed over. Think of something relevant and clever to grab the attention of the casual reader. Play with language. Have fun! If you can make a potential reader laugh or think based on a few words, they’re far more likely to get drawn into your blog.

3. Write Often.
The only way to improve your writing is to do it often. You need to update your blog regularlyTyping anyway—at least once a week, but a few times a week if possible—and you already know practice makes perfect. Your skills will improve as you go, and you can start to develop great content. Blogs will not attract fans if they don’t provide new content. You want your readers to get into a routine of reading your blogs. Your readers want to believe that you care about your blog topic. The more you can express yourself, the more you connect with your readers. Fans are the most important resource for spreading your music and making your name known. Write for them.

4. Be aware of your surroundings!
You’re not alone. The web is full of music blogs and websites, and many of them may share your genre. Make a point to Seek out similar blogs and engage with their authors and readers. Subscribe to their feeds, read their updates and stay in touch with what everyone else is talking about. Commenting on other blogs is a great way to create relationships and encourage potential fans to check out your work. Remember, your comments must be interesting or useful. Nobody appreciates spam posting with generic comments. You won’t trick anyone into becoming your fan that way. While you’re doing this, you can also submit your music to different online radio stations, and comment on others’ music. This should inspire feedback on your work. As soon as a relationship is established, you and your new contacts can promote each other through blogs, podcasts, and other web content.

5. Submit Your Blog.
One of the essential steps in attracting readers is to submit your blog to directories. This allows fans to find and read your content, increasing traffic to your blog. If you want to list your whole blog along with a brief summary, submit your link to common blogging sites like BlogFlux or The Hype Machine. You can also contact established, major music websites and tell them why they should feature your blog. Along with submitting your blog to general music directories, have a friend submit individual posts and articles to sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Netscape, and Reddit. These sites allow users to “digg,” “thumbs up,” or “favor” articles and blogs that they love, recommending them to other users. You can submit your own material, but it’s better if you get your buddies to submit for you. This is one place where self-promotion looks a little suspicious.

6. 2P’s : Ping and Podcast.
“Pinging” a site lets readers get automatic updates when you add new content to your blog. Some sites even allow you to add keyword tags so that when someone searches for the topic of your article, your blog will show as a result. For example, if you’re blogging about the tricks to lyric writing (tag words) and a user searches for writing lyrics, your post will come up.

Podcasts are appealing to music aficionados. Think of them as audio blogs. You can add a podcast to your existing blog, or you can create a new podcast on its own. Either way, you can use your music along with more original content, or a reading or discussion of your best content. Some of your fans won’t care to read, but will be more than happy to listen to you talk, sing, or play guitar.

7. Consolidate!
Although hosts such as BlogCatalog and WordPress are great places to experiment with blogging, your blog can easily be lost among millions of pages of content. Remember, you are entertaining readers for the purpose of promoting your music online. If you can host your blog on your own website all your work is visibly connected. You’ll stand out and create a new interplay among all your pages.

These are your basic tips for getting started, choosing content, and laying out your blog. Be sure to catch part II of “Taking it to the Web: Band Blogs,” where we’ll discuss promotion throughout the life of the blog.