An Open Letter to Aspiring Bloggers:
WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE BLOGS!
Let me clarify. We don’t need any more blogs that simply copy and paste “news” and music that you find on other, more established blogs. What we do need is actual journalism. We need opinions. I have 176 other places to go get the latest J. Cole freestyle. I want somewhere where I can read opinions and gain insight on these releases.
I’m gonna relate this to sports again. If you were starting a baseball blog, would your entire site consist of scores and stats? No. Because I already go to espn.com when I need stats and scores. I wouldn’t go to www.joesbaseballblog.com (I made that up) to get the updated Yankees-Red Sox score. espn.com has already built trust with me for being accurate and quick. What I would do, however, is go to thebleacherreport.com to read articles that give unique opinions about trade rumors, pennant races and individual performances. Why? Because the opinions of those writers are unique to that specific site and are something that I can’t find anywhere else, regardless of how long other established sites have been around.
Having said that, I’d only read articles that are well written or provide valuable, well thought out opinions. Same goes with music sites. It isn’t just about writing a Carter IV review. It’s about writing something that I can’t find anywhere else. It’s about being clever, or funny, or taking a different view from everyone else.
You need to capture someone’s imagination. Your goal is to make yourself someone that a person seeks out. When an album is released, you want people to think “I wonder what ____ thinks about this”. If you do that, then you’ll become one of the bookmarked sites that people actually go to.
Blogs, like rappers, are caught up in quantity over quality. The way rappers release half-ass, unfinished records in an attempt to stay relevant, bloggers often feel the need to compete with nahright.com’s 25+ posts per day. They repost anything they can find, with little attention to posting quality articles or true exclusive content. Before I started blocking and reporting everyone for spam who added me to their mailing lists without my permission, I’d be getting the same “exclusive” music from blogs, sites and promotional “companies” for four days. That’s extremely ineffective.
If you want to start a blog, let it be an extension of yourself. Let it reflect your personality. If you don’t have a personality, then start a website and hire/partner with writers who have personality. If you aren’t doing that, then you need to at least find something to differentiate yourself. Create exclusive content. Unless your best friend is Drake and he’s sending you new songs directly, it’ll be difficult to compete with blogs who are part of the New Music Cartel. So let’s explore other ideas.
If you have access to artists, try conducting some interviews. But if you do, make sure you have an angle, you ask interesting questions. Everyone’s doing interviews these days, but asking the same basic questions. Or maybe create a blog that’s dedicated to a niche audience. A specific sub-genre, perhaps. Or maybe you focus on local rappers from a specific city. You can create a blog that films performances from different open mic nights and rates them. There are plenty of options. But please, we don’t need any more nahright-lights. You complain about artists not being original – don’t make the same mistake with your wordpress.