Writing Music Advice Content: 6 Steps to a Side Income
We’re not in our parents’ music industry anymore. So we can’t just plan to “hit it big.”
You have to get creative.
That means pursuing multiple streams of revenue. Try including income sources that aren’t directly from making music but adjacent to making music.
This is where writing music advice content comes in.
Music Writing Can Support Your Music Career
I’ve been writing music advice content for several years, and I’ve written for some of the biggest music blogs in the industry.
So I know you can make money doing this.
Freelance music writing is totally remote. It can pay very well. And it benefits your music.
Here’s what I mean…
Writing this blog post required some research. And in doing that research, I learned things that will help me as a musician.
But I’m also writing this post based on experience. So anything I do as a musician informs my writing.
My writing and my music talk to each other and improve my overall experience with each.
Plus, you can also get a link back to your music website (ex: check my bio at the bottom of this post).
How To Start Writing Music Advice Content
If freelance writing sounds appealing to you, here are the basic first steps…
Be an active musician
You don’t need anyone to tell you this, but you have to be an active musician to succeed as a music writer.
This is what gives you the authority to offer advice to other musicians.
Why would a musician listen to a writer who’s not doing what they’re suggesting?
But again, I don’t need to tell you to make music.
Find a niche focus
Before you start writing, you have to find your niche.
Are you a singer-songwriter? Write about songwriting.
Do you make EDM? Write about synths and plugins.
Are you great on stage? Write about performing and touring.
Write about what you’re good at. It will come naturally, and people will be more inclined to listen to you.
Start a blog
In order to make money as a writer, you have to have portfolio pieces. And the easiest way to do that is to start your own blog.
And this blog needs to cover your niche. Make it all about that thing—the more specific, the better.
Once you’ve written a bunch of blog posts, you can show those to potential clients.
Create a content calendar
Once you’ve created your blog, don’t write a single word until you’ve made a content calendar.
Using a content calendar changed my life as a writer.
A content calendar is a schedule of the posts you’re going to write and the dates you’ll publish them.
It’s the best way to stay organized and consistent as a blogger.
Repost your writing on Music Think Tank
Music Think Tank is a website open to anyone in the music industry. You can post a piece of content you’ve written for your blog on MTT, or you can create original pieces for MTT.
If the runners of MTT — Hypebot — like your post enough, they can feature it on the front page. Then, if it’s a really great piece of content, Hypebot can post it on their website, which has tons more followers.
I’ve had several of my articles featured on Hypebot via MTT, and it brings in more traffic to my blog.
They just have a rule that you can’t post more than once a month.
Pitch ideas to music blogs
Once you’ve got a blog with some stellar content, start approaching music blogs.
Shoot them an email including:
- A compliment about their content
- Your qualifications (highlight your musical accomplishments)
- A clear request to write for them
- 3-5 blog posts ideas you could write
- A link to your blog and/or your music website
Start with your favorite music advice blogs, and then go searching for some other reliable ones.
How Much Can You Make as a Music Writer?
When you’re just starting out, you won’t get paid much. In fact, you may have to take a couple of jobs that don’t pay
Your first paying gigs will probably pay 4-5 cents per word. And a typical length for a blog post is 700-1,000 words. So a post could pay between $28 and $50.
But as you write more and get more experience, you can raise your rates. Before long, you can be making 10 cents a word.
To be clear, these rates can vary. And many blogs will pay a flat rate for a blog post, often $50-100 per post.
So as you can see, writing music advice content can be a nice way to make some money for your music career.
Writing music advice content benefits your music, and being an active musician benefits your writing.
To get into it, pick a niche, start your own blog, follow a content calendar, post your stuff on Music Think Tank, and then pitch post ideas to other blogs.
Do it well, and you can have a nice little revenue stream to support your music career.
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Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter and producer based in Austin, Tx. He also runs Musician With A Day Job, a site that helps part-time musicians build a career on the side.