Two common music marketing tools for bands and other independent artists are blogs and newsletters. Given that their purpose is to do essentially the same thing – keep fans up-to-date on your goings on, do you really need to use both?
Unfortunately there’s no simple yes-no answer here. While on the surface, they do the same thing, there’s more to it. Which you use (or both) really comes down to the artist’s commitment. Here’s why:
Blogs are about much more than simply posting about your recording updates or about your latest show. Blogs are about engaging your audience and building relationships.
Blogs generally need to be updated often to maintain readership – you should be posting more than once a week or once per month – schedules that may be perfectly fine for newsletters (which are one-sided communication where you talk to your fans instead of talking with them).
So if you want to blog successfully, someone in your band should be your dedicated blogger (this helps to keep a consistent voice that builds and maintains those relationships). It should be updated regularly. Most importantly, you should be allowing comments, and actually allotting enough time to respond to them. Blog comments aren’t a bulletin board for people to tack up messages for you to ignore – they’re a part of a discussion. If you’re not prepared to invest time into maintaining those discussions and relationships, blogging isn’t right for you.
In that case, a newsletter makes more sense. You won’t build the community atmosphere, but you’ll still get your news out to your fans that choose to receive it.
That’s they key in choosing between the two – time. But is it ever appropriate to use both? Sure.
A blog can be a more personal communication tool – such as sharing your reactions after shows or documenting your experiences while on tour. If you have a lot of simple news that you want to get out there, where you may not want comments, you can also use a newsletter – such as for announcing show dates, launch dates, etc. where you may not want a ton of comments to respond to simply saying “Can’t wait to see your show this Saturday!” or something along those lines.
Before you commit yourself to something that fans are going to come expect, always think about how much time and energy you’re willing and able to devote to it.