12 Most Gnarly Blogging Lessons I Learned from Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen continually provides content that has stood the test of time, remaining popular throughout the decades. If a blog could provide relevant content like Stringsteen provides music and entertainment, it would be a raving success. With 20 Grammy awards and over 65 million albums in the United States, Springsteen has a very wide audience base.
While I was at the second Minneapolis/St. Paul concert on Springsteen’s most recent tour, I noticed the principles that made the show a success paralleled those that make a blog successful.
1. The audience comes in all shapes and sizes
At the concert there were kids under 10, old men with beards longer than my hair and 20-somethings. Remember that the majority of your blog readership may be your target audience, but your content may be shared with or viewed by people outside of your target audience.
2. The show will be more successful if you cater to the whole audience
They are all listening and viewing from different locations in the arena. Ensure your content can be seen or heard by everyone. Make sure your website lends itself to Mac, PC and mobile users alike.
3. Incorporate the fans
Bruce pulled a little boy up on stage right away, then he slow danced with a middle age woman and picked her up. He also brought a little girl on stage to sing a section of a song. Provide opportunities for the fans to get involved with the blog — host contests on your blog, allow comments and create a sense of community.
4. Supplement the main event with aesthetically pleasing things
Bruce had strobe lights that moved in conjunction with the music. Supplement your blog with clean graphics, complementary colors and well-thought-out, pertinent photos.
5. All audience members have a different perspective and background
Some have been listening to you for years and some are hearing your music for the very first time. That is how your blog audience is as well. Some of your fans have been following you since your blogging debut and others just clicked on a link for the first time today. Keep true to your voice but provide new thoughts and ideas. Bruce sets a great example with his newest album. “Wrecking Ball” became Springsteen’s tenth No. 1 album in the United States.
6. You can provide a distraction from life
The entire audience stepped out of their daily routine for three hours to listen to Bruce. Your blog also allows people to take a step back from the daily grind to laugh at your jokes, ponder your thoughts and enjoy your content. Your content can cheer people up or make them forget about their problems for awhile. Be a distraction.
7. Interact with the audience
Pick up girls and invite a little boy to dance with you on stage. Let the little girl with glasses sing a part of your song. Feed off the energy in the room or shall I say, feed off the energy being transmitted through the computer screen.
8. Guest appearances get the crowd excited
Bruce did a roll call of the entire band in the middle of the concert. He recognized each and every one of his team. Give credit where credit is due. Thank your editors, guest bloggers, commenters, the people who share your content and even the people who just consume your content.
9. Sell supplemental merchandise
Bruce, like many famous musicians, has concert swag available for purchase at the concert and online, including t-shirts, buttons , key chains… you name it. Consider selling some items on your blog. Think about selling an e-book, relevant advertisements, cross-advertising or promotion or anything else you can dream up. Get creative but don’t get too sales focused.
10. Your show has to be able to work in all geographic areas of the U.S.
Bruce preforms all over the U.S. and internationally. His content needs to be able to translate to other markets, as does your blog. Think about how your voice and content would be received in different parts of the country and the world! Also, hit the publish button with the time differences in mind!
11. It takes a team of people to be successful
Lighting and sound crew, Xcel Energy Center Staff, security, the band members and of course Springsteen himself made the concert successful. Utilize a team — have people edit your work or guest post on your blog!
12. Vintage is cool
Bruce used traditional rock moves including guitar spinning, fist pumping and crowd surfing. Remember that old school can be effective. Some traditional elements such as proper grammar, compelling photos and traditional topics can go a long way.
* Bonus 13. Collaboration = gold
It’s great when Bruce sings by himself but when one of the band members joins him at the mic it’s much more exciting and dynamic. Think of ways you can collaborate!
What other lessons can be learned from music idols about generating blog content that can withstand the test of time? If you are a Springsteen fan, what makes his music stay popular through the decades?
Featured image courtesy of BGSU University Libraries licensed via Creative Commons.
Record album cover is © Columbia Records.
Photo illustration work: Paul Biedermann, re:DESIGN